The world’s worst humanitarian crisis isn’t in Syria it’s in Yemen

By Mohammed Saleh Al_hojily, Yemen

 

Three years of war and blockade on Yemen has turned the lives of  27 million people into a more precarious situation than any one can imagine. The current circumstances in Yemen cannot be described by a few words or pictures; the situation is more complicated than that.

Amongst these issues, the health care system has been decimated by the brutal war. One child dies every ten minutes due to preventable diseases according to the UN Secretary General; however that was before the outbreak of Cholera. At present the situation is getting even worse: now on top of this, one person dies per hour due to the Cholera epidemic. Additionally, with every day of war grows so does the hunger. When you see the people’s faces you see the poverty misery & desperation; it has been 3 years of war and blockade, not days or months.


Batol was a 5 year old girl who survived from malnutrition but died due cholera. 
But Batol is only one of the 1,869 people who have so far died in this outbreak in Yemen. 

In general the population of Yemen is nearly 27 million people; who can imagine all those people living under the American and Saudi coalition of war & blockade for about 2 and half a years, day by day the hunger & poverty grow amid the folks, according to the UN reports more than 19 million do not know where their next meal will come from and more than 14 million don’t have access to clean water. There are also about 3 million citizens who have fled their houses and living as refugees inside Yemen. The majority of them are children living in refugee camps.
Amid these horrific examples there are thousands of other tragedies happening in Yemen in front of the world’s eyes, but there has been no postive action to put an end to Yemen’s plight. 

Peter Oborne visits Old Sanaa in ‘Forgotten Yemen’

Despite some propagandistic text by Middle Eastern Eye, veteran journalist Peter Oborne gives an emotional relay of the situation in the historic city of Sanaa; interviewing men, women and children on the devastating impact this war has had on their lives. Teenage boys unable to experience youth as they must now take up arms to defend their country against unparalleled aggression, and mothers who were once content with everything they had and have now lost everything.

(Please note that when Oborne refers to ‘forgotten Yemen’, he is deliberately using this phrase to convey how the assault is referred to in the Western press.)

Yemen’s Cholera Epidemic: A Crime Against Humanity 

A couple of months ago I sent money via MoneyGram to a man in Yemen – Ahmad Algohbary – who raises funds which allow severely starving and malnourished children to receive life-saving treatment in hospital. Her name was Batol, and within less than a week of treatment her health had improved dramatically. 

                              Batol prior to her hospital treatment 

Ahmad handing over the raised money to Batol’s family

              Batol after six days of treatment for starvation and malnourishment. 

Last week Batol died of cholera. The child’s family did not know about the cholera, once they did they didn’t know how to get help, and by the time they managed to get help it was too late for Batol. 

Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis7000 new cases of cholera are declared every day. Within weeks a million people could be affected by the disease; the current numbers stand at almost 500,000 since April, and there has been over 19,000 deaths due to what should be an easily treatable disease. What has been eradicated in the West is now intentionally being used as a tool of genocide by the world’s richest countries against the poorest nation in the Middle East. 

‘The Forgotten War’, as it is known as in the Western bourgeoisie press, is only ‘forgotten’ because it is being waged by US imperialism and its agents and there is no propaganda that can be manufactured alluding to an evil dictator oppressing and killing his ‘own people’. 

The Western media, in their rare articles about Yemen, refer to it as being waged by a Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Houthis militias. Very occasionally, the US and UK is mentioned with regard to their refuelling of coalitions fighter jets. The unmentionable fact is that just like Israel, the ‘Kingdom’ of Saudi Arabia (initially installed by the British Empire) could not survive without America. There is a perception in the Western capitalist states that ‘we’ are owned by KSA; a trope emblematic of the antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy which makes claims of worldwide Jewish hegemony. However without the protection of the United States – training its military, police force, lobbying in favour of it at organisations such as the UN, using its instruments of propaganda to print favourable articles etc – the country would have collapsed long ago. 

The crimes perpetrated against the people of Yemen by the United States and its clients clearly meet the definition of ‘crimes against humanity’. With American and British military officers sitting in in Saudi command centres picking targets for the coalitions warplanes to bomb, the imperial aggressors are wantonly destroying all of Yemen’s critical infrastructure, food storage locations, farms, hospitals, schools etc; as well as utilising a naval blockade of the poverty-stricken country in order to prevent humanitarian aid from entering Yemen. This has led to such a dire humanitarian situation, that simply drinking water – a human necessity – is an act which can lead to death. 

The continuance of the air, land and sea blockade against Yemen which has catastrophically destroyed the countries economy (90% of Yemen’s food is imported) is a deliberate policy of mass starvation, one which resembles Nazi Germany’s devised economic policies when invading the Soviet Union in 1941. With the chronic mass-spread of cholera – now affecting 91% of the country – one can only conclude that an intentional attempt at population control is in fact the main aim of this war. Certainly the original goal of ‘Operation Restoring Hope’ to reinstate Hadi is without a doubt unachievable. 

