Category Archives: Food Security

‘Wanton Cruelty’: Pompeo to Declare Houthis a Terrorist Group, Sparking Fears of Worsening Famine in Yemen

Oxfam called the designation “a counter-productive and dangerous policy that will put innocent lives at risk.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-11-2021

18-year-old Saida Ahmad Baghili is bed-ridden and unable to eat, surviving on a diet of juice, milk and tea. Screenshot: ABC News

Advocates for a more just U.S. foreign policy on Monday denounced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to designate Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group, a move that progressives say will disrupt the ability of humanitarian agencies to provide life-saving aid in an effort to alleviate widespread civilian suffering generated by the U.S.-backed Saudi regime’s assault on the country.

In a statement released Monday, Oxfam criticized Pompeo’s decision to label the Houthis a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” (FTO), calling it a “counter-productive and dangerous policy that will put innocent lives at risk.” Continue reading

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2020 Ends as It Began: With the Looming Threat of a US War With Iran

2020 began and ended with high-profile assassinations of Iranians, a buildup of the US military on Iran’s borders, and fears of another major war in the Middle East.

By Alan Macleod. Published 12-28-2020 by MintPress News

The guided-missile submarine USS Georgia transits the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, Dec. 21, 2020. Screenshot: YouTube

Amid increasing hostility towards Tehran, the United States is building up its military presence on Iran’s borders. In the past three weeks alone, the U.S. has flown in a squadron of fighter jets and extra B-52 bombers while deploying the U.S.S. Nimitz aircraft carrier (with its strike group) and a large submarine to the Persian Gulf. This comes on top of the 2,500 troops it sent to Saudi Arabia earlier in the year, the first build-up of forces in the country in 17 years. The nuclear powered Nimitz is home to nine squadrons of fighting aircraft and has also long been rumored to carry nuclear weapons.

The military insists that all the new measures are purely “in the name of deterrence.” However, the few journalists who have paid attention to the news appear skeptical. “That’s provocation!” wrote Rania Khalek. “You’re sending this shit thousands of miles away from your border to try to provoke Iran and then playing the victim.” Continue reading

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UN Human Rights Expert Urges US to Lift Sanctions That ‘May Exacerbate the Already Dire Humanitarian Situation in Syria’

After nearly a decade of war, the special rapporteur noted, Syrians are living with “extensively damaged houses, medical units, schools, and other facilities.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-29-2020

A study published last year by Amnesty International found that the U.S.-led bombing campaign on Raqqa, Syria in 2017 killed an estimated 1,600 innocent civilians while leveling the city. (Photo: Amnesty International)

A United Nations human rights expert on Tuesday called for the removal of unilateral U.S. sanctions targeting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, warning that despite claims by the Trump administration and congressional leaders that the measures aren’t intended to harm the people of war-torn Syria, they may do just that.

“The sanctions violate the human rights of the Syrian people, whose country has been destroyed by almost 10 years of ongoing conflict,” said Alena Douhan, U.N. special rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. “The conflict and violence have already had a dire impact on the ability of the Syrian people to realize their fundamental rights, having extensively damaged houses, medical units, schools, and other facilities.” Continue reading

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‘Republican Party Doesn’t Give a Damn About You’: McConnell Admits Direct Checks Only Included to Help GOP Win in Georgia

“Given that this conversion only came after ‘Kelly and David got hammered,’ no one should be fooled—or let him get away with it.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-17-2020

Screenshot: ABC News

After opposing another round of stimulus checks for months in the face of deteriorating economic conditions and widespread suffering, Republican congressional leaders have finally agreed to include direct payments in a coronavirus relief package that could be approved by the end of the week.

During a private GOP conference call Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) provided a straightforward and revealing reason for the sudden change of heart: “Kelly and David are getting hammered.” Continue reading

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‘Pass the Damn Covid Relief Bill’: Shoplifting of Essentials on Rise as Millions Struggle to Feed Families

“This state of austerity is an artificial cruelty designed to redistribute wealth, enrich the obscenely wealthy, and keep us under the thumb of employers and politicians.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-10-2020

A Publix supermarket in McDonough, Georgia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

With one-time $1,200 direct payments provided by Congress earlier this year long gone and the Republican Party refusing to renew enhanced unemployment benefits, which were shown to reduce poverty for several months, evidence is mounting that more people in the U.S. are being forced to steal food and other necessities as economic suffering mounts.

