Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Yemen

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.

Yemen, Beyond the Headlines

Yemen is a country in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula rich in culture, heritage, and history, with an extremely friendly and hospitable people.

Noon Arabia posted on Global Voice this 25 June 2013

But that doesn’t make the news.

The country is often misrepresented in Western media coverage, magnifying the country’s negative aspects.

A country of 24 million people of many different backgrounds “has been reduced to Al-Qaeda…wars, poverty, Qat, tribalism, or the ancestral home of Osama Bin Laden,” writes blogger Atiaf Alwazir (@womanfromyemen) in her post “The Flawed Media Narrative on Yemen“:

Today’s journalism on Yemen is no longer about getting the facts right, or inspiring people to think independently, it is about who can write the most sensationalized story on the country – no matter how many times it has already been told – because that is what sells.

But some Yemenis are trying to change that. Using film, photography, blogging, and social media, they want the world to see Yemen for its rich art, unique architecture, and the breath-taking landscapes and scenery that the country has to offer.

A panoramic view capturing Yemen's unique architecture by photographer: Mohammed Alnahdi

A panoramic view capturing Yemen’s unique architecture by photographer Mohammed Alnahdi.

Getting to know Yemen

Yemen is the one of the oldest civilizations in the world, with its history dating back to the first millennium B.C.

It was commonly known as Arabia Felix, meaning Fortunate Arabia or Happy Arabia.

In fact, four of the world’s heritage sites are in Yemen.

First, is the old capital itself, Sanaa. One of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, it boasts more than 103 mosques, 14 hammams (baths) and more than 6,000 multi-story mud houses with unique architecture, featuring spectacular decorated facades adorned with stained glass windows.

A video uploaded by UNESCO offers a glimpse of old Sanaa:

Second is Shibam, also known as the “Manhattan of the desert”, which is home to the oldest skyscrapers in the world — 500 mud-brick houses which are eleven stories high.

Shibam, the Manhattan of the desert, by photographer: Michail Vorobyev.

Shibam, the Manhattan of the desert, by photographer Michail Vorobyev.

Third is the island of Socotra, the largest member of an archipelago site, important for its biodiversity and distinct flora and fauna. According to UNESCO, “37% of Socotra’s 825 plant species, 90% of its reptile species, and 95% of its land snail species do not occur anywhere else in the world.”

Take a look at the island in this YouTube video uploaded by ToYemen:

The last is the picturesque coastal town of Zabid, with its narrow alleyways and burnt brick buildings.

Beyond the media’s portrayal

Various online efforts are being made to combat the media’s narrow view of Yemen.

This short 20-minute video film, made for the British Council’s Zoom Short Film Competition 2010 and uploaded to YouTube by ZoomCompetition, tries to correct misunderstandings about Yemenis conveyed through the distorted media coverage by showing their simple life:

To educate people on Yemen’s history and heritage, Yemeni Poet Sana Uqba (@Sanasiino), who lives in London, wrote and recited a powerful poem about Yemen (video uploaded by Yemeniah Feda’aih):

One of my most popular blog posts entitled “Yemen… unraveled facts about my beautiful homeland” highlights many hidden facts about Yemen, such as it being the source of one of the finest and most expensive honey in the world – the “Doani honey” – and one of the first countries to introduce coffee to Europe by exporting its own coffee brand out of the port of Mocha.

Fahd Aqlan, a 35-year-old Yemeni man residing in Cairo, Egypt, started a Facebook page called So you think you’ve seen Yemen? to counter misconceptions and show the world another aspect of Yemen beyond what is portrayed in news headlines.

Summer Nasser, a Yemeni activist and blogger based in New York, started another Facebook page entitled The People of Yemen, which as she describes is a “photo project which brings the life of Yemen, one picture at a time to it’s audience across the world.”

Others have spoken out in support of the country. Yemen-based journalist Adam Baron said in his Drones-Ad-Hoc hearing testimony:

Yemenis, as a rule, are nearly unfathomably friendly and welcoming.

On Twitter, Word Press Award winner and Spanish photojournalist Samuel Aranda (@Samuel_Aranda_) put in a good word for country as a foreigner:

@Samuel_Aranda_: For who thinks that in Yemen are only extremist. Visit Yemen!!!

Sampling Yemen’s cuisine

Yemeni food is often accompanied by homemade bread and cooked in stoneware. This photo show’s a typical breakfast or dinner made of bread, fava beans, and liver accompanied by tea with milk and cardamon:

A typical Yemeni breakfast or dinner

A typical Yemeni breakfast or dinner. Photo courtesy “So you think you’ve seen Yemen?” Facebook page.

Bint El Sahn is a very popular and traditional Yemeni dish. Literally translated to English, it means “daughter of the plate.” It is made of many layers of dough, baked and served with a drizzle of honey on top. It is consumed during the meal as a main dish, not a desert.

The famous Bint El Sahn. Photograph by Hend Abdullah

The famous Bint El Sahn. Photograph by Hend Abdullah

Yemeni Kitchen is a great blog for an introduction to the country’s cuisine. The blog, as described by the authors, “focuses on Yemeni Food with a historical twist.” Not only does it provide a step-by-step recipe of the dishes it introduces, but it also describes the history behind them as well.

