Yemen: More Confusion Within Confusion

The war on Yemen by the Saudis and the UAE have been raging for years…..causing much devastation and death as well as a huge humanitarian crisis.

Recently I read some good news, at least I thought it was, about the UAE’s position in this war…..

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) may have finally learned what Washington will not: that armed interventions with ambiguous aims, unreliable allies, and no exit strategy are doomed to disaster.

Such interventions will rapidly deplete a nation of its blood and treasure while yielding an abundance of dangerous second- and third-order consequences. That’s why, after four years of fighting, the UAE announced that it is withdrawing a significant percentage of its forces from Yemen. It will now pursue a “peace first” strategy as opposed to a “military first” strategy.

The narrative around the UAE’s withdrawal from Yemen has been carefully managed in the American media with the help of some sympathetic Washington-based think-tanks. The shift in policy has been cast as a “mission accomplished” moment for the UAE. But the UAE is getting out of Yemen not because it is winning—or has won—but because the country’s leadership understands they cannot win. 

Why the UAE Cut Their Losses and Pulled Out of Yemen

So twenty days later I read that UAE is still involved and killing civilians in Yemen…..

An estimated 20,000 fighters involved in the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen split in half earlier this month, with half backed by the UAE and a separatist movement, and the other half Saudi-backed forces loyal to the Hadi government.

That fighting has raged, but the Saudis and UAE had talked of working something out. Thursday suggests the chances of a deal are shrinking, with the UAE getting directly involved in the fighting, and launching airstrikes against Saudi-backed government forces.

The UAE confirmed its involvement in the airstrikes, saying it was engaged in self defense of its forces, as well as civilians threatened by “terrorist militias,” and insisting it was in keeping with international law.

Yemen’s President Hadi, however, is angry with the “blatant aerial bombardment,” and is calling for the UN Security Council to hold a session. Hadi also called on the Saudis to directly intervene militarily against the UAE.

Saudi officials haven’t addressed that possibility, but historic closeness to the UAE makes it unlikely. Still, this could mean a third war-within-a-war for Yemen.

(antiwar.com)

As my grandmother use to say…..”Clear as mud”…..

Only thing to say about Yemen is that there is nothing good to say about the war on Yemen…

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Once Around The Horn

I have written a bunch about the Arabian Peninsula…..the policies of Saudi Arabia and the situation with Qatar and in all that time only a mention has been given to the policies of the UAE…..I will try to change that……

Let’s begin with the Horn of Africa……for those not quite sure…..

Image result for horn of africa images

As you can see the importance of this region for a lot of the crude flows through this region….oil that is…Texas Tea, black gold….yada yada….

I have written about this region before (listed in further reading section at the close of this post)…..it seems that all nations are trying to get that toe hold in this region….US, Russia, China and now the UAE…..

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged in recent months as an important protagonist in the Horn of Africa. Through political alliances, aid, investment, military base agreements and port contracts, it is expanding its influence in the region. A recent manifestation came in the summer of 2018, when Eritrea and Ethiopia announced – after a flurry of visits to and from Emirati officials – that they had reached an agreement to end their twenty-year war. Emirati and Saudi diplomacy and aid were pivotal to that deal. Elsewhere, however, Gulf countries have played a less constructive role. Competition between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and Qatar on the other, spilled into Somalia beginning in late 2017, aggravating friction between Mogadishu and Somali regional leaders. Abu Dhabi’s relations with the Somali government have collapsed. As its influence in the Horn grows, the UAE should build on its Eritrea-Ethiopia peace-making by continuing to underwrite and promote that deal, while at the same time looking to reconcile with the Somali government.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/united-arab-emirates/b65-united-arab-emirates-horn-africa

UAE is interested but they are by no means the only ones…….

  • Arab Gulf states are intervening more assertively in sub-Saharan Africa to capitalize on economic opportunities and protect their security interests.
  • They view Africa as a relatively uncontested arena in which they can experiment with foreign interventions as part of their strategy to prove their rising status on the world stage.
  • The impact of Gulf states’ rivalries in Africa is becoming increasingly damaging, as their zero-sum rivalry has provoked retaliations, which have dangerously destabilized vulnerable parts of Africa, such as during the fallout to the GCC crisis.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/gulf-scramble-africa-gcc-states-foreign-policy-laboratory

What does it say when our supposed “allies” show the shame adventurism for conflict that this country does?

Read!  Learn Stuff!

