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Yemen's Houthis eject pres. Hadi who UK, US, Israel back
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter


Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2236
Location: Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2HB.

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The attack on Yemen is not “Saudi-led” but Saudi-fronted. Britain and the United States are concealed behind what Lord Curzon once called an ‘Arab facade’."
Documentation of U.K.-crimes in Yemen
https://britishempireexposed.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/britains-role-in -yemen

Britain’s role in Yemen
britishempireexposed.wordpress.com

10:50 pm · 20 May 2018
https://www.twitter.com/NaseerHaider72/status/998319987348656130

Britain’s role in Yemen
Saudi-fronted campaign
https://britishempireexposed.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/britains-role-in -yemen/

The attack on Yemen is not “Saudi-led” but merely Saudi-fronted. Britain and the United States are concealed behind what Lord Curzon once called an ‘Arab facade’. Philip Hammond claimed Britain aren’t directly involved in the Yemen campaign but hinted they could be in the future. He instead states that Britain will support the assault on Yemen “in every practical way short of engaging in combat”. [9] Below is a catalogue of British involvement, based on reporting so far:

Direct involvement by British personnel
Targeting

British military personnel key in the codes that help select and attack targets. [10]
Britain provides Saudi Arabia with intelligence for targeting. [13]
“[S]ix [British] experts are working with Saudi targeteers who select locations for attack.” [11]
British officials have access to lists of targets. [1]
Targeting training: Britain is providing targeting training to Saudi forces, including for cruise missile attacks. Three three-week courses in targeting for the Royal Saudi Air Force (20 attendees on each). Saudi land forces were trained in targeting and “weapons-locating radar”. [14]
Presence in the command room

British military personnel are in the command room as airstrikes are carried out. [10] [1]
The control room (with the British personnel inside) is in Riyadh. [12]
Expertise

Sky News reports: “British military experts have joined Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against rebels in Yemen”. [11]
The British military team in Riyadh make battle-damage assessments following bombing raids. [33]
Signing off arms licenses

Government ministers sign off all weapons licenses. [16]
Pilot training

Britain trained the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) in both Britain and Saudi Arabia. [31]
Weapons training

Saudis were trained to use ‘Storm Shadow’ (“an air-launched explosive device designed to destroy buried enemy command centres”). [14]
Britain may host Saudi personnel in the UK for further training. [14]
Other support

Refuelling: Britain/US is helping to provide airborne refuelling for bomber jets. [13]
Intelligence [7]
Logistical support [7]
Weapons

Weapons sold

Aircraft [7] [9]
Hammond confirmed British-made aircraft were being used in the campaign. [9]
Helicopters [7]
Drones [7]
Bombs [16] [7] [21]
Cluster bombs [19]
Britain is believed to have sold large numbers of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia since the 1990s. [19]
Missiles [13] [16] [7]
Britain agreed to provide hundreds of Paveway IV missiles. [13]
Rockets [16]
Tanks [7]
Armoured vehicles [7]
Grenades [7]
Laser guidance kits [21]
Cash value

Saudi Arabia is Britain’s biggest customer for arms sales. [21]
Britain has agreed £5.6bn arms contracts with Saudi Arabia in the last five years. [11]
Britain agreed orders for £3.5bn of weaponry since the start of 2015 (reported in August 2016). [21]
Since the conflict began Britain has granted arms licenses to Saudi Arabia for £3.3 billion (US$4.4 billion) worth of arms/ammunition in the first year of the war. [15] [7]
Britain licensed £2.8bn of weaponry to Saudi Arabia between March 2015 – April 2016. [14]
£1,066,216,510 of weapons was sold to Saudi Arabia from July to September 2015 [16]
Increase in arms sales

“Over a three-month period in 2015, the value of exports of British-made bombs and missiles had increased by 11,000%, from £9m to £1bn.” [10]
British arms companies increased sales to Saudi Arabia by over a hundred times. [16]
Despite war crimes Philip Hammond said: “We’d always like to do more business”. [16]
Cameron’s belief that there is no military solution to the conflict didn’t affect arms exports to Saudi Arabia. [16]
Blockade

Britain backed the blockade of Yemen in a UN Security Council resolution (Note – very few articles in the British mainstream press even mention the blockade). [7]
The blockade is being enforced by US/NATO ships. In November 2016 it was reported that Britain had secretly deployed a £1bn ‘Destroyer’ warship to the coast of Yemen. [32]
Britain’s closest ally, the US, has seven combat ships (including the USS Winston Churchill) surrounding Yemen carrying thousands of soldiers. [26]
Diplomatic cover/dishonesty

Denying humanitarian violations

Boris Johnson said the Saudis were not “in clear breach” of humanitarian law. The British Foreign Office corrected this on 21st July 2016: “We have been unable to assess whether there is a breach of international humanitarian law.” [7]
The British Foreign Office said: “The Government is satisfied that extant licences for Saudi Arabia are compliant with this export licensing criteria.” [19]
Britain claims Saudi Arabia didn’t drop a British-made cluster bomb, despite Amnesty evidence. [20]
Obstructionism

