Tag Archive | Yemen

Eyes Wide Shut as Yemen Descends into Total Collapse*

Eyes Wide Shut as Yemen Descends into Total Collapse*

 

Yemen is descending into total collapse, its people facing war, famine and a deadly outbreak of cholera, as the world watches, the U.N. aid chief said on Tuesday.

Speaking to the U.N. Security Council, Stephen O’Brien said “the time is now” to end the world’s largest food emergency and put Yemen back on the path to survival.

“Crisis is not coming, it is not looming, it is here today – on our watch and ordinary people are paying the price,” said O’Brien, the U.N. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs.

“The people of Yemen are being subjected to deprivation, disease and death as the world watches.”

The crisis is spiralling towards “total social, economic and institutional collapse” in the poor Arab country, O’Brien added.

His remarks reflected frustration with the Security Council’s failure to pressure the warring sides in Yemen to pull back from the brink and engage in serious negotiations on ending the two-year war.

 

More than 8,000 people have been killed since a Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign in March 2015 against Iran-allied Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa.

The conflict has left 17 million people facing dire food shortages including nearly seven million who are one step away from famine in the country, which is heavily dependent on food imports.

Cholera is spreading in Yemen

Since late April, a cholera outbreak has killed 500 people while 55,206 Yemenis – one third of them children – are ill, according to U.N. figures.

Another 150,000 cases of cholera are expected in the next six months.

After the Saudi-backed government moved the central bank from Sanaa to Aden, more than one million civil servants stopped receiving their salaries, pushing more families toward starvation, said O’Brien.

He singled out the Saudi-led coalition for criticism, saying its threat of attacks on the rebel-held port of Hodeida – a “lifeline” for Yemen’s imports – coupled with clearance delays for ships had sapped traders’ confidence.

“Giving rising costs, major shipping companies are now simply avoiding the Red Sea ports, thereby depriving the Yemeni people of desperately needed food and fuel,” said the U.N. aid chief.

Returning from talks in the region, U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed reported no progress in his efforts to broker a return to negotiations and to clinch a deal on allowing vital deliveries to Hodeida.

“I will not hide from this council that we are not close to a comprehensive agreement,” he told the council.

Last week, 22 international and Yemeni humanitarian and human rights groups including Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee and Oxfam raised alarm over Yemen.

They called on the council, in particular Britain which has the lead for addressing the conflict at the top UN body, to “end its year-long inaction on Yemen, and move decisively to end what is now the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”

Meanwhile, it emerged late on Tuesday that Oman is mediating between Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government and its Houthi opponents over a U.N. plan to resume peace talks in the war-torn country, according to a Yemeni government official.

The official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdel-Malek al-Mekhlafi was in Muscat at Oman’s invitation to discuss ways to bridge differences with the Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa with their allies, over plans presented by the U.N. special envoy to Yemen last week.

The plans, presented by U.N. Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed during a regional tour last week, included confidence building measures such as turning over the Red Sea port of Hodeidah to a neutral party, opening Sanaa airport for civilian traffic and paying civil servants’ salaries.

The Omani side has conveyed to Mekhlafi the Houthis’ willingness to accept this plan, but also its insistence that civil servants’ salaries be paid first.

“The differences regarding Hodeidah now centre on the identity of the neutral party which will manage the port,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

Oman maintains good ties with the Houthis, who seized Sanaa in 2014 in a campaign that eventually forced Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia in 2015 with his government. The Gulf Arab state had long mediated in international affairs, including facilitating talks between Iran and the United States.

Hadi’s government, which had recently made some small gains at the battlefront after months after a long stalemate, has threatened to attack Hodeidah, where most of Yemen’s food and humanitarian supplies enter, unless the Houthis agreed to turn the facility over to neutral observers.

The Houthis have in turn demanded that the Saudi-led coalition that controls Yemen’s airspace allow Sanaa airport to reopen and that the Yemen central bank, which Hadi had moved last year from Sanaa to Aden, pay salaries that had been withheld from civil servants for several months.

The Yemeni official said the Omani side have informed Mekhlafi in talks on Monday that the Houthis were ready to agree to Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s plan in full.

“The differences are not confined to the neutral party that will administer Hodeidah port,” the official said.

