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Posts Tagged ‘Yemen

Top U.S. General makes three stunning admissions about the Middle East

Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

The head of the U.S. military’s Central Command made some stunning admissions about the present geo-political situation in the Middle East, during a Congressional testimony, that will go largely unnoticed in much of the mainstream media.

  • Assad has won
  • Iran deal should stand
  • Saudi Arabia uses American weapons without accountability in Yemen

The top U.S. general in the Middle East testified before Congress on Tuesday and dropped several bombshells: from signaled support for the Iran nuclear deal, admitting the U.S. does not know what Saudi Arabia does with its bombs in Yemen and that Assad has won the Syrian Civil War.

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel said the Iran agreement, which President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from, has played an important role in addressing Iran’s nuclear program.

“The JCPOA addresses one of the principle threats that we deal with from Iran, so if the JCPOA goes away, then we will have to have another way to deal with their nuclear weapons program,” said U.S. Army General Joseph Votel.

JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is the formal name of the accord reached with Iran in July 2015 in Vienna.

Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the accord between Tehran and six world powers unless Congress and European allies help “fix” it with a follow-up pact. Trump does not like the deal’s limited duration, among other things. (Is Trump used to colonial deals of 100 years?)

Votel is head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia, including Iran.

He was speaking to a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the same day that Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a series of public rifts over policy, including Iran.

Tillerson had joined Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in pressing a skeptical Trump to stick with the agreement with Iran.

“There would be some concern (in the region), I think, about how we intended to address that particular threat if it was not being addressed through the JCPOA. … Right now, I think it is in our interest” to stay in the deal, Votel said.

When a lawmaker asked whether he agreed with Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford’s position on the deal,Votel said: “Yes, I share their position.”

Mattis said late last year that the United States should consider staying in the Iran nuclear deal unless it was proven Tehran was not complying or that the agreement was not in the U.S. national interest.

A collapse of the Iran nuclear deal would be a “great loss,” the United Nations atomic watchdog’s chief warned Trump recently, giving a wide-ranging defense of the accord.

Iran has stayed within the deal’s restrictions since Trump took office but has fired diplomatic warning shots at Washington in recent weeks. It said on Monday that it could rapidly enrich uranium to a higher degree of purity if the deal collapsed.

Syria

Votel also discussed the situation in Syria at the hearing.

During the Syrian army’s offensive in eastern Ghouta, more than 1,100 civilians have died. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, backed by Russia and Iran, say they are targeting “terrorist” groups shelling the capital. (No other parties backed the Syrian army in liberating Al Ghouta)

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned on Monday that Washington “remains prepared to act if we must,” if the U.N. Security Council failed to act on Syria. (Just empty threats, as usual)

Votel said the best way to deter Russia, which backs Assad, was through political and diplomatic channels.

“Certainly if there are other things that are considered, you know, we will do what we are told. … (But) I don’t recommend that at this particular point,” Votel said, in an apparent to reference to military options.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked whether it was too strong to say that with Russia and Iran’s help, Assad had “won” the civil war in Syria.

“I do not think that is too strong of a statement,” Votel said.

Graham also asked if the United States’ policy on Syria was still to seek the removal of Assad from power.

“I don’t know that that’s our particular policy at this particular point. Our focus remains on the defeat of ISIS,” Votel said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Saudi Arabia

In a stunning exchange with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, Votel admitted that Centcom doesn’t know when U.S. fuel and munitions are used in Yemen.

“General Votel, does CENTCOM track the purpose of the missions it is refueling? In other words, where a U.S.-refueled aircraft is going, what targets it strikes, and the result of the mission?” Warren asked.

“Senator, we do not,” Votel replied.

The Senator followed up, citing reports that U.S. munitions have been used against civilians in Yemen, she asked, “General Votel, when you receive reports like this from credible media organizations or outside observers, is CENTCOM able to tell if U.S. fuel or U.S. munitions were used in that strike?”

“No, senator, I don’t believe we are,” he replied.

Showing surprise at the general’s response, Warren concluded, “We need to be clear about this: Saudi Arabia’s the one receiving American weapons and American support. And that means we bear some responsibility here. And that means we need to hold our partners and our allies accountable for how those resources are used,” she said.

Read more at http://theduran.com/top-u-s-general-makes-three-stunning-admissions-about-the-middle-east/#AzZzhyYgbkKuWoMK.99

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Yemen’s Region of Al-Mahra at the intersection of Interests and Competitions

Al-Mahra province, in the eastern part of Yemen, has become a regional battleground for influence between the different actors in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its military, civil, political and social efforts to consolidate its power in the eastern province.