Misleading parliament
The British government repeatedly misled parliament. [7]
Tobias Ellwood was forced to correct six statements that had previously been given about the conflict. [21]
There is an official blanket ban on comments about ‘Special Forces’ operations or intelligence matters. There is a common practice of ‘seconding’ military personnel to intelligence agencies, bringing them under the umbrella of this ban. Such a tactic allows the British government to outright lie about military involvement in various conflicts. [1]
In January 2016 Cameron said: British “personnel are not involved in carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen or selecting targets and we’re not involved in the Saudi targeting decision-making process.” [1]
13th September 2016 – The British government claims “[t]here are no UK Armed Forces personnel based in Yemen”. [5]
Blocking investigation
Britain helped block an independent investigation of human rights violations at the UN Human Rights Council. [7] [18]
In 2006 Blair prevented an investigation into arms sales to Saudi Arabia. [21]
Calling for self-investigation
Boris Johnson said the Saudis should self-investigate because they have “the best insight”, adding, “[t]his is the standard we set ourselves”. This is obviously an official government line because British Foreign Office official Joyce Anelay said almost exactly the same thing when responding to a question put to the FCO. [7] [22]
Watering down condemnation
The British government watered down a government report relating to arms sales to Saudi Arabia. [7]
Making excuses
Ellwood defended Saudi Arabia’s response to criticism: “It was new territory for Saudi Arabia and a conservative nation was not used to such exposure.” [7]
Ignoring war crimes/human rights violations

There are doubts within the Foreign Office about the legality of the British contribution in Yemen. Foreign Office lawyers, diplomats and advisers to Hammond have warned that Britain could be prosecuted for war crimes because arms sales to Saudi Arabia may breach international humanitarian law. [13]
Human Rights Watch say they have documented 30 examples breaching the international rules of war (Sky News reported this in January 2016). [11]
Amnesty, HRW and other NGOs say there is no doubt British weapons have hit civilians. [13]
At the start of 2016 Human Rights Watch found evidence of British-made bombs and laser guidance kits being used in Yemen. [21]
Britain is aware of reports of airstrikes on medical facilities. [22]
Amnesty documented the recent use of a British-made cluster bomb in Yemen, which has been banned for decades. The cluster bomb was a British-made BL-755, designed to be dropped by British-made Tornado jets (used by Saudi Arabia). [19]
A civilian factory was proven to be destroyed by a British cruise missile, causing civilian loss of life. [13]
A widely-circulated video shows a college being bombed in Yemen (January 2016), which is a war crime. [15]
Since 2014 Britain has trained “either security or armed forces personnel” in Yemen, despite the country being on Britain’s own watchlist of human rights abusers. [8]
Destruction of Yemen
Deaths during the conflict

Total deaths
At least 10,000 Yemenis have died so far (reported January 2016). [11]
The war has killed 10,000 people (reported September 2016). [15]
Civilian deaths
Two-thirds of civilian casualties have been caused by the airstrikes. [16]
Close to 5,000 civilians have been killed (reported in November 2015). [13]
The UN says 3,218 civilians have been killed so far (reported in March 2016). [17]
This article (from April 2016) states 2,800 civilians have been killed in the conflict (700+ children). [14]
UN says the air-bombing of Yemen has killed 2,000 civilians (reported August 2016). [12]
Children deaths
Unicef: 10 children a day are being killed. [13]
Casualties during the conflict
60% of casualties are a result of Saudi-fronted British/US airstrikes. [18]
Targeting civilians

Peter Oborne claims he witnessed evidence of British proxies (Saudi Arabia/GCC) targeting civilians. [7]
Examples of civilian incidents (not exhaustive):
School [12] [15] [14]
630 schools and institutes damaged/destroyed. [7]
A school was bombed killing ten children in an area far from the front-line where there was no active ground fighting. [12]
A college was bombed. [15]
Wedding [14] [16]
Airstrikes killed 130 civilians at a wedding. [16] [14]
Medical facilities [2] [14]
250 health facilities damaged/destroyed. [7]
Airstrikes on medical facilities. [2] [14]
Four MSF hospitals were hit by airstrikes despite MSF giving their GPS coordinates to Saudi authorities. [7]
Mosques
648 mosques have been damaged/destroyed. [7]
Homes
330,000 homes damaged/destroyed. [7]
Markets
106 people were killed in an airstrike on a market. UN said there were no military targets nearby. [17]
Civilian infrastructure
A civilian factory was destroyed. [13]
Birth defects

Doctors in Yemen have reported a drastic increase in stillbirths and children born with deformities in areas under heavy bombardment. [34]
Blockade-related suffering

20 of Yemen’s 22 governates are on the edge of famine. [18]
The World Food Programme: most Yemeni provinces are one level below a full famine crisis. [13]
UN: 21 million lack basic life-sustaining services. [13]
Unicef: 6 million face food insecurity. [13]
A doctor estimates there are 25 people dying every day at the Republic hospital due to the blockade alone. [7]
Displacement

UN: 1.5 million have been displaced from their home [13]
Unexploded munitions

Cluster bombs
Amnesty claims a British-made cluster bomb was dropped in Yemen on 18th or 19th January 2016. [20]
An unexploded cluster bomb containing 147 ‘bomblets’ was found in a Yemeni village. [19]
Villagers have been injured attempting to clear unexploded ‘bomblets’. [19]
Previous British campaign in Yemen, leading into the current conflict

Timeframe (according to reports)

Since 2002 Britain has played “a leading role” in a ‘JPEL’ assassination campaign in a number of countries, including Yemen. [6]
The British Foreign Office has confirmed its “counter-terrorism capacity building support” continued up until the closure of the embassy in February 2015. [1]
Reports have shown that the drone-bombing campaign continues to this day, as does the involvement of British intelligence. [27]
Conducting covert operations

MI6 and British ‘Special Forces’ have been active in covert operations in Yemen. [1]
MI6 have infiltrated AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula). Britain has a long history of protecting agents in such groups and allowing them to commit atrocities. [2]
British officials took part in “hits”. [3]
Providing military infrastructure