 Source*

Related Topics:

Witnesses saw U.S. Military Killing Fleeing Child in Latest Botched Yemen Raid*

Saudi Airstrikes on Market Kills Civilians in Yemen*

The Shaharah Bridge in Yemen, a Bridge of Sighs*

Nine Young Children Killed: The Full Details of the Botched U.S. Raid in Yemen*

Idlib Raid Hits CIA/Saudi Backed Rebels as “President Banner” Tries to Bury Yemen Blunder*

Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. 8-Year-Old Sister Killed in Raid Ordered by Trump *

Britain Confirms U.K-Made Cluster Bombs Used by Saudi-led Forces in Yemen*

‘No Food, No Medicine, No Money’ in Yemeni Town Just Death by Starvation*

Plane from Turkey Transfers Daesh terrorists from Aleppo to Yemen*

11 Headless Bodies Found near Aden in Yemen*

WikiLeaks Releases 500 Documents Showing U.S. ‘arming and funding’ Yemeni Forces*

This is a List of Labour MP’s that voted to continue to murder children in Yemen*

The Anguish, Bloodshed and Forgotten Heroes in the Ignored War on Yemen*

How Israel Was Busted Nuking Yemen*

Witnesses saw U.S. Military Killing Fleeing Child in Latest Botched Yemen Raid*

Witnesses saw U.S. Military Killing Fleeing Child in Latest Botched Yemen Raid*

Human rights group, Reprieve say the raid went wrong from the start when U.S. Navy Seals opened fire on a partially blind 70-year-old man.

By Andrea Germanos

A Yemeni soldier looks at the graffiti of U.S. drone strike painted on a wall as a protest against the drone strikes, in Sanaa, Yemen, on Dec. 21, 2013. (Photo: Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua)

 

The Pentagon said last week that there were “no credible indications of civilian casualties” from the latest U.S. Navy SEALs raid on a village in Yemen.

Yet new reporting by The Intercept, citing eyewitness accounts, offers more evidence to contradict the military’s claim.

Residents of the village in Mareb province said that there were in fact 10 civilians killed and wounded, including a 15-year old child who was trying to flee a barrage of firing from Apache helicopters.

His name was Abdullah Saeed Salem al Adhal.

His 22-year-old brother, Murad al Adhal, said to the news outlet that he saw “the nearby hills were filled with the American soldiers.”

“My little brother Abdullah ran for his life with the other women and children. They killed him as he was running,” said Murad, who was also shot in the leg.

Apart from countering U.S. claims about the event, journalist Iona Craig writes, the eyewitness testimony also raises serious questions about intelligence gathering methods and the ability of decision-makers to determine who is and who is not an Al Qaeda militant amidst Yemen’s multifaceted conflict where loyalties are fluid and pragmatically based.

Human rights organization Reprieve has also countered the military’s version of events and identified 70-year-old, partially blind Nasser al-Adhal as among the civilians killed in the May 23 raid. He was shot by U.S. forces as he went to greet the SEALs, believing them to be guests.

“This new flawed raid by President Trump shows the U.S. is not capable of distinguishing a terrorist from an innocent civilian,” said Kate Higham, head of the assassinations program at Reprieve, in the wake of the raid.

“President Trump must order an immediate investigation into what went wrong and halt all raids and drone strikes before more innocent Yemenis are killed,” she added.

Apart from reeling from two years of war, millions of Yemenis are facing acute hunger and a cholera outbreak. The World Health Organization said Monday that the death toll from that epidemic has claimed 471 lives.

Meanwhile, a handful of U.S. lawmakers is trying to block the sale of  $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which is leading the coalition fight in Yemen and has been accused of committing war crimes in that conflict.

And in Iraq, another front in the ever-expanding global war on terror, Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis said Sunday the U.S. military will begin to use “annihilation tactics” to defeat Islamic State (ISIS) fighters, adding to CBS‘s “Face the Nation” that “[c]ivilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Somalian Refugees Massacred in the Red Sea off Yemen Coast*

Saudi Airstrikes on Market Kills Civilians in Yemen*

The Shaharah Bridge in Yemen, a Bridge of Sighs*

Nine Young Children Killed: The Full Details of the Botched U.S. Raid in Yemen*

Idlib Raid Hits CIA/Saudi Backed Rebels as “President Banner” Tries to Bury Yemen Blunder*

Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. 8-Year-Old Sister Killed in Raid Ordered by Trump *

Britain Confirms U.K-Made Cluster Bombs Used by Saudi-led Forces in Yemen*

‘No Food, No Medicine, No Money’ in Yemeni Town Just Death by Starvation*

Somalian Refugees Massacred in the Red Sea off Yemen Coast*

Somalian Refugees Massacred in the Red Sea off Yemen Coast*

By Abayomi Azikiwe

United States engineered war of genocide encompasses contiguous nations and waterways

 

Somalian community representatives in Yemen have issued a statement denouncing the brutal killings of 42 people and the injuring of 120 others when their vessel was struck in the Red Sea area near the port city of Hodeida on March 17.

Reports indicate that the deaths were a direct result of an airstrike carried out by the Saudi Arabian-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in a war being waged against the people of Yemen.

These refugees were traveling to the Republic of Sudan utilizing the Bab-el-Mandeb, a strait near Yemen, Djibouti, and Eritrea which joins the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. This area is one of the most lucrative shipping lanes in the world transporting oil, military hardware and other commodities.