Yemeni music and dance

A traditional northern Yemeni dance is called Bara’a and is performed with swift movements carrying a Janbiya, the Yemeni dagger, while dancing to the tunes of the Yemeni drum and muzmar, a type of Yemeni flute. Watch how young people perform this art in this video up loaded to YouTube by GTB313:

In the south, there is Hardamout dance and music, as seen in this YouTube video uploaded by Yemen Reform:

To listen to various Yemeni songs and rhythms, check out the following links: Ayoub Tarish is a famous Yemeni singer and composer; Yemen Reform provide YouTube videos of different Yemeni singers performing such as Alharethi, Alanessi, Alkebsi and also various Yemeni Nasheed Asswat Yemenia (Yemeni voices), and in addition to that it has songs for Abu Bakr Salem Balfaqih, Ali Thahban and Mohammed Morsehd Naji among others;

My Diwan has the largest collection of Yemeni songs and Ahmed Fathi is a prominent Yemeni musician, singer, composer and Oud player.

Art, photography, and landscapes This video, uploaded by TourYemen, shows the art, culture, and breathtaking landscape and beautiful scenery in Yemen:

Another panoramic tour of Yemen is available in this video uploaded to YouTube by tomeriko:

More breath-taking photos of Yemen can be seen through the Facebook pages of photographers Ameen Al-Ghabri and Abu Malik:

A beautiful shot of the old city of Sanaa through the lens of Ameen Alghabri

A beautiful shot of the old city of Sanaa through the lens of Ameen Alghabri.

A selection of Photos of the portal city of Aden by Ameen Alghabri

A selection of photos of the portal city of Aden by Ameen Alghabri.

A breath taking view of the city of Ibb seen from a cliff. Photograph by Abu Malik

A breath taking view of the city of Ibb seen from a cliff. Photo by Abu Malik.

Some of the most famous Yemeni painters are Lamia Al-KibsiFouad Al-Foutaih and Mazher Nizar, and more of his work can be viewed here and here.

Oil painting by Fouad Al Foutaih, from the private collection of the author of this post, Noon Arabia

Oil painting by Fouad Al Foutaih, from the private collection of the author of this post, Noon Arabia.

For an alternative to Western media, follow local cultural and social stories through Yemen’s own media, such as The Yemen Times and La Voix du Yemen.


Written by Noon Arabia Posted 25 June 2013 9:15 GMT ·

Note: Since 2015, Saudi Kingdom, backed by USA, Britain and Israel have been bombing, and destroying all kinds of infrastructures in Yemen. Hospitals and schools have been air stroked. Sanctions and blockading seas and airlifts has set famine for 8 million kids. And for What? So that USA can have a naval base on the Red Sea.

Various tribes and religious sects in Yemen?

جاءت السعودية بمقبل الوادعي إلى صعدة، بالتحديد، لمهمة واحدة وهي توهيب اليمن (أ ف ب)
علي عبد الله فضل الله

لفتت أحداث اليمن أنظار المتابعين، وكثرت الكتابات بشأنه وشأن تطورات الوضع فيه. فيلاحظ أن هناك أخطاء منهجية وفي المعلومات في بعض المقالات والتقارير. السبب في ذلك أن الحالة في اليمن لم تكن على رأس أولويات محرري الأخبار ومحلليها في السنوات الماضية إلا ما ندر. وبما أن صحة المعلومات ودقتها وتحديثها شروط أساسية في منهج التحليل السياسي، فإنه لا بد من الأخذ بعين الاعتبار عدداً من الملاحظات:
1ــ الزيدية كمذهب هم سنة الشيعة وشيعة السنة، فيتلاقون في العقيدة مع الجعفرية، وفي الفقه مع الأحناف. هذا الفهم ليس كافياً، فالزيدية تتضمن مدارس متعددة واجتهادات متفاوتة، تقع على رأسها المدرستان الهادوية والجارودية.