A British base in England (Menwith Hill) is used to aid “a significant number of capture-kill operations” in a number of countries, Yemen included. [7]
Reported: The British government has consistently asserted that operations at this base “have always been, and continue to be” carried out with its “knowledge and consent.” [7]
Providing intelligence for drone-strikes

MI6 and British ‘Special Forces’ identify targets for drone-strikes. [1]
MI6 provided targeting information for drone-strikes. The intelligence for a strike can come from British intelligence personnel embedded in AQAP. [2]
British officials “triangulate[d]” intelligence for target lists. [3]
British officials prepared “target packages” for the assassination campaign. [3]
MI6 helps observe and fix targets ahead of drone-strikes. [2]
The nature of the program

The drone program considers all ‘military-age males’ in a ‘strike zone’ as legitimate targets. [4]
1,147 people have been killed in attempts to target 41 named individuals. [3]
Ex-Foreign Minister of Yemen said Britain had a “blank cheque” to carry out drone operations. [3]
However their consent wasn’t necessary as Tony Blair made clear in 2001: “Our strategy should be to work with the Yemenis if we can, but to leave them in no doubt that if they fail to take the necessary action, they run the risk of others doing it for them”. [28]
The significance of Britain’s role

A former senior CIA official, when discussing a particular drone-strike confirmed: “the most important contribution” to the intelligence for the strike came from “a very important British capability” – British intelligence personnel embedded within AQAP. [2]
British officials played a “crucial and sustained role” in the drone program. [3]
An ex-CIA official said Britain played a “pretty critical” role in the drone program. [3]
Operations Room

In support of drone-strikes, British officials worked in a Yemeni National Security Bureau “joint operations room” with US and Yemeni forces. [3]
An MI6 team mentored Yemenis in a Joint Operations Room, observing and fixing targets ahead of drone-strikes. [2]
Denials

As the British government refuses to talk about ‘Special Forces’ operations, they denied their part in the drone program. In 2014 the MoD said: “The UK does not provide any military support to the US campaign of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) strikes on Yemen.” [1]
In 2014 the British government denied providing any “military support” to the drone program, adding that drone-strikes are “a matter for the states involved”. Britain denied knowledge of an ‘operations room’ for targeting and claimed there were only two British military personnel in Yemen (in 2014). [3]
Britain’s historical role in Yemen

Background

Britain ruled Aden for a century and a half. [23]
Britain recruited sympathetic Arabs into their ‘Special Branch’. [29]
British forces were deployed to Yemen 1947 (Suppression of civil disturbances), 1955-60 (Yemen border incidents), 1962-70 (sided with the Royalists in the Yemen Civil War), and 1964 (Yemen Radfan campaign against socialist-led revolutionaries). [24]
Britain ignored a 1963 UN call to withdraw from Aden. [30]
There is a replica of ‘Big Ben’ there called ‘Little Ben’ and a statue of Queen Victoria. [23]
The so-called ‘Aden emergency’ lasted from 1963 to 1967. [23]
Britain, colluding with Israel’s Mossad and Saudi Arabia, conducted a covert war in 1960s North Yemen in which 200,000 died. [30]
“In the mid-1960s, Britain (in alliance with Saudi Arabia and Jordan) joined royalists trying to quash a republican uprising in North Yemen that coincided with a deadly guerrilla insurgency against the British to the south, in the colony of Aden – the ‘cornerstone of British military policy in the Gulf region’.” [29]
British dirty war

Britain had a ‘Special Ops’ force called the Terrorist Weapons and Tactics Team (known as… ‘TWATTs’). They specialised in “using terrorist weapons and tactics…” [23]
British soldiers had been involved in unprovoked killings in Aden. [29]
One veteran said if he told the truth about Aden, “half the battalion would be done for murder”. [29]
MI6 worked with locals to “direct the planting of bombs” while towns were “shot up” and political figures murdered. [30]
The British government, whilst lying about it, authorised and funded a mercenary operation conducted by dozens of ex-SAS troops, with MI6 and GCHQ providing intelligence and logistics. [30]
The British government privately called for “tribal revolts” so that Britain could initiate “deniable action … to sabotage [pro-Yemeni Republican] intelligence centres and kill personnel engaged in anti-British activities”. [29]
The British Army, including the SAS, operated plain-clothed death squads “disguised as Arabs”. [29] [30]
Tens of thousands fled from RAF bombs that destroyed villages/crops. [30]
“Mad Mitch” Mitchell

Under Lieutenant Colonel “Mad Mitch” Mitchell’s leadership, the British sniper-shot anyone who looked like a threat. He called this “Argyll Law” and said “[i]t was like shooting grouse”. [29]
“Mad Mitch” Mitchell viewed the locals as “dirty, smelly people”. [29]
Lieutenant Colonel “Mad Mitch” Mitchell led the brutality and was later rewarded by being elected to the House of Commons as a Tory MP. [23]
“Mad Mitch” later served in N. Ireland. [29]
British torture

Sexual humiliation
Prisoners were forced to sit naked on a metal pole whilst their weight forced it into their anus [25] [23]
Prisoners had their genitals twisted and crushed by the hands of guards [25] [23]
Prisoners were stripped naked and forced to stay in refrigerated cells – encouraging frostbite and pneumonia. [25] [23]
Prisoners had to stand naked during interrogations. [23]
Guards would stub out cigarettes on prisoners’ skin. [25] [23]
There were frequent physical beatings. [25]
The British army tortured Yemenis with the notorious ‘Five Techniques’ (“wall-standing, hooding, noise, bread and water diet and deprivation of sleep”). [30] [23]
Some prisoners had their eardrums pierced. [30]
A 1966 Amnesty report caused global outrage but the torture centres remained for a full year afterwards and the Red Cross and Amnesty International were denied access to the victims. [25] [30]
Psychological warfare