The Somalians living in Yemen are demanding that the international community investigates the circumstances surrounding the bombing. In addition, they are urging that those found responsible should be prosecuted for the crimes committed. (Saba News Agency, March 21)

A United States manufactured Apache helicopter attacked the vessel carrying Somalians who were fleeing from the war torn state of Yemen. Since March 2015, the White House and Pentagon has backed a war inside the country to defeat the Popular Committees led by the Ansurallah Movement (Houthis) and allied military forces still loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Over 12,000 people have died over the last two years while tens of thousands of others have been injured. A blockade that often prevents essential supplies reaching the people of Yemen has 3.3 million people facing famine.

Saudi-GCC airstrikes and ground operations have targeted civilians, educational institutions, power stations, communications facilities, water sources and municipal services. The Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has supplied the Saudi-GCC forces with sophisticated air power, refueling technology and geographic coordinates needed to inflect maximum damage on the ground.

The persons on board the vessel were said to have documents in their possession certifying them as displaced persons. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees UNHCR) said of the massacre that the agency was “appalled by this tragic incident, the latest in which civilians continue to disproportionately bear the brunt of conflict in Yemen.”

U.S.-backed Forces Deny Involvement

In response to the charges that the Saudi-GCC Coalition was responsible for the massacre, the alliance in a statement said:

“”We are also aware of allegations that the attack was carried out by a helicopter and naval vessel belonging to the Saudi-led coalition. We can confirm the coalition was not responsible for any attack on a refugee boat on Friday (March 17) and … there was no firing by any coalition forces on Friday in the area of Hudaida.” (Middle East Eye, March 19)

Not only did the U.S.-allied forces deny responsibility, they then proposed the port city “be placed immediately under United Nations supervision”. Such an action by the U.N. would be in contravention of international law since Hodeida is part of Yemeni national territory.

For the U.N. to enact this suggestion would be tantamount to the colonization of a section of the country.  Saudi Arabia has occupied sections of Yemeni territory in the recent past aimed at curtailing the advances of the Ansurallah movement which they claim are supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Attempting to conceal its political motivations the Saudi-GCC Coalition declared:

“This would facilitate the flow of humanitarian supplies to the Yemeni people, while at the same time ending the use of the port for weapons smuggling and people trafficking.”

Nonetheless, it is well documented that it is the forces loyal to Riyadh which have continued to target civilians in the war and prevent the transport of essential goods and services from reaching millions of people in Yemen.

The Somalian government fresh from electing a new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, is a member of the Coalition which is conducting war against neighbouring Yemen. Mogadishu has become an outpost of U.S. and European imperialism which finances, trains and coordinates military operations both inland and offshore in Somalia.

Some 22,000 African Union (AU) troops from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia are patrolling the capital of Mogadishu and other areas in the central and southern regions of the Horn of Africa nation. Pentagon and CIA advisors are embedded in the Somali National Armed Forces and AMISOM units to guarantee the security of the Federal Government which is still waging a war against the Al-Shabaab Islamic movement.

Former Somalian Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer did not immediately condemn the massacre of his own citizens on March 17. In a statement issued on March 18, Mogadishu said

“We call on our partners in the Saudi-led coalition to investigate the raid.”

However, it is unlikely that any substantive investigation into these deaths will occur from Mogadishu, Riyadh or its allies in the Yemen war. During the course of developments since March 2015, the U.S. under both the previous administration of President Barack Obama and his successor Donald Trump, there has been no condemnation of the way in which the war has been carried out by the Saudi-GCC Coalition.

War Continues at Feverish Pace

Meanwhile, the situation in Yemen remains tense and volatile. On March 21 authorities seized a vehicle packed with explosives found traveling on the al Azrakain road north of the capital of Sana’a. (Saba, March 21)

On the same day according to Saba news agency:

“A man was killed by a hand grenade in a popular market in Azzancity of Shabwa province. A local official told Saba that an armed man dropped the grenade at the middle of the Qat Market in Azzan, killing the man and injuring 30 others, some of them are critically injured. Shabwa province experiences insecurity in the light of al-Qaeda controls on a number of areas.”

It is the al-Qaeda presence in Yemen which provides another rationale for the escalation of Pentagon military strikes inside the country. In January, a disastrous commando operation authorized by President Trump resulted in the deaths of more than two dozen civilians as well as a Navy Seal in Bayda Province.

Stratfor, the intelligence consultancy firm based in Austin, Texas, said of the escalation in direct airstrikes authorized by Washington claiming to target al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that:

“The United States has carried out around 30 airstrikes against the group in Yemen over the past several days, marking a significant increase in the pace of strikes from the previous year. In fact, the United States only publicly acknowledged carrying out 31 strikes during all of 2016.” (March 6)

New York Times reporters Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt wrote on March 2:

“The coordinated series of attacks occurred in three Yemeni provinces — Abyan, Shabwa and Baydha — that have been linked to terrorist activity, according to the Pentagon. The strikes were conducted against targets that had been developed before the January raid, a senior official said.”

Consequently, the war against the people of Yemen has been intensified under the Trump administration. These developments coincide with the increasing role of the Pentagon in Syria which has announced the deployment of additional troops to this embattled state.

