Jemenkrieg-Mosaik 716 - Yemen War Mosaic 716

Yemen Press Reader 716: 11. Februar 2020: Komplize beim Gemetzel: Wie Amerika den Krieg im Jemen ermöglicht – US- Drohnenkrieg im Jemen – Bidens neue Jemen-Politik: Nur rhetorische Gymnastik?...
Bei diesem Beitrag handelt es sich um ein Blog aus der Freitag-Community

Eingebetteter Medieninhalt

... Innere Konflikte bei den Huthis – Untersuchung des Angriffs der Huthis auf den Flughafen von Aden – Jemens leidende Unterschicht – Neue US-Jemen-Politik: Was sie wirklich bedeutet und Konsequenzen – und mehr

Feb. 11, 2021: Accomplice to carnage: How America Enables War in Yemen – American drone war in Yemen – Biden’s new Yemen policy: Linguistic gymnastic only? – Houthis’ inner conflicts – The Houthis’ Aden airport attack reviewed – Yemen’s suffering underclass – New US Yemen policy: What does it really mean, consequences – and more

Schwerpunkte / Key aspects

Kursiv: Siehe Teil 2 und 3/ In Italics: Look in part 2 and 3:

Klassifizierung / Classification

Für wen das Thema ganz neu ist / Who is new to the subject

cp1 Am wichtigsten / Most important

cp1a Am wichtigsten: Coronavitrus und Seuchen / Most important: Coronavirus and epidemics

cp2 Allgemein / General

cp2a Allgemein: Saudische Blockade / General: Saudi blockade

cp3 Humanitäre Lage / Humanitarian situation

cp4 Flüchtlinge / Refugees

cp5 Nordjemen und Huthis / Northern Yemen and Houthis

cp6 Separatisten und Hadi-Regierung im Südjemen / Separatists and Hadi government in Southern Yemen

cp7 UNO und Friedensgespräche / UN and peace talks

cp8 Saudi-Arabien / Saudi Arabia

cp9 USA

cp9a USA-Iran Krise: Spannungen am Golf / US-Iran crisis: Tensions at the Gulf

cp10 Großbritannien / Great Britain

cp11 Deutschland / Germany

cp12 Andere Länder / Other countries

cp12b Sudan

cp12a Waffenhandel / Arms trade

cp13b Kulturerbe / Cultural heritage

cp14 Terrorismus / Terrorism

cp15 Propaganda

cp16 Saudische Luftangriffe / Saudi air raids

cp17 Kriegsereignisse / Theater of War

cp18 Kampf um Hodeidah / Hodeidah battle

cp19 Sonstiges / Other

Klassifizierung / Classification




(Kein Stern / No star)

? = Keine Einschatzung / No rating

A = Aktuell / Current news

B = Hintergrund / Background

C = Chronik / Chronicle

D = Details

E = Wirtschaft / Economy

H = Humanitäre Fragen / Humanitarian questions

K = Krieg / War

P = Politik / Politics

pH = Pro-Houthi

pS = Pro-Saudi

T = Terrorismus / Terrorism

Für wen das Thema ganz neu ist / Who is new to the subject

Ältere einführende Artikel u. Überblicke für alle, die mit den Ereignissen im Jemen noch nicht vertraut sind, hier:

Yemen War: Older introductory articles, overviews, for those who are still unfamiliar with the Yemen war here:

(* B H K)

Film: Yemeni voices: First-hand accounts of the war

This week, we're dedicating the entire programme to Yemen, a decade after the Arab Spring. The uprising, which fractured the country, led to a civil conflict. Many refer to it as "the forgotten war" which has sparked the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, leaving 80 percent of the population reliant on aid. In this edition we bring you some of the voices of this war: the women and children who continue to face increasing brutality.

(B K P)

Timeline: Yemen war began in 2014 when Houthis seized Sanaa

Here are some key events

cp1 Am wichtigsten / Most important

(** B K P)

Accomplice to Carnage: How America Enables War in Yemen

Editor's Note: After this article went to press, the Biden administration announced a number of measures that align with recommendations it made, including reversing the Trump administration's designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization, appointing a special envoy for Yemen, curtailing support for offensive operations by the Saudi-led coalition in the conflict, supporting the UN-led peace process, and offering assurances to Saudi Arabia regarding the defense of its territorial integrity. Also after the article went to press, one of its authors, Robert Malley, was appointed U.S. special envoy to Iran.

In late March 2015, Saudi officials came to the Obama administration with a message: Saudi Arabia and a coalition of partners were on the verge of intervening in neighboring Yemen, whose leader had recently been ousted by rebels. This wasn’t exactly a bolt from the blue. The Saudis had been flagging their growing concerns about the insurgency on their southern border for months, arguing that the rebels were proxies for their archrival, Iran. Still, the message had what Obama administration officials characterized as a “five minutes to midnight” quality that they had not quite anticipated: Saudi Arabia was going to act imminently, with or without the United States. But it much preferred to proceed with American help.

