Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘saudi Arabia

Wolf Blitzer Is Worried Defense Contractors Will Lose Jobs if U.S. Stops Arming Saudi Arabia

Sen. Rand Paul’s expression of opposition to a $1.1 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia — which has been brutally bombing civilian targets in Yemen using U.S.-made weapons for more than a year now — alarmed CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday afternoon.

Blitzer’s concern: That stopping the sale could result in fewer jobs for arms manufacturers.

“So for you this is a moral issue,” he told Paul during the Kentucky Republican’s appearance on CNN. “Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s going to be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?”

Paul stayed on message. “Not only is it a moral question, its a constitutional question,” Paul said. “Our founding fathers very directly and specifically did not give the president the power to go to war. They gave it to Congress. So Congress needs to step up and this is what I’m doing.”

Watch the exchange:

Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, and has since been responsible for the majority of the 10,000 deaths in the war so far.

The U.S.-backed bombing coalition has been accused of intentionally targeting civilians, hospitals, factories, markets, schools, and homes. The situation is so bad that the Red Cross has started donating morgue units to Yemeni hospitals.

The war’s incredible humanitarian toll has generated an increasing outcry in the United States.

Earlier this month, more than 60 members of Congress signed a letter asking the administration to delay the most recent arms shipment. 

Ordinarily, under the Arms Export Control Act, Congress has 30 days to block arms sales proposed by the administration — but by announcing the arms sale in August, most of those 30 days fell during Congress’s August recess.

That 30-day window expired Thursday night and the White House has not granted the request for extra time.

The Obama administration has sold more weapons to the Saudis than any other administration, pledging more than $115 billion worth of small arms, tanks, helicopters, missiles, and aircraft.

So yes, it’s a legitimate moral issue. What it’s not is a legitimate economic issue.

If you’re worried about jobs, military spending is not where you look.

It’s an inefficient way to create jobs, because it has a lower multiplier effect — meaning how much it ripples in the wider economy.

One study from 2011 found that $1 billion put into military spending would create approximately 11,200 jobs, but that same amount of money put into education creates 26,700 jobs.

In Saudi Arabia. A kingdom to Myself

I reached the port of Jizan in southwestern Saudi Arabia just in time to catch the speedboat. After buying my ticket and having my passport checked by a mustachioed police officer, I climbed into the small, closed cabin with a few other passengers, a box of vegetables, a green shag rug and a parakeet in a wire cage, and we set off for what I had been told was one of the most enchanting places in the kingdom.

Sabine Choucair shared this link

The husband takes us to Saudi Arabia on a touristic trip
Ben Hubbard I can’t wait smile emoticon shall we go this coming vacation ?!|By Ben Hubbard

My destination lay 28 miles off the coast: Farasan Island, the largest of a cluster of sunbaked sand and coral outcroppings in the Red Sea that are festooned with pristine beaches, prime dive sites, mangrove forests and historic relics dating back centuries.

The trip was my first lesson in what it means to travel in a country full of potential tourist sites that the government is ambivalent about letting foreigners see.

Most people reach the island aboard passenger ferries bequeathed to residents by the previous Saudi king. But I had missed the last trip, so I had to endure an hourlong, bone-shattering trip across the waves on a wooden bench in the speedboat

After we landed, I rolled my bag to the parking lot to find scores of dust-covered pickup trucks but not a taxi in sight, because, as I was later informed, the island doesn’t really have taxis. But before long, a student I had chatted with on the boat divined my predicament and delivered me to my hotel. His parakeet chirped the whole way.

In a region where countries like Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have invested to make tourism pillars of their economies, Saudi Arabia stands apart, and for good reason.

The country’s identity revolves around being the birthplace of Islam and home to its holiest sites. Part of that heritage is adherence to a strict creed by which shops close throughout the day for prayer, women wear head-to-toe black gowns and are barred from driving or from socializing with unrelated men, alcohol is illegal and drug dealers and other criminals are beheaded in public squares.

That keeps the kingdom off the list of where most Westerners — and even many Saudis — want to spend spring break.

Saudi officials say they are not against visitors; more than 10 million expats reside in the kingdom and millions more Muslims come every year for religious visits. And on a personal level, Saudis can be disarmingly friendly and hospitable.

But as the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia has long lived without tourism income and has seen little need to attract tourists who might make out on beaches or hold hands at the mall. (Or who may be women traveling alone.)

For now, the priority is encouraging Saudis to visit their own country. Tourist visas are not imminent, but for the intrepid tourist like me who gets in for other reasons (in my case a conference, as I report on the region) and follows the rules, there is the exhilaration of having awe-inspiring sites virtually to yourself.

“For those who like history, culture and nature, there is lots to do,” Salah Al-Bukhyyet, the commission’s vice president, said in an interview. “But here in Saudi, you won’t see people on the beach in bikinis.”

Despite their vast idyllic coastlines, the Farasan Islands have not a single beachfront restaurant. And despite extensive coral reefs, no one rents scuba gear, unless you book far enough in advance for it to be brought from the mainland.

There is only one hotel on the water, the Coral Farasan Resort (400 riyals, about $107, a night), a boxy, two-star affair whose green hallway smelled faintly of sewage but whose simple rooms were clean. After checking in, I found its restaurant’s windows closed despite the balmy weather and a single man devouring a plate of fried chicken.

I wanted fish, so Mohammad Saigal, a local English teacher I had hired as a guide (1,000 riyals a day), drove me to the fish market, where we bought two fish as long as my forearm for 80 riyals and gave them to some men to grill. Back at the hotel there were no tables outside, so we walked to the end of a sandy pier, sat on the ground under the stars and ate with our hands. The fish were as tasty as I have ever had.

After dinner, I confronted one reality of traveling alone in Saudi Arabia: When the sun goes down, there isn’t much to do. Groups of men played loud rounds of cards in the lobby, and kids kicked a soccer ball on the grass outside. I went to bed early.

I woke early, too, to the sounds of large Saudi families mobilizing for the beach. So I took a run along the coast and within 10 minutes was alone on a sandy track near clear, blue water, with no signs of other humans but the occasional remains of campfires.

That afternoon, Mohammad and I hired a boat and a captain (250 riyals an hour) and looped around the back of the island, passing smaller coral isles along the way and spotting tall, stick-legged cranes fishing and gliding overhead.

We later entered an inlet with mangrove forests on both sides. Skinny green fish skipped in front of the boat, and we watched dozens of large pelicans nesting in the branches and unfurling their wings to take flight. The captain killed the engine, and all was silent but the waves and the squawking of the birds.