Official pronouncements from the Pentagon say approximately 500 U.S. Special Operations forces are already engaged in Syria ostensibly supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Raqaa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State.  An additional 250 Rangers and 200 Marines are reportedly in the same area.

Trump has ordered Secretary of Defense James Mattis to draft a plan to place even more troops in Syria by the end of March. These troops could come from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit transported by warships harbouring 2,200 Marines currently moving in the direction of Syria along with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, which has 2,500 troops en route to Kuwait.

Source*

Related Topics:

Hundreds Dying from Hunger as Severe Drought Grips Somalia*

U.S. Expands Army Presence in Somalia*

Somali Man Takes Legal Action against US, Germany Over Father’s Drone Killing*

Somalia a Failed State by Courtesy of the State Department and CIA*

Saudi Airstrikes on Market Kills Civilians in Yemen*

Nine Young Children Killed: The Full Details of the Botched U.S. Raid in Yemen*

Idlib Raid Hits CIA/Saudi Backed Rebels as “President Banner” Tries to Bury Yemen Blunder*

Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. 8-Year-Old Sister Killed in Raid Ordered by Trump *

Over 100 Civilians Dead after Recent U.S. Raids on Alleged al-Qaeda Training Camps*

Over 100 Civilians Dead after Recent U.S. Raids on Alleged al-Qaeda Training Camps*

By Amando Flavio

The so-called war on terror waged around the world by the United States is still raging on. The truth about this war is that every single bullet or bomb fired by United States forces drives dozens of people into the hands of militants.

The war is not hitting terrorists, as the Pentagon wants us to believe. It is the innocent civilians who are bearing the brunt of United States’ firepower. Since the United States started the war on terror in the Middle East in 2001, literally countless amounts of civilians have lost their lives in the region.

In February 2016, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) revealed that it recorded a record high civilian death and injuries on the United States war on terror in Afghanistan the previous year. UNAMA said Afghan civilian casualties’ figures in 2016 – killed or maimed from the war – stood at 11,418.

When this announcement was made by UNAMA, a former top Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official, Jack Rice, said the indiscriminate killings of civilians by United States armed forces in Afghanistan are driving the country’s civilian population to join militant and other terrorist groups in the country. Mr Rice stated that the U.S.-led war against terror in the country is a complete sham. According to him, the rise in civilian casualties in wars waged by the United States in the Middle East and other parts of the world is a single contributing factor to the proliferation of militant and terrorist groups in these areas.

However, the United States government isn’t bothered by critics such as Mr Rice. The wars still continue and more civilians die.

Recent raids by the United States military on alleged al-Qaeda training camps in Syria and Yemen have left over 100 innocent people dead, according to human rights groups monitoring the situation in the two restive countries.

Both Syria and Yemen are ravaged by bloody civil wars. The United States is in some ways involved in these two wars. In Syria, the United States is leading a bombing campaign, claiming to target the Islamic State. The United States is again supporting a Saudi-led air campaign against rebels fighting to overthrow the current government of Yemen.

Recently, the White House announced that it is sending ground troops to Syria – though unrequested by Assad. But the truth is that U.S. ground troops have been in Syria and Yemen for some time now.  The troops gather intelligence, as well as carrying out covert raids on militants’ bases in the countries.

In late January, President Donald Trump authorized a raid on an alleged al-Qaeda headquarters located in the al Bayda Governorate in Yemen. After the raid, the Pentagon described it a success. But human rights activists told media outlets that the raid only succeeded in killing many civilians.

This compelled the United States Central Command to say its internal review team “concluded regrettably that civilian non-combatants were likely killed in the midst of a firefight” during the raid, adding that casualties may include children.

Although initial reports suggested around 10 civilians died in the raid, a subsequent investigation carried out by the BBC revealed over 50 civilians perished – the majority of them were women and children. Local residents told the BBC that although some militants sporadically use their village as a meeting place, as of the time the United States forces arrived, no militants were present in the village. Residents categorically denied the Pentagon’s claim that their village is a headquarters for al-Qaeda in the al Bayda province.  They revealed that when the United States forces arrived and started shooting, many in the village were confused, and because the country is at war, many residents have guns. They also opened fire, leading to many bombs being dropped on them by fighter jets. Residents said they retrieved over 50 bodies, many of them burned beyond recognition. The death toll was also confirmed by activists who visited the village.

As this appalling situation just passes, on March 16, U.S. drone aircraft fired missiles and dropped a 500-pound bomb outside the city of Aleppo in Syria. As usual, the Pentagon said the raid targeted al-Qaeda militants, and that it killed scores of them.

But activists have said the raid never hit any militants. According to activists, the bombs were dropped on civilians who had gathered at a local mosque in Jinah for a religious activity. It is said over 46 civilians were killed in the raid.

The Western-backed Syrian Observatory for Human Rights described the scene as a “massacre,” revealing the dead were mostly civilians. Photos from the area showed rescue workers pulling mangled bodies from a mound of rubble.

