Home War/ Terror War Crimes in Yemen –- and Refugees

War Crimes in Yemen –- and Refugees

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by Mary W Maxwell

In my “Melania’s Blue Dress” article, I made a throw-away remark about the proposed Mexican wall. Happily, Julius Skoolafish has challenged me. I won’t now go into the question of Mexican immigration, but instead will re-publish an article about Yemen that Julius called to our attention.

Thus, the entire text below, except the Commentary at the end, is a reprint from theAntiMedia, an organization that welcomes “lifting” so long as we credit the author Darius Shahtahmasebi, and theAntiMedia.org. As a caution I must say that I don’t like to present a topic on which I cannot offer any corroborating research. The subject matter, Yemen, is unknown to me. But the reader will at least hear a side of the story that no doubt wants telling.

FROM ANTIMEDIA, by Darius Shahtamasebi:

On Saturday, Reuters obtained a report conducted by U.N. experts advising the U.N. Security Council that the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition’s attacks in Yemen “may amount to war crimes.” The report investigated ten coalition air strikes between March and October that killed over 292 civilians, including some 100 women and children.

“In eight of the 10 investigations, the panel found no evidence that the air strikes had targeted legitimate military objectives [the experts wrote]. For all 10 investigations, the panel considers it almost certain that the coalition did not meet international humanitarian law requirements of proportionality and precautions in attack…The panel considers that some of the attacks may amount to war crimes.”

Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan. Out of all of these countries wreaking havoc on Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, only Sudan makes Trump’s ban list of refugees. Yemen, the victim of the onslaught, also makes the list.

Even before the start of the Saudi-led war in March 2015, Yemen was already suffering a humanitarian crisis, including widespread hunger and poverty. Over 14 million people are starving, and seven million of them do not know where they will get their next meal.

To date, the Saudi-led coalition has struck over 100 hospitals, including MSF (Doctors without Borders)-run hospitals. The coalition has struck wedding parties; factories; food trucks; funerals; schools; refugee camps; and residential communities.

According to Martha Mundy, professor emeritus at the London School of Economics, the Saudi coalition has also been hitting agricultural land. Noting just 2.8 percent of Yemen’s land is cultivated, she argued that “[t]o hit that small amount of agricultural land, you have to target it.”

Further, she pointed out that the Saudi coalition “was and is targeting intentionally food production, not simply agriculture in the fields.” This direct attack on civilian infrastructure comes in tandem with a blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia that has created a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.

The coalition has also been caught using banned munitions, including British-made cluster bombs, meaning that unnecessary losses and excessive suffering have been exacted (another apparent war crime).

As a result, more than three million Yemeni civilians have been displaced, according to the U.N. This is exactly how and why refugee crises happen in the first place — unnecessary war and suffering at the hands of the rich and powerful players on the world stage.

But what does this have to do with the United States? This is Saudi Arabia’s problem, not America’s. Right?

The support the U.S. has given to Saudi Arabia to enable these war crimes is quite extensive.

According to the Saudi Arabian foreign minister, U.S. and U.K. officials sit in the command and control center to coordinate air strikes on Yemen. They have access to lists of targets. The Obama administration provided airborne fuel tankers and thousands of advanced munitions.

In addition to regularly drone-striking Yemen, killing countless civilians in the process, the U.S. has also provided intelligence to the Saudi-led coalition that has been gathered from reconnaissance drones flying over Yemen.

In arms sales, the U.S. has made an absolute killing – quite literally. So much so that in December 2016 the Obama administration was forced to halt a planned arms sale to Saudi Arabia because of the mounting civilian death toll. It is hard to get an exact figure on the amount of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but as it stands, it was well over $115 billion during just Obama’s eight years as president….

America has played its part in this war. But what about Iran? They are allegedly arming the rebels in Yemen to provoke Saudi Arabia, so they should face some of the blame — right?

According to the U.N. experts, this highly perpetuated propaganda is not even remotely true. The experts said:

“The panel has not seen sufficient evidence to confirm any direct large-scale supply of arms from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, although there are indicators that anti-tank guided weapons being supplied to the Houthi or Saleh forces are of Iranian manufacture.”

Okay, fine. But that was Obama. Donald J. Trump clearly has new and improved plans for foreign policy and immigration and for dealing with refugees across the board. Correct?