He also said he worried that no one was protecting the island, that the gazelles that used to be common had become rare, as had falcons and foxes.

“There is too much neglect,” he said.

We headed out to sea, where our captain dropped anchor and passed out fishing lines on plastic spools. We baited our hooks and dropped them from the sides of the boat.

“As soon as you feel the line jiggle, pull,” Mohammad said.

A moment later, I did, and reeled in a six-inch fish, pink with brown eyes. That was my sole catch, but in about 20 minutes, Mohammad and the captain caught three each, which they had grilled and gave me for dinner.

The next morning, I met two single American women in T-shirts and capri pants sitting in the sun at the hotel and asked them about their experiences traveling as foreign women.

They taught at an international school and said they had flown to Jizan and taken the ferry by themselves with no problems, although they had asked a male friend to drive them to the airport.

Their advice: Be open-minded about the culture and don’t judge, be prepared to cover up, respect gender rules and you will probably be surprised at how welcome you are.

“It is definitely very segregated, but the Saudi people are lovely, hospitable and kind,” one said.

And if you are lucky, they said, you’ll get invited to a party with Saudi women, with music, dancing, food and fashion, but no alcohol, tobacco or men.

“Just good clean fun,” one said.

Mohammad and I spent the day visiting sites around the island. At an old Ottoman fort, we found a group of out-of-work tour guides eating beans and fried dough on the steps. The site had been refurbished, but there was no information on its history, its windows had been shattered, and trash was everywhere.

We visited a one-room, private “maritime museum” full of curios from the sea, including dolphin skulls, shells, shark jaws, a massive sea tortoise preserved in lacquer, and a sword made from the nose of a sawfish that the museum owner had planned to give to King Abdullah before his death.


Saudi tourists at Mada’in Saleh. Credit Bryan Denton for The New York Times

“Total neglect,” Mohammad said.

But it was still fun to scramble over the ruins sinking back in the date palms, with no sounds but the distant pounding of a resident building a new cinder block home.

I wanted to treat myself to a nice lunch before I returned to the mainland. As Mohammad had heard that another hotel had a new cook, we dropped by.

We were told that you have to order two hours in advance. So instead, I had tasty rice and chicken at a local joint full of laborers and bachelors (married men eat at home) where I was the only one using a spoon rather than my hands.

I took the ferry from the island and passed the much smoother trip dozing and watching children play tag in the aisles. As in much public space in Saudi Arabia, including Hardee’s and Starbucks, the passengers were divided, with single men on the left and families and single women on the right. But before I figured that out, I had sat in the ambiguous middle. No one seemed to care.

My next stop was a site seen by many as the showpiece of Saudi archaeology: Mada’in Saleh, or al-Hijr in Arabic, an ancient settlement of the Nabatean Empire that left its biggest traces about 2,000 years ago.

It was the Saudi Arabia’s first Unesco World Heritage site and where the astronaut prince took Prince Charles when he visited the kingdom last year.

Visiting it should be easier than visiting Farasan, given the new airport nearby. There are currently four flights in and four out each week, so when I got a ticket, I assumed I was fine. But I soon discovered that the airplane holds more people than the town’s main hotel (the other one burned down a few years ago), which was fully booked, leaving me no place to stay. (I was later told about a tent camp out in the desert.)

Thankfully, getting around the kingdom is cheap and easy on Saudia, the national carrier, which serves more than two dozen domestic airports and plays prayers over the P.A. system before takeoff. So I changed my dates and flew to Medina, where I rented a car for a four-hour drive though a stunning desert to reach the expansive palm groves of Al-Ula, an oasis town.

And gas is cheap: 15 riyals to fill up my Hyundai. Though prices have increased recently, they are still very low..

Visitors need permission to visit Mada’in Saleh, something the hotel handled with a copy of my passport, along with finding me a guide named Tamir (800 riyals a day).

When we reached the site the next morning, it was completely empty. Large sandstone formations rose from the rolling expanse of sand.

About 2,000 years ago, the Nabateans had lived nearby and carved massive, elegant tombs into the rocks, adorning their entryways with statues of birds and images of flowers, faces and serpents.

Their doors lead to large rooms, some with separate tombs inside, others with long shelves carved into the rock. And while the facades are perfectly flat, the inside walls bear the marks of thousands of chisel blows. My wrists got sore just thinking about it.

I spent the morning happily wandering from tomb to tomb, snapping photos, marveling at the workmanship and wondering what the rest of the civilization had looked like. My guide was no help.

“I don’t know the history,” he said. “I just know where stuff is.”

The tombs are empty, mostly cleaned out by grave robbers long ago, and the plaques around the site lacked detail on the wider culture. Compared with sites in Egypt, it was pleasant to be left alone. There were no touts, no hawkers, no Bedouins offering camel rides, not even rangers to protect the sites.

But some of the tombs had bullet holes in their facades and many were covered with graffiti.

The inscription above the door to one tomb seemed to foresee that eventuality, warning that anyone who wrote on the tomb had to pay 3,000 harithis to someone named Thi al-Shira and the same amount to “our lord the king.”

On the facade, two recent visitors had spray-painted their names and written “Memories of Wednesday, 3/11/2011.”

After a few hours at the site, tomb fatigue set in.

“They all look the same after a while,” my guide said.

Then, as we approached another necropolis, I spotted a man in a burgundy cardigan, khakis and running shoes wielding a camera and scrambling excitedly from tomb to tomb. Another tourist!

He introduced himself as Tag Elkhazin, a 76-year-old semiretired mechanical engineer and a Canadian of Sudanese descent. A professed archaeology buff, he had been dreaming of seeing Saudi Arabia’s sites for years but had never been able to get in.

“I did my tribute to God and then decided to do my tribute to learning and knowledge,” he said with a grin.

He called the site “majestic” but said he was frustrated that Saudi Arabia had shown little interest in its pre-Islamic heritage.

“This is part of the history of the kingdom,” he said. “Saudi history did not start with Islam, with all due respect.”

I visited a few more tombs, but soon felt I had seen enough and decided to see what I could learn at the complex of small museums near the entrance.

Not much, apparently. The visitors’ center, the multimedia building, the Hejaz Railway Museum, the Syrian Pilgrim Road Museum and the Islamic fortress were all closed, even though, according to the hours posted by their doors, they should have been open.

