The Trump administration revoked a visa this week for International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. (Photo: ICC)
In a move human rights defenders decried as “shameful,” the Trump administration revoked the visa of the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor this week for trying to investigate alleged war crimes committed by American forces in Afghanistan.
“What we can confirm is that the U.S. authorities have revoked the prosecutor’s visa for entry into the U.S.” Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s office said in a statement. The decision, per her office, shouldn’t interfere with her travel to the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Continue reading →
Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military budgets are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, has secretly approved the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reutersrevealed this week. Saudi Arabia is reportedly attempting to construct at least two nuclear power plants as part of its effort to diversify its energy sector and its economy as a whole. As part of this plan it has accepted bids from Russia, South Korea and the U.S. for the lucrative contract. Perry’s approval is known as a Part 810 authorization, which allows energy companies to begin the process of planning and starting preliminary work in anticipation of the closing of a formal deal in the future.
While the Saudi proposals are presented as civilian and do not mention nuclear weaponry, U.S. approval and sale of nuclear technology has been seen by many as a prelude to the development of a Saudi nuclear weapon, which could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the region. Riyadh has long coveted atomic weaponry and has considered developing its own in its quest to maintain military dominance in the region. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit” Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, told the Guardian in 2011, noting that the kingdom may feel “compelled” to pursue the option in the future, if tensions with Iran remain high. Continue reading →
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a concentration camp is defined as “a place where large numbers of people are kept as prisoners in extremely bad conditions, especially for political reasons.” It is undeniable that the Rukban camp fits this definition to the letter.
The residents of al-Rukban camp suffer from severe humanitarian conditions especially during the winter. There are no heating elements, which forces the children of the camp to build mud houses rather than tents to alleviate the cold weather and storms that hit the area. Photo: Syria Live Map
The United States military has rejected offers to resolve the growing humanitarian crisis in the Rukban refugee camp in Syria, which sits inside a 55 km zone occupied by the U.S. along the Syria-Jordan border. The U.S. has also refused to let any of the estimated 40,000 refugees — the majority of which are women and children — leave the camp voluntarily, even though children are dying in droves from lack of food, adequate shelter and medical care. The U.S. has also not provided humanitarian aid to the camp even though a U.S. military base is located just 20 km (12.4 miles) away.
The growing desperation inside the Rukban camp has received sparse media coverage, likely because of the U.S.’ control over the area in which the camp is located. The U.S. has been accused of refusing to let civilians leave the area — even though nearly all have expressed a desire to either return to Syrian government-held territory or seek refuge in neighboring countries such as Turkey — because the camp’s presence helps to justify the U.S.’ illegal occupation of the area. Continue reading →
An Israeli soldier in the Golan Heights, 2006. (Photo: David Poe, Flickr)
Critics on Thursday swiftly condemned an announcement by President Donald Trump that he believes the U.S. should recognize Israel’s claim over the Golan Heights, the Syrian territory Israel has illegally occupied for over half a century.
“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” the president said on Twitter, “which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Continue reading →
Local residents and analysts alike fear the Saudi-led Coalition is using the relative calm derived from the new agreement as cover to fulfill its military objectives and not as a stepping stone towards peace.
Air strike in Sana’a – 2015. Photo: Ibrahem Qasim [CC BY-SA 4.0]
HODEIDA, YEMEN — Hundreds of residents from across Yemen’s Red Sea port city of Hodeida took to the streets for the third straight day, calling on the United Nations to take action to implement a troop withdrawal deal between the Houthis and the Saudi-led Coalition that was reached on February 19th. Residents waved Yemeni flags, Kalashnikovs, and banners emblazoned with slogans accusing Saudi Arabia and its coalition allies of undermining the agreement and prolonging the suffering of Yemeni children.
Last week, representatives from Yemen’s Houthis and the Coalition agreed to redeploy their militaries to areas outside of Hodeida under a UN-sponsored deal. However, “Phase 1” of the withdrawal plan has yet to progress, as the implementation of the troop withdrawal has yet to take effect. The Houthis accuse the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of obstructing the implementation of the agreement, as indications arise that a return to violence in the flashpoint port city is imminent. Continue reading →
The Hololens is demonstrated at the Penn Museum. (Photo: Penn Libraries-TRL/flickr/cc)
Declaring to chief executives that they refuse “to become war profiteers,” a group of Microsoft workers on Friday demanded the company cancel a contract with the U.S. Army that they say would “help people kill” and turn warfare into a “video game.”
Their open letter is addressed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, and, according to the “Microsoft Workers 4 Good” Twitter handle, which posted the document, it got over employee 100 signatures in its first day. Continue reading →
Destroyed house in Sanaa. Photo: brahem Qasim [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) just inked billions in deals to secure new weapons from top Pentagon contractor Raytheon a week after an Amnesty International investigation further implicated the Gulf nation in war crimes for transferring Western weapons to unaccountable militia groups, thereby deepening the humanitarian crisis and fueling carnage in war-ravaged Yemen.
“The ongoing carnage against civilians in Yemen—including at the hands of the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition and the militias it backs—should give serious pause to all states supplying arms,” said Patrick Wilcken, arms control and human rights researcher at Amnesty International. “Emirati forces receive billions of dollars’ worth of arms from Western states and others, only to siphon them off to militias in Yemen that answer to no-one and are known to be committing war crimes.” Continue reading →
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday claimed the designated terrorist organization Hezbollah “has active cells” in Venezuela. (Photo: Fox Business)
As a U.S.-backed effort to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro continues,U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late Wednesday that Hezbollah “has active cells” in Venezuela—a claim that was immediately scrutinized and compared with the second Bush administration’s lies to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Hezbollah, a political and militant Shi’ite Muslim group based in Lebanon, has been on the U.S. State Department’s “Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations” list since 1997. In the interview with Fox Business, Pompeo, who previously served as President Donald Trump’s CIA director, also charged that Iran and Cuba are strongly influencing the country.Continue reading →
“Certainly, it’s something that’s on the—it’s an option,” Trump said of sending the U.S. military to Venezuela during an interview with CBS’s “Face The Nation” with Margaret Brennan that aired Sunday morning. Photo: Michael Strasser/US Army
As demands intensify for the U.S. government to cease its “dangerous” and anti-democratic meddling in the internal affairs of Venezuela, President Donald Trump on Sunday morning said that sending U.S. troops to the politically fractured Latin American nation is “an option” he continues to consider.
“Certainly, it’s something that’s on the—it’s an option,” Trump said during an interview with CBS’s “Face The Nation” with Margaret Brennan. Continue reading →