Well, not really. Barely hours after his inauguration, the military conducted drone strikes in Yemen. This is in light of the fact that former drone operators wrote an open letter to Barack Obama claiming the drone program is the single most effective recruitment tool for groups like ISIS. Then, on top of these drone strikes, Trump ordered a raid involving Navy SEALs that reportedly killed at least one eight-year-old girl, as well.

Refugees don’t appear out of thin air. While Trump uses refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations as a scapegoat for the inner turmoil facing the United States and other Western nations, his policies will only help exacerbate the refugee crisis, leaving parts of Europe and the wider Middle East to deal with the fallout.

By all means, close your doors to Yemen — but only after you withdraw all your personnel, equipment, aircraft, and material and financial support for war crimes committed in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Until then, the least one can do is welcome with open arms those who are fleeing a horrific war conducted by an inexperienced, cowardly, violent coalition to avoid further radicalization of those civilians innocently caught up in geopolitically motivated wars.

Note: Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to edits@theantimedia.org.

Commentary by Mary W Maxwell

War crimes can be punished. There is no shortage of so-called international law, and there are domestic laws, for example in the United States. It is up to people to take the initiative.

In my opinion, the wrongdoing of nations should not be mixed in with the issue of immigration. They just don’t have a mix, as the policy that nations make about taking in refugees is separate from the policy they employ about creating wars.

I opposed Trump’s hasty ban on Muslims because I don’t want him to act ultra vires (“beyond power”). The US presidents have been doing the ultra-vires thing since FDR.

Maybe Trump was told by his Public Relations Guide to act assertively and make a strong impression? All right. And anyway, a federal district court has stepped in and put a stay on part of the ban.

I also stated in my Blue Dress article that it is un-American to categorize people by their religion. Trump has now said his ban is not aimed at Muslims but at citizens of seven countries. Well, OK, let’s not make an issue of his “I hate the heathens” theme, or whatever it was – maybe an election slogan.

By the way, if Trump doesn’t know that the Boston Marathon was bombed by the “authorities” and not by the “radicalized brothers,” he has a long way to go.

But back to the complaint, much heard, that we should accept the refugee problem, since we caused it with our wars. That is too stupid to deserve a reply. Recall Orwell’s theory of why we do wars at all. I think his belief — that it’s a game played by the top dogs — is correct.

 

The persons at the top are so antisocial that they may in fact make a war here or there for the purpose OF CREATING REFUGEES.

Note: My paternal grandmother was born in 1868 in Ireland. She and millions of other Irish emigrated to the US. I think the pattern was set when the cabal planted a bacterial disease in the potato crop in 1849. Purpose of the disease? Partly to get the UK to borrow money from the Rothschild du jour, but also to populate North America.

I’ve heard that the cabal also did pogroms on Russian Jews for the same reason – to move them westward. And we know Stalin intermixed ethnic groups, to weaken them.

When a few people enter a culture at a time they’re likely to assimilate. But mixing people en masse is not good. Consider the recent “invasion of Germany” by Syrians. Looks like it’s intended to destroy the social unity of the German people.

I take a conservative view that, for the most part, borders should be firm. Humans do live in groups. The group is a source of: 1. Values and rules for behavior; 2. Security against outsiders who would steal from them or kill them; 3. Venue for watching each other, to put moral pressure on fellow members of the tribe; 4. National pride and ideals.  Why downplay all that?

Granted, there are good reasons, including charity, for a nation to welcome refugees. But even in this area note how the overlords set us against each other, even by setting kind-hearted people who want to welcome refugees against kind-hearted people who want to stop wars.

Ordinary people need to force their “leaders” to stop the outrageous killing and oppression of Middle Easterners.

I say, be kind to the refugees. But not out of guilt.

In sum, do NOT mix the subjects of war and refugees. To do so has the effect of bogging either issue down. Indeed the message seems to be: take the refugees in and that’ll make up for what you did to them.

No, it won’t.

 

Photo credit: Telegraph.co.uk
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24 COMMENTS

  1. Australia’s (little known) involvement FYI:

    Former Australian soldiers involved in Saudi war against Yemen rebels (Australian ABC Radio AM program January 14, 2016) A three+ minute audio plus transcript here:

    * http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-14/former-australian-soldiers-involved-in-saudi-war/7087726

    “Former Australian soldiers are playing a key role in a Saudi-led war against rebel fighters in Yemen. The group includes a one time special forces commander, who’s in charge of an elite military unit in the United Arab Emirates.

    Human rights groups are worried about the growing civilian casualties in the bloody Yemeni conflict, but defence sources say the Australians are helping to improve the standards of the forces.