“They are supposed to be open, but no one came to work today,” a guard said with a shrug.

The tourism commission may have a hard time persuading Saudis to visit such sites instead of going to the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain, neighboring countries with more relaxed social codes and attractions lacking in the kingdom, like movie theaters and bars.

And my Saudi friends were more interested in picnics in the desert, where young men like to cruise the dunes in their S.U.V.s.

But I had seen some local tourism earlier in my trip when some Saudi friends took me to the Ghada Festival in Unayzah, a local fair named after a desert shrub.

The tourism commission supports more than two dozen similar festivals across the kingdom, but they are hard to find out about if you don’t speak Arabic. Your best bet is to ask the locals, who will tell you what is happening nearby and maybe take you for a visit. Which is what happened to me.

We reached the fairgrounds midafternoon, and there were already hundreds of people there: men in long white robes, women in black gowns with only their eyes showing through face veils, and children wearing whatever they wanted.

The festival was a series of exhibits celebrating the area’s history. There were traditional markets where men made ropes from plant fibers and women sold embroidered clothing and wove rugs on traditional looms.

“This is what they fight with in Palestine,” one woman said, trying to sell me a woven sling.

Young Saudis are social media crazy, and the kingdom has some of the world’s highest usage rates of Twitter and YouTube. At one point, I stopped to snap a photo of some women baking honey-filled cookies in a big black oven and turned to see three Saudi girls aiming their camera phones at me and snapping away.

“Hey!” I said, and they giggled and scurried off, typing captions with their thumbs before sending my image into cyberspace. I decided to respond in kind and kept my phone at the ready to take pictures of anyone I caught taking pictures of me. I caught quite a few.

There were tents set aside for prayer, bonfires where we stopped for coffee and tea, and a kids’ area with games and music (voice only; no instruments). We even saw an itinerant clown, who sat in the back of a truck and made up a song about me for a small tip.

We visited an exhibit on traditional medicine showing bone setters, local diseases that had largely been eradicated and a mannequin giving birth standing up with a midwife on the ground in front of her.

Elsewhere, a family wearing traditional garb acted out scenes in front of an adobe house. A woman shook milk in a suspended metal container to churn butter, and a group of men chanted while digging a well.

Nearby, a gas-powered water pump chugged away, one of the first machines to reach the area powered by the same oil that had distanced most Saudis from the very life the festival sought to recall.

On a patch of sand, a teacher and a group of children with wooden pallets recreated a traditional Koranic school. As the sun set, they marched through the festival, chanting “Hafiz! Hafiz!” to celebrate a student who had memorized the Quran.

As they passed, a young boy ran up to me, smiled and asked, “How are you?”

Emails Show Hillary Clinton Aides Celebrating F-15 Sales to Saudi Arabia: “Good News”

Lee Fang. Feb. 22 2016

The shockingly brutal Saudi air campaign in Yemen has been led by American-made F-15 jet fighters.

The indiscriminate bombing of civilians and rescuers from the air has prompted human rights organizations to claim that some Saudi-led strikes on Yemen may amount to war crimes.

At least 2,800 civilians have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the United Nations — mostly by airstrikes. The strikes have killed journalists and ambulance drivers.

The planes, made by Boeing, have been implicated in the bombing of three facilities supported by Doctors Without Borders (Médicins Sans Frontières).

The U.N. Secretary General has decried “intense airstrikes in residential areas and on civilian buildings in Sanaa, including the chamber of commerce, a wedding hall, and a center for the blind,” and has warned that reports of cluster bombs being used in populated areas “may amount to a war crime due to their indiscriminate nature.”

Bombs dropped by fighter jets are pulverizing Yemen’s architectural history, possibly in violation of international humanitarian law.

A few years earlier, as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton made weapons transfer to the Saudi government a “top priority,” according to her closest military aide.

And now, newly released emails show that her aides kept her well-informed of the approval process for a $29.4 billion sale in 2011 of up to 84 advanced F-15SA fighters, manufactured by Boeing, along with upgrades to the pre-existing Saudi fleet of 70 F-15 aircraft and munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance, and logistics.

The deal was finalized on Christmas Eve 2011. Afterward, Jake Sullivan, then Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and now a senior policy adviser on her presidential campaign, sent her a celebratory email string topped with the chipper message: “FYI — good news.”

The email string was part of a new batch of emails from Clinton’s private server, made public on Friday evening as the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

One American official, whose name is redacted in the emails, said he had just received confirmation that Prince Salman, now the king of Saudi Arabia but at the time the senior Saudi liaison approving the weapons deal, had “signed the F-15SA LOA today” and would send scanned documents the following day.

“Not a bad Christmas present,” he added.

Another official, whose name is also redacted, confirmed that a Saudi general who had been working with U.S. officials was “pleased, as are all of us,” and said he would soon contact executives at Boeing.

The congratulatory tone continues through the email chain with other officials, also with redacted names, calling the weapons deal “Great news!”

On December 26, Jeremy Bash, then-chief of staff at the Pentagon, sent the email string, titled “F-15SA Christmas Present,” to Sullivan, who sent it to Clinton with his own note at the top.

David Sirota and Andrew Perez have previously reported for the International Business Times that Clinton’s State Department was heavily involved in approving weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

As weapons transfers were being approved, both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Boeing made donations to the Clinton Foundation. The Washington Post revealed that a Boeing lobbyist helped with fundraising in the early stages of Hillary Clinton’s current presidential campaign.

Jeremy Bash is now managing partner at Beacon Global Strategies, a consulting firm that provides advice to Clinton on foreign policy while providing paid advice to the military contracting industry.


U.S. State Department “Welcomes” News That Saudi Arabia Will Head U.N. Human Rights Panel

On the basis that this worst State in Human Rights records will desist and improve?

Last week’s announcement that Saudi Arabia — easily one of the world’s most brutally repressive regimes — was chosen to head a U.N. Human Rights Council panel provoked indignation around the world.

That reaction was triggered for obvious reasons.

  1. Not only has Saudi Arabia executed more than 100 people already this year, mostly by beheading (a rate of 1 execution every two days), and
  2. not only is it serially flogging dissidents,
  3. but it is reaching new levels of tyrannical depravity as it is about to behead and then crucify the 21-year-old son of a prominent regime critic, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was convicted at the age of 17 of engaging in demonstrations against the government.
Glenn Greenwald posted this Sept. 23 2015

Most of the world may be horrified at the selection of Saudi Arabia to head a key U.N. human rights panel, but the U.S. State Department most certainly is not.

