Tag Archives: Houthi rebels

Media, call it as it is!

I saw the news yesterday and I initially decided to ignore it. It was not really ‘news’ news if you know what I mean. It is sad, it is not a surprise and it was always going to happen. The dice were rolled and the children in Yemen rolled two ones. Some call it snake eyes, but the impact is severe, you automatically lose with that roll and that was the state of things from the very beginning. We start with CNN (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/02/middleeast/yemen-famine-amal-hussain-intl/index.html). We see the direct truth with “The three-year conflict between the US-backed Saudi-led coalition and the Iranian-aligned Houthis has devastated Yemen and reportedly has killed at least 10,000 people“. CNN does not mention that Saudi Arabia got involved when the deposed elected president called for help, no we do not get that. We get “the international furor over the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul“. We get no information that Iran and Hezbollah have directly intervened in making Humanitarian aid utterly impossible there. One Quote gives us: “Yemen’s information minister called on the Lebanese government to stop Hezbollah supporting Houthi rebels, insisting the group’s activity will prolong Yemen’s war. On Sunday, Moammar Eryani said Hezbollah was providing the Houthis with logistical and military assistance, turning Beirut’s southern suburbs — known collectively as Dahiyah — into a centre for media attacks against the Arab-led coalition“, in this CNN decided not to go there. We also get Yemen’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Marwan Ali Noman giving us: “the Yemeni suffering is caused by the Houthi militias, which are executing the agenda of Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah party in the region. He added that the militias practiced all kinds of murder, torture and forced displacement in all Yemeni cities that they invade“. CNN had no issue using the Khashoggi incident to present an anti-Saudi Arabia view, but fell silent on the actual issues in Yemen, yes: ‘That was CNN!

The New York Times gives us (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/world/middleeast/yemen-starvation-amal-hussain.html), and after that blazingly stages “The devastating war in Yemen has gotten more attention recently as outrage over the killing of a Saudi dissident in Istanbul has turned a spotlight on Saudi actions elsewhere“, yet it merely gives one mention of Iran in: “Saudi officials have defended their actions, citing rockets fired across their border by the Houthis, an armed group professing Zaidi Islam, an offshoot of Shiism, that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni monarchy, views as a proxy for its regional rival, Iran“, and in all this we see ZERO mention of Hezbollah, is that not strange? Neither is the part where the Firing of missiles is a direct result of Hezbollah and Houthi forces firing missiles into Saudi Arabia towards civilian targets. One source giving us that as per yesterday over 200 missiles have been fired into Saudi Arabia. Would you not think that this element is equally important? Let’s be honest it all started with the death of a toddler, but that was not what it was really about for the New York Times, was it? Yet they do give us “THE SAUDI COALITION IS NOT solely to blame for Yemen’s food crisis“, yet goes a little short in pointing on where blame, a much larger blame lies. It lies with Hezbollah, the tool and puppet of Iran provoking Saudi Arabia as much as possible.

The New York Times also gives us: “Tensions reached a climax this summer when the head of the United Nations migration agency was forced to leave Sana after clashing with the Houthi administration. In an interview, the Houthi vice foreign minister, Hussain al-Ezzi, denied reports of corruption, and insisted that tensions with the United Nations had been resolved“, it is a stage where Houthi officials are now enriched. It is a stage where we see that halting towards humanitarian aid and preventing the other 20,000 children from dying too. In this we see one additional quote that is identical in nearly all the newspapers I saw: “In an interview, the Houthi vice foreign minister, Hussain al-Ezzi, denied reports of corruption and insisted that tensions with the United Nations had been resolved“. My question becomes, was it an interview or was it merely a presentation by Hussain al-Ezzi finding a moment to state: ‘I’m not a crook!‘, which he probably learned form an American, namely former president Richard Nixon to be more precise.

The part that most publications are not giving us is that the death toll of children is roughly 130 children per day, in 2017 50,000 children died (Source: Al Jazeera).