“Bodies filled the space,” said Mohamed al-Shaghal, a journalist who arrived at the scene shortly after the attack. He said the mosque was completely destroyed, adding that many residents are now living in fear as they don’t know when the next bomb will drop.

Source*

Related Topics:

Trump Orders Drone Strike on Syrian Mosque, 40 Civilians Killed*

U.N. Praises Iran’s “Exemplary” Leadership in Hosting Refugees*

Syrian Air Defense Shoots Down one of 4 Israeli Warplanes Targeting Military Site near Palmyra*

Nine Young Children Killed: The Full Details of the Botched U.S. Raid in Yemen*

U.N. Confirms U.S. Airstrikes in Afghanistan Killed At Least 18 Civilians*

 

Imminent Starvation Resulting from U.S. Led Wars: U.N. Officials Warn of Worst Famine Crisis Since World War II*

Imminent Starvation Resulting from U.S. Led Wars: U.N. Officials Warn of Worst Famine Crisis Since World War II*

By Patrick Martin

More than 20 million people face imminent starvation in four countries, United Nations officials warned over the weekend, the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II. All four countries—Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria—are wracked by civil wars in which the U.S. government is implicated in funding and arming one of the contending sides.

U.N. emergency relief coordinator Stephen O’Brien gave a report to the U.N. Security Council Friday detailing the conditions in the four countries, and the UN issued published further materials on the crisis Saturday, seeking to raise $4.4 billion in contributions for emergency relief before the end of March. So far, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, only $90 million has been pledged, barely two percent of the total needed.

As outlined by U.N. officials, the populations most immediately at risk number 7.3 million in Yemen, 2.9 million in Somalia, 5 million in South Sudan, and 5.1 million in Nigeria, for a total of 20.3 million. The number of children suffering symptoms of acute malnutrition is estimated at 462,000 in Yemen, 185,000 in Somalia, 270,000 in South Sudan, and 450,000 in Nigeria, for a total of nearly 1.4 million.

While adverse weather conditions, particularly drought, are a contributing factor in the humanitarian disasters, the primary cause is civil war, in which each side is using food supplies as a weapon, deliberately starving the population of the “enemy.”

U.S.-backed forces are guilty of such war crimes in all four countries, and it is American imperialism, the principal backer of the Saudi intervention in Yemen and the government forces in Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria, which is principally responsible for the danger of famine and the growing danger of a colossal humanitarian disaster.

The worst-hit country is Yemen, where U.S.-armed and directed military units from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf monarchies are at war with Houthi rebels who overthrew the U.S.-installed president two years ago. Some 19 million people, two-thirds of the country’s population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The Saudi forces, which fight alongside Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, control the country’s major ports, including Aden and Hodeida, and are backed by U.S. Navy units in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in imposing a blockade on the region controlled by the Houthis in the west and north of the country.

U.S. forces operations range throughout the country, with drone missile strikes and occasional raids, like the disastrous attack on a village at the end of January in which at least 30 Yemeni civilians were killed, many of them small children, and one U.S. Special Forces soldier was shot to death.

In Somalia, the protracted civil war between the U.S.-backed government in Mogadishu and Al Shabab militias, who control most of the country’s south, has laid waste to a country which already suffered a devastating famine in 2011, and has been ravaged by civil war for most the past quarter-century.

At least half the country’s population, more than six million people, is in need of humanitarian aid, according to U.N. estimates. Drought conditions have killed off much of the country’s animal population. In Somalia, too, U.S. military units continue to operate, carrying out Special Forces raids and drone missile strikes. There is also an extensive spillover of Somali refugees into neighboring Kenya, where another 2.7 million people are in need of humanitarian aid.

The civil war in South Sudan is a conflict between rival tribal factions of a U.S.-backed regime that was created through Washington’s intervention into a long-running civil war in Sudan. After a U.S.-brokered treaty and a referendum approving separation, South Sudan was established as a newly independent state in 2011.

Tribal conflicts within the new state have been exacerbated by drought, extreme poverty, and the struggle to control the country’s oil reserves, its one significant natural resource, which is largely exported through neighboring Sudan to China. The country is landlocked, making transport of emergency food supplies more difficult.

The crisis in South Sudan was said to be the most acute of the four countries where famine alerts were being sounded, with some 40% of the population facing starvation. Last month, U.N. officials declared a full-scale famine alert for 100,000 people in South Sudan. A cholera epidemic has also been reported.

The famine crisis in Nigeria is likewise the byproduct of warfare, this time between the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram and the government of Nigeria, which has military support from the US and Britain. The focal point of this conflict has been the Lake Chad region, where Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger share borders. This is the most densely populated and fertile of the four areas threatened with famine.

A recent offensive by Nigerian government forces pushed backed Boko Haram and uncovered the extent of the suffering among the local population in the region, where food supplies were cut off as part of the U.S.-backed military campaign.

