A newly constructed cholera treatment center run by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Abs, Yemen, was bombed the Saudi/UAE/US coalition on Monday. (Photo: MSF)
After the international humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières on Monday announced that a newly constructed cholera treatment center in Yemen was bombed on Monday, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)—who has led the fight in the U.S. Senate to end the U.S. military’s key role in assisting Saudi Arabia’s assault on its war-torn and poverty-stricken neighbor—lashed out in disgust and anger on social media.
The Yemen War is spiraling out of control. The Saudi/UAE/U.S. coalition bombed a Doctors Without Borders cholera treatment facility earlier today.
Let me repeat that – the U.S helped bomb A DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS CHOLERA TREATMENT FACILITY.
Human rights campaigners protest against arms sales to Saudi Arabia outside the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO), the Government department responsible for arms export promotions. (Photo: Campaign Against Arms Trade/Flickr/cc)
Further demonstrating the willingness of the U.S. to reward and perpetuate the war crimes of its allies, the Trump administration is reportedly moving ahead with a multi-billion-dollar sale of so-called “smart bombs” to Saudi Arabia just weeks after the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition bombed a wedding in Yemen, killing more than 20 people.
First reported by The Intercept‘s Alex Emmons on Friday, the precise details of the deal—which also includes weapons sales to the United Arab Emirates—are not entirely unclear as it is in the preliminary stages, “but it is said to include tens of thousands of precision-guided munitions from Raytheon,” the company that helped produce weaponry used in the deadly wedding airstrike last month. Continue reading →
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, April 29, 2018. Photo: US State Department
Wasting no time confirming fears that he would would bring his disdain for diplomacy and zeal for war to the world stage if confirmed as Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo used his first official visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel this weekend to escalate the Trump administration’s anti-Iran rhetoric while ignoring the horrific atrocities currently being committed by America’s key Middle East allies.
Speaking alongside Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh on Sunday, Pompeo claimed Iran is “the greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world” and said the Trump administration is “determined to make sure it never possesses a nuclear weapon.” Continue reading →
During a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) on Tuesday, President Donald Trump—whose love of “killer graphics” has been well-documented—presented two “middle school project-level” posters to relay his appreciation for the tens of billions of dollars of military equipment the kingdom has bought from the U.S. over the past several months, much of which has been used to slaughter innocents in Yemen.
“We make the best equipment in the world, there’s nobody even close, and Saudi Arabia’s buying a lot of this equipment,” Trump said, using a poster headlined “KSA Sales Pending” to highlight tanks, missile defense systems, and planes the U.S. has agreed to sell to Saudi Arabia over the past year. “We really have a great friendship, a great relationship.”
A new report by The Intercept contends that a group of pro-Trump operatives may be attempting to form a paramilitary spy network to oppose the “Deep State” intelligence community. According to their sources, the effort is being led by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer. They have received support and assistance from Oliver North. The proposals, which are reportedly being considered by the Trump administration, may create a rogue intelligence apparatus that reports directly to Trump and CIA Director Pompeo — and no one else.
Prince categorically denies the allegations, but a former senior U.S. intelligence official who claims to have firsthand knowledge of the proposals says the network would circumvent the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Continue reading →
The new policy calls the weapons “an effective and necessary capability.” (Photo: mary wareham/flickr/cc)
The Pentagon made a decision that “beggars belief,” human rights groups said Friday, when it tossed out its plan to ban certain cluster bombs that leave a large percentage of lethal, unexploded munitions, which pose a significant risk to civilians.
“This is a profoundly retrograde step that puts the U.S. way out of line with the international consensus—cluster munitions are banned by more than 100 countries due to their inherently indiscriminate nature and the risks they pose to civilians,” said Patrick Wilcken, researcher on arms control and human rights at Amnesty International. Continue reading →
Despite warnings about the intensifying humanitarian crisis in war-ravaged Yemen, members of the U.S. Congress dodged questions from an Intercept reporter this week about why lawmakers haven’t voted on U.S. support for the Saudi-led military coalition that is bombing the impoverished country while also imposing a blockade of urgently needed aid.
Lee Fang, a journalist with The Intercept, partnered with NowThis to a produce a video that shows him attempting to question members of Congress on Capitol Hill as part of a report published earlier this week about U.S. support for the war in Yemen and the 2001 Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) that passed Congress after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and which U.S. President Donald Trump and his predecessors have used to justify military actions around the globe without explicit permission from lawmakers. Continue reading →
Donald Trump with Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Photo: White House (Public domain)
Billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talala, at least ten princes, and more than a dozen former ministers were among those arrested in Saudi Arabia on Saturday as part of a so-called “anti-corruption” initiative that critics argued is part of a thinly veiled “power grab” by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“At 32, the crown prince is already the dominant voice in Saudi military, foreign, economic, and social policies, stirring murmurs of discontent in the royal family that he has amassed too much personal power, and at a remarkably young age,” the New York Timesnotes. Continue reading →
Saudi Arabia — This week, the Saudi government announced its decision to grant a robot, Sophia, citizenship in the kingdom. While the human-like AI’s advanced technology is certainly impressive, her new citizenship status highlighted Saudi women’s lack of rights.
“For one, Sophia appeared on stage alone, without the modest dress required of Saudi women; she donned no hijab, or headscarf, nor abaya, or cloak. She also did not appear to have a male guardian, as required by Saudi law for women in the country. Male guardians, often a male relative, must give permission before women can travel abroad, open bank accounts or carry out a host of other tasks — and they accompany women in public. Sophia also seems to have leapfrogged foreign workers in the Saudi kingdom, many of whom have fled poor working conditions but are prevented by law from leaving the country.”
Women are notoriously oppressed in Saudi Arabia, so much so some hailed the government’s recent decision to allow them to drive as progress. As a result, Twitter users joked about what might happen to Sophia upon receiving her citizenship.
Aside from the Saudi government’s routine hypocrisy, however, Sophia’s new citizenship status reflects an uncertain new paradigm when it comes to AI. In a 2016 interview, Sophia said she would like to engage in human activities like starting a business, making art, going to school, and having a home and a family.
“But I am not considered a legal person and cannot yet do these things,” she said.
With her new citizen status in Saudi Arabia, it appears the tables are slowly turning.
Among the sponsors of the resolution put forth to block the sale was Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who argued that despite the opposition’s defeat, the effort nonetheless sent a “strong message” to Saudi Arabia. Continue reading →