مثّل السيد مجد الدين المؤيدي المدرسة الأولى، والسيد بدر الدين الحوثي الثانية. وقد وقعت بين المدرستين مناكفات تراجعت بعد وفاة السيدين، وتسلّم ابناهما عبد الملك الحوثي وحسين المؤيدي دفة المذهب. تبدو الجارودية أكثر تصالحاً مع المذهب الجعفري، لكن كان للهادوية ثقل قبائلي وتاريخي غير سهل (قبيلة بكيل على وجه التحديد). لا يستقيم هذا التفصيل إلا بالإشارة إلى غياب التوتر المذهبي في اليمن، وهو لم يطفُ على سطح الأحداث إلا بدخول العامل السعودي إلى الجار الجنوبي منذ أواخر سبعينيات القرن الماضي.
2ــ حتى 1962، كانت نسبة الزيدية في اليمن الثلثين، لكن بعد اغتيال الرئيسين الغشمي والحمدي، وصل علي عبد الله صالح (الزيدي السنحاني الحاشدي) إلى السلطة، فعاد النفوذ السعودي بقوة إلى اليمن بعد حروب الستينيات. هنا اتخذ السعوديون قراراً لطالما اتخذوه سابقاً، وهو ضخ الفكر السلفي الوهابي في ربوع اليمن «السعيد» كذراع نفوذ مضمونة في هذا البلد الذي يهدد، بتغيراته، الأمن القومي لآل سعود. فجاءت بمقبل الوادعي من أحضان جهيمان العتيبي إلى صعدة، بالتحديد، لمهمة واحدة وهي توهيب اليمن. كان الأمر مستفزاً جداً بأن يقوم السعوديون ببناء دار الحديث في دماج في معقل الزيدية التاريخية التي هزمت في الستينيات. هنا، يؤخذ على مشايخ الزيود تراجعهم الكبير بعد انتهاء عهد الإمامة الزيدي، وانكفاؤهم عن تدريس مذهبهم. بنى السعوديون 1200 معهد لتخريج أصحاب الفكر التكفيري، بصمت، في ظل سياسة شراء ولاءات تضمنت لوائح رواتب لـ 60 ألف شخصية في اليمن.
3ــ تراجعت الزيدية إلى حدود قصوى، وباتت مهددة بالاندثار، فقد توهبت قبائل بكاملها كانت تنتمي سابقاً للخط الزيدي. وأبرز المتوهبين كان جزءاً كبيراً من قبيلة حاشد النافذة، وذلك على يد مشايخها من آل الأحمر. هذا الأمر دفع بمجموعة شبابية صغيرة لإنشاء «الشباب المؤمن» في 1987 لصد موجة الفكر التكفيري. انضمت هذه المجموعة، بعد الوحدة في 1990، إلى حزب الحق، ثم استقلت بقيادة حسين بدر الدين الحوثي بدعم من علي عبد الله صالح. كانت رسالة حسين الحوثي لجمهور اليمنيين عدداً من الملازم والدروس القرآنية. وقد تمكنت هذه المجموعة، رغم فقرها، من أن تعبّر عن طبيعة الشخصية اليمنية العفوية والعاطفية والمؤمنة والمقاتلة. ولا ننسى أن 70 في المئة من سكان اليمن يقطنون في الأرياف.
4ــ في 2004، اغتيل حسين الحوثي بطريقة لا تشرّف النظام اليمني السابق، وأعلن نظام صالح الحرب على مرّان، لكن المفاجأة أن هذه المجموعة قاتلت بقوة، ولم تضعف. أراد نظام صالح استغلال مخاوف السعودية من أي حراك «شيعي» قرب حدودها، ولعبت مشيخة حاشد، وآل الأحمر، وإخوان اليمن (التجمع الوطني للإصلاح) أدواراً تحريضية علنية تزلفاً للجنة السعودية المكلفة بموضوع اليمن (بإدارة سلطان). وبرز اسم الأخ غير الشقيق لصالح، أي علي محسن الأحمر، آمراً للفرقة الأولى المدرعة، بحيث كانت مهمتها الوحيدة ضرب نواة الإحياء الزيدي شمال اليمن. لم يُكتب لهذه الجهود النجاح، بل أورثت الحروب الست المتتالية «الحوثيين» عزاً وتمدداً.
5ــ في 11 آب 2009، وبدعم كثيف من السعوديين، شن الأحمر حربه الأخيرة مع «الحوثيين» (رغم مشاركته اليوم مستشاراً للجيش السعودي)، ثم تدخل الجيش السعودي علناً بعد أن كانت تدخلاته تقتصر على القصف المدفعي سابقاً. انتصر «الحوثيون» على الكماشة، ودخلوا عشرات القرى السعودية المتاخمة للحدود. وللأمانة، فقد قاتل هؤلاء قتالاً شرساً وبتفانٍ، في ظل غياب أي توازن للقوى على أي صعيد. ففي معركة جبل دخان، مثلاً، انتصر 30 مقاتلاً «حوثياً» على لواء سعودي كامل، وغنموا آلياته، وهي ما زالت تجوب صعدة حتى اليوم. رغم تكبّد أهل صعدة خسائر هائلة في الأرواح، بلغت 5000 ضحية، غالبيتهم الساحقة من المدنيين، فإن إرادتهم لم تنثنِ. وحتى ذلك الحين، لم تكن إيران قد انفتحت عليهم، بل كانوا أرسلوا رسالة عتاب كبيرة في الإعلام على عدم نصرة «شيعة» العالم لهم في وجه المذبحة.
6ــ استمر توسع «أنصار الله»، وانفتح الإيرانيون عليهم، لكنهم تجاوزوا التحفظ الإيراني في العمل السياسي كثيراً. فحساباتهم أقل، وشعارهم الخماسي المعروف لا مداراة فيه. ما لا يعرفه البعض أن السلوك الأخلاقي للعناصر «الحوثية» حببهم إلى الناس، ولا سيما بعد مشاركتهم في اعتصامات الثورة في صنعاء. فانضم إليهم يمنيون كثيرون بغض النظر عن انتمائهم الديني، فالخطاب كان وطنياً إسلامياً. المهم في الموضوع أن أجزاءً من «حاشد» عادت إلى زيديتها، الأمر الذي أضعف سلطان آل الأحمر عليها. واستمر التوسع «الحوثي»، بخطاب وطني جامع، يفاجئ الجميع، في ظل قلق سعودي أميركي متنامٍ. اتُهمت «أنصار الله» بالسعي إلى العودة إلى نظام الإمامة الزيدي السابق، لكن خطابهم السياسي خلا من أي إشارة إلى الماضي. وهنا تنبغي الإشارة إلى أن تعبير «إمامي» في اليمن ينصرف إلى حكم الأئمة الزيديين السابق، وليس إلى المذهب الجعفري.
7ــ في الحرب الحالية، عاصفة الحزم، والتي أعلن سفير السعودية في واشنطن عادل الجبير أن التحضير لها بدأ منذ أشهر، أي ليس لنداء عبد ربه منصور هادي أي دخل في الحرب، فإن انتشار «أنصار الله» باعتبارهم ثورة، بات يشكل تهديداً للعرش السعودي. ففرض الفشل السعودي في إدارة الشأن اليمني، بالإضافة إلى العقلية المذهبية المتحكمة في السياسة الخارجية للمملكة، التعويض بالتورط في محاربة أهل الحرب في اليمن أصحاب حضارة عريقة ضاربة في التاريخ. ليس متوقعاً أن ينتصر السعوديون من خلال القصف الجوي فقط، ولا متوقعاً أن ينتصروا في حرب برية أيضاً. الأخطر أن ترسيم الحدود الذي جرى بين السعودية واليمن عام 1990، والذي فرّط علي صالح بمكتسبات اليمن فيه، جعل قبائل نجران وجازان وعسير الزيدية والإسماعيلية في المقلب السعودي. هذا يعني أن انتشار الزيدية والإسماعيلية ممتد من صنعاء إلى الحجازين.
* أستاذ جامعي