Please take a look at Ahmad’s website – Yemen Hope & Relief – for updates on his humanitarian work, or via his Twitter account:

Update:

The Pentagon – via its trusty mouthpiece The Washington Post – announced several hours ago, in typical Goebbelsian fashion, that US troops are now operating openly on the ground (rather than covertly) in Yemen to ‘wage an offensive against al-Qaeda; a group which have consistently worked alongside the US and partners since the bombardment began, and which prominent members of occupy positions in deposed Yemeni President Hadi’s government-in-exile. 

Typical doublespeak by the WaPo:

Sources: 

Blame the Saudi’s for Yemen’s Cholera Disaster – https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/aug/02/blame-saudi-coalition-for-yemen-cholera-outbreak?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

UN: Crimes Agaist Humanity – http://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/crimes-against-humanity.html

US Troops are on the Ground in Yemen for Offensive Against al-Qaeda Militants – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/08/04/u-s-troops-are-on-the-ground-in-yemen-for-offensive-against-al-qaeda-militants/?utm_term=.9b778d152660

President Assad visits Our Lady of Damascus Church near Syria’s Front-Line

President Assad and his wife Asma visited the Our Lady of Damascus Church last night – a mile away from the rebel-held Jubar district – where they watched a choir rehearsal and took photos with the public.

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In related news, the results are in from my 24 hour Twitter poll:

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No comment.

ISIS and the Media

Where do all these matching outfits come from?
Where do all these matching outfits come from?

The corporate media are constantly referring to ISIS’s ‘slick and far-reaching propaganda capabilities’ and so on, but if it wasn’t for their own dissemination of ISIS-produced propaganda then the group would just be another actor in the Middle East. It is likely due to the mass amount of media coverage they have received in the West that has encouraged other Takfiri groups to align themselves with ISIS, and for Western citizens (like the couple in San Bernadino) to carry out attacks that ISIS supposedly then claim responsibility for. After various terror attacks in the West we are informed by the media that ISIS has claimed responsibility, but this is the same media that has told lie after lie about Syria and acts on behalf of those who would prefer that ISIS rules in Damascus rather than the current state that is an opponent of US imperialism.

I was just re-reading the interview that the German journalist Jürgen Todenhöfer gave to RT about the time he spent with ISIS, and the safety precautions it was necessary for him to take:

Jürgen Todenhöfer: I know Syria very well. I love Syria, I’ve been there dozen times, and I like Iraq, I’ve spent a lot of time before the war and during the war, and after the war; and, for example, in Syria, I spoke to all the groups: Al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, the FSA, I spoke several times to president Bashar al-Assad, and, suddenly IS became very strong and I wanted to get the information – who are these terrorists? What is making them so strong? Why so many German jihadists go to the so-called Islamic State? So, together with my son, we wrote on Facebook letters to about 80 German jihadists. We got 15 answers, and out of these 15, in the end we had a guy from another, not that known terrorist group, and a guy from IS, and then this IS guy told us he was not allowed to speak with me anymore – I would be called by somebody else who is named by the leadership, and I had somebody from propaganda department, from media department, and so I had the connections – every normal journalist could have done the same.

Sophie Shevardnadze (interviewer): Okay, but, this is really playing with fire – who was that person who actually gave you the safe passage? Because journalists, you know, they get beheaded by ISIS all the time – we see it on YouTube, almost like weekly, so…
JD: I know. Even a friend of mine.
SS: Yes. So why were you sure that they wouldn’t change their mind and just take you hostage? I mean, the safe passage papers were just papers…how could you be sure that they weren’t fake, or they would protect you?
JD: I discussed via Skype with this guy from the media department, sometimes it took 2 hours, 3 hours, about the possibilities, about the guarantees and everything. To be sure, because my son, for example, always said “It’s a trick, they will behead you, they need German hostage!”, I had the impression that they gave the invitation as the Islamic State, as a state, and they wanted to show that if they give a guarantee by the state, they will stick to this guarantee. They have published it, I asked them to publish this guarantee on Twitter, I’ve been waiting some days to see if the real leadership would deny this invitation, they did not deny anything, and so I took the risk. For me, these 6 months when I was thinking “will I com back alive? Will I survive?” were harder than the 10 days in the Islamic State, because there I was sure…

SS: Are you saying that if journalists have actually followed your example and negotiated an official invitation from Islamic State, they would have spared their lives?
JD: Not everybody. Specialists – yes, because we are known as specialists for the Arab world, for the Muslim world, we have written books about it, we have our books translated into Arabic – and they have the feeling that we don’t go to such a country for show, but we try to find out the truth, and that we want to tell the truth. What I think they wanted to show to me…I always had to think – “what do they want?” – they wanted to show that they are really a state.