Further Reading:

https://lobotero.com/2016/08/29/chinese-presence-in-africa-shows-global-ambition/

https://lobotero.com/2014/07/22/all-around-the-horn/

https://lobotero.com/2018/01/23/djibouti-the-d-is-silent/

http://hornofafrica.ssrc.org/

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/what-is-saudi-arabia-up-to-in-the-horn-of-africa/

Have Gun Will Travel

As long as I am writing about assassination…….

Does anyone remember the Western from the 60’s?  Paladin–does it ring a bell?  Never mind….don’t hurt yourself it was a TV western about a hired gun and weekly he made the decisions of life and death…..Richard Boone played probably the first anti-hero hero….

But I digress!

I bring this up because of something that is being reported……there seems to be an hired American hit team operating for the UAE……

It’s “almost like a murder squad,” an incredulous former CIA official told BuzzFeed News. The site had called him for comment as it dug into a potential bombshell of a story: that former elite US special operations fighters were assassinating high-profile figures in Yemen, but not as part of a military operation. Rather, the targeted killings allegedly came at the request of the United Arab Emirates, which had engaged the private US company the former fighters now work for. The CIA official told BuzzFeed this simply wasn’t possible. Then he asked around and called back: “There were guys that were basically doing what you said.” So what is BuzzFeed saying? Aram Roston centers much of his lengthy piece around what he says was a planned Dec. 29, 2015, hit, staffed by employees of the Delaware-incorporated Spear Operations Group.

Spear’s founder is Abraham Golan, “a charismatic Hungarian Israeli security contractor who lives outside of Pittsburgh,” whose employees—a former Green Beret and former Navy SEALs among them—were to kill Anssaf Ali Mayo, a key figure in a political party the UAE sees as having terror ties (critics counter this). Roston recounts Golan and his team flying to the UAE and receiving a 23-person hit list while on board; Golan viewed the targets as “legitimate,” as Roston puts it, because the UAE selected them, and the US backs the UAE’s military efforts. Things went awry with Mayo; they managed to bomb the party’s HQ, but had no proof Mayo was dead, and he seems to still be alive. But Roston sees the attempt on his life as an opening salvo, with “members of Al-Islah, and other clerics in Aden [subsequently] dropping dead at an alarming pace.” Golan says his team was behind a number of those hits. Read Roston’s full piece, which explores the “surprisingly unclear” question of whether Spear’s alleged actions are illegal under US law.

The excuse for this rings hollow but also is used to justify the murder of Khashoggi…..

Once again mercs being used to do the dirty work that governments want to keep their hands clean….plausible deniability.

The report made me think of the TV show but it also lead me to something that was a secret until recently……Murder Inc…..when I was in the service of my country there was a group operating internationally their title was “Service 7″….it was an assassination squad from Bulgaria…..

“The Bulgarian state security services had a super-secret special bureau responsible for the eradication, kidnapping or discrediting of Bulgarian émigrés around the world long before the notorious assassination of Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov in London in 1978.

The SMERSH-style Cold War clandestine structure was called ‘Service 7’. It began operations in mid-1963 and by 1972 was engaged in at least 10 cases against Bulgarians who escaped to Italy, Britain, Denmark, West Germany, Turkey, France, Ethiopia, Sweden and Switzerland before 1989.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/opinion/murder-bureau-department-of-murders-existed-in-bulgaria/

More on these American mercs……

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/aramroston/mercenaries-assassination-us-yemen-uae-spear-golan-dahlan

There was a time after Vietnam when I actually thought about becoming a merc or at least joining the Foreign Legion….but the birth of my daughter changed all that silliness.

There use to be a consequence for fighting in a war not declared by the US…those days are gone…sadly this trend is very disturbing.

Further Reading if you would like to know more……

https://lobotero.com/2018/05/15/wars-we-dont-know/

https://lobotero.com/2018/10/03/afghanistan-october-2018/

https://lobotero.com/2017/08/11/dont-privatize-the-afghan-war-just-end-it/

Yemen, An American War

For a couple of years the Saudis have been trying to kill every Yemeni on the planet simply because they can and with the help of their butt buddies, UAE.

Before I explain the title here are a couple of short vids that will help my reader understand…..

This war has created a huge humanitarian crisis that seeks to want to ignore…..

Now that my reader is as caught as one can be in this short span of time I would like to report on America’s fingers in this war……

Mike Pompeo’s certification earlier this month that the Saudi coalition was working to reduce harm to civilians in Yemen was an obvious sham. According to a new report in The Wall Street Journal, Pompeo made the decision to lie for the Saudis and Emiratis because he feared it would hurt arms sales:

Mr. Pompeo overruled concerns from most of the State Department specialists involved in the debate who were worried about the rising civilian death toll in Yemen. Those who objected included specialists in the region and in military affairs. He sided with his legislative affairs team after they argued that suspending support could undercut plans to sell more than 120,000 precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to a classified State Department memo and people familiar with the debate.