The setting is not a nice one, on neither side. The Saudi Coalition includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Senegal. Al Jazeera also gives us: “Iran has denied arming the Houthi rebels, but the US military said it intercepted arms shipments from Iran to Yemen this March, claiming it was the third time in two months that this had occurred. Iranian officials have also suggested they may send military advisers to support the Houthis“, yet we have seen an utter lack of larger political activities by many nations other than the USA against Iran and Hezbollah, exactly how does that add up?

I particularly liked the quote “Commentators in the Arab Gulf States often claim that Iran now controls four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa“. I like it because it is the first part that gives the light of Iran, of what Iran is trying to achieve. The stage is not merely Hezbollah; it is not merely Turkey who has skin in that game too. It is the stage where we see the foundation of what Iran would call a holy war in defence of their sites. We are informed via “For the last six months the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has begun using waters further up the Gulf between Kuwait and Iran as it looks for new ways to beat an embargo on arms shipments to fellow Shi’ites in the Houthi movement, Western and Iranian sources say” and most of the western media is not even trying to look into these parts, it is actively avoiding any coverage on Iran. From that side we do get “The European Union is trying to preserve a version of the nuclear deal, but the recent incidents in Denmark and France have heightened the tensions.” In this it seems that Denmark is the strongest pusher against the Iranian actions, with the aid of France. We are all treated to the arrest event that was about a failed operation to bomb a June rally organised by Paris-based Iranian opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran, also known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), it is a stage of oppositions are to be killed, no negativity on Iran in Europe. This stage is now labelled by Iran as: “Iranian officials view the claims as designed to derail Europe’s efforts to salvage the JCPOA, particularly the planned European economic package for Iran“, the partial impact for now is that the Nordic parties who were initially extremely in favour of sustaining the JCPOA, are now less likely to fully support it.

What happened to the girl?

Well, the question is who cares? The girl is dead now! A photographer got his Pulitzer price, humanitarian aid in Yemen is a joke and the players behind the screen are all playing their own game. On both the Saudi and Iranian side there has been too little on humanitarian aid and that part must be clearly shown. Even as Saudi Arabia is much more on the defensive side of what they do, the clear staging where the work of Iran and Hezbollah is ignored by the media justifies the current position that Saudi Arabia is taking up. In all this the UN has blood on its hands too, even as it is through inactions. That part we get from the Irish Times (at https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-s-war-in-yemen-yields-hunger-and-devastation-1.3681488). They give us: “Only two famines have been officially declared by the United Nations in the past 20 years, in Somalia and South Sudan. An UN-led assessment due in mid-November will determine how close Yemen is to becoming the third“. Yet the Independent and a few other papers gave us almost a year ago: “More than 50,000 children expected to die of starvation and disease by end of year“. So I would think that the threshold for famine had been long passed. Would you not agree?

Save the Children gave us a little more a year ago, they also gave us: “an estimated 400,000 children will need treatment for acute malnutrition this year, the charity said“, at what point did it require an additional fifty weeks to get the label ‘famine’ attached?

Yemen, once the poorest country in the Middle East is about to become an extinct one. It happened as some nations were overactive in that region and the others are guilty through total inaction on almost every level. So even as we might feel for the title ‘Starving girl who became symbol of Yemen crisis dies‘, we should not be allowed to do so, our inactions give us that. And as the news staging goes on with Al Jazeera giving us: ‘US calls for the end to the Saudi-backed war in Yemen‘, we see again that the absence of Iran and Hezbollah in that equation might give the Saudi coalition additional fuel to continue. It might have been different if 100% of all support to Lebanon would have been halted until all Hezbollah troops have left Yemen, but Europe is not willing to go that far, are they? There are plenty of sanctions on Iran and I am not sure what else could be achieved there, yet barring Lebanon from EVERY negotiation table until Hezbollah is no longer in Yemen has not been attempted has it? It would force Iran to either engage of step back. In the second case the Yemen situation would be quickly resolved in the first case we would have a clear theatre of war with Iran, a war we might desperate need. Not for the fun of it, but until the hurt can be brought to Iran, they will continue their proxy war until they get lucky. Statistically speaking that will happen and the consequence of that will be a lot worse and it could have been prevented if the inactive players would have acted when there was a chance to limit the damage, for that it is far too late and the death on one 7 year old girl is merely the start for an optional 300,000 children to die within the next 30 weeks. Now you tell me, when we get to the 1st of June 2019 and you wake up to the statistics that in Yemen 453,261 children will have died at that point from starvation and disease, how happy will you feel? Will you have that Coffee with an Éclair? Will you have the steak or the fish that evening, optionally with grape juice? I cannot blame you for not caring, but I can point you out on the hypocrisy you let happen, the stage you allowed for and the media giving us half a story again and again is equally guilty in all this.