Quite the contrary: its officials seem quite pleased about the news.

At a State Department briefing yesterday afternoon, Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner was questioned by the invaluable Matt Lee of AP, and this is the exchange that resulted:

QUESTION: Change topic? Saudi Arabia.

MR. TONER: Saudi Arabia.

QUESTION: Yesterday, Saudi Arabia was named to head the Human Rights Council, and today I think they announced they are about to behead a 21-year-old Shia activist named Muhammed al-Nimr. Are you aware of that?

MR. TONER: I’m not aware of the trial that you — or the verdict — death sentence.

QUESTION: Well, apparently, he was arrested when he was 17 years old and kept in juvenile detention, then moved on. And now, he’s been scheduled to be executed.

MR. TONER: Right. I mean, we’ve talked about our concerns on the capital punishment cases in Saudi Arabia in our Human Rights Report, but I don’t have any more to add to it.

QUESTION: So you —

QUESTION: Well, how about a reaction to them heading the council?

MR. TONER: Again, I don’t have any comment, don’t have any reaction to it. I mean, frankly, it’s — we would welcome it. We’re close allies. If we —

QUESTION: Do you think that they’re an appropriate choice given — I mean, how many pages is — does Saudi Arabia get in the Human Rights Report annually?

MR. TONER: I can’t give that off the top of my head, Matt. (What does Toner keeps in his Top?)

QUESTION: I can’t either, but let’s just say that there’s a lot to write about Saudi Arabia and human rights in that report. I’m just wondering if you — that it’s appropriate for them to have a leadership position.

MR. TONER: We have a strong dialogue, obviously a partnership with Saudi Arabia that spans, obviously, many issues. We talk about human rights concerns with them. As to this leadership role, we hope that it’s an occasion for them to look at human rights around the world but also within their own borders.

QUESTION: But you said that you welcome them in this position. Is it based on [an] improved record? I mean, can you show or point to anything where there is a sort of stark improvement in their human rights record?

MR. TONER: I mean, we have an ongoing discussion with them about all these human rights issues, like we do with every country. We make our concerns clear when we do have concerns, but that dialogue continues. But I don’t have anything to point to in terms of progress.

QUESTION: Would you welcome as a — would you welcome a decision to commute the sentence of this young man?

MR. TONER: Again, I’m not aware of the case, so it’s hard for me to comment on it other than that we believe that any kind of verdict like that should come at the end of a legal process that is just and in accordance with international legal standards. (And if there is no such legal progress? No defense lawyers…)

QUESTION: Change of subject?

MR. TONER: Sure.

That’s about as clear as it gets.

The U.S. government “welcomes” the appointment of Saudi Arabia to a leadership position on this Human Rights panel because it’s a “close ally.”

As I documented two weeks ago courtesy of an equally candid admission from an anonymous “senior U.S. official”: “The U.S. loves human-rights-abusing regimes and always has, provided they ‘cooperate.’ …

The only time the U.S. government pretends to care in the slightest about human rights abuses is when they’re carried out by ‘countries that don’t cooperate.’”

It’s difficult to know whether Mark Toner is lying when he claims ignorance about the case of al-Nimr, the regime critic about to be beheaded and crucified for dissident activism, which he engaged in as a teen.

Indeed, it’s hard to know which would be worse: active lying or actual ignorance, given that much of the world has been talking about this case.

The government of France formally requested that the Saudis rescind the death penalty.

Is it really possible that the deputy spokesperson of the U.S. State Department is ignorant of this controversy?

Either way, the reluctance of the U.S. government to utter a peep about the grotesque abuses of its “close ally” is in itself grotesque.

But it’s also profoundly revealing. The close U.S./Saudi alliance and the massive amount of weapons and intelligence lavished on the regime in Riyadh by the West is one of the great unmentionables in Western discourse.

(The Guardian last week published an editorial oh-so-earnestly lamenting the war in Yemen being waged by what it called the “Saudi-led coalition,” yet never once mentioned the rather important fact that the Saudis are being armed in this heinous war by the U.S. and U.K.)

It took a letter to the editor from an Oxfam official to tell The Guardian that the West is not being “complacent” about the war crimes being committed in Yemen, as The Guardian misleadingly claimed, but rather actively complicit.

It’s not hard to understand why so many of the elite sectors of the West want everyone to avert their eyes from this deep and close relationship with the Saudis. It’s because that alliance single-handedly destroys almost every propagandistic narrative told to the Western public about that region.

As the always-expanding “War on Terror” enters its 14th year, the ostensible target — radical, violent versions of Islam — is fueled far more by the U.S.’s closest allies than any of the countries the U.S. has been fighting under the “War on Terror” banner.

Beyond that, the alliance proves the complete absurdity of believing that the U.S. and U.K.’s foreign policies, let alone their various wars, have anything to do with protecting human rights or subverting tyranny and fanaticism.

And it renders a complete laughingstock any attempts to depict the U.S. government as some sort of crusader for freedom and democracy or whatever other pretty goals are regularly attributed to it by its helpful press.

Note: over 1,000 Hajj died trampled and 2,000 injured. The real cause was that the son of the monarch was going counter to traffic in this narrow lane leading to Mena, escorted by 200 soldiers and 150 police officers. They had closed entrances and exits for the convoy safety.

Here we go again: Saudi Arabia ‘chosen to head key UN human rights panel’

No reprieve for further humiliation and heaping indignities on mankind? And shared by the UN?

Andrew Bossone shared this link

“The Saudis’ bid emerged shortly after it posted a job advertisement for 8 new executioners, to cope with what Amnesty International branded a “macabre spike” in the use of capital punishment, including beheadings, this year.

The HRC, the UN body responsible for promoting human rights around the world, has long been the subject of criticism for granting membership to countries with dubious human rights records.

As well as Saudi Arabia, current members include China, Qatar, Russia and Venezuela.”

Saudi Arabia is the country having “arguably the worst record in the world” …
(Who are these characters in the picture?)

The United Nations has been criticised for handing Saudi Arabia a key human rights role – despite the country having “arguably the worst record in the world” on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents.

Critics, including the wife of imprisoned pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blogging about free speech – labelled the appointment “scandalous”, saying it meant “oil trumps human rights”.

Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who is leading an international campaign to free her husband, said on Facebook that handing the role to Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was effectively “a green light to start flogging [him] again”.

UN Watch, an independent campaigning NGO, revealed Mr Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was elected as chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.