U.S. military forces range throughout the Sahel region, the vast area on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert which encompasses much of western Africa. The armed forces of French and German imperialism are also active in former French colonies like Mali and Burkina Faso, as well as further south, in the Central African Republic.

According to the U.N. reports, the humanitarian disaster in Yemen has accelerated in recent months. The number of Yemenis in immediate danger of starvation jumped from four million to seven million in the past month. One child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen from a preventable disease.

When the U.N. humanitarian chief’s mission was in Yemen last week, it was able to secure safe passage for the first truckload of humanitarian supplies to the besieged city of Taiz, the country’s third largest, which has been blockaded for the past seven months.

The debate on O’Brien’s report to the UN Security Council featured one hypocritical statement after another by imperialist powers like the US, Britain, France, Japan and Italy, as well as by China and Russia, all bemoaning the suffering, but all concealing the real cause of the deepening crisis.

Typical were the remarks of the U.S. representative, Michele Sison, who declared,

 “Every member of the Security Council should be outraged that the world was confronting famine in the year 2017. Famine is a man-made problem with a man-made solution.”

She called on the parties engaged in fighting in the four countries to “prioritize access to civilians” and “not obstruct aid”—although that is exactly what the U.S.-backed forces are doing, particularly in Yemen, and to a lesser extent in the other three countries.

The U.N. report does not cover other humanitarian crises also classified by the World Food Program as “level three,” the most serious, including Iraq, Syria, Central African Republic and the Philippines (the first three due to civil war, the last due to the impact of several Pacific typhoons). Nor does it cover the devastating civil conflict in Libya or Afghanistan, ravaged by nearly 40 years of continuous warfare.

Nor does it review the worldwide total of people in acute need of food assistance, estimated at 70 million in 45 countries, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. This figure is up 40 percent since 2015, as a result of escalating civil wars, drought and other climate-driven events, and rising food prices.

The World Food Program experienced a shortfall in contributions of nearly one-third in 2016, receiving only $5.9 billion from donors towards a total outlay of $8.6 billion, forcing the agency to cut rations for refugees in Kenya and Uganda. Total unfunded humanitarian aid appeals came to $10.7 billion in 2016, larger than the combined total of such appeals in 2012.

While these sums are gargantuan in terms of the need, they are a drop in the bucket compared to the resources squandered by the major powers on war and militarism. The total deficit in humanitarian aid amounts to less than three days’ worth of global military spending. The $4.4 billion in aid sought for the famine crisis is half of what the US Pentagon spends in a typical week.

Source*

Related Topics:

U.S. World Population Control Programme Revealed Creates War and Famine*

‘No Food, No Medicine, No Money’ in Yemeni Town Just Death by Starvation*

US-Saudi Man-Made Famine Threatens 20 Million Yemenis*

Hundreds Dying from Hunger as Severe Drought Grips Somalia*

Starvation Is an Imperial Resource for Britain*

Indigenous Australians being Starved by their Occupiers*

Fallujah’s Residents Starving, Murdered, Besieged by U.S. Backed Government Forces and ISIS*

 

 

 

Saudi Airstrikes on Market Kills Civilians in Yemen*

Saudi Airstrikes on Market Kills Civilians in Yemen*

People inspect the aftermath of a Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a busy funeral hall in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016.

 

An air strike by a Saudi-led coalition on a market in Yemen killed 20 civilians and six rebels on Friday, medical and military sources said.

The aircraft tried to target Houthi rebels at a roadblock on the southern outskirts of the Red Sea port of Khoukha, but the fighters fled to a market where they were attacked, the sources claimed.

The attack took place at the entrance to a market selling the mild narcotic leaf qat, which is popular among Yemenis.

A military source close to Saudi-backed President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi said that by fleeing to the market, the rebels had used civilians as “human shields”.

The Houthi television channel Al-Masirah also reported the air strike, but give a slightly higher toll of 27 killed and said dozens more were wounded.

The Saudi-led coalition, which has been battling Houthi and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh opposed to Hadi, was not immediately available for comment.

The Saudi-led forces have come under repeated criticism over civilian casualties in Yemen.

In October 2016 a Saudi air strike killed more than 150 people at a funeral in Sanaa, leading Washington to limit its military support for the coalition.

In December, the coalition acknowledged that it had made “limited use” of British-made cluster bombs, but said it had stopped using them.

On Thursday, however, Amnesty International said the Saudi-led forces were still using banned Brazilian-manufactured cluster munitions in raids on residential areas in northern Saada province, a Houthi stronghold.

The conflict in Yemen has left about 10,000 people dead and 40,000 wounded since the coalition intervened on the government’s side in March 2015, according to the United Nations.

The violence and Saudi-led naval blockade have also brought the country to the brink of famine.