Al-Mahra, the eastern gateway to Yemen, is an exception in Oman’s policy, having historical relations with the local authorities in the province. Muscat is feeling for the first time a real competition to its influence in Al-Mahra as the two Gulf allies (KSA and UAE) are attempting to enhance or maintain their leverage in this governorate, as has already happened in other Eastern Yemen regions (Hadramawt and Socotra).

Yemen’s Al Mahra

Al Mahra is one of the most remote regions in the Easter part of Yemen. It was considered as the most stable part of Yemen when the civil war erupted in 2015.

This region was Not infiltrated by the jihadi groups contrary to the Hadramawt province on its West. The Mahra province is inhabited by Sunni tribes (an estimate of 350,000 residents) with history of marginalization by Sanaa’s authority and a cross-border informal economy.

The agreement made after the revolution in Yemen aiming to transform the country into a six-region federation is unpopular to some groups in Al-Mahra due to a fear for a merge with the neighboring Hadramawt governorate repeating the 1968 history when Al-Mahra was overrun by socialist forces entering from Hadramawt.[1]

The governorate has somehow remained under the control of the international recognized Hadi’s government since the Yemeni civil war broke-out, although the former president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh had stationed military units in the region.[2] After months of the killing of President Saleh, the Emiratis and the Saudis have started to increase their involvement in Al Mahra.

Oman’s Foreign Policy: Security First

While ideology is driving the Foreign Policy of most of the Middle Eastern states, the Sultanate of Oman has followed its own course, believing that peaceful negotiation is essential to the overall, long-term goals of Omani security and prosperity.

The Sultan of Oman created a foreign policy based on non-intervention and non-alignment.

In the case of the Yemeni war, Oman played an important role as a mediator between the different warring parties. Its neutral stance regarding the Iranian Saudi cold war in the Middle East helped the Sultanate to have good relations with the Houthis and all other players.

Since the start of the latest war in Yemen, Oman has hosted Houthi leaders and representatives of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Furthermore, Muscat hosted secret negotiations between the Houthis and Riyadh in early 2016, and between U.S. officials and the Houthis in May 2015 and November 2016.[3]

Oman, Yemen and its Eastern Gateway

The important role of Yemen to the Omani leadership goes back to 1962 with the formation of anti-monarchist, pan-Arab, Marxist insurgency group called the Dhufar Liberation Front.

The main aim for the insurgency group was to overthrow Sultan Said of Oman and install a communist system with the help of South Yemen[4].

At the time of the Dhufar rebellion, Al-Mahra governorate of South Yemen, known as the Eastern gateway of Sultanate of Oman, had an important role to play in this proxy war between the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) and Oman.

Al- Mahra became the 6th Governorate of South Yemen after the British withdrawal from the region although the Mahari tribes were against the new Marxist-Leninist regime in South Yemen.

Declassified material from the British government’s archives, demonstrates that both the UK and Oman raised and trained groups of Mahra tribesmen – exiled from the PDRY – to launch cross-border raids into South Yemen between late 1972 and early 1975.

The archival material proves that both the Omani and British governments raised and supported the Mahra tribal militias (known collectively as the ‘firqat’, with each individual formation a ‘firqa’) for cross-border incursions.[5]

The Sultan of Oman used Mahra in a coercive as a response to the PDRY’s support for the insurgency in Dhufar.

Al-Mahra in the Emirati and Saudi Eyes

The killing of former President Saleh was the turning point for the changes on the ground in Eastern Yemen.

Many reports emerged about the UAE willingness to establish military units loyal to Abu Dhabi, “Mahri Elite Forces” as a similar model for the “Hadrami and Shabwani Elite Forces”.

The main aim for UAE and its ally KSA in this regard is to secure the land border with Oman and the sea borders from arms smuggling activities.[6]

KSA and its allies in Yemen were expressing concerns about Oman and Saleh loyalists in Al-Mahra smuggling weapons to the Houthis in North.[7]

A UN report mentioned that Iranian missiles sent to Houthis were transferred by pieces through the land routes from Oman or Ghaydah and Nishtun in al Mahrah governorate after ship-to-shore transshipment to small dhows.[8]

According to the British researcher Elisabeth Kendall, Mahri tribal voices raised doubts regarding UAE and KSA activities fearing that the trained armed units will be loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC), the Emirati-supported ‘third Yemeni government’, which pursues independence of the South and has opened a headquarter in Mahra.[9]

Afterwards, Saudi Arabia played an essential role in securing an agreement with Mahri representatives were these forces will work along the local tribes to stabilize the region, strengthen anti-smuggling operations and aid development.[10]

Another development that raised questions about the Saudi role in Al-Mahra was the establishment of a religious center in the city of Qashan, the third largest city in the province, similar to the center of Dar El Hadith in Dammaj, a small town in the Sa’dah Governorate of north-western Yemen, were the Salafist students left it in 2014 after clashes with the Houthis that lasted for months.