Ensaf Haidar, wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images) 

Ensaf Haidar, wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
As head of a five-strong group of diplomats, the influential role would give Mr Trad the power to select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights.

Such experts are often described as the ‘crown jewels’ of the HRC, according to UN Watch, which has obtained official UN documents, dated 17 September, confirming the appointment.

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said the appointment, made in June but unreported until now, may have been a consolation prize for the Saudis after they withdrew their bid to head the 47-nation council following international condemnation of the kingdom’s human rights record.

Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for ‘insulting Islam’ on his liberal website 

Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for ‘insulting Islam’ on his liberal website

The Saudis’ bid emerged shortly after it posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners, to cope with what Amnesty International branded a “macabre spike” in the use of capital punishment, including beheadings, this year.

Mr Neuer described the appointment as “scandalous”.

“Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi,” he said.

READ MORE: Raif Badawi’s wife takes fight for Saudi blogger’s release to Washington DC
Saudi Arabia executes ‘a person every two days’ as rate of beheadings soars under King Salman
Saudi Arabia ‘seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council’

“It’s a sad comment on our world that oil continues to trump basic human rights principles.

“It’s bad enough that Saudi Arabia is a member of the council, but for the UN to go and name the regime as chair of a key panel only pours salt in the wounds for dissidents languishing in Saudi prisons.”

The UN, and the Saudi Arabian mission to the UN’s Office in Geneva (UNOG), had not responded to The Independent‘s requests for a comment at the time of writing.

Crucifixion of teenager in Saudi Arabia highlights Britain’s business deals with despots
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is set to be beheaded and then crucified after appeal is denied.
International Business Times UK


Thousands of Empty Air Conditioned Tents? For the 7ojjaj?

While European countries are being lectured about their failure to take in enough refugees, Saudi Arabia – which has taken in precisely zero migrants – has 100,000 air conditioned tents that can house over 3 million people sitting empty.

Four adjacent countries to Syria have hosted 95% of the Syrian refugees: Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq. Europe is barely shouldering its share of the burden when its aided in destabilizing Syria.

Andrew Bossone shared Merissa Khurma
While Europe takes the burden of the migrant crisis.

The sprawling network of high quality tents are located in the city of Mina, spreading across a 20 square km valley, and are only used for 5 days of the year by Hajj pilgrims.

As the website Amusing Planet reports, “For the rest of the year, Mina remains pretty much deserted.”

The tents, which measure 8 meters by 8 meters, were permanently constructed by the Saudi government in the 1990’s and were upgraded in 1997 to be fire proof.

They are divided into camps which include kitchen and bathroom facilities.

The tents could provide shelter for almost all of the 4 million Syrian refugees that have been displaced by the country’s civil war, which was partly exacerbated by Saudi Arabia’s role in funding and arming jihadist groups.

However, as the Washington Post reports, wealthy Gulf Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and others have taken in precisely zero Syrian refugees.

Although Saudi Arabia claims it has taken in 500,000 Syrians since 2011, rights groups point out that these people are not allowed to register as migrants. Many of them are also legal immigrants who moved there for work.

In comparison, Lebanon has accepted 1.3 million refugees – more than a quarter of its population.

While it refuses to take in any more refugees, Saudi Arabia has offered to build 200 mosques for the 500,000 migrants a year expected to pour into Germany.

Saudis argue that the tents in Mina are needed to host the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, but given that the Arabic concept of Ummah is supposed to offer protection to all Muslims under one brotherhood, surely an alternative location could be found so that Mina can be repurposed to house desperate families fleeing war and ISIS persecution?

While Europe is being burdened by potentially millions of people who don’t share the same culture or religion as the host population, Gulf Arab states refuse to pull their weight, resolving only to throw money at the problem.

The likelihood of the Saudis inviting Syrian refugees to stay in Mina is virtually zero, but the thousands of empty tents serve as a physical representation of the hypocrisy shared by wealthy Gulf Arab states when it comes to helping with the crisis.

Photos credit: Akram Abahre.




Facts demonstrating that Iran is the least of the Arab States problems

Chapters of the plots from Saudi monarchy and Israel:

1- Saudi  frequent wars on Gamal Abdel Nasser
2-Betrayal of Egypt  Al Sadat At Camp David
3-Betrayal of King Hussein in Wadi Araba
4-War of Saddam Hussein on the Islamic Republic, with the support  of the Gulf Emirates and Saudi Arabia

5-the invasion of Saddam Hussein to Kuwait
6-the tyranny of the organization this year and the community on their own people
7-Conspiracy of Sharm El Sheikh on Hizbullah in 1996
8-the establishment of  Qaeda to oppose the Soviet then turning against America and its allies9  Suicide attacks on the Shia in Iraq
10-The  American Occupation of Iraq

11- Military Conflicts between Palestinian Fatah and Hamas
12-the Israeli war on Lebanon 2006 with the support  of Arab States

13-the Israeli war on Gaza 2008-2012-2015 with the support of Arab States

14- Tight Relations  Between Turkey and Israel
15- Arab States Letter Thanking Perez
16-the effects of the Juan of judgement in Egypt and exclusion of their partners with mom arkaway
17- Military coup  of Egypt Sisi on the Moslem Brotherhoods  with the help of Saudi Arabia
18-The Civil War  in Libya by proxy Saudi, turkey
19-support the Gulf and Turkey for ISIL.
20-Egypt blockade of Gaza
21- Israel preemptive war on Lebanon in 2006 with Saudi financial support
22-Conflict Qatar-Saudi Arabia
23-Criminal Acts Against the Bahraini with Saudi full support