Source*

Related Topics:

The Shaharah Bridge in Yemen, a Bridge of Sighs*

Nine Young Children Killed: The Full Details of the Botched U.S. Raid in Yemen*

Idlib Raid Hits CIA/Saudi Backed Rebels as “President Banner” Tries to Bury Yemen Blunder*

Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. 8-Year-Old Sister Killed in Raid Ordered by Trump *

Britain Confirms U.K-Made Cluster Bombs Used by Saudi-led Forces in Yemen*

‘No Food, No Medicine, No Money’ in Yemeni Town Just Death by Starvation*

Plane from Turkey Transfers Daesh terrorists from Aleppo to Yemen*

WikiLeaks Releases 500 Documents Showing U.S. ‘arming and funding’ Yemeni Forces*

Under Trump U.S. Drone Strikes Have Gone Up 432%*

Under Trump U.S. Drone Strikes Have Gone Up 432%*

By Carey Wedler

Yemenis walk past graffiti showing a US drone. (Photo: Yahya Arhab/EPA)

 

When he was in office, former President Barack Obama earned the ire of anti-war activists for his expansion of Bush’s drone wars. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning head of state ordered ten times more drone strikes than the previous president, and estimates late in Obama’s presidency showed 49 out of 50 victims were civilians. In 2015, it was reported that up to 90% of drone casualties were not the intended targets.

Current President Donald Trump campaigned on a less interventionist foreign policy, claiming to be opposed to nation-building and misguided invasions. But less than two months into his presidency, Trump has expanded the drone strikes that plagued Obama’s “peaceful” presidency.

According to an analysis from Micah Zenko, an analyst with the Council on Foreign Relations, Trump has markedly increased U.S. drone strikes since taking office. Zenko, who reported earlier this year on the over 26,000 bombs Obama dropped in 2016, summarized the increase:

During President Obama’s two terms in office, he approved 542 such targeted strikes in 2,920 days—one every 5.4 days. From his inauguration through today, President Trump had approved at least 36 drone strikes or raids in 45 days—one every 1.25 days.

That’s an increase of 432 percent.

He highlights some of the attacks:

These include three drone strikes in Yemen on January 20, 21, and 22; the January 28 Navy SEAL raid in Yemen; one reported strike in Pakistan on March 1; more than thirty strikes in Yemen on March 2 and 3; and at least one more on March 6.

The Trump administration has provided little acknowledgment of the human toll these strikes are taking. As journalist Glenn Greenwald noted in the Intercept, the Trump administration hastily brushed off recent civilian casualties in favour of honouring the life of a single U.S. soldier who died during one of the Yemen raids just days after Trump took office:

The raid in Yemen that cost Owens his life also killed 30 other people, including ‘many civilians,’ at least nine of whom were children. None of them were mentioned by Trump in last night’s speech, let alone honoured with applause and the presence of grieving relatives. That’s because they were Yemenis, not Americans; therefore, their deaths, and lives, must be ignored (the only exception was some fleeting media mention of the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, but only because she was a U.S. citizen and because of the irony that Obama killed her 16-year-old American brother with a drone strike).

Greenwald notes this is typical of not just Trump, but the American war machine in general:

We fixate on the Americans killed, learning their names and life stories and the plight of their spouses and parents, but steadfastly ignore the innocent people the U.S. government kills, whose numbers are always far greater.”

Though some Trump supporters sang his praises as a peace candidate before he took office, the president’s militarism was apparent on many occasions. He openly advocated increasing the size and scope of the military, a promise he is now moving to keep. And as Zenko highlights, Trump was disingenuous with his rhetoric against interventionism:

He claimed to have opposed the 2003 Iraq War when he actually backed it, and to have opposed the 2011 Libya intervention when he actually strongly endorsed it, including with U.S. ground troops. Yet, Trump and his loyalists consistently implied that he would be less supportive of costly and bloody foreign wars, especially when compared to President Obama, and by extension, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As Trump continues to dig his heels into decades-old policies he has criticized himself — reportedly mulling over sending ground troops into Syria — he is increasingly proving to be yet another establishment warmonger implementing policies that spawn the creation of more terrorists. As Zenko concludes:

We are now on our third post-9/11 administration pursuing many of the same policies that have failed to meaningfully reduce the number of jihadist extremist fighters, or their attractiveness among potential recruits or self-directed terrorists. The Global War on Terrorism remains broadly unquestioned within Washington, no matter who is in the White House.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Trump-Israel Struggling to Save ISIS to divide and Conquer Syria and Iraq*

Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. 8-Year-Old Sister Killed in Raid Ordered by Trump *

14yo Indian Signs Government Contract to Make anti-landmine Drones*

Suspected Targeted Drone Attack Hits Family of Grand Mufti*

U.S. Military is Building a $100mn Drone Base in Africa*

Israel Conducted Drone Raids in Egypt’s Sinai*

An Innocent Survivor of a U.S. Drone Strike in Pakistan Speaks Out*

 

The Shaharah Bridge in Yemen, a Bridge of Sighs*

The Shaharah Bridge in Yemen, a Bridge of Sighs*

Shaharah Bridge built to collapse in case of invasion

Shaharah Bridge built to collapse in case of invasion

By Kerry Sullivan

The Shaharah Bridge was built in the 17th century in Yemen and though it may just look like a regular bridge at first, it has interesting stories connected to it. The structure was designed to fall apart in minutes in the event that Turks tried to invade and it was also a logical solution to another age-old problem.