Even with a Trump as Our DEar Leader some thin gs NEVER change…..the Neocon tools will lie their asses off to keep America fighting wars and enriching the M-IC who own the Neocons lock, stock and barrel…….

Pompeo has always been a Neocon so please take anything he says about international relations with a grain of salt for his real loyalties lie with the M-IC.

To add to the misery of being bombed into the stone age, having to deal with epidemic outbreaks now news has come out that the food supply will run out within two months……

Yemen has only enough food to sustain its population for two to three months, CARE International has warned, as fears rise that the country’s main port could close as a result of increased Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.

If Hodeidah’s port is sealed off or put out of action, CARE’s Yemen Director Johan Mooij calculates that Yemen’s food supplies will last two to three months, taking into account the World Food Programme’s (WFP) stockpiles and estimated levels of commercial foods sourced from traders.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-food-supplies-two-months-charity-warns-a8551481.html

The only good news that could come from Yemen is that the Saudis will stop killing civilians and let peace have a chance.

Saudis Throw A Hissy Fit

There has been report after report that the Saudis and the UAE have been ignoring civilians when ordering these attacks…….After 2 separate attacks and the deaths of 60+ children in Yemen the UN finally has issued a report on the action of the Saudis…..The report noted Saudi and UAE forces killed thousands of civilians in airstrikes, tortured detainees, raped civilians, and used child soldiers as young as eight. The two nations repeatedly hit residential areas and there is “little evidence of any attempt by parties to the conflict to minimize civilian casualties.”

After the report was issued the Saudis threw one of their fits…..

the UN confirmed in considerable detail misdeeds by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, killing thousands of civilians in Yemen, raping and torturing detainees, and using child soldiers. The report warned these may amount to war crimes.

While they didn’t specifically dispute any of this, Saudi Arabia was predictably furious about the report, angrily condemning it as having “misconstrued the facts of the conflict… ignoring the true reasons for the conflict,” while saying that it was an Iranian coup against the “legitimate government in Yemen.”

(antiwar.com)

Not to worry….the Saudis will be protected by the US and the UK among others…..not to worry the Saudis have many “friends” on the Security Council so their position will be protected.

Many have asked just what does the US truly get for its undying support for the Saudis?

Ever since Franklin Roosevelt’s historic rendezvous in 1945 with Abd Aziz Ibn Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia, American presidents have been enamored with Saudi kings.

But nothing in the 70 plus-year history of U.S.-Saudi ties comes close to the cosmic groveling that now defines President Donald Trump’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and his slavish obeisance to its dangerous and irresponsible policies.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/29/trump-mbs-saudi-arabia-yemen-middle-east-foreign-policy-219617

Personally, I think it is time to end our undying support for the Saudis and their allies and demand a cessation of hostilities in Yemen….end the cycle of death for the people of Yemen…..

If the US were to follow the rules of warfare written into US military law and treaties to which the US is a party, the US must immediately end its support for the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen. We should also marshal all of its diplomatic tools to end the conflict. Since 2015, Saudi Arabia, and allies such as the United Arab Emirates, have been waging a devastating war in support of the former government of Yemen against the current Houthi regime. Amnesty International has called the conflict a “forgotten war” because its deadly consequences have failed to rise to the level of international crisis in media or government agendas. However, under former President Barack Obama and now Donald Trump, the US has been complicit in war crimes and the creation of a completely preventable humanitarian nightmare for the people of Yemen

https://original.antiwar.com/Jared_Keyel/2018/08/30/no-more-forgotten-wars-end-us-support-for-saudi-coalition-war-crimes-in-yemen/

After writing this draft the Saudis have accepted they may have screwed the pooch on these attacks…..

The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen admitted on Saturday that “mistakes” had been made in an August air strike that hit a bus and killed 40 children, and pledged to hold accountable anyone who contributed to the error.

The rare concession follows mounting international pressure, including from allies, to do more to limit civilian casualties in a civil war that has killed more than 10,000 people and pushed the already impoverished country to the brink of famine, Reuters said.

(antimedia.com)

Do not believe it!  My guess is the PR group told them to take credit and the story would die…if they did not the backlash would be great and a story for all times.

In closing…..the US involvement in this conflict is not guilt free…..

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/08/yemen-us-blood-on-hands.html

News From The Middle East

After the ghastly execution of the Jordanian pilot by ISIS…..Jordan has retaliated…….