24- Preemptive war of Saudi in Yemen

Asad Ghsoub  shared this link

فصول المؤامرة الصفوية – الرافضية – الصهيونية – الأميركية على أهل السنة والجماعة:
1- حرب آل سعود على جمال عبد الناصر
2- خيانة السادات في كامب ديفيد
3- خيانة الملك حسين في وادي عربة
4- حرب صدام حسين على الجمهورية الإسلامية، بدعم أميركي خليجي
5- إجتياح صدام حسين للكويت
6- إستبداد أنظمة أهل السنة والجماعة بشعوبها
7- مؤامرة شرم الشيخ على حزب الله ب 1996
8- إنشاء القاعدة لمواجهة السوفيات ثم إنقلابهم على أميركا والخليج
9- الهجمات الإنتحارية على الشيعة والمقامات في العراق
10- إحتلال أميركا العراق إنطلاقاً من القواعد الخليجية
11- الإشتباك الأهلي بين فتح وحماس
12- الحرب الإسرائيلية على لبنان 2006 بدعم أميركي – عربي
13- الحرب الإسرائيلية على غزة 2008 – 2012 – 2015 بدعم أميركي – عربي
14-العلاقات الإستراتيجية بين تركيا وإسرائيل
15- رسالة مرسي الى بيريز
16- إستئثار الإخوان بالحكم في مصر وإقصاء شركائهم بغطاء أميركي
17- إنقلاب السيسي على الإخوان بمساعدة سعودية
18- الحرب الأهلية الليبية بالوكالة عن السعودية وتركيا
19- دعم الخليج وتركيا لداعش تحت نظر الأميركيين
20- حصار مصر لقطاع غزة
21- تغطية حلفاء السعودية في لبنان للحرب الإسرائيلية 2006
22- النزاع القطري – السعودي
23- التنكيل النظام البحريني – السعودي بالشعب في البحرين
24- العدوان السعودي على اليمن
25- تنكيل النظام المصري بالإخوان المسلمين

في الواقع إن إيران هي آخر مشاكل العرب، وهي ليست إلا العدو الوهمي المضخم لتغطية النخب العربية والإسلامية الفاسدة على سوئها وفشلها وتبعيتها

Saudi Arabia extended $16 bn to “develop” Israel  colonies, while bombing Yemen infrastructure?

Dans notre article « Alliance maudite Israel/Arabie saoudite contre Iran », nous évoquions les relations douteuses et pourtant indiscutables entretenues par l’Arabie saoudite et l’entité sioniste d’Israël.

Ces deux pays constituent deux des plus importants clients du complexe militaro-industriel américain, Israël bénéficiant gratuitement des largesses américaines en matière d’armement, l’Arabie saoudite réglant la facture en pétrodollars.

Pour ce faire, les « gardiens » des Lieux Saints sont prêts à tout, y compris à pactiser avec le diable.

Israël, qui est théoriquement l’ennemi juré, devient ainsi l’ami intime pour la circonstance.

« L’Arabie saoudite a fourni 16 milliards de dollars à Israël, en deux an et demi, pour favoriser les projets de la colonisation », selon le site web américain Consortium News.

Robert Parry, rédacteur en chef du site, précise que l’Arabie saoudite a versé cette somme « sur le compte du Fond du développement d’Israël, par le biais d’un pays arabe et a assuré les frais d’un grand nombre de plans infrastructurels, en Palestine occupée ».

Citant une source bien informée et proche de la CIA, Robert Parry ajoute que

« les sommes versées par l’Arabie saoudite sur le compte d’Israël ont été dépensées dans les projets publics, tels que la construction des colonies de peuplement sioniste en Cisjordanie. Finançant Israël, Riyad vise à profiter de l’influence qu’exerce le lobby sioniste aux Etats-Unis.

L’Arabie saoudite et Israël ont joué un grand rôle dans le renversement du gouvernement des Frères musulmans en Egypte.

A l’intérieur de l’Egypte, Riyad soutenait Abdelfattah al-Sissi, et aux Etats-Unis, le lobby sioniste tentait d’empêcher toute réaction hostile au coup d’Etat contre Mohammed Morsi, le président élu.

C’est grâce aux pétrodollars de l’Arabie saoudite que Benjamin Netanyahu est arrivé à défier Barack Obama et à pousser des congressistes et des responsables américains à entraver les négociations nucléaires. »

Au cours des dernières années, quand l’Arabie saoudite et Israël ont identifié l’Iran et le soi-disant « croissant chiite » comme leurs principaux ennemis, cette alliance impensable est devenue possible et les Saoudiens, comme ils ont coutume de le faire, ont mis beaucoup d’argent dans l’affaire.

Le Parti Anti Sioniste dénonce, avec la plus grande fermeté, cette alliance forgée dans le sang du peuple palestinien et d’autres peuples opprimés.

Elle prépare à de nouveaux plans diaboliques dont la finalité est de stopper toute résistance à l’occupation américano-sioniste, notamment en Syrie et en Iran.

Parti Anti Sioniste




Swapping wives among monarchs and Emirs: This is what Al Saud tribe does best

It is all done within the Wahhabi religious sect forms: The monarch or an emir from Al Saud divorces his wife and marry her to his brother and then may reclaim his former wife…

Just a lengthy game of having fun with women, getting tired of a woman, missing her, reclaiming her…

Who is to account or blame? For example,:

1. The founder of this dynasty in Saudi Arabia, Abdel Aziz bin Saud bin Mordachai, married Hossat and then married her to his brother Muhammad bin Abdel Rahman. Hossat gave birth to Abdullah and a daughter.

The monarch discovered that Hossat is getting prettier and remarried her from his brother. Hossat gave birth to a large litter who became monarchs and respected Emirs, called the Sudari branch in the royal big family.

Hossat gave birth to:

1. late monarch Fahd

2. Current monarch Selman

3. The vice defense minister and aeronautic Sultan bin Abdel Azir

4. The former interior minister Ahmad bin Abdul Rahman

5. The late Nayef who was appointed as second in line

6. Turky II

The famous billionaire Al Walid bin Talal emulated this Wahhabi royal pass time and customs: He gave up his first wife Asma bin Aydan to his cousin Abdul Aziz, the son of his “uncle” Fahd. He remarried Amira , the sister of his first wife, and received %25 million in endowment. He sent his totally illiterate second wife to Paris for a full year in order to learn the etiquette.

Our late PM billionaire, Rafic Hariri, made his fortune in Saudi Arabia and gave away his Iraqi wife to the monarch Fahd. He  married Nazek Awdeh, the wife of one of his employee. The first wife gave Rafic Baha2 and Saad. Saad was appointed Lebanon PM and leader of the Moustakbal Sunni movement

Note 1: When Abdel Aziz seized power over Mecca and Medina in April 1926, he ordered his troops to destroy all the tombs and shrines of the Prophet companions , wives and daughters in Medina. He was about to erase the Prophet tomb and mosque when an uproar in Egypt and India stopped him in his tracks.  This plan was re-ignited lately, 80 years later, to demolish the mosque under which the Prophet is supposedly buried, remove the corpse and bury it in an anonymous location.
The Wahhabi sect believe it an abomination to visit and pray over tombs and shrines. This is what exactly the Wahhabi extremist terrorist ISIS is doing in Iraq, Syria, Libya and anywhere they get hold of territories.
Note 2: The founder of the Wahhabi sect had a Jewish father. No wonder that the Saudi dynasty had close ties to the Zionist movement since 1920 and later with Israel.
Note 3: The British empire supported continuously the Wahhabi tribes with money and weapons since the 18th century in order to destabilize the Ottoman empire in Iraq and Syria. Britain had an eye on Yemen and the Arabic/Persia Gulf.