I remember Todenhöfer being touted as the first journalist to interview the Islamic State; quite a big deal was made about his trip. But then what about the five part documentary that Vice News filmed? Did their journalists, film crew etc have to seek the same assurances? It is almost as if the narrative regarding the group – that they are so scary it is almost impossible to get an interview with them – has been created by the mainstream media in order to drum up support for more military intervention in Syria. The Vice News reporter spent ten days embedded with the group in 2014, and this seems to have been met with little fanfare. An article in the Huffington Post, How Vice News Got Unprecedented Access To The Islamic State, merely says that the journalist Medyan Dairieh used his contacts within Syria to gain access.

There is abundant evidence of ISIS’s awful crimes against the people of Syria and Iraq, but the ‘state’ didn’t appear out of nowhere and are not capable of sustaining themselves. Frequently the media tells us that they make all their millions from selling oil, but never delve into how and who they are selling the oil to (although recently there has been an attempt to pin it all on Bashar al Assad).

Today an article in the Washington Times has said that the US does not target ISIS’s media centres in air strikes due to the civilian casualties it might cause. This is quite obviously nonsense, because the US and allies has bombed buildings belonging to local media in everywhere it has waged war, such as Serbia, Iraq and Libya. In the past the US/NATO has claimed that such buildings were legitimate targets due to the propaganda they produced.

The ISIS entity is almost entirely a creation of the imperialist media. They choose what to show us and what to hide.

 

US refuses to bomb Islamic State’s ‘media centers’ over possible civilian casualties

Largest “moderate” group in Syria calls for “an Islamic state” in country, Sharia law imposed in Northern Aleppo

OffGuardian

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Ahrar Al-Sham militants in Syria.

Al Masdar News reports:

The largest Islamist rebel faction operating in Syria – Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham – has issued a statement [pictured below left] following their participation in the Riyadh peace conference

This statement expressed Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham’s satisfaction with the meeting and its participants; it also thanked the Saudi’s for hosting the conference.

Perhaps the most important part of the statement delivered by the Islamist group was the list of demands that expressed their overall objective in Syria.

According to their statement, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham has issued a list of demands:

1. All Iranian and Russian military personnel must leave Syria.

2.The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) should be disbanded, along with their paramilitary units – they reference the Shabiha.

3. All of Syria shall be united – no partition.

4. Syria will become an Islamic state.

5. No negotiations with the Syrian Government.

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YPG Arrest White Helmets Director

I don’t know any of the details yet, but the Syrian Kurdish YPG has arrested the director of the White Helmets/Syria Civil Defence and closed their offices in Afrin.

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The men of Kafranbel are very upset.

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I wonder what Philip Hammond thinks of this – the head of a British-backed ‘humanitarian’ group bring arrested by another group the UK apparently supports?

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There have been other reports recently regarding fighting between the YPG and Western-backed factions in Aleppo; It is difficult to see how Syria can ever return to a sense of normality with so many different groups fighting among one another.

I suppose for the chief instigators – US, UK, France and Israel – a permanent state of warfare is not an undesirable outcome.

New poll of Syrian public opinion.

Interventions Watch

The poll was carried out by Opinion Research Business in July.

As ever, caveats should apply to the results. About the difficulties of accurate polling in war zones and authoritarian states. About the inability of opinion polls to capture nuance. And about the often rapidly changing views of the public depending on developments on the ground.

But here are some of the results nonetheless.

Syria

49% of Syrians oppose or strongly oppose coalition airstrikes in Syria, compared to 48% who strongly support or support them

Interesting if only because one pro-Syrian intervention argument is that Syrians themselves want it. And while some clearly do, slightly more don’t.

 – 49% of Syrians think Bashar al Assad has a completely or somewhat negative influence in Syria, compared to 47% who think he has a somewhat or completely positive influence.

– 72% of Syrians think the Syrian opposition coalition has a completely or…

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Palestinian Writer Sentenced to Death in Saudi for Poems that ‘Threaten Saudi Morality’

Arabic Literature (in English)

Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, who has been in jail in Saudi for nearly two years for spreading atheism, insulting the Godly self, and having ideas that threaten Saudi society, has now been sentenced to death:

Fayadh was jailed in January 2014, charged based on a complaint from a reader about Fayadh’s 2008 poetry collection, Instructions Within. Fayadh told The Guardian the complaint arose from a personal dispute with another artist during a discussion about contemporary art in a cafe in Abha.

It was Tuesday when a Saudi court on Tuesday ordered Fayadh’s execution. The poet has also curated art shows in Jeddah and at the Venice Biennale. According to The Guardian, Fayadh does not have legal representation, and has just 30 days to appeal against the ruling.

Fayadh is a leading member of the British-Saudi art organisation Edge of Arabia. The Guardian writes that he was originally sentenced to four years in prison and 800 lashes by…

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