It is not merely an imperfect world. This world is descending from bad to worse at the same speed that is currently killing the children in Yemen. I think that we can soon state that we stopped being humanitarians in 2019, so feel free to box that thought wrap it in shiny paper with a bow and place it under the Christmas tree. Ignore that package and watch another version of a Christmas carol on TV whilst you deceive yourself that you are such a better person than Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Bah! Humbug!

P.S. Yet should you genuinely care (and you could optionally suffer to lose a few coins) then click on the link below and make a donation to Save the Children by pressing the donate button. You might just be the hero of the day and safe a life that way.

 

 

 

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How to pay for it?

Yesterday’s news is not new. We have all heard the options, the opposition and the recrimination. Yet the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/23/uk-arms-sales-to-saudis-continued-after-airstrike-on-yemen-funeral) gives out more to ask of those who are on the moral ethical high ground and as such we need to make considerations, from within ourselves and towards others choosing for us.

You see, I am not stating that they are wrong, or that there isn’t an issue. We need to ask ourselves whether we should take blame of responsibility of the actions of other governments. So consider the £283m. When we consider the 2017 spring budget, that one sale takes care of the Education and health bill for spring 2017 and potentially leaves us with enough to pay the Debt interest for that quarter. So, what will these campaigners do when they are opted for one (the deal) or the other which would be no health or education money? I always love campaigners who in a downed economy make demands and have no clue or no solution on how to pay for it all. It is a really lovely group of non-deciders in most of the events.

What would I do?

I would happily go to Riyadh with my new BAE business card and sell them whatever systems they need to keep their nation safe. You see, it is the right of any nation to defend their nation. The application of the weapons purchased is up to them. Guns do not kill people, people kill people, it is basic and as I see it the correct dimensionality of a situation.

So when I read “the UK trade secretary, Liam Fox, delayed signing a set of export licences and his officials prepared for sales to Saudi Arabia to be suspended. However, documents obtained by the Guardian revealed that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, advised him that the sales should continue, as he judged there was no clear risk that British weapons would be used for serious breaches of international humanitarian law“, like Boris Johnson, I see no real issue. The fact that he added: ‘serious breaches of international humanitarian law‘ as a condition was politically fair enough and perhaps a definite essential condition. It seems a little cowardly, but at what point would there be a serious consideration there? Even Iran might not fall into that category, leaving us with only North Korea, Al-Qaeda and ISIS as actual risk factors and we do not deal with these three anyway.

When someone states that I am wrong and there is a clear risk with Saudi Arabia transgressing there, my question would be: ‘Show me that evidence‘. After which I get a lot of speculative mumbo jumbo and no evidence at all. In this day and age we need to consider the choices to select which is fair enough, yet to give rise to campaigners on speculative events whilst they are willing to give silence in the case of Javier Martin-Artajo, Julien Grout and Bruno Iksil, willing to shrug the shoulders and walk away without anger or indignation. Such persons are all about feigned morality because there was no blood. So how many people lost their quality of life for a long time whilst JP Morgan Chase & Co lost £4.7 billion? You think that this was merely printed money, people lost all levels of hard worked gains, pensions, savings and other losses were endured. So as we read in that case “the Department of Justice said it “no longer believes that it can rely on the testimony” of Bruno Iksil, the trader dubbed the London Whale, based on recent statements and writings he made that hurt the case” (source: the Guardian), I feel like this was an orchestrated event. First get the accusations out, make a final thrust for your own acquittal and then write a little more making it all unreliable? Consider not what he lost (stated at 80%), but that he got to keep 20% of some $6m a year (paid more than one year), in addition, whatever the DoJ agreed to in 2013, which might be his house and a few other things. So he got to keep an amount that is exceedingly more than whatever I have made or will make for my entire life, a mere 2 years of his. So as we see about extradition issues, we now see that all three walk away.