تبادل الزوجات في مضارب آل سعود
طوني حداد

من يقرأ تاريخ ال سعود يلحظ ان هذه الظاهرة ( ظاهرة تبادل الزوجات ) منتشرة بينهم وتتم عملية التبادل علنا بعد ان تضفى عليها الشرعية من خلال طلاق وزواج شكلي … فعندما تزوج مؤسس المملكة عبد العزيز ال سعود من “حصّة” بنت احمد بن محمد السديري اكتفى منها ثم أهداها لأخيه الأمير محمد بن عبد الرحمن الذي تزوجها وأنجب منها الامير عبدالله وشقيقته …
عندما اصبحت حصّة زوجة لاخيه ( احلوّت ) في عينية فقام باستردادها من اخيه ( طلاق وزواج شكلي ) … وبفضل حصّة هذه أصبحت عشيرتها تعتبر من عشائر الشيوخ في السعودية بعد ان كانت كمّا مهملا من اللصوص وقطّاع الطرق البدو وأصبح ابن عمها أهم صحفي سعودي -أنتو أكبر القدر-..
حصة السديري في زواجها الثاني من عبد العزيز انجبت ابناء يعرفون باسم:
( السديريون السبعة ) وهم:
الملك الحالي سلمان بن عبد العزيز .
الملك المتوفي فهد بن عبد العزيز آل سعود الملك السابق.
الأمير المتوفي سلطان بن عبد العزيز آل سعود ولي العهد السابق.
الأمير عبد الرحمن بن عبد العزيز آل سعود نائب وزير الدفاع والطيران السابف.
الأمير تركي الثاني بن عبد العزيز آل سعود زوج الاميرة هند الفاسي المغربية.
الأمير المتوفي نايف بن عبد العزيز آل سعود ولي العهد الأسبق.
الأمير أحمد بن عبد العزيز آل سعود وزير الداخلية السابق.
أعاد الملياردير الأمير الوليد بن طلال وابن عمه الأمير عبد العزيز بن فهد سيرة جدهما الكبير … فقاما بتبادل للزوجات ايضا كما ذكرنا أعلاه …
بدأ العملية الوليد بن طلال الذي تزوج من ( اسماء بنت عيدان بن نايف بن سحمي الطويل العصيمي العتيبي ) وبعد ذلك( احلوّت ) اسماء في عيون ابن عمه الامير عبد العزيز بن فهد … الوليد تنازل لابن عمه عن اسماء فطلقها ليتزوجها عبد العزيز … وحتى يكتمل الفيلم الجنسي تزوج الوليد من اختها ( اميرة ) فيكون بذلك قد تزوج بنات العائلة كلها ( عائلة عيدان بن نايف )!
لا نعرف مهر أسماء الاول – عندما تزوجها الوليد – او مقدار مهرها الثاني – بعد ان تسلمها منه ابن عمه عبد العزيز “جيّرها له” – ولكننا نعرف على وجه اليقين أن مهر اختها ( اميرة ) كان خمسة وعشرين مليون دولار-كما ذكرت صحيفة الوطن السعودية- وقدأرسلها الوليد قبل الزواج منها الى فرنسا لمدة سنة كاملة لتعلم الاتكيت وفن التعامل مع المجتمعات الراقية لانها تنتمي لعائلة بدوية من بدو نجد وبالكاد كانت تعرف نطق اسمها …
و طالما سيرة “الدعارة الشرعيّة” انفتحت فلا ننسى “ساكن الضريح” اللبناني السعودي..
فرفيق الحريري تنازل عن زوجته الاولى العراقية -والدة بهاء وسعد- للملك فهد … وتزوج من نازك عودة وهي فلسطينية أردنية كانت زوجة موظف كان يعمل في شركات الحريري الذي بدوره تنازل عنها لرفيق الحريري مقابل مبلغ مرقوم وأصبح اسمها نازك الحريري بدلا من نازك عودة..
تاريخ آل سعود أبناء “موردخاي”تاريخُ داعر شاذ ..عقولهم تحت سراويلهم الداخلية ..زيجاتهم “تعريص مقنّع بالشرع”, قطعان من رعاعٍ همج , فورة النفط أخفت أذنابهم داخل عباءاتهم النتنة وجعلتهم -شكلاً- بشراً..هم البهائم الأعراب الذين وصفهم سبحانه وتعالى بقوله:
“أشد كفراً ونفاقاً”..
حثالة المخلوقات قاطبة..سلالة أبالسة من الأوباش المجرمين الدمويين.
والخازوق أنّ هؤلاء السفلة وسخ التاريخ نصّبوا أنفسهم مبشرين بالجرية والديمقراطية وحقوق الانسان وقادوا أكبر كذبة وجريمة في تاريخ العرب “الربيع العربي”..
ويخوضون اليوم حربهم المدمّرة القذرة ضد سورية واليمن صاحبتا الحضارة التي تمتدّ الى ماقبل التاريخ..
صدق من قال:
“أفصح ماتكون القحباء حين تحاضر بالعفاف”

See More

Any facts on Yemen conflict?

Saudi Arabia most obscurantist Wahhabi monarchy is directly launching a preemptive war on the Yemenis.

Since its creation in 1925 with the help of Britain, the Saudi monarchy (growing to over 5,000 princes) was the archenemy of every Arab State that demanded independence from the colonial powers.

The Saudi emirs had direct connections with the emerging Zionist movement since 1920, as if the Wahhabi Islamic sect is the twin sect with orthodox Jewish religion: No pictures, no dancing, no music, female are of much lower ranks than males… all these crappy dogmatic belief system.

The strategy of the Saudi monarchy (which suited well with the colonial powers and Israel) was simple:

1. decapitate Egypt, the head of the Arabic civilization, the arch enemy of the Saudi monarchy

2. Take the heart out of Syria: The bastion of Arabic culture and steadfast hotbed for revolutionary movements against monarchic systems

3. Never allow Syria to link up with Iraq, under any condition

Saudi monarchy fought all the wars in the Arab world using third parties mercenaries and agents with plenty of cash money to execute its destabilizing plans.