    […]

    At the top of the UAE’s military is the elite Presidential Guard, created in 2010 and led by former Australian Special Forces Commander Mike Hindmarsh, who reports directly to the Crown Prince.

    He’s among a small group of ex-Australian military personnel now inside the UAE defence force.

    […]

    Australians are not believed to be directly involved in the bombings, but late last year an Australian commander was reportedly among 14 foreign mercenaries killed fighting against rebels in South-east Yemen.

    Defence force sources have told AM having Australians working for Middle Eastern militaries also has a valuable strategic benefit, because the Gulf States are vital allies in the fight against terrorism.”

  2. Gee, thanks a bunch, Fish, if you kow what I mean.

    “At the top of the UAE’s military is the elite Presidential Guard, created in 2010 and led by former Australian Special Forces Commander Mike Hindmarsh, who reports directly to the Crown Prince.”

    Key-rist. Are we to assume that Mike Hindmarch could know no moment of conflict between his two loyalties?

    Key-rist.

  3. Thank you Mary. I only have a very shallow grasp on the events in Yemen (it’s so hard to take it all in) so in the interest of contributing to a collective dossier, I’ll Just share the odd snippet. Here’s one … (graphic warning)

    • Shocking images of starved kid show horrors of Yemen’s civil war
    • (RT, September 14, 2016)
    https://www.rt.com/news/359343-yemen-children-suffering-war/

    “I remain deeply disturbed by the unrelenting attacks on civilians and on civilian infrastructure throughout Yemen by all parties to the conflict, which are further destroying Yemen’s social fabric and increasing humanitarian needs, particularly for medical attention at a time when the health sector is collapsing,” the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick said on Tuesday.

    The conflict has been raging for 18 months and has been worsened by often indiscriminate airstrikes conducted by the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebel forces.

    “We have seen for example attacks against schools rendering them unusable so that children have not been able to start the academic year,” Lama Fakih, a senior crisis adviser at Amnesty International told RT in August.

    “We’ve seen the Saudis also use a banned cluster munitions which act as landmines when they are left in civilian areas and are particularly problematic for children, who mistake them for toys and move them around and end up being causalities of this weapons,” she added.

    Comment:
    Unlike the fake photos we have all been bombarded with via the legacy propaganda machine about ‘child victims’ in Syria (healthy kids in ‘eastern Aleppo’ with a bit of dust and red make-up paint acting as props for the ‘white helmets’ squad – including and especially by our ABC) and the saturation of lies concerning the use of chemical weapons, barrel bombs etc – Yemen is where the real action is – the real victims – and those pictures are real.

  4. Thank you for raising the profile of this “hidden war”, promulgated shamefully by western governments. The Trump/May narrative that it is Muslim terrorism that is to be feared, is paradoxically both supported and contradicted by Yemen. If the opposition to Trump’s election and anti-Muslim policy transfers to disgust at what Muslim countries with Western backing are doing to other Muslims, it will not be altogether wasted.

  5. As for Defense Forces…strategic benefit….vital allies…fight against terrorism, what a load of bullshit. Sad to have to admit, but our military/government seems to be on the morally wrong side of just about everything they get us involved in.

    War crimes tribunals can’t be far off.

    • A war crimes tribunal. And you’re just the man to do it, Phil.

      I believe Malaysia hosted a tribunal about US-UK behavior in the 1991 Guf War. See also “Winter Soldier” meetings by American soldiers circa 2007. It’s on Youtube. Much needed.

      Be warned: Charlie Gittings tried to do this sort of thing, free-lance, and he is now in the Great Blue Yonder (age 56).

  6. The military industrial complex has ruled Oz since invasion day.
    The CCP is changing the faces of this land as we speak .
    Pray for peace and have nothing to do with the warriors of war .
    Don’t vote for the libor parties . But that won’t help because we vote with pencils ( how convenient ) . The sad truth is that Australians have always been mercenaries for the banksters .

  7. What hypocrites our Australian politicians are. Here we have a case of two men found guilty in a court of law, of trafficking killer drugs, not caring who the victims would be.

    Our erstwhile pollies are now spending, probably millions of dollars trying to get the country where the crime took place to change their penalty which these criminals were aware of before they committed their crime.

    But more serious than this situation, is that these same politicians refuse to allow an Australian who it is known, to be not guilty of the charges against him, to have a court trial.
    That man is a Tasmanian, Martin Bryant.