This relates to the arms deal as the consequences of that part are merely speculative and it pays for a chunk of the government budget, so I will take a job there willingly any day of the week, presenting the technological marvels of the F-35 JSF missile which can be set to the bulk of the Saudi Arabian fighters. I will gladly take the reduced 1% commission and sell 5,000-10,000 missiles, after which I fly to Egypt and sell a few more. If that gets education and health funded in the UK for the entire year, so much the better! I will sleep like a baby knowing that education and health care are safe and set in stone to be funded. My presentations would be the best stellar presentations of them all. So F.U. (sorry for this instance of Post Enhousiastic Sales Drama) to both Raytheon and Northrop Grumman!

As we can imagine at times we need to take heed (read: listen to) campaigners, when the going was good (20 years ago) and we had several options to take a high moral stance, yet at present with a collapsing NHS, with politicians showing less and less backbone against large corporations on taxation issues, the United Kingdom has a responsibility towards its citizens, not just to keep them safe, but to offer some level of any future. Those campaigners seem to think that money grows on trees and have no idea on how to get things funded; in the UK the UK Labour party is perhaps the most striking evidence of all. As Jeremy Corbyn is now in denial on student debt issues, as he was intentionally vague during the election race. Of course apart from not winning (thank god for that), the realisation that he has no options, no methods and no way to get any level of budget done without raising the current debt by at least 50% and initially projected at 80%, the question becomes, how it would have ever been paid for as people like this, and campaigners against certain paths (read: perhaps for the right ideological reasons) have no way to deal with the national issues. Leaving people with much harsher debts, increased taxation and less social security as it can no longer be paid for.

I am not against ideology, I do not believe that dedicated pacifism is a cowardly stance; it is often quite a brave stance. Yet, it is equally often not a realistic one. We can all go to Hacksaw Ridge and be amazed of the events Andrew Garfield’s character went through, showing us some of what the real Desmond Doss went through, and we can admire his stance and his courage. Yet in the end, without the thousands armed forces in the 77th Infantry division, the battle would have been lost. It does not diminish the actions of this one highly decorated person, I am merely stating that the 77th held its ground and was victorious in the end, yet we should never forget that it is still regarded as the bloodiest battle in the history of WW2, with 50,000 allied lives lost and well over 100,000 Japanese casualties.

We make choices in war and in peace. I believe that every sovereign nation has its rights for defence, we cannot vouch for the articles of war in offense and that is not our responsibility. It is not for the salesperson of equipment to say and even the campaigner for peace needs to realise that there is a stance to take, even if it is a valid choice to oppose offensive actions, we must realise that any self-governing nation can deal with its enemies in the way they seem fit, when it becomes too unacceptable we need to accept that places like the United Nations will take the appropriate actions.

So how is this different?

It should not be, but it is. Ask yourself how you would act. We can always act holier than thou when we can afford it, yet when we are confronted with being hungry or to some degree making a questionable deal that is not criminal, and it is perfectly legal, but we cannot foresee the consequence. Is it still wrong to do it? Consider that we cannot predict the future and this is not merely a legal ‘more likely than not‘. It is about legally acting correct and morally acting optionally questionable, because that is where the stance is. Should we interfere with the right of Saudi Arabia to defend itself and act, or become judging and act towards denying them that right? This is the view I think that the campaigners are not taking correctly, too hastily and in judgement of ‘some’ moral principle. Now, I am not stating that they cannot do that, it is their right and their expression of free will, but in all this, they must also than accept the setting that they will have to voice: ‘We have decided to stop all NHS healthcare and education for the upcoming Autumn 2017, as we stopped the revenue that would have guaranteed it‘, that must then be in equal measure their acceptance in this. I wonder how the doctors, nurses and teachers feel at that point.

In this we now see another part grow. Even as we agree to some extent with the quote of “The terrible funeral bombing should have been a time for reflection and for the UK to reconsider its uncritical political and military support for Saudi Arabia“, we accept that ideologically Andrew Smith, spokesman for Campaign Against Arms Trade has a right and perhaps even a valid point, yet does he?