Now, Saudi monarchy made the strategic faux-pas by waging a war directly against Yemen. Why?

Yemen thwarted Saudi dominion on Yemen’s social and political structure and wants real independence from this Evil neighbour.

The main other reason is to enlist the vast pool of the poor people in Saudi Arabia into the army in order to absorb the vast discontent of the youth who are getting bored to death.

A patriotic war for a change might absorb the youth restlessness and despair.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates are saying to their “citizens”:

 Listen, we are not collecting taxes from you. electricity and oil are very cheap.  In return you have no rights to voice your opinion, vote or be represented in any political institution… There is no democracy of any kind and our power is given by God to rule over you…”

A few facts you need to know about Yemen and its conflicts

Published time: March 27, 2015 04:46
Followers of the Houthi movement demonstrate to show support to the movement in Yemen's northwestern city of Saada March 26, 2015. (Reuters/Naiyf Rahma)

Followers of the Houthi movement demonstrate to show support to the movement in Yemen’s northwestern city of Saada March 26, 2015. (Reuters/Naiyf Rahma)

One of the poorest and most violent countries in the Middle East, Yemen is also an area of strategic importance for regional players – and home of a few world’s most dangerous terror groups.

RT explains the underlying reasons behind the nation’s conflicts.

LIVE UPDATES: Gulf coalition launches airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen

Strategic location

The territory that lies within Yemen’s borders is one of the most ancient cradles of civilization in the Middle East, once known as ‘Arabia Felix’ – Latin for “happy” or “fortunate” – in ancient times. The lands of Yemen were more fertile than most on the Arabian Peninsula, as they received more rain due to high mountains.

But because of declining natural resources, including oil, Yemen and its population of about 26 million are now very poor.

Still, the country boasts a strategic location on the southwestern tip of Arabia.

It is located along the major sea route from Europe to Asia, near some of the busiest Red Sea shipping and trading lanes. Millions of barrels of oil pass through these waters daily in both directions, to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal and from the oil refineries in Saudi Arabia to the energy-hungry Asian markets.

The Yemeni transport hub of Aden was one of the world’s busiest ports in the 20th century.

North & South Yemen, plus the tribes

Although the history of the lands of Yemen date back thousands of years, modern Yemen itself is a young nation, with its current borders having taken shape in 1990, after North and South Yemen united.

Before that, both parts were involved in conflicts of their own.

Read more 

Northern Yemen was established as a republic in 1970, after years of civil war between royalists and republicans, with the first supported by Saudi Arabia and the latter by Egypt.

Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, rose to power through the military and held power for decades. Although Southern Yemen agreed to merge with Saleh’s northern republic in 1990, they soon became unhappy about the move.

The north and south became embroiled in a new civil war, resulting in thousands of casualties, while Saleh’s power prevailed.

Outside big Yemeni cities, there are a number of tribal areas that are effectively self-governing.

With a large number of civilians being in possession of arms – it is believed there are more guns in the country than citizens – local tribal militias often repress the national army and apply their own laws, based on traditions rather than the state’s constitution. Houthis have risen to be one of the most powerful militias in Yemen.

Sunni-Shia rift

The majority of Yemen’s population is Muslim, but it is split between various branches of Islam – mainly Sunni or Zaidi Shia.

The divisions between the Sunnis and the Shia are based on a long-running religious conflict that started as a dispute about the Prophet Mohammed’s successor.

While Shia Muslims believe the prophet’s cousin should have filled the role, Sunnis support the picking of Muhammad’s close friend and advisor, Abu Bakr, as the first caliph of the Islamic nation.

Read more 

That said, Zaidi Shias – making up about 40 percent of Yemen’s population – are the only Shia Muslim sect that do not share the belief in the infallibility and divine choice of imams, strongly revered as spiritual leaders among Shias. This causes them to align closer to Sunni practices.

At the same time, over the past decades, strict and puritanical Salafi and Wahhabi ideas of Sunni Islam – coming from neighboring Saudi Arabia – have become increasingly influential in Yemen.


Houthis represent the Zaidi branch of Shiite Islam from the far north of Yemen, adjacent to the Saudi border. The name of the group comes from a leading family of the tribe.

Its member – a Zaidi religious leader and former member of the Yemeni parliament, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi – was accused by the government of masterminding a Houthi rebellion, including violent anti-Israeli and anti-American demonstrations, in 2004.

The Yemeni regime ordered a manhunt for al-Houthi, which ended with hundreds of arrests and the death of the Zaidi leader, with dozens of his supporters also killed.

Read more 

Since then, the Houthis have been actively fighting with the central power, demanding greater political influence and accusing the government of allying with mainly Wahhabi Saudi Arabia while neglecting national development and the needs of the traditional Zaidi tribes.

While Yemen’s now embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has claimed that Houthis are supported by Hezbollah – the Lebanese Shia militia – some Western officials have alleged that Iran, one of the few Muslim nations of the Shia branch, financially supports Houthis in an effort to control Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

A totally ridiculous allegation denied by both  the Houthis themselves and Hezbollah.

Al-Qaeda & ISIS

Since 2009, Yemen has been an operational base of Al-Qaeda militants.

After the Yemeni and Saudi branches of Al-Qaeda merged to form Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the group became one of the world’s biggest exporters of terrorism, with the US considering it the most dangerous branch of Al-Qaeda.

Osama bin Laden’s family lived in southern Yemen before emigrating to Saudi Arabia.

READ MORE: Yemeni Al-Qaeda says France replaced US as ‘main enemy of Islam’

Yemen’s fight against AQAP has been largely supported by the United States.

Since 2007, the US has supplied more than $500 million in military aid to Yemen through programs managed by the Defense Department and State Department, and conducted controversial drone strikes targeting terrorists in the country.

Read more 

Al-Qaeda’s ideology is based on radical Sunni Islam and thus is hostile to Houthis, who have also been at war with AQAP militants.

With several forces fighting in the country – including the official government, Houthis, and AQAP – the Yemeni chaos provided a fertile ground for extremism.

Extremist groups affiliated with the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) now operate in Yemen, conducting terror acts against both the military and civilians.

In the latest March 20 attack, over 100 people were killed and some 250 injured in suicide bomb attacks on mosques in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, with ISIS militants claiming responsibility for the assault.

READ MORE: ‘Yemen crisis: clearly a failure of US foreign policy’





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