The opening of the center led to the organization of two protests by women in the province against the Salafism expansion in front of the governor’s office in the capital city of Al-Mahra.[11]

Intra-Gulf Rivalry

The increasing role of the Arab alliance in Al-Mahra raised the concerns if the Omani leadership that perceive this province historically as part of its national security.

Oman policy in Al-Mahra remain in offering humanitarian aid, building alliance with tribal actors, and offering double citizenship for Mahris to facilitate their trans-border work between Yemen and Oman.

On the other hand, the Emirati power grows day by day in Southern Yemen through their backed and well equipped elite forces‏ and their strong alliance with the Southern Transitional Council (STC).

Oman may be fearing that Al-Mahra province will be a new “Socotra” for Abu Dhabi falling totally under its influence. An important factor for UAE’s role is the geo-strategic goal for pursuing the string of strategic ports in Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean (for example in Eritrea, Somaliland and Somalia).

Hadrami, Mahri coasts and Socotra Island are an essential part of the geo-strategic UAE plan. For the Saudi side, their main aim will remain to fight Houthis control over all the Yemeni territories and prevent the Iranian arms smuggling through the Mahri coasts.

Riyadh is using the military aid, double citizenship, and the humanitarian aids through Al Ghayda’s airport to keep its eyes on the situation in Al-Mahra province. It seems that the Saudi leadership are taking the concerns of the Mahri citizens into consideration and trying not to anger their “unique feature” in Southern Yemen.

Our latest article by Ramy Jabbour

For the Saudi side, their main aim will remain to fight Houthis control over all the Yemeni territories and prevent the Iranian arms smuggling through the Mahri coasts.

#Riyadh is using the military aid, double citizenship, and the humanitarian aids through Al Ghayda’s airport to keep its eyes on the situation in Al-#Mahra province.

It seems that the Saudi leadership are taking the concerns of the Mahri citizens into consideration and trying not to anger their “unique feature” in Southern #Yemen.

[1] Wim,T. (2014). INTERVIEW -East Yemen risks civil war and humanitarian crisis, says UK expert, Thomas Reuters Foundation, retrieved from: http://news.trust.org/item/20141024175058-7m2f9

[2] Dhahab, A. (2016). Yemen’s Warring Parties: Formations and Dynamics, Al Jazeera Centre For Studies, retrieved from: http://studies.aljazeera.net/en/reports/2016/06/yemens-warring-parties-formations-dynamics-160630100544525%20html%20http:/www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31564933

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 150

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

The foundations of capitalism have proven Not to function except within strong State institutions, which are almost totally controlled by the capitalist classes.

The one foundation that all economic systems in developed States share is free global trade, which means the liberty to exploiting the developing countries in natural resources and cheap labor. (And much lower interest rates on loan)

What’s the next step at the UN? Relative to Yemen, the millions succumbing to the cholera epidemic, the thousands dying like flies from diphtheria, undrinkable water, famine, lack of medical facilities and medicine?

What’s next at the UN concerning Palestinians, Palestinian State, and Palestinian entity and identity?

Chacun raconte sa vie comme ca l’arrange, et les autres qui la raconte comme ca leur arrange? Arranger peut avoir des connotations vilaines

We marry at an early age to basically flee home. If you disagree, from experience, do share your opinions.

Sadness doesn’t need to be treated with the urgency of a shark attack.

The inability to “just get over it” is called being in a depressed mood. Get over this lame sentence.

You cannot cure clinical depression by suggesting to eat ice cream. Maybe eating ice cream is Not meant for “normal people”?

Don’t think that being sad and being OK are incompatible. Yes, we can be sad and OK at the exact same time. TV, movies, popular songs and even people tell us if we’re not happy, there’s something wrong. and we’re taught that sadness is unnatural, and we must resist it. In truth, it’s natural and it’s healthy to accept sadness and know it won’t last forever. It means you are a reflective person

“Hey, call or text me anytime, but I might not be able to get back to you that same day.” It’s totally cool for you to make a narrow offer with really clear boundaries.