When we see “‘Incorrect information’ meant hall in Sana’a was mistaken for military target, leading to 140 deaths, says US-backed mission” (source: the Guardian) we need to know a lot more, the actual Intel, the raw data and the decision tree. When we also see “The air operation centre in Yemen, it added, directed a “close air support mission” to target the site without approval from the coalition’s command“, we can argue and question a few issue, yet in all, who authorised the action? How was the coalition command set up? If there was an approval at any level it takes the pilot out of the equation (read: likely he was never a consideration in the first place), so even as we see questions on the actions, even when we read “Dozens of citizens fell as martyrs or were wounded in this attack by planes of the Saudi-American aggression“, whilst the actions of the Houthi rebels are left in silence by too many, including the indiscriminate shelling of places. Any war is a place where it took two to tango, which does not absolve any side of considerations, yet in all I see often a complete lack of complete information, or better stated more precise and more complete information to the extent that was possible. Even now as Yemen is using ballistic missiles attacking a Saudi Oil refinery, as Mines are killing Saudi Soldiers, we see that Yemen remains active, shooting missiles close to 600 miles into Saudi Arabia, so as such, I think that the time of recriminations are over, they have been over for some time. Even now, merely 5 hours ago, we see that Nayef al-Qaysi, governor of the central province of al-Bayda was removed from office because of his ties with Al-Qaeda. Now, the source here is the Miami Herald, and others are voicing pretty much the same article. I cannot state one or the other, yet when we see these events unfold, giving rise to one or the other without proper visible intelligence is not a given. Yet in all this, when we take the original title and make this: ‘UK approved £283m of arms sales to Saudis to fight Al-Qaeda‘ (read: personal merging of different timed facts), at that point how many campaigners would we hear? Can we agree that if Nayef al-Qaysi has ties to Al-Qaeda, they would have been there for some time?

A piece of intelligence that I and perhaps many others would not have had last October, so should I not have sold these weapons to Saudi Arabia? I do not think that I had any valid opposition to not sell and whenever we campaign (even for the best and most valid of reasons) is always a loaded gun and that loaded gun is always aimed at the victims of these actions. In my presented case it would have been the people in need of NHS treatments and students. Any person proclaiming that they have the whole picture is usually lying to you, apart from the General of the Saudi armed forces there would be almost no other person in possessions of all the facts and even then we can state with a certain level of certainty that this person did not have ALL the facts. This is what makes the opposition to any debatable act a dangerous path. We can at best hope for acting in a non-illegal manner and that is exactly what happened in this case. It was a legal transaction, one that was essential for the coffers of the United Kingdom.

We need to learn how to compartmentalise. It is in our best interest to do what is correct and to do what our bosses want of us. When we try to grow beyond that cubicle we tend to speculate on what is best and even if we agree that thinking things through is never a bad thing, unless it is our responsibility we have to act according to our better angels, which means no in opposition of law. Is it not interesting that when that happens, more often than not these actions were greed based and those transgressors should be prosecuted by law, which in the case of hedge funds traders is almost 0%, so if we want ideology, it should be on the evolution of legislation to stop economic exploitation. Yet at that point, how many campaigners remain? I reckon that list slims down a lot, because economic transgressions are not sexy enough, or it is like a happy lottery ticket that nearly everyone wants and in case of Bruno Iksil when it amounts to 20% of many millions, I would love to get that lottery ticket as well, I saw a nice place in Cognac, where I would happily retire to. A mere €850K, which would leave me well over €100K a year to live off for the rest of my life, whilst the house (read: villa) had been paid for. I admit it is a lifestyle I would embrace if it was limited to one questionable, non-illegal act. It will not make me a criminal, merely a person not hiding behind some hypocrite high moral code of conduct.

Until campaigners get in the stage of life on how to pay for their daily meal and proceed on that moral high ground, that is the first step in filtering the actual ideologists from the hypocrites, an essential first step, yet in the end, they too need to accept that some sides of life need to get paid for and they cannot vote to make thousands abstain from essential needs. It is not fair and not pretty but that is the place that deep debts have pushed us all into, the mere acceptance of our to the smallest degree of changed options in upholding any quality of life.

 

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