The British practised “misinformation and psychological warfare”. [23]
Denials

In 1964 Prime Minister Douglas-Hume said Britain had a non-interventionist policy towards Yemen, “It is not therefore our policy to supply arms to the Royalists.” But they did. [29]
https://www.theguardian.com/news/defence-and-security-blog/2016/apr/11  /uk-special-forces-and-mi6-involved-in-yemen-bombing-report-reveals
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/apr/7/britains-mi6-provided-c rucial-intel-obamas-drone-w/
http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/uk-plays-critical-role-in-yemen-drone -war-reports/
https://theintercept.com/2014/11/06/many-countries-islamic-world-u-s-b ombed-occupied-since-1980/
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answe rs-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-09-08/45743
http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/britains-secret-assassination s-programme-extended-kill-list/
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2016/826-menwith-m enace-britain-s-complicity-in-saudi-arabia-s-terror-campaign-against-y emen.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/britain-trains-soldiers-for-most- regimes-on-its-own-human-rights-abuse-watchlist-a7041086.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/yemen/11500518/UK -will-support-Saudi-led-assault-on-Yemeni-rebels-but-not-engaging-in-c ombat.html
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/sep/08/britains-secret-wars-o man
http://news.sky.com/story/exclusive-uk-helping-saudis-yemen-campaign-1 0333596
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/13/10-children-killed-in-their -classroom-by-saudi-coalition-airstri/
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/uk-could-be-prosecuted-f or-war-crimes-over-missiles-sold-to-saudi-arabia-that-were-used-to-kil l-a6752166.html
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/15/uk-army-officers-provi de-targeting-training-saudi-military
https://www.rt.com/uk/358662-yemen-crimes-theresa-may/
http://www.independent.co.uk/middle-east/british-arms-companies-ramp-u p-bomb-sales-to-saudi-arabia-by-100-times-despite-air-strikes-on
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/19/world/middleeast/yemen-airstrikes-ci vilians-un.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/yemen/12171785/Ye men-is-becoming-the-new-Syria-and-Britain-is-directly-to-blame.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/british-made-clust er-bomb-found-in-yemeni-village-targeted-by-saudi-led-coalition-a70426 26.html
https://www.rt.com/uk/345531-cluster-bombs-fallon-yemen/
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/20/britain-cashing-in-middl e-east-weapons-sales-saudi-arabia-yemen
http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answe rs-statements/written-question/Lords/2016-09-05/HL1494
https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/may/17/military.iraq1
http://www.revolutionarycommunist.org/capitalist-crisis/4208-136bm1512 15#sidr-main
http://listverse.com/2014/02/04/10-evil-crimes-of-the-british-empire/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/04/17/navy-has- seven-combat-ships-around-yemen-as-saudi-led-blockade-continues/
https://news.vice.com/article/britains-covert-war-in-yemen-a-vice-news -investigation
Blair-to-Bush memo, 4th December 2001 (released by Chilcot)
Chapter 13 of Anne Cadwallader’s “Lethal Allies” (2013)
Chapter 12 of Mark Curtis’s “Web of Deceit” (2003)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/saudi-arabia-yemen-confl ict-bombing-latest-uk-training-pilots-alleged-war-crimes-a7375551.html
https://www.rt.com/uk/366095-warship-oil-yemen-saudi/
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/08/theresa-may-cuts-bori s-johnson-adrift-ahead-of-his-visit-to-gulf
https://www.rt.com/news/382224-yemen-deformed-babies-saudi/

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

U.S. soldiers are secretly fighting Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen, report says http://www.newsweek.com/us-soldiers-secretly-fighting-saudi-arabias-wa r-yemen-report-says-910041

U.S. Army Special Forces have been covertly aiding in Saudi Arabia's war against Zaidi Shiite Muslim insurgents in neighboring Yemen, where the rebels control the capital and often fire ballistic missiles, according to a new report by The New York Times.

Citing information provided by U.S. officials and European diplomats, the Times reported Thursday that about a dozen Green Berets were deployed to Saudi Arabia's border with Yemen in December, a month after the Houthi rebels fired a Burkan-2 ballistic missile at Riyadh's international airport. Saudi Arabia claimed to have intercepted the November attack with its U.S.-built MIM-104F Patriot missile defense system, but analysts have cast doubt on this official version of events.


Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman reportedly reached out to the U.S. for help in locating and destroying Houthi missile launch sites shortly after, opening what may be a new shadowy front for the Pentagon's operations in the Middle East.

4287747
U.S. Special Forces Soldiers, attached to Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, maneuver though a village to gain fire superiority during an operation in the Achin district, Nangahar providence, Afghanistan, October 3, 2016. Green Berets already operate in nearly 70 percent of the world's countries, now they may be escalating their role in Yemen's civil war.
SPECIALIST CHRISTOPHER STEVENSON/U.S. ARMY/DEFENSE VISUAL INFORMATION DISTRIBUTION SERVICE

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Yemen's current unrest began with the ouster of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh amid a wave of regional protests in 2012. Saleh was replaced by his deputy Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who himself faced growing dissent as well as dueling Shiite Muslim and ultraconservative Sunni Muslim insurgencies. The former, allied with Saleh loyalists, stormed Sanaa in 2014 and took control early the following year.