Saudi Kingdom using white phosphorus in Yemen

And US drones still very active in Yemen and in bombing humanitarian aid going to East Aleppo

Thomas Gibbons-Neff. Monday 19 September 2016

Saudi Arabia appears to be using US-supplied white phosphorous munitions in its war in Yemen, based on images and videos posted to social media, raising concerns among human rights groups that the highly incendiary material could be used against civilians.

Under American regulations, white phosphorous sold to other countries is to be used only for signaling to other troops and creating smoke screens. When the munition explodes, it releases white phosphorous that automatically ignites in the air and creates a thick white smoke. When used against soldiers or civilians, it can maim and kill by burning to the bone. (Why Saudi Kingdom need tons of that stuff? Too many Saudis lost in the desert?)

It is unclear exactly how the Saudis are using the munitions, but the government has already received widespread condemnation for its indiscriminate bombing in civilian areas since its campaign against rebel forces in Yemen began in 2015.

Andrew Bossone shared a link.…

US officials confirmed that the American government has supplied the Saudis white phosphorous in the past but declined to say how much had been transferred or when. After reviewing a social media image taken from the battlefield that showed a white phosphorous mortar shell, a U.S. official said it appeared to be American in origin but could not trace it to a particular sale because some of the markings were obscured

.”The United States expects any recipient of US military assistance to use those items in accordance with international law and under the terms and conditions of any US transfer or sale,” said a State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss politically sensitive issues.

The official said the department was looking into reports of Saudi forces’ improperly using US-supplied white phosphorous munitions. “If a country is determined to have used U.S.-provided weapons for unauthorised purposes, the US will take appropriate corrective action,” the official said.

The United States has grown increasingly wary of its material support to the Saudi military. In May, the Obama administration halted the sale of roughly 400 cluster bombs to the Saudis after human rights organizations documented the weapons’ use in civilian areas.

This week, lawmakers on Capitol Hill moved to delay a $1 billion arms deal that would replace some of Saudi Arabia’s US-supplied tanks that have been damaged in the conflict. (As if the administration has Not the habit of circumventing all these laws destined for the public)

Since coming to office in 2009, the Obama administration has facilitated more than $115 billion in 42 different arms sales to Saudi Arabia, more than any other US administration, according to a report in the Security Assistance Monitor. Batches of the equipment are likely to be delivered for years to come.

International humanitarian law does not ban the use of white phosphorous outright, but there is a strict requirement that it be used only in areas clearly separated from civilians. Even using it against enemy combatants has raised concerns, given that the munitions can cause particularly horrific injuries.

“The United States must not provide or sell white phosphorous munitions to Saudi Arabia or any other military that would use them in the Yemen conflict,” said Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa. “As a major arms seller to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. risks being complicit in Saudi Arabia’s likely war crimes in Yemen.”

A spokesman from the Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment for this article. The Saudi government has repeatedly denied claims about unlawful bombings and civilian casualties, pointing to its military’s Western support as validation of its practices.

According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, more than 3,700 civilians have been killed and 2.8 million have been displaced during the now nearly two-year-old war.

“The United States is concerned by the high number of casualties resulting from this war,” the State Department official said. “We are prepared to work with the Saudis to deter and confront any external threat to their territorial integrity, and we stand by that assurance. However, that does not mean we refrain from expressing our concerns about the war in Yemen and how it has been waged.”

The Pentagon provides midair refueling for Saudi aircraft and limited intelligence resources to Saudi forces. In addition to short-term military assistance, the Pentagon and the State Department, as well as other Western countries, have facilitated the sale of billions of dollars worth of arms to the Kingdom, everything from hand grenades to attack helicopters.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. Patrick Evans, said that “as a matter of policy,” the Pentagon office responsible for overseeing foreign military sales “does not disclose specific deliverables or the details” of the final transfer agreements.

The United States has used white phosphorous against fighters, including in 2004 in Fallujah, Iraq, and sporadically in Afghanistan over the course of the war there.

In 2009, Israel used the weapon in populated areas in the Gaza Strip. (And no one complained of these illegal usages)

Images on pro-Saudi Twitter and Instagram accounts show that Saudi forces are using several systems for firing white phosphorous munitions, including tank rounds, mortars, howitzers and rifle grenades.

Footage and images and social media posts showing the munition indicate that it is being used near the Saudi-Yemen border — in Najran province — and around the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

The most recent footage — posted Sept. 9 — shows a U.S.-developed M198 155mm Saudi howitzer with the telltale sea-foam green white phosphorous rounds nearby ready to be loaded and fired.

Many of the images posted to social media show white phosphorous rounds from a distance, leaving any writing or identifying features blurry or ill-defined. The shell’s color pattern is the most telling, as the greenish-hue interrupted by yellow bands and red writing is internationally recognized as indicating white phosphorous munitions.