The Bridge’s Features

Stretching across a 300-foot (91-metre) deep gorge between two mountains, the bridge is still commonly used by citizens in the neighbouring villages. The bridge can be found in the Ahnum Mountain Range in northwestern Yemen in the ‘Amran governorate, approximately 87 miles (140 kilometres) away from the country’s capital city, Sana’a. It connects two mountains, Jabal al Emir and Jabal al Faish, by stretching across a canyon formed where the two come close together. The bridge is 65 feet (20 meters) long and 9 feet (3 meters) wide. It is primarily made of limestone, which is an abundant material in the mountains. The Shaharah Bridge leads to the town of Shaharah.

Village of Shaharah

Village of Shaharah

 

Bridging Communities

It is not known for how many centuries people have been living in the Ahnum Mountains. Yemen itself is one of the oldest centres of civilization in the world. The country is located at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula. While most of the peninsula is arid, Yemen is fertile and experiences regular rainfall. From very early on, the country served as a natural conduit for trade between the East African and Middle Eastern kingdoms. Archaeological evidence shows that large settlements existed in northern Yemen’s mountains at least as far back as 5000 BC.

For all the millennia that people lived in those mountains, they were faced with the difficulty of getting supplies. This was both a hassle and a danger. Although Jabal al Emir and Jabal al Faish are within shouting distance of each other, in order for villagers to trade goods or meet with neighbors, they would have to climb all the way down to the bottom of the canyon and then back up the other side.

Certain segments of the journey were especially perilous. And even if one were a daring and nimble enough climber to make the trek, it would be next to impossible to bring back many goods.

A Haraaz-landscape

A Haraaz-landscape

 

Connecting and Protecting Shaharah

In the 1500s, the Ottoman Turks invaded Yemen and overran Shaharah. Once their freedom was regained sometime in the 1600s, the local Shaharah leader, Al-Usta Saleh, ordered a bridge to be constructed that could be destroyed in the event of another invasion. He hired an architect named Salah al-Yaman. That bridge took three years to build and cost roughly 100,000 French Riyals (an extraordinary amount of money in the 17th century). It was constructed using traditional building tools and local supplies, however,

“no one really knows exactly how the bridge was built especially at that time, but a few legends try to offer some explanations. One story goes that several bridges were built below the major bridge to help with the transfer of supplies up the rugged terrain. Remnants of the minor bridges are still present today. Another legend explains that al-Yaman is credited with building only ten meters [32.5 feet] of the bridge and the remaining ten meters [32.5 feet] were believed to have been completed by an unknown person from the adjacent mountain.” (Khalife, 2015)

Footbridge in Shaharah, Yemen (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Footbridge in Shaharah, Yemen (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Footbridge in Shaharah, Yemen (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The bridge is the only entry point for the town of Shaharah, which also has fortified walls surrounding it. It remained defended and inaccessible until aerial assaults became the norm in the 1960s-civil strife in Yemen. Still, the town (and the world) greatly benefited from Shaharah’s 300+ years of peace.

Life and Tourism in Shaharah

The town is no mere village dwelling looking to be left in peace. Shaharah is the citadel for the Imans of the Zaidi interpretation of a Shi’a Islam (not to be confused with the Kurdish Yazidis). In the 10th century, the Islamic scholar and second leader of the Zaidis, Abul Qasim Muhammad bin Yahya bin Al-Husayn, chose the northern highlands for the center of Zaidi religious thought and scholarship. Zaidi mosques and schools can now be found throughout northern Yemen. Today, Zaidis are more commonly known by their political/rebel wing, the Houthis.

Before Yemen was engulfed in civil war, the Shaharah Bridge was one of the most popular tourist attractions for those adventurous enough to make the trek out to see it. With time, it earned the moniker ‘Bridge of Sighs’ because the spectacular sight of a rudimentary stone bridge spanning two mountains left onlookers speechless.

Source*

Related Topics:

The Oldest Qur’ans are Actually in Yemen, in Danger of Being Bombed*

The Anguish, Bloodshed and Forgotten Heroes in the Ignored War on Yemen*

Nine Young Children Killed: The Full Details of the Botched U.S. Raid in Yemen*

Britain Confirms U.K-Made Cluster Bombs Used by Saudi-led Forces in Yemen*

Plane from Turkey Transfers Daesh terrorists from Aleppo to Yemen*

WikiLeaks Releases 500 Documents Showing U.S. ‘arming and funding’ Yemeni Forces*

U.S. Occupies a Yemeni Island*

Muslim Cordoba Going for a Song