Saudi Arabia accused the Houthis of being a proxy for the kingdom's top regional rival, Iran, and gathered a coalition of Arab allies to begin bombing the rebels and attempt to restore Hadi's rule, which was relegated to the southern port city of Aden. Three years later, Saudi Arabia has helped its local allies gain some ground, but the conflict remains mostly in a stalemate, even after two major schisms within the warring alliances.

_________________
--
'Suppression of truth, human spirit and the holy chord of justice never works long-term. Something the suppressors never get.' David Southwell
http://aangirfan.blogspot.com
http://aanirfan.blogspot.com
Martin Van Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother."
Martin Van Creveld: I'll quote Henry Kissinger: "In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don't win, and the rebels win by not losing."
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TonyGosling
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Joined: 25 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why Yemen is at war
Angus McDowall JUNE 15, 2018
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nxp-semicondtrs-m-a-qualcomm-mollen ko/qualcomm-ceo-in-the-ring-alone-after-u-s-china-spat-kills-deals-idU SKBN1KH0E3

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The battle for the western Yemeni port of Hodeidah could be an important milestone in the three-year civil war. But analysts say the conflict is so complex that even a decisive outcome there might not bring peace.

Why is Yemen so divided?

Yemen’s internal splits have festered for years. North and south Yemen united into a single state in 1990, but separatists in the south tried to secede from the pro-union north in 1994.

A North Yemeni tank crew takes cover beside their tank May 27, 1994, as a Southern war plane flies above at al-Anad military base. Stringer/REUTERS
Their forces were swiftly beaten, and more power and resources flowed to the northern capital of Sanaa, angering many southerners.

Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh had ruled north Yemen since 1978 and the unified state after 1990. But he alienated many Yemenis. His relatives controlled core parts of the army and economy, and critics said corruption was rife.

President Clinton (R) meets with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the White House Oval Office April 4, 2000. Handout/REUTERS
In the far north, some of the Zaydi sect of Shi’ite Islam also chafed. Zaydis had ruled northern Yemen until the 1962 revolution, but their heartland was now impoverished. In the late 1990s, some Zaydis formed the Houthi group, which fought Yemen’s army and grew friendly with Iran.

Though allied to Saleh, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni Islamists were also gaining strength, particularly under General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who built a power base in the army.

Taking advantage of factional rivalries, jihadist fugitives set up al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the group’s most powerful wings, and began staging attacks.

How did ‘Arab Spring’ protests lead to war?

Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a rally to demand the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa July 24, 2011. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
When mass protests broke out in 2011, some of Saleh’s former allies turned on him. The army split between units loyal to Saleh and those who followed Ahmar. Separatists rallied in the south. The Houthis seized more areas. AQAP attacks increased.

After a year of crisis, including a bombing that nearly killed Saleh, Yemen’s Gulf neighbors persuaded him to step down, but he stayed in Yemen.

Deputy president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was elected in 2012 to a two-year term to oversee a democratic transition. A “National Dialogue” meeting of all Yemen’s opposing groups began hashing out a new constitution.

But despite the dialogue, things were falling apart.

Hadi was widely seen as weak and his administration corrupt. Saleh’s allies in the army and government undermined the transition. AQAP set up a mini-state and hit Sanaa with ever bloodier bombings.

A man stands in front of a house destroyed during fighting between the army and al Qaeda-linked militants on a road leading to the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar June 14, 2012. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
In 2014, the Houthis seized Sanaa with help from army units loyal to Saleh, forcing Hadi to share power. When the National Dialogue proposed a federal constitution, both Houthis and southern separatists rejected it for blunting their new-found sway.

Slideshow (3 Images)
The Houthis arrested Hadi in early 2015, but he escaped and fled to Aden. The Houthis pursued him, battling loyalists of the transitional government.

Days later, Saudi Arabia entered the war on Hadi’s side, backed by a coalition of Arab allies, to prevent Iran from gaining influence via the Houthis on its border and to preserve the Gulf-brokered transition.

They plucked Hadi from Aden and took him to Riyadh, notionally preserving his internationally recognized government and the democratic transition plan.

Why was there deadlock for so long?

The crisis was now a war between two unstable coalitions.

The Houthis and Saleh were old enemies jointly ruling the populous highlands and Red Sea coast.

Read More: Yemen in conflict

Hadi had no personal power base, but became a nominal figurehead for southern separatists, tribes in the northeast, Sunni Islamists and army remnants loyal to Ahmar.

Internal rivalries even emerged in the coalition set up by Saudi Arabia to back Hadi. Riyadh and its main ally, the United Arab Emirates, differed over local allies and tactics.

The Houthis and Saleh’s forces were driven from Aden and its environs in south Yemen, and from central Marib and the desert area to its east in 2015. Years of military stalemate followed.

The Houthis held most of the easily defended highlands. They also held the flat Red Sea coast and its port of Hodeidah - the last entry point for supplying northern Yemen.

A Houthi militia media officer checks a camera next to giant cranes, damaged by Saudi-led air strikes, at a container terminal at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
The coalition kept up intense air strikes, aiming to split the Houthis and Saleh. They imposed a partial blockade to stop Iran arming the Houthis, something it denies doing. But despite this pressure, U.N.-backed talks went nowhere.

How have internal divisions played out?

Then, last year Saleh finally abandoned his Houthi allies, hoping to cut a deal and regain power for his family. But he was killed fleeing Sanaa in December, 2017.

His loyalists turned on the Houthis, helping the advance toward Hodeidah that culminated in this week’s assault.

Divisions widened on the other side too. The UAE supported separatists in the south who sometimes clashed with fighters backed by Saudi Arabia.

In the north, the Saudis brought in Ahmar to command forces around Marib - a red flag for the UAE because of his connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, its biggest bugbear.