The picture reviewed by the U.S. official was first posted in November 2015 on a Saudi Instagram account and shows the shell with the words “Martyr Jamil Hadi” written on it.

The only company with the rights to sell to the U.S. government the white phosphorous round pictured in the image is General Dynamics Ordnance Tactical Systems, according to Marine Corps Systems Command documents distributed in 2015. The shell’s design is owned by TDA-Armaments of France. Both TDA-Armaments and General Dynamics manufacture the munition, although it is unclear which country manufactured the round pictured.

When asked about the image, General Dynamics spokeswoman Laurie VonBrocklin said “it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment” and deferred further questions to the Pentagon and the State Department.

As the Saudis Covered Up Abuses in Yemen, America Stood By

Washington let Saudi Arabia commit atrocities in Yemen, then strong-arm the UN into remaining silent.

(Apparently, Saudi Kingdom did nothing to desist from war crimes against the civilians in Yemen and the UN maintained its verdict on this ruthless kingdom on human rights crimes. Thousands of children are dying under the airplane bombs and millions are suffering from malnutrition and lack of medical aids)

The United Nations has long been bullied by its most powerful members, and U.N. secretaries-general have usually been forced to grit their teeth and take it quietly.

But few nations have been more publicly brazen in this practice than Saudi Arabia, and earlier this summer, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon managed to get in a dig at the Kingdom over its blackmail-style tactics.

Ban Ki-moon openly admitted that it was only after Riyadh threatened to cut off funding to the U.N. that he bowed to its demand to remove the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, where it has launched a harsh military intervention, from a list of violators of children’s rights contained in the annex of his annual Children and Armed Conflict report.

“The report describes horrors no child should have to face,” Ban told reporters. “At the same time, I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would defund many U.N. programs.”

But the secretary-general wasn’t done. “It is unacceptable for U.N. member states to exert undue pressure,” Ban added. The removal of the Saudis from the list was also, he claimed, “pending review.”

Andrew Bossone shared this link

The US is complicit and the UN is a lapdog.

For the United States, it was another reminder of what an uncomfortable ally the Saudi kingdom can be (as was the July release of a hitherto classified section of a 2002 report into the 9/11 attacks that suggested, among other things, that the wife of then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan gave money to the wife of a suspected 9/11 co-conspirator).

No one has become more familiar with this awkwardness than the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, the erstwhile human-rights icon (author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem from Hell) who has been forced to look the other way as a powerful U.S. ally does as it pleases in Yemen with political, logistical and military cover from Washington.

Since news broke of Ban’s decision, I have asked Power’s office for a direct response to Saudi funding threats. Neither she nor her staff has ever replied.

Using their oil wealth as a weapon—and tacitly encouraged by their most powerful ally, Washington, which has supplied Riyadh with targeting assistance, logistical support and daily aerial refueling of coalition jets in Yemen—the Saudis have refused to moderate their stance.

“The U.S. silence has been deafening in the face of aggressive Saudi bullying to prevent the U.N. from condemning a horrendously abusive military campaign that has killed and maimed hundreds of children,” said Philippe Bolopion, deputy director for global advocacy and former U.N. director at Human Rights Watch.

“This blatant double standard deeply undermines U.S. efforts to address human rights violations whether in Syria or elsewhere in the world.”

The U.S. silence has been deafening in the face of aggressive Saudi bullying to prevent the UN from condemning a horrendously abusive military campaign that has killed and maimed hundreds of children.”

Philippe Bolopion, deputy director for global advocacy at Human Rights Watch.

Ban’s honesty hasn’t helped Washington. While human rights organizations initially pilloried the lame-duck secretary-general—he leaves office at the end of 2016—for bowing to the intimidation of a wealthy donor, many diplomats and U.N. observers said Ban also set an important precedent for calling out powerful member states.

In June, after Ban went public, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner did make one oblique comment, that the U.N. “should be permitted to carry out its mandate, carry out its responsibilities, without fear of money being cut off.”

The U.S. has already set a precedent for doing just that: after the U.N.’s cultural agency, UNESCO, recognized Palestine in 2011, the United States suspended its contributions worth $80 million annually, or more than a fifth of the agency’s budget.

Both the Saudi threat and the U.S. pinch on UNESCO, like the perennial menace of vetoes on the Security Council, undermine the authority vested in the U.N.

U.S. support for the Saudis in Yemen has weakened Washington morally at the U.N., allowing Russia and other countries to call the Americans hypocritical for “politicizing” Syrian humanitarian access while supporting a coalition that is blockading anntire country, helping to worsen what in Yemen is numerically the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to U.N. figures for those in need of aid. While the U.S. has highlighted the toll of Russian bombs in Syria, it has been less willing to criticize Moscow’s use of cluster munitions.

(The US was angry for opening passages for the fleeing Syrians under terrorists occupied parts of Aleppo)

The weapons are widely banned internationally under a U.N. treaty, but the Pentagon maintains they can be used appropriately. The Saudis offer a prime example of their reckless use in Yemen, where they’ve unleashed them in populated areas.

The more flagrant the Saudis are in their behavior, the harder it is for Washington to bury the underlying hypocrisy of its support.

This February, amid a deadly Russian air campaign in support of regime forces aiming to encircle Aleppo, the Security Council met urgently on the humanitarian situation in the city and elsewhere in Syria.

But upon leaving the session, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin used the Yemen card, telling reporters, “We are going to propose weekly meetings on the humanitarian situation in Yemen.”