As the Washington Post reported Thursday, nearly 26 million Americans, or one in eight, reported not having sufficient food last month. The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to turn to food banks for the first time in their lives, but now that the federal government has allowed the Farmers to Families food box program to begin running out of money a month ahead of its expiration date, even those who have been able to rely on aid are likely to face even more desperate circumstances. Continue reading

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Critics Smell ‘Economic Sabotage’ as McConnell Unveils Covid Plan With $0 for Unemployment Boost, Direct Payments

“McConnell is making it pretty clear that if Dems don’t win the Georgia Senate races, he will cripple the American economy, hoping it will let the GOP win the midterm.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-2-2020

Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday began circulating a coronavirus relief proposal whose contents offer so little assistance to the tens of millions of jobless, hungry, and eviction-prone Americans that critics warned the Kentucky Republican is actively working to ensure the U.S. economy remains mired in deep recession as Biden administration takes charge next month.

Described as a “targeted” relief proposal, McConnell’s plan is heavily geared toward providing corporations with immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits; the offer includes a liability shield that Public Citizen’s Remington Gregg described as “breathtakingly broad.” The Kentucky Republican’s plan also contains a 100% tax deduction for business meals. Continue reading

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‘Hunger Like They’ve Never Seen It Before’: US Food Banks Struggle as 1 in 6 Families With Children Don’t Have Enough to Eat

“We’re now seeing families who had an emergency fund but it’s gone and they’re at the end of their rope,” said one Texas food bank director.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27=2020

Lines for a food bank in Little Rock, Arkansas. Screenshot: CNN

One in six U.S. families with children don’t have enough to eat this holiday season, a national emergency exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and the unemployment crisis it has generated. Over the past several days, remarkable reporting in the Washington Post and National Geographic, among other outlets, has explored this alarming trend.

According to Feeding America, the largest hunger relief organization in the U.S., more than 50 million people will experience food insecurity by the end of the year. Among U.S. children, the figure rises to one in four. The group, which runs a network of some 200 food banks across the nation, says it distributed over half a billion meals last month alone, a 52% increase from an average pre-pandemic month. Continue reading

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Shocking New Figures Show How Just Much the US is Fueling the Violence in Yemen

New figures from the UN and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute show that since the war in Yemen began, the US has sold over $13 billion in high-tech weapons to Saudi Arabia, making the Kingdom a cash cow for US weapons makers.

By Alan Macleod  Published 11-20-2020 by MintPress News

Graphic: Antonio Cabrera

Despite presenting itself as a force for good and peace in the Middle East, the United States sells at least five times as much weaponry to Saudi Arabia than aid it donates to Yemen. The State Department constantly portrays itself as a humanitarian superpower with the welfare of the Yemeni people as its highest priority, yet figures released from the United Nations and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) show that since the war in Yemen began, the U.S. government has given $2.56 billion in aid to the country, but sold over $13 billion in high-tech weapons to Saudi Arabia, the leader of the coalition prosecuting a relentless onslaught against the country.

Figures like these are always debatable. What constitutes legitimate “aid” is a question everyone would answer differently. Furthermore, the $13 billion figure does not include the enormous weapons deal Saudi Arabia signed with Donald Trump in 2017, which will reportedly see the Kingdom purchase $350 billion over ten years. Continue reading

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Biden Signals a Desire To End the Yemen War. Here’s Why Yemenis Aren’t Buying It

If Biden is serious about reaching a diplomatic end to the war, he has a real chance to add ending one of the twenty-first century’s most violent conflicts to his presidential legacy, but the chance of the happening may be slim

By Ahmed Abdulkareem. Published 11-13-2020 by MintPress News

A man walks past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa. Photo: DJANDYW.COM/flickr

As news broke that Joe Biden almost certainly won the U.S. presidential election, some Americans became hopeful that the new administration could hearken in an era of calm in the Middle East. In Yemen, however, that sentiment was not shared.

Most Yemenis have little hope that the new White House will end the blockade and the devastating war in their country, which is now nearing the end of its sixth year. Nor are they hopeful that the announcement that U.S. support for the Saudi military intervention in Yemen could end during Biden’s presidential term will materialize into action after he is sworn into office on January 20, 2021. Continue reading

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‘Deep Sense of Despair’: UNRWA Chief Says Palestinians Suffering Dual Pandemics of Covid-19 and Poverty

“In Gaza, people are going through the garbage,” said Philippe Lazzarini. “More people are fighting to provide one or two meals a day to their families.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-12=2020

Health staff from the Shaboura Health Centre in Rafah, Gaza, run by UN relief agency UNRWA, deliver medications directly to elderly Palestine refugees in the wake of COVID-19, so as to reduce their chances of exposure.. Photo: UNRWA/Khalil Adwan

Gaza residents are sifting through trash to find food amid soaring poverty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and a crippling 13-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade, the head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees said Monday.

Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), told The Guardian that “there is despair and hopelessness” not only in Gaza but throughout Palestine and the Palestinian refugee diaspora in neighboring and nearby nations. Continue reading

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