Jordanian officials have announced that they will carry out a “revenge as huge as the loss of the Jordanians” after the execution of pilot Moaz al-Kasaesbeh, who was captured by ISIS in December.

And they did just that…..hung 2 convicted terrorists….

US is hoping that Jordan will be resolved to carry the fight to ISIS……

But in other news…it seems that the UAE is not as committed as we once thought…..even with the notoriety that they got with the female pilot fighting ISIS…..

Did I miss something?  Please read this and tell me what you see in this article…..

 

United Arab Emirates, Key U.S. Ally in ISIS Effort, Disengaged in December – NYTimes.com.

Middle East: Shall We Dance?

Most anyone that follows the international news will know that Libya since the ousting of Qaddafi has been a hot bed to violence……this faction fighting that faction and no one is really in control……but recently there was an airstrike on an Islamic faction…….in case you missed it……

(Newser) – Egypt and the United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes at militias in Libya twice over the last week without Washington’s approval, four US officials tell the New York Times. Egypt, in fact, denied any involvement in the attacks. The first strikes came last week in Tripoli, destroying a weapons depot “controlled by Islamist-friendly militias” and blowing up six people, the Times says. The second, on Saturday, struck a warehouse, vehicles, and rocket launchers run by “Islamist-allied militia.” Militants rebounded by seizing Tripoli’s airport, which was then destroyed by fire yesterday amid strikes by “unidentified war planes,” Reuters reports.

The UAE and Egypt had attacked Libya before, US officials say: A military team from Egypt (possibly comprised of Emirates fighters) recently leveled an Islamist camp in Libya. That may have encouraged the UAE and Egypt to think they could attack undetected again, the officials said. The strikes represent a new salvo in the Middle East conflict between Islamists and old-school autocratic leaders, the Times notes. Much Twitter reaction is focusing on how the UAE and Egypt, both close US allies, apparently launched the attacks without calling Washington first, the Atlantic Wire reports. Tweets Yair Rosenberg: “The problem w/ leading from behind is sometimes you get left behind.”

Now that attack has brought an interesting thought….at least to me…..if Saudi and UAE are willing to go it alone against Islamists could they be the partners we need in our fight against the IS?

The US is scrambling to find allies for the war on IS…..but they say assad is NOT one of those considered………

Newser) – After OKing airstrikes in Iraq and spy flights over Syria in an attempt to rein in ISIS, President Obama has started rallying international allies to expand efforts against the militant Sunni group—efforts that may include even more airstrikes in Iraq and possible military action in Syria, reports the New York Times. One thing he won’t be doing: partnering with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who also has a vested interest in purging his country of the insurgents. “We’re not going to ask for permission from the Syrian regime,” a State Department spokeswoman tells the Washington Post.

Although Syria warned Monday that it would consider any US strikes against ISIS in its country “an act of aggression” if not coordinated with its government, it indicated that it’s “ready to cooperate and coordinate on the regional and international level in the war on terror,” notes the Post. This may be part of the reason why the Obama administration is working behind the scenes to bolster its international support: In addition to getting longtime allies Britain and Australia on board for potential air campaigns, unnamed administration officials say they’re asking Turkey for the use of its military bases, trying to gather intelligence from Jordan, and requesting financial assistance from Saudi Arabia, which supports Syrian opposition forces, notes the Times. “Rooting out a cancer like [ISIS] won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick,” Obama said in a speech yesterday, adding “that the militants would be ‘no match’ for a united international community.”

Writer Bobby Ghosh has brought up an interesting premise and ask a valuable question…….since the attack on Libya there is the possibility that we could have found the needed allies for the coming storm……….

Newser) – Neither nation is admitting it exactly, but it seems that Egypt and the United Arab Emirates joined forces earlier this month to bomb sites held by Islamist militants inside Libya. This is actually a huge milestone in the Arab world, writes Bobby Ghosh at Quartz, and one that should cause concern among militants fighting for the Islamic State, or ISIS. “Why is it a game-changer?” writes Ghosh. “Because it marks the first time two Arab nations have teamed up to launch military operations against Islamists in a third.”

What’s more, “it was the first time two Sunni Muslim nations struck radical Sunni groups in a third Sunni country.” With the precedent now set, these two nations and others could be emboldened to form a coalition to go after the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Considering that other Sunni Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Jordan have plenty of US aircraft in their arsenals, such a coalition could be powerful indeed. The idea of doing anything to help Syria’s Bashar al-Assad may give pause, but “the taboo on intervention has been lifted.” Click for Ghosh’s full column.

If we are to be successful against the rapid advancement of the IS then we will need partners willing to do what needs to be done……will Egypt or Saudis and the UAE be part of the needed coalition?