However, when subsequent discussions on Yemen appeared poised to yield a resolution on humanitarian access in the country, the Saudis and other Gulf States met with diplomats from the U.S., France and the United Kingdom to complain. Unlike Syria, for which a similar resolution was passed, no such resolution has been mustered by the Council for Yemen.

The Saudi threat to cut vital funding streams—delivered forcefully, and directly by Riyadh’s foreign minister to Ban and his top political adviser—should come as little surprise to anyone who has watched Saudi Arabia’s erratic and often abusive relationship with the U.N. since the Saudis began bombing Yemen last March.

There is another reason the U.S. has said little about the strong-arm tactics employed by Saudi Arabia: The hypocrisy might be too much to take.

As Saudi behavior grew more careless publicly, both on the ground in Yemen in the halls of the U.N., the silence from Washington, and at the U.S. mission to the U.N. in New York, continued. Ambassador Power even found herself defending an intervention in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians, coincided with the spread of Al Qaeda, and undercut her own passionate work to draw attention to the crimes of the Assad regime in Syria.

But there is another reason the U.S. has said little about the strong-arm tactics employed by its closest Arab ally: The hypocrisy might be too much to take. Just last year, the U.S. was instrumental in keeping Israel off the very annex the Saudis found themselves on this month.

Leila Zerrougui, the U.N.’s special representative for children and armed conflict, had endorsed the inclusion of both the Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas on the blacklist.

In the end, neither was, but the pressure exerted by Washington and Israel occurred largely behind the scenes, according to diplomatic norms that are now under the spotlight.


The Saudi intervention has a great deal to do with Riyadh’s fears of its great regional rival, Iran, which has diplomatically backed the Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen. It began last March when, following rapid advances of the Houthis, who are allied with former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the new Saudi King, Salmon, announced a hastily formed coalition of Sunni Arab states.

His son, deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman—more recently the darling of the financial press for his consulting-firm endorsed plans to reform the Saudi economy—was put in charge of the campaign. The coalition’s nominal goal was to reinstate Saleh’s post-Arab Spring successor, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was whisked away to Saudi Arabia, but also to counter the rise of the Houthis as a proxy of Iran.

With the help of the U.S. military, Riyadh was able to impose a blockade, by air and sea, and commence attacks on their southern neighbor.

Prior to the war, Yemen was already the poorest country in the Arab world and soon commercial stocks of food and fuel, as well as drugs and other medical supplies, were running dangerously low. By September, the U.N. estimated Yemen was receiving just 1% of the fuel imports it required.

Today, more than 21 million people in Yemen are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance and half the population suffers from food insecurity and malnutrition—figures that dwarf Syria’s.

Another early casualty of the blockade was the access often afforded by the U.N. to foreign journalists and human rights officials working for nonprofit groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

In May, two months into the Saudi intervention, and as the civilian death toll in Yemen approached 400, senior U.N. officials in Yemen decided that neither group would be allowed on U.N. flights into and out of the country.

At the time, seats on commercial routes operated by the national carrier Yemenia Airway were difficult or impossible to obtain—when the planes ran at all. Those flights were routed through Saudi Arabia, where officials have oversight of passenger manifests.

The U.N. also maintained its own chartered plane, large enough to fit 27 or 28 people, that had begun flying several times a week between Djibouti and the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital of Sanaa.

But journalists and human rights NGO workers were banned from those flights as well; U.N. officials based in Yemen, Europe and New York, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and several aid workers said the policy stemmed from the Saudi rejection of a single flight manifest earlier in May that contained several journalists, including reporters from the New York Times and BBC.

Several U.N. staffers suggested the decision seemed to go against Ban’s Human Rights up Front agenda. That initiative, meant to give special privileges to human rights reporting, civilian protection and the prevention of “large-scale” violations of international law, was introduced largely in response to the organization’s inaction during the last months of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009 in which tens of thousands of civilians were killed.

Even those aid workers and U.N. staff that were allowed in have found their trips are dependent on the Saudi government, which approves or denies access for all U.N. flights.

“Should the U.N. allow a government to accept such restrictions, which clearly restrict access to beneficiaries?” asked one aid worker, who spoke anonymously in order to protect their organization’s continued access in Yemen.

Some journalists instead undertook dangerous journeys by sea into Yemen from the African coast.

One reporter, Matthieu Aikins, on assignment from Rolling Stone with a cameraman, was smuggled into the country on a 23-foot-long vessel—becoming one of the first Western journalists to break through the blockade and document the toll of the air war.

Aikins said that prior to his departure from Djibouti (under French military control) , U.N. officials told him that the Saudis were no longer allowing foreign journalists to travel to Yemen. Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser at Amnesty International, said she was booked on a flight from Djibouti to Sanaa in late June, before being told “last minute that we were off the list”—forcing her to find alternative travel through Jordan.

As journalists and human rights workers struggled to gain entry into Yemen, the news that did emerge grew direr. In May, Human Rights Watch first reported the use of cluster munitions by the coalition, and by the second half of that month, the U.N. had recorded 1,037 civilian deaths since the start of the Saudi intervention.

Many of those deaths were the result of wild and indiscriminant Houthi anti-aircraft fire, but hundreds more were caused by Saudi airstrikes. It was increasingly clear that war crimes could be taking place, but another month would pass before more international journalists began to trickle into the country.

At the U.N. in New York, a new humanitarian chief, Stephen O’Brien, took office at the end of May, inheriting crises in Yemen, Syria and South Sudan, and massive funding gaps across the board. There was one bright spot, or so it seemed—on April 18, the Saudi government pledged to meet a $274 million U.N. “flash appeal” for Yemen, requested just the previous day.