Ayaam al loulou ma hallaloulou. Al fekra moush waaridat ba3d al takaa3od wa al esteklal al mousta7aq

Kaa3ed etfarrage 3ala mouzaharaat. Fi shi bostat lel moutazahireen ila Kfarkela? Badi ekba3 sharit sha2ek abal ma al Israili ye3ammer another Wall of Shame 3ala 7oudoudna

 

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 131

Note 1: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains months-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

Sure, Abdullah Saleh of Yemen is a master opportunist, but the Hawthis  need to balance their ideology to keep the security and integrity of Yemen. He mounted a coup on his partners, failed and was assassinated when fleeing, like his predessessors

It is Not because we never trusted the Saudi Kingdom frenetic “dominion” policy over their neighbors that we have to keep trusting the mullahs and wilayat Faqih of Iran once their power take roots.

Dans mon cas, la “folle du logis”, l’imaginaire des reves diurnes demande plus d’espace et deplace la memoire des details.

Je suis un auteur amnesiaque, une ardoise du passe’ mal effacee’. Si j’ai ecrit mon autobiographie, c’est justement pour mettre de cote’ cette ardois de malheur.

J’ insiste sur l’atmosphere generale, les sensations, les actions et reactions: Les details du passe’ ne me viennent pas.

Une foret dense est une foret, une jungle enigmatique, touffue, une representation de l’obscurite’, de l’irrationale, de la folie qui guette a tout moment.

The third impression is that State influence is relatively weak; almost all the economy is privatized. Discrepancies in social earnings are balanced out by social and community feeling of responsibilities toward the less well off. (Einstein in 1940 of the USA)

The rich people are willing to re-distribute a large chunk of their wealth and offer their services to the communities simply because public opinion is strong and demands such tendencies (Einstein in 1940 of the USA)

The 5th impression is that the US citizen is generally not receptive to classical music and plastic art. (Einstein in 1940 of the USA

Is it a good enough proposal for Moslem Brotherhood to claim that women will not be subjugated to the same servile standards as in Saudi Kingdom, the most obscurantist Wahhabi sect, to enhancing freedom of opinion, liberty, and equal rights in Egypt, Turkey and Qatar?

Talleyrand said during the revolution, which culminated in a period of utter Terror: “The French had no idea that in the Regency (during King Louis 16), in their long history, they never had it so well and lived that well” . De Tocqueville demonstrated that France was the best Kingdom in Europe during King Louis 16

 

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 122

Note 1: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains months-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

Competence involves the humanity required to connect with other people, in real time. It requires emotional labor, not merely compliance with sequences and rules.

“If I don’t agree with myself, who will do it? If I only agree with myself, who am I?”

When people begin to measure themselves only in comparison to others (“How did I rank?”) then you need to accept the impact of those outsiders choices. Is the Culture of scarcity forcing on us competition? And in periods of abundance, can we change our mentality?

Think of the blockade of Iran since 1983.

Think of the blockade and sanctions against the Syrian people since 2011.

Think of the recent blockade of the Western African countries suffering from the Ebola epidemic: No border crossing, no meaningful trades with these poor countries…

Think of the siege of Homs, Aleppo, the Yarmouk Palestinian camp near Damascus, and the latest of Kobani (Ain Arab city)

Think of the conditions and the 3 consecutive preemptive wars on Gaza, this enclave constituting a big concentration camp

There is No average wars.  Simply because the distribution of wars follow the power law: How can we study a distribution of casualties when we add the WWI ad WWII wars or the genocides committed during Stalin, Cambodia, Rwanda., and the enduring civil wars in the Congo for the last 3 decades and yet not terminated, the situation in Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan..?

Kidnapped French Rochot writes: “My life cycle revolved around two bottles: one bottle for drinking and the other one to urinate in.

Compulsive hoarding is a serious psychological difficulty which is not very well understood. It is characterized by extreme difficulty getting rid of belongings and excessive gathering of items to the extent that someone’s normal daily life is impacted. ( I know first hand from my mother and brother-in-law: It is an expensive and frustrating sickness that plague everyone around them)

A single State, confident in its far less loaded Crime Against Humanity record, must institute its International Court on State crimes against humanity. Many former officials have nightmares and want a court to stand trial and empty their loaded memories of bad decisions and going-along.

Soon, the International Court on Crimes against humanity will snatch the power to demand powerful nations to stand trial. All those Silent Majority will bow to the verdict and pay retribution.

 Si le Liban, depuis des décennies, ne traite pas ses propres poubelles, cela n’est pas la faute de Riyad ou Téhéran ou d’Israel ou de USA. 

Swapping wives in Saudi royal family. 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…

Yemenis: sieges and economic blockades harvest more casualties than field battles: Due to famine, malnutrition, dissemination of diseases, lack of medicine, high infantile mortality, polluted and infected water supply, and the casualties are essentially non-combatant people. Cholera and diphtheria epidemics adding to destruction of infrastructure and hospitals.