Read More: Arab forces seize entrance to airport in Yemen's main port city

Meanwhile, the death toll from air strikes and the near famine aggravated by the partial blockade prompted international outrage, making it harder for Gulf states’ key Western allies to maintain military aid.

If the Hodeidah fighting lasts long, causing big coalition casualties and an outcry over a humanitarian catastrophe, the Houthis may hope the advance will fail.

If the Houthis are driven out and lose all ability to keep supply lines open, they might lose the war. But there is no guarantee the victors could put aside their own divisions and build a real peace.

Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Mike Collett-White

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AP Investigation: US allies, al-Qaida battle rebels in Yemen
https://apnews.com/f38788a561d74ca78c77cb43612d50da/Yemen:-US-allies-s pin-deals-with-al-Qaida-in-war-on-rebels

ATAQ, Yemen (AP) — Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.

Here’s what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.

That’s because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.

These compromises and alliances have allowed al-Qaida militants to survive to fight another day — and risk strengthening the most dangerous branch of the terror network that carried out the 9/11 attacks. Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes.


The black al-Qaida flag is sprayed on the wall of a damaged school in Taiz. (AP Photo)

The deals uncovered by the AP reflect the contradictory interests of the two wars being waged simultaneously in this southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.

In one conflict, the U.S. is working with its Arab allies — particularly the United Arab Emirates — with the aim of eliminating the branch of extremists known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. But the larger mission is to win the civil war against the Houthis, Iranian-backed Shiite rebels. And in that fight, al-Qaida militants are effectively on the same side as the Saudi-led coalition — and, by extension, the United States.

“Elements of the U.S. military are clearly aware that much of what the U.S. is doing in Yemen is aiding AQAP and there is much angst about that,” said Michael Horton, a fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. analysis group that tracks terrorism.

“However, supporting the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against what the U.S. views as Iranian expansionism takes priority over battling AQAP and even stabilizing Yemen,” Horton said.

The AP’s findings are based on reporting in Yemen and interviews with two dozen officials, including Yemeni security officers, militia commanders, tribal mediators and four members of al-Qaida’s branch. All but a few of those sources spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals. Emirati-backed factions, like most armed groups in Yemen, have been accused of abducting or killing their critics.

Coalition-backed militias actively recruit al-Qaida militants, or those who were recently members, because they’re considered exceptional fighters, the AP found.

The coalition forces are comprised of a dizzying mix of militias, factions, tribal warlords and tribes with very local interests. And AQAP militants are intertwined with many of them.


Adnan Rouzek, center, stands with fighters in Taiz. (AP Photo)

One Yemeni commander who was put on the U.S. terrorism list for al-Qaida ties last year continues to receive money from the UAE to run his militia, his own aide told the AP. Another commander, recently granted $12 million for his fighting force by Yemen’s president, has a known al-Qaida figure as his closest aide.

In one case, a tribal mediator who brokered a deal between the Emiratis and al-Qaida even gave the extremists a farewell dinner.

Horton said much of the war on al-Qaida by the UAE and its allied militias is a “farce.”

“It is now almost impossible to untangle who is AQAP and who is not since so many deals and alliances have been made,” he said.

The U.S. has sent billions of dollars in weapons to the coalition to fight the Iran-backed Houthis. U.S. advisers also give the coalition intelligence used in targeting on-the-ground adversaries in Yemen, and American jets provide air-to-air refueling for coalition war planes. The U.S. does not fund the coalition, however, and there is no evidence that American money went to AQAP militants.


A look at al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, its roots, motivations, and role in Yemen’s civil war. (AP Video/Peter Hamlin)

The U.S. is aware of an al-Qaida presence among the anti-Houthi ranks, a senior American official told reporters in Cairo earlier this year. Because coalition members back militias with hard-line Islamic commanders, “it’s very, very easy for al-Qaida to insinuate itself into the mix,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under the terms of the briefing.

More recently, the Pentagon vigorously denied any complicity with al-Qaida militants.

“Since the beginning of 2017, we have conducted more than 140 strikes to remove key AQAP leaders and disrupt its ability to use ungoverned spaces to recruit, train and plan operations against the U.S. and our partners across the region,” Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, wrote in an email to the AP.

A senior Saudi official commented by saying that the Saudi-led coalition “continues its commitment to combat extremism and terrorism.”

An Emirati government spokesman did not reply to questions from the AP.

But on Monday, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash tweeted that the UAE-backed counter-terrorism strategy is working. He said it had “removed” thousands of militants and deprived them of safe havens.

AQAP is “at its weakest since 2012,” he wrote, adding that the UAE and its allies “have all lost troops in the fight.”

The coalition began fighting in Yemen in 2015 after the Houthis overran the north, including the capital, Sanaa. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are determined to stop what they consider a move by their nemesis, Iran, to take over Yemen, and their professed aim is to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Al-Qaida is leveraging the chaos to its advantage.

“The United States is certainly in a bind in Yemen,” said Katherine Zimmerman, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “It doesn’t make sense that the United States has identified al-Qaida as a threat, but that we have common interests inside of Yemen and that, in some places, it looks like we’re looking the other way.”

Within this complicated conflict, al-Qaida says its numbers — which U.S. officials have estimated at 6,000 to 8,000 members — are rising.

An al-Qaida commander who helps organize deployments told the AP that the front lines against the Houthis provide fertile ground to recruit new members.


The black al-Qaida flag and the slogan in Arabic “al-Qaida passed here,” on the right wall, are sprayed on a damaged school that was turned into a religious court in the southern city of Taiz.