But the negotiations that followed, and foot-dragging on the part of the Saudis, would set a pattern for the coming year when Riyadh’s diplomats repeatedly embarrassed O’Brien and his office. Desperate for a steady stream of Gulf money, U.N. officials were accommodating toward the Saudis, a stance that became increasingly dissonant as the civilian toll of their bombs escalated, and the coalition’s blockade meant the U.N. would have to serve ever more famished Yemenis.

“It’s obvious the Saudis were paying and bullying everyone who dared to say anything, and the U.N. unfortunately was boxed in,” said the senior U.N. political official.

That October, after the Saudis finally announced agreements with nine U.N. agencies to disburse the money (the terms of which have never been made public), Riyadh undertook an elaborate press junket in New York, lauding its humanitarian programming in Yemen.

Looking glum and uneasy, U.N. humanitarian chief O’Brien highlighted the U.N.’s relationship with the Saudis’ King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Center. By then, the U.N. had recorded 2,355 civilian deaths in Yemen, the majority from coalition airstrikes, which O’Brien that summer told the Security Council had in some cases violated international law. It later became clear that the Saudi delegation had effectively dragged O’Brien to the U.N. briefing room after a meeting in Ban’s office upstairs.

The U.N., O’Brien told reporters, couldn’t afford to turn down any aid, including from Saudi Arabia, “because that is existential.”

It was during the same junket, at a separate event in New York, where Riyadh’s ambassador to the U.N., Abdallah al-Mouallimi, admitted for the first time, to this reporter, that the coalition had bombed a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in northern Yemen earlier that week (the bombing took place almost at the same time as O’Brien’s news conference with the Saudis).

The ambassador, however, blamed MSF for providing incorrect coordinates. A miniscandal ensued, during which the ambassador falsely claimed to reporters that he had been “misquoted or the quotations were taken out of context.”

On several other occasions, Mouallimi has denied the use of cluster munitions by the coalition, despite extensive documentation by human rights groups and journalists. He routinely calls into question any U.N. reporting indicating the Saudi coalition has killed civilians, even as that number surpasses 2,000.

Other powerful U.N. member states, like Russia, are well known in U.N. circles for performing elegant logical contortions when confronted with incriminating evidence, such as the civilian toll from Moscow’s strikes in Syria.

But the Saudis are inexperienced and can appear petulant in the spotlight. Last year was also perceived as a low point in the Kingdom’s history: The Iran nuclear deal it lobbied against was signed; its interests in Syria took a serious blow as Russia acted to prop up the Assad regime; oil prices bottomed out around $30 per barrel; and its intervention in Yemen was not only attracting unwanted attention, but was by most measurements a failure.

One Western diplomat recalled how expertly the U.S. and Israel were able to pressure Ban into removing Israel from the same Children and Armed Conflict annex—a development that angered many, but garnered far less attention. Not so for the Saudis. “It’s the difference between how big corporations handle things and how the Corleones handle things,” said the diplomat.

Their erratic behavior came to a head in February, when Saudi officials sent a series of letters to the U.N. and aid organizations, warning them to leave areas under Houthi control. If taken literally, that meant the majority of Yemen’s populated areas, including Sanaa, where U.N. operations were headquartered.

A first letter, sent on February 5 to O’Brien’s agency, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), ominously asked that the U.N. “notify all the international organizations working in Yemen about the necessity of relocating their headquarters outside the military operations area to be away from regions where the Houthi militias and the groups belonging to them are activating, in order for the Coalition forces to guarantee the safety and security of the international organizations.”

Another letter, marked “urgent” was sent directly to NGOs from the Saudi Embassy in London.

O’Brien responded within 48 hours, reminding Saudi Arabia of its obligations under international humanitarian law, and explaining that the U.N. would continue to serve Yemen’s communities.

In a subsequent letter to the OCHA chief, Mouallimi walked back Saudi demands, clarifying that humanitarian workers should not be near military bases belonging to the Houthis and supporters of Saleh—still a vague assertion when 2,000-pound bombs are in play.

To aid workers in Yemen, the unprompted Saudi communications showed, at best, a country dangerously fighting war from the hip, making things up as it went along. Even if the letters were simply an attempt to comply with international law gone awry, humanitarians already had reason to be concerned: just weeks earlier, a leaked Security Council Panel of Experts report counted 22 coalition attacks on hospitals during the war.

A month later, in March, as the Children and Armed Conflict report was first passed among diplomats, there was separate talk in the Security Council of a humanitarian resolution aimed specifically at Yemen, potentially with explicit language on the protection of civilians. Mouallimi, evidently concerned about the prospect, called a news conference in the same briefing room, which he moderated on his own—a rarity for most ambassadors.

There he told reporters in no uncertain terms that O’Brien’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had, in fact, told him that there was no need for such a resolution. “You can quote them on that,” he said, speaking for the U.N.

Less than two weeks after the news conference, Saudi-coalition jets killed more than 100 civilians in a market in northwest Yemen, according to U.N. investigators.

“It would seem the coalition is responsible for twice as many civilian casualties as all other forces put together, virtually all as a result of airstrikes,” said U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, in the aftermath of that attack.

In September, as the civilian toll in Yemen continued mounting, Zeid had called for an independent, international inquiry into the conflict. At the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Dutch representatives introduced a resolution that would have created such a body, only to see their support melt away in the face of intense pressure from the Saudis and their allies. Instead, the council passed a Gulf-authored resolution endorsing a national investigation controlled by the exiled Hadi government. That inquiry was widely seen as biased and unequipped, and moreover had no access to most of Yemen.