The health ministry in Yemen accounted for 200,000 deaths resulting from diphtheria epidemics

 

Saudi monarchy has lost its war in Yemen

Its illusory power purchased in malignant medias and with sectarian alliances:

Hassan Nasr Allah (General Secretary of Hezbollah of Lebanon) has manhandled this obscurantist monarchy’s “worthless pride“.

And this Wahhabi monarchy is reacting with virulent counter attacks on any media disseminating the free expressions of Nasr Allah, opinions based on facts that most reasonable person understand and had witnessed for decades, starting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Bahrain, Syria and Iraq.

Saudi Kingdom started sanctions on Lebanon and a series of internal meddling after the heart felt speech of Al Sayyed

The Arab world most serious descent into ignorance was not during the ottoman Empire dominion, but when the Saudi monarchy acceded to wealth to wreck havoc in the Arabic societies since 1925.

Million of kids are suffering from hunger in Yemen and thousands have succumbed to cholera that affected half a million.

Scores of Saudi reformists are being detained. Head chopping is still the regulation and increasing for other reasons Not mentioned in Shari3a.

Thousands of religious madrassat and mosques are still being erected everywhere, with Wahhabi clerics heading them and teaching extremist and terrorist behaviors to newer generations.

All enlightened leaders (Antoun Saadeh, Boumedian, Abdel Nasser …) have stated that as long as Saudi Kingdom (Wahhabi sect) is standing, there will be no peace or progress in the Arab World.

And this terror mentality (of considering every other belief system other than Wahhabi should be eradicated by death) is spreading all around the world communities via ISIS.

Mind you that the tomb of Prophet Mohammad was destroyed and Al Ka3ba was a target to be blown up until Britain pressured Saud to desist from this objective because its Moslem colonies were in upheaval.

Why Somali piracy is staging a comeback

After a five-year hiatus, hijackers have taken five vessels in the past month

BETWEEN 2008 and 2011, the waters off the coast of Somalia were the most treacherous shipping lanes in the world. More than 700 attacks on vessels took place in this period.

In early 2011, 758 seafarers were being held hostage by pirates.

Hijackings cost the shipping industry and governments as much as $7bn in 2012. But then, quite suddenly, the banditry stopped. (Need a better explanation than Suddenly)

The last hijacking of a merchant vessel occurred in May 2012. Until now.

There have been 5 confirmed incidents of piracy on the Gulf of Aden in the past month, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew of the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). After a five-year hiatus, piracy seems to have returned to the Horn of Africa. Why?

Attacks had slumped in large part thanks to beefed-up security measures. Rocketing insurance premiums meant shipping companies were forced to invest in armed guards, and to chart longer, safer routes far from the Somali coast.

Since armed guards first started crewing ships as protection against Somali pirates, none of their charges have been successfully hijacked. But smaller vessels keen to cut costs have grown complacent in recent months.

The Comoros-flagged Aris 13 was sailing close to the shore, and slow enough to attract attention. There were no armed guards on board. There were also fewer international naval patrols in the area than there had been.

But as when the first wave of piracy struck these waters back in the early 2000s, conditions on shore matter most. Somalia remains under-governed and mired in conflict.

Puntland and Galmudug, the two federal states nearest the most recent hijackings, are particularly troubled even by Somali standards.

Galmudug currently has no president and the regional government is stuck in an existential battle against Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a, a local Islamist militia. Puntland’s government is more capable but has problems paying its security forces. Islamic State has been making inroads.

And both, like the rest of Somalia, are suffering from a devastating drought. Young men are easy prey for the organised gangs that conduct piracy operations, especially those in coastal towns who have long complained about rampant illegal fishing in Somali waters, to which the international community has largely turned a blind eye.

Observers should be wary of proclaiming piracy’s return, cautions Timothy Walker of the Institute for Security Studies—since it never really went away.

The same gangs still operate, much like the clan-based militias that plague Somalia on land. Many remain involved in other forms of criminal activity, such as drugs smuggling.

While the Aris 13 was the first large merchant vessel to be hijacked in four years, smaller ones, most often local fishing boats, have continued to be targeted.

It is suspected that many more incidents go unreported. A lack of international victims had made it easy for the world’s attention to move elsewhere. But until piracy ceases to be an attractive business opportunity it will remain a plague.

Note: Any links of this resurgence with the war raging in Yemen? Many Somali trapped in Yemen are Not given access to return home because of maritime blockade on Yemen by USA, Saudi Kingdom and Qatar. This expansionist war on Yemen in order to have military bases in Yemen and occupying islands has already devastated the infrastructure and made 8 million kid suffer hunger and lack of medicine.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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