“Meaning, if we send 20, we come back with 100,” he said.

The well-known commander communicated with AP via a secure messaging app on condition of anonymity because he had no authorization from the group to talk to the news media.

___

The Associated Press reported this story with help from a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

___

A FAREWELL DINNER FOR AL-QAIDA

In February, Emirati troops and their Yemeni militia allies flashed victory signs to TV cameras as they declared the recapture of al-Said, a district of villages running through the mountainous province of Shabwa — an area al-Qaida had largely dominated for nearly three years.

It was painted as a crowning victory in a months-long offensive, Operation Swift Sword, that the Emirati ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, had proclaimed would “disrupt the terrorist organization’s network and degrade its ability to conduct future attacks.”

The Pentagon, which assisted with a small number of troops, echoed that promise, saying the mission would weaken the group’s ability to use Yemen as a base.

But weeks before those forces’ entry, a string of pickup trucks mounted with machine guns and loaded with masked al-Qaida militants drove out of al-Said unmolested, according to a tribal mediator involved in the deal for their withdrawal.

The U.S. has killed al-Qaida’s top leaders in a drone strike campaign that accelerated in recent years. But in this victory — as in the others touted by the coalition — the mediator said armed U.S. drones were absent, despite the large, obvious convoy.

Under the terms of the deal, the coalition promised al-Qaida members it would pay them to leave, according to Awad al-Dahboul, the province’s security chief. His account was confirmed by the mediator and two Yemeni government officials.

Al-Dahboul said about 200 al-Qaida members received payments. He did not learn the exact amounts, but said he knew that 100,000 Saudi rials ($26,000) were paid to one al-Qaida commander — in the presence of Emiratis.

Under the accord, thousands of local tribal fighters were to be enlisted in the UAE-funded Shabwa Elite Force militia. For every 1,000 fighters, 50 to 70 would be al-Qaida members, the mediator and two officials said.

Saleh bin Farid al-Awlaqi, a pro-Emirati tribal leader who was the founder of one Elite Force branch, denied any agreements were made. He said he and others enticed young al-Qaida members in Shabwa to defect, which weakened the group, forcing it to withdraw on its own. He said about 150 fighters who defected were allowed into the Elite Force, but only after they underwent a “repentance” program.


A former al-Qaida commander, Harith al-Ezzi, walks through streets destroyed in fighting in the southern Yemeni city of Taiz. (AP Photo)

The clearing of al-Qaida from Shabwa and other provinces did not completely take place without fighting. Clashes erupted in some villages, usually with al-Qaida remnants that refused to play ball.

One former al-Qaida member told the AP that he and his comrades turned down an offer of money from the Emiratis. In response, he said, an Elite Force squad besieged them in the town of Hawta until they withdrew.

Overall, deals that took place during both the Obama and Trump administrations have secured al-Qaida militants’ withdrawal from multiple major towns and cities that the group seized in 2015, the AP found. The earliest pact, in the spring of 2016, allowed thousands of al-Qaida fighters to pull out of Mukalla, Yemen’s fifth-largest city and a major port on the Arabian Sea.

The militants were guaranteed a safe route out and allowed to keep weapons and cash looted from the city — up to $100 million by some estimates — according to five sources, including military, security and government officials.

“Coalition fighter jets and U.S. drones were idle,” said a senior tribal leader who saw the convoy leaving. “I was wondering why they didn’t strike them.”

A tribal sheikh shuttled between AQAP leaders in Mukalla and Emirati officials in Aden to seal the deal, according to a former senior Yemeni commander.

Coalition-backed forces moved in two days later, announcing that hundreds of militants were killed and hailing the capture as “part of joint international efforts to defeat the terrorist organizations in Yemen.”

No witnesses reported militants killed, however. “We woke up one day and al-Qaida had vanished without a fight,” a local journalist said, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Soon after, another accord was struck for AQAP to pull out of six towns in the province of Abyan, including its capital, Zinjibar, according to five tribal mediators involved in the negotiations.

Again, the central provision was that the coalition and U.S. drones cease all bombings as AQAP pulled out with its weapons, the mediators said.

The agreement also included a provision that 10,000 local tribesmen — including 250 al-Qaida militants — be incorporated into the Security Belt, the UAE-backed Yemeni force in the area, four Yemeni officials said.

For nearly a week in May 2016, the militants departed in trucks. One of the mediators told the AP that he threw the last of the departing fighters a farewell dinner among his olive and lemon orchards when they stopped at his farm to pay their respects.

Another mediator, Tarek al-Fadhli, a former jihadi once trained by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, said he was in touch with officials at the U.S. Embassy and in the Saudi-led coalition, keeping them updated on the withdrawal.

“When the last one left, we called the coalition to say they are gone,” he said.

___

‘WE WILL UNITE WITH THE DEVIL’

To think of al-Qaida as an international terror group is to miss its other reality. For many Yemenis, it is simply another faction on the ground — a very effective one, well-armed and battle-hardened.

Its members are not shadowy strangers. Over the years, AQAP has woven itself into society by building ties with tribes, buying loyalties and marrying into major families.

Power players often see it as a useful tool.

Hadi’s predecessor as Yemen’s president, long-ruling strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, set the model. He took billions in U.S. aid to combat al-Qaida after the 9/11 attacks, even as he recruited its militants to fight his rivals. Hadi’s current vice president, Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a military chief for decades, also has been accused of enlisting jihadis.


An explosion raises a cloud as coalition-backed fighters advance on the Red Sea port town of Mocha. (AP Photo)

In that light, it would almost be more startling if the militants were not involved against the Houthis, especially since al-Qaida militants are extremist Sunnis seeking the defeat of the Shiite rebels.

