Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Cracks in the Middle East’s stability grow wider as US influence wanes

With the region experiencing social unrest, greater influence of Russia and China, and Israel’s increasing independence, the future is uncertain

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-29-2021 by openDemocracy

A Palestinian making art out of an unexploded Israeli missile. Photo: Wajd/Twitter

The reopening of the US Consulate in East Jerusalem, which reverses one of Trump’s key moves against the Palestinian Authority, was the most significant outcome of the US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s four-state visit to the Middle East this week.

President Joe Biden’s top diplomat also announced immediate support for reconstruction in Gaza, while maintaining strong support for Israel. Yet Blinken has not proposed new peace talks, nor has he engaged with Hamas, which the US and Israel still deem to be a terrorist organisation. Instead, his quick tour through Jerusalem, Ramallah, Cairo and Amman was mainly focused on consolidating the ceasefire. If it helps, good, but it still does nothing to address the underlying issues. Continue reading

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To achieve press freedom, we must rewrite journalism

It is time to liberate our media systems from the political and economic forces that have long subtly controlled them

By Dan Hind.  Published 4-30-2021 by openDemocracy

Monday will mark World Press Freedom Day. It’s a moment to celebrate the work that journalism does in holding power to account. It’s also a moment to raise awareness of the dangers facing journalists in many countries. At least 1,400 journalists have been killed for doing their job in the three decades since the first World Freedom Day in 1991. Many of those were killed by their own governments, or by organised crime groups linked to political elites. This year’s coverage will focus on this violence, and on the culture of fear it is intended to promote. And this is right and proper. As long as people can’t go to work without fear of violent retribution there is a pressing need to bear witness. Continue reading

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Ramadan Brings No Relief for Yemen as Saudis Block Charities and Turks Unleash Foreign Mercanaries

Just as it transferred mercenaries from Syria to the conflict zones in Libya and Azerbaijan, Turkey — the financial and spiritual capital of the Muslim Brotherhood — is now doing the same in Yemen’s oil-rich Marib.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem  Published 4-21-2021 by MintPress News

Tribesmen allied with the Houthis patrol a frontline near Al-Jadafer village in Marib, along the governorate’s border with Al-Jawf, on September 6, 2020. Ali Owidha | Sana’a Center

Adel al-Hajajji is a proud man but, with a pregnant wife and three young mouths to feed, he can’t afford to wait around for a miracle. Instead, he has taken to wandering the streets of Sana’a, gathering discarded plastic water bottles to sell to the recycling center near his home in al-Rawdah. The meager earnings net him just enough to provide his family with a modest iftar, the evening meal that marks the end of the day’s fast during the month of Ramadan. The meal usually consists of bread and water but on occasion neighbors will bring by Saltah, Yemen’s national dish made of rice and potatoes, with meat blended in during more prosperous times.

Before the war, Adel was relatively well off, with a stable government job. He fasted during Ramadan without a passing thought about where his next meal would come from. In 2015, when the Saudis invaded and food become harder to find, he began to receive Ramadan meals courtesy of Muslim charities from wealthy patrons in the Gulf. This year, though, Adel says those charities have told him they could no longer donate to Yemen due to the blockade and subsequent crackdown from Saudi authorities, who claim that charity could fall into Houthi hands. Continue reading

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As Activists’ Hunger Strike Reaches Day 13, Calls Mount for Biden to End US Complicity in Starvation of Yemen

“My pain cannot amount to that of Yemenis under siege,” said one hunger striker. “I am starving, but I am not being starved. I am suffering, but I can choose to end that suffering.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-10-2021

Photo: Joe Catron/Twitter

A hunger strike launched by Detroit-based anti-war activists in protest of the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen entered its 13th day on Saturday as calls grow for President Joe Biden to end all U.S. support for the kingdom’s deadly restrictions, which are preventing food, medicine, fuel, and other aid from reaching starving Yemenis.

Iman Saleh, a 26-year-old Yemeni American taking part in the hunger strike, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Friday that “the siege against Yemen not only has had a crippling effect on everyday life, but it is also compounding the ongoing conflict in the country, causing damage that exceeds even the violence itself in both scale and intensity.” Continue reading

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After 10 Years of Civil War in Syria, US (Quietly) Declares Defeat but Won’t Go Home

After a decade of bombing, invasions, exoduses and economic strife, it is clear that there are precious few winners in the Syrian Civil War — or from the rest of the Arab Spring, for that matter.

By Alan Macleod  Published 3-25-2021 by MintPress News

Montage of the Syrian Civil War. Photo: Collective, CC BY 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This March marks the 10-year anniversary of the Arab Spring and the protests that rocked Syria, which were a starting point for the ongoing civil war. That conflict has led to over half a million deaths and nearly 13 million people displaced, according to some estimates.

Now, after 10 years of attempts to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, it appears that many in the U.S. government and media are quietly conceding defeat. Continue reading

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Biden Urged to Force End to US-Backed Saudi Blockade After Chilling Report on Starving Yemeni Children

“President Biden should demand: ‘MBS, lift the blockade’… This is a moment for moral clarity and bold leadership.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-12-2021

Poster for the global day of action in January, 2021. Image: Workers Voice

Progressive members of Congress are demanding that President Joe Biden bring pressure to bear on Saudi Arabia to end its yearslong blockade on Yemen—which has been maintained with U.S. help—after new reporting provided a closer look at the horrific suffering caused by the kingdom’s ongoing obstruction of food, medicine, and other essential supplies.

“With 400,000 children now at risk of starvation in Yemen, the U.S. must tell the Saudis in no uncertain terms: immediately end the blockade and let humanitarian aid in,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Thursday. Continue reading

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US, Allies Drop 46 Bombs Per Day for 20 Years, New CODEPINK Research Reveals

The United States has been at war for nearly every year of its existence as an independent nation, fighting in 227 years of its 244-year history.

By Alan Macleod  Published 3-5-2021 by MintPress News

Saddam Hussein’s former castle in Mosul, 2019. Photo: Levi Clancy/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The United States and its allies have dropped at least 326,000 bombs and missiles on countries in the greater Middle East/ North Africa region since 2001. That is the conclusion of new research by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies of anti-war group CODEPINK.

Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are the countries that have felt the worst of the violence, but Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine and Somalia have also been targeted. The total amounts to an average of 46 bombs dropped per day over the last 20 years. Continue reading

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This Is Yemen After Biden Declared an End To American Support for the War

The Biden administration sparked a sense of hope around the world that the war on Yemen could finally be over. For those on the ground though, the bombs keep falling, food is scarce and hope is in short supply.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem Published 2-12-2021 by MintPress News

A group of children play soccer against a backdrop of ruined houses in Sa’ada. Photo: Karrar-al Moayyad/ICRC/CC

SANA’A, YEMEN — Seated next to his 13-year-old daughter Hakimah’s bed in al-Thawra Hospital, S. al-Hanishi watches a breaking news report on a small TV screen announcing that the president of the United States has announced an end to U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war on his country.

But al-Hanishi took the news with skepticism. “[Biden] said he’ll end support to Mohammed Bin Salman but will help Saudi Arabia to defend her herself… Come on!” S. al-Hanishi, who asked that only his first initial and tribal surname be used for fear of reprisal, said in dismay. Continue reading

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‘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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