  8. Yemen is a classic example of the double standards applied to
    Australian foreign policy. It is one of thee world’s poorest countries, yet it sits astride a large quantity of oil which it does not have the resources to develop. Any attempt to develop those resources would be bombed by Saudi Arabia, flying American supplied jets with British military support.
    A studied silence from Turnbull and Bishop, as is always the case with the latest atrocity by Israel against the Palestinians.
    Look at the map. Yemen has a very strategic location, at one of the world’s most important ‘choke points’ as a US strategic document described it, control of which is an American strategic imperative.
    Yemen is also supported by Iran which the US, with ample and unquestioning Australian support is subject to false allegations regarding its alleged ‘nuclear program’. That Israel is the world’s fourth largest nuclear armed power is not to be mentioned.
    You may have seen reports that one of the civilian victims of the latest American (illegal) air attack was an 8 year old child.
    What the Oz media don’t tell you is that she was the daughter of Awlaki, an American citizen killed by one of Obama’s drone strikes. A fortnight later after the Awlaki hit, Obama killed his 16 year old son. Only the widow remains alive as I write. Can’t have witnesses around to tell the tale.
    One wonders what level of atrocity is needed before Turnbull and Bishop are actually stirred to condemn. Oh, I know, when it it committed by an enemy du jour.

    • James, you sound confident in saying the allegations about Iran’s N-weapons are false. We could each list a dozen claims by govenment that we know are false. But how do you counter a well-meaning person who says “You have no proof of a negative fact. You can’t know that Iran DOESN’T have nukes.”

      My sources, FWIW, tell me that Ahmadinijad is an occultist. He must therefore be in with the Bushes and the rest of the gang.

      I have no reason to believe that any nation “behaves itself.”
      Anyway, thanks for sticking up for the Yemen people.

  9. Carla Ortiz Part 1

    (All these topics are related so I’ll just share these here.)

    Carla Ortiz visited Syria several times over the past year and is about to release her documentary ‘Voice of Syria’. (Keep an eye out for this documentary.)

    Carla: “It is the duty of every citizen in the world to inform a little bit more themselves – not trust anything that I am saying or that you are telling them – or the mainstream media is telling them. We need to question our governments, we need to question our media in order to make them better and make us more responsible and with more ethics … This movie about the White Helmets – it is SO irresponsible … this BIG LIE … “ (from 21:15+)

    Listen to the whole interview …
    • Radio Podcast on Al-Masdar News (AMN)
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/podcast/al-masdar-podcast-15-carla-ortiz-voice-syria-stories-front-line/

    Regarding the ‘White Helmets’ … (from the interview with RT below)

    Carla: “Of course I wanted to interview them [the White Helmets] too during my stay in Aleppo and just managed to ask civilians about them. First, people answered that they did not know them at all; I mean, those who were trapped in Aleppo for four years. . I showed them pictures of the White Helmets saying “Look – it’s a peaceful organisation that helps you here – but they only answered NO! – that’s Daesh!!“ “

    https://www.rt.com/news/375864-syria-artificial-conflict-western-msm/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=aplication_chrome&utm_campaign=chrome

  10. Tulsi Gabbard – Dem Rep, Hawaii

    Tulsi Gabbard to Jake Tapper on CNN (from 1:03 in link below):

    Tulsi: The reality is, Jake, the reality is – and I’m glad you brought up that point because this an often talked about thing by people like Adam Kinzinger and others saying we’ve got to support the “moderate rebels”. Every place that I went, every person that I spoke to – I asked this question to them and without hesitation they said there are no ‘moderate rebels’ – who are these ‘moderate rebels’ that people keep speaking of? Regardless of the name of these groups the strongest fighting force on the ground in Syria is al-Nusra or al-Qaeda and ISIS – that is a fact. There is a number of different other groups, all of them essentially they are fighting alongside with or under the command of the strongest group on the ground that’s trying to overthrow Assad. The Syriain people recognise and they know that if President Assad is overthrown then al-Qaeda or a group like al-Qaeda that has been killing Christians, killing people simply because of their religion or because they won’t support their terror activities – they will take charge of all of Syria. This is the reality that the people of Syria are facing on the ground and why they are pleading with us here in the United States to stop supporting these terrorist groups. Let the Syrian people themselves determine their future, not the United States, not some foreign country.”

    https://youtu.be/0kJcGivkwrM?t=63

    I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from Tulsi in the years to come.

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