Al-Qaida militants are present on all major front lines fighting the rebels, Khaled Baterfi, a senior leader in the group, said in a previously unpublished 2015 interview with a local journalist obtained by the AP.

Last month, Baterfi said in a Q&A session distributed by al-Qaida that “those at the front lines for sure know of our participation, which is either actual fighting with our brothers in Yemen or supporting them with weapons.”

Al-Qaida has reduced attacks against Hadi’s and Emirati-linked forces because assailing them would benefit the Houthis, Baterfi said.

The branch is following guidance from al-Qaida’s worldwide leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, to focus on fighting the rebels, another top AQAP member said in written answers to the AP.

In some places, militants join battles independently. But in many cases, militia commanders from the ultraconservative Salafi sect and the Muslim Brotherhood bring them directly into their ranks, where they benefit from coalition funding, the AP found. The Brotherhood’s Yemen branch is a powerful hard-line Islamic political organization allied to Hadi.

Two of the four main coalition-backed commanders along the Red Sea coast are allies of al-Qaida, the al-Qaida member said. The coalition has made major advances on the coast, and is currently battling for the port of Hodeida.

Video footage shot by the AP in January 2017 showed a coalition-backed unit advancing on Mocha, part of an eventually successful campaign to recapture the Red Sea town.

Some of the unit’s fighters were openly al-Qaida, wearing Afghan-style garb and carrying weapons with the group’s logo. As they climbed behind machine guns in pick-up trucks, explosions from coalition airstrikes could be seen on the horizon.

An AQAP member interviewed in person by the AP in May viewed the video and confirmed the fighters belonged to his group. His affiliation is known from his past involvement in AQAP’s rule over a southern city.

The impact of the intertwining of al-Qaida fighters with the coalition campaign is clearest in Taiz, Yemen’s largest city and center of one of the war’s longest running battles.

In the central highlands, Taiz is Yemen’s cultural capital, a historic source of poets and writers and educated technocrats. In 2015, the Houthis laid siege to the city, occupying surrounding mountain ranges, sealing the entrances and shelling it mercilessly.

Taiz residents rose up to fight back, and coalition cash and weapons poured in — as did al-Qaida and Islamic State militants, all aimed at the same enemy.

One liberal activist took up arms alongside other men from his neighborhood to defend the city, and they found themselves fighting side by side with al-Qaida members.

“There is no filtering in the war. We are all together,” said the activist, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said commanders received weapons and other aid from the coalition and distributed it to all the fighters, including al-Qaida militants.

Abdel-Sattar al-Shamiri, a former adviser to Taiz’s governor, said he recognized al-Qaida’s presence from the start and told commanders not to recruit members.

“Their response was, ‘We will unite with the devil in the face of Houthis,’” al-Shamiri said.

He said he warned coalition officials, who were “upset” but took no action.

“Taiz is in danger,” al-Shamiri said. “We will get rid of the Houthis and we will be stuck with terrorist groups.”


Coalition-backed fighters help a wounded man during an advance on Yemen’s Red Sea port town of Mocha. (AP Photo)

The activist and officials in the city said one of the main recruiters of al-Qaida fighters is Adnan Rouzek, a Salafi member tapped by Hadi to be a top military commander.

Rouzek’s militia became notorious for kidnappings and street killings, with one online video showing its masked members shooting a kneeling, blindfolded man. Its videos feature al-Qaida-style anthems and banners.

Rouzek’s top aide was a senior al-Qaida figure who escaped from a prison in Aden in 2008 along with other AQAP detainees, according to a Yemeni security official. Multiple photos seen by the AP show Rouzek with known al-Qaida commanders in recent years.

In November, Hadi named Rouzek head of the Taiz Operations Rooms, coordinating the military campaign, and top commander of a new fighting force, the 5th Presidential Protection Battalion. Hadi’s Defense Ministry also gave Rouzek $12 million for a new offensive against the Houthis. The AP obtained copy of a receipt for the $12 million and a Rouzek aide confirmed the figure.

Rouzek denied any connection to militants, telling the AP that “there is no presence of al-Qaida” in Taiz.

Another coalition-backed warlord is on the U.S. list of designated terrorists due to his ties to al-Qaida.

The warlord, a Salafi known as Sheikh Aboul Abbas, has received millions of dollars from the coalition to distribute among anti-Houthi factions, according to his aide, Adel al-Ezzi. Despite being put on the U.S. list in October, the UAE continues to fund him, al-Ezzi told the AP.

The aide denied any links to militants and dismissed his boss’s designation on the U.S. terror list. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that “al-Qaida has fought on all the front lines alongside all factions.”

Right after the AP team spoke to him in Taiz, the team saw al-Ezzi meeting with a known senior al-Qaida figure, warmly hugging him outside the home of another former AQAP commander.

Aboul Abbas runs a coalition-funded militia controlling several districts in Taiz. A 2016 video produced by al-Qaida shows militants in black uniforms with al-Qaida’s logo fighting alongside other militias in districts known to be under his control.

A former security official in Taiz said militants and Aboul Abbas’ forces attacked security headquarters in 2017 and freed a number of al-Qaida suspects. The officer said he reported the attack to the coalition, only to learn soon after that it gave Aboul Abbas 40 more pick-up trucks.

“The more we warn, the more they are rewarded,” the officer said. “Al-Qaida leaders have armored vehicles given to them by the coalition while security commanders don’t have such vehicles.”

___

Wilson contributed from Washington. Keath contributed from Beirut. AP correspondent Desmond Butler also contributed to this report.

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