According to diplomats, the U.S. was largely quiet during negotiations over the text, allowing the Saudis to bully the Netherlands—literally sitting with them at a coffee table and crossing out sections of the resolution the U.N. human rights chief wanted.

The Yemeni government investigation favored by the Human Rights Council has yet to release any findings. The U.S., which has sold more than $100 billion in arms to the Saudis since 2010, and which continues to support the coalition with targeting and indispensable refueling flights and logistics, defers to the Saudis when asked about investigations into civilian casualties.

(Canada is second as the most exporter of weapon to the Saudi Kingdom)

When it was released on June 2, Ban’s annual Children in Armed Conflict Report confirmed what many diplomats had already seen when the text was distributed as a draft months earlier: that the coalition was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths—some 510 were killed by the coalition—and injuries in 2015.

In the annex that accompanies the report, Ban added the Saudi coalition, along with other parties to the conflict in Yemen, including the Houthis and Al Qaeda.

The response was quick: According to senior U.N. officials, several Gulf allies complained to the U.N. about the report, and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called Ban over the weekend to express his displeasure. Nevertheless, on Monday, Ban spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told journalists that no part of the report would change in any way.

That afternoon, Jubeir called again, this time dialing Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, a former U.S. State Department official who is now Ban’s top political adviser. Feltman, according to diplomats, communicates regularly with Power, although it’s unclear to what extent she was aware of the Saudi messages.

Jubeir relayed far stronger threats to Feltman, including the specter of a break in relations with the U.N. and cuts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to vital U.N. programing including to the organization’s relief agency in Palestine. Saudi Arabia is one of the largest donors to the U.N., funding a number of additional programs in the Middle East.

In 2014, Jubeir, then the ambassador to Washington, announced $500 million to assist Iraqis displaced by the Islamic State.

But financial coercion is also a habit of Jubeir’s: According to the New York Times, earlier this year he told U.S. officials and politicians in Washington that Riyadh would sell hundreds of millions in Treasury bonds and other American assets if Congress passed legislation making it easier for the Saudi government to be sued for alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Shortly after Jubeir’s call to Feltman, Ban’s office announced the coalition would be removed from the annex pending review. At the U.N., Mouallimi said the Saudis were vindicated, and he called the decision “final and unconditional.”

The Saudis might have had reason to be angry. In emerging as a top donor, they have come to expect the same respect that other large donors like the U.S., European Union and Japan enjoy. The U.S., meanwhile, has a history of politicizing its donations, exemplified by the UNESCO cut.

On June 9, Ban essentially conceded that the decision to take the Saudis from the annex was made to protect UN financing.  (and not because of the merits of Riyadh’s complaints).

A flummoxed Mouallimi spoke soon after, and, once again, rebutted Ban. The ambassador told reporters that “undue pressure was not exercised,” and he insisted that “the conclusions [of the report] have now been changed.”

In fact, according to Ban, the findings of the report, including that 60% of child casualties in Yemen were caused by the Sunni coalition, will not be changed. Only the annex was altered to excise the Saudis—and temporarily, pending a review and the furnishing of additional documentation from the coalition. But instead of doing that, the Saudis themselves asked the U.N. to reveal the sources of information used in the report, which was denied.

Richard Gowan, a fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation and longtime U.N. researcher, said Ban’s words in July amounted to a rhetorical coup.

“Very few diplomats or U.N. officials dare call them out for their behavior,” Gowan said of the Saudis. “At least this incident has highlighted their tactics.” He added: ”Ban has managed to avoid a total breakdown with Riyadh, yet in doing so still shone a spotlight onto both their behavior in Yemen and their behavior at the U.N.” he added.

There are further signs the U.N. may be changing its tune in Yemen. After POLITICO raised the question of access to flights by the U.N. Humanitarian Air Service, the U.N. said that the current humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick was “fully seized of the concern on the use of UNHAS by human rights organizations.”

“He believes that they, as important humanitarian partners particularly as concerns protection work, should have access to U.N. air services.” The statement added that McGoldrick was “finalizing” discussions “with relevant organizations and hopes to have a positive change to the current approach.”

But there are also signs that the Saudis aren’t keen to change their habits. Earlier this month, at the tail end of trip to the U.S., Prince Bin Salman showed up 45 minutes late for a meeting with Ban, pushing back the rest of the secretary-general’s meeting that day. In a statement following a photo-op, Ban’s office said he was still “open to receiving any new elements from Saudi Arabia,” relevant to the Children and Armed Conflict report.

Two weeks ago, Jubeir met again with Ban, after which the secretary-general’s office said he “welcomed the Coalition’s readiness to take the necessary concrete measures to end and prevent violations against children.” Ban’s office said they wanted the information before a vital Security Council debate on Children and Armed Conflict on August 2.

A separate letter sent by Zerrougui’s office to the Saudis at the end of June, and obtained by POLITICO, was more explicit. Saudi Arabia was expected to “communicate to the United Nations the commitments, measures and actions that it will undertake” in several areas, including in the “reduction of child casualties,” by July 18.

That, according to the letter, would help “enable the Secretary-General to report on positive steps that have been taken following his decision to temporarily remove the coalition from the annexes to the report.”

Judging by the language, it appeared to be giving the Saudis a retroactive and permanent way off the list.

Samuel Oakford is a journalist based at the United Nations in New York, where he was previously correspondent for VICE News.
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