In this case, there was extra reason to be skeptical. U.S. officials thought Saudi Arabia was exaggerating Iran’s role, and they had no illusions that the Saudi armed forces, although well supplied with modern U.S. weapons, were a precision instrument. In short, there was plenty that could go wrong. As a former senior official would later tell one of us, “We knew we might be getting into a car with a drunk driver.”

And yet the United States climbed in anyway. Thinking that it could offer sober guidance and grab the wheel when necessary, Washington shared intelligence, refueled aircraft, sold weapons, and provided diplomatic cover. Now, almost six years after the Saudi intervention, the war in Yemen is nothing short of a disaster.

The United States has had a major hand in Yemen from the beginning and thus must answer for its part in the tragedy. For reasons both moral and strategic, the Biden administration should make it a priority to disentangle the United States from the war in Yemen and do what it can to bring the conflict to a long-overdue conclusion. But to prevent history from repeating itself, the administration should also make it a priority to learn from the conflict’s sad lessons. The story of U.S. involvement in the war is one of entangling partnerships, wishful thinking, and expediency. Seeking to avoid a rift with a close ally, an administration that was determined to steer clear of another war in the Middle East ended up becoming complicit in one of the region’s most horrific ones.


How did the United States get pulled into this wretched mess?

Why the Obama administration did this had much to do with Hadi. In its view, he was the legitimate leader of Yemen and a vast improvement over his much-disliked predecessor. Hadi was also seen as a reliable counterterrorism partner, someone who gave the United States wide berth in its operations against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which many U.S. officials rated as the most dangerous of al Qaeda’s franchises. When the Houthis, who were vehemently anti-American, ran Hadi out of Sanaa, the U.S. government saw their triumph as an affront to its interests in Yemen and to international law. For reasons that seemed to it both principled and pragmatic, Washington hoped for a restoration.

That was not all. U.S. officials also sought to improve relations with the Saudis and with Washington’s other Gulf partners, most notably the United Arab Emirates. For decades, the United States had viewed its partnerships in the region as key to protecting its energy and security interests, and in the spring of 2015, those ties were under strain. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies saw the Iran nuclear deal, then nearing completion, as giving Iran a leg up at their expense. But they were nursing other grievances, too—notably about U.S. policy during the Arab Spring, particularly toward Egypt, where they thought the Obama administration had been too quick to abandon President Hosni Mubarak and then too willing to normalize relations with the Muslim Brotherhood government that replaced him. The Gulf states also believed that the United States was withdrawing from the region, leaving them vulnerable to Islamist attacks.

Thus, the watchword of U.S. policy became “reassurance.”

Another reason U.S. officials decided to support the Saudi-led coalition in 2015 was that they thought Washington could act as a moderating influence. The support that Obama authorized came with limits, caveats, and safety features.


As soon become apparent, and has since become incontrovertible, the United States greatly underestimated the challenge it would face in curbing Saudi operations and minimizing both humanitarian damage and civilian casualties. The coalition resorted to brass-knuckle tactics early on

Amid this blur of effort to contain a worsening humanitarian disaster, what the United States did not do was walk away.

It was too little, too late. For several months before this decision, as the U.S. presidential election loomed, it had become harder for U.S. diplomats to motivate the Saudis to focus on the peace plan. When Donald Trump won, it became impossible. The Saudis suspected that the administration waiting in the wings would be both more supportive of its anti-Iranian agenda and more willing to look the other way on civilian casualties. The suspension of weapons sales, for its part, barely stung. The Saudis correctly predicted that the Trump administration would reverse it. By the time the Obama administration started to toughen its approach somewhat, it was time to pass the torch to its successor. The worst was yet to come.


The Trump administration saw the Middle East through very different eyes.


Joe Biden has signaled that the issues he will focus on as U.S. president will be those with tangible domestic impacts: climate change, the pandemic, China. Why, given his overflowing plate, should he even care about solving the crisis in Yemen?

Three reasons stand out. First is the United States’ responsibility in what has unfolded. Saudi Arabia almost certainly would have intervened in Yemen even if the Obama administration had rejected its call for help, and it may well have prosecuted its campaign with even less regard for the laws of war absent the United States’ defective supervision. But without U.S. support, Saudi Arabia would have found it harder to wage war and, arguably, would have been more eager to find a way out. Washington has a responsibility to help clean up the mess it helped create.

Second is the sheer magnitude of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.

Third is the potential for regional spillover. As long as the conflict endures, so does the risk that it could provoke a direct confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia.


Biden faces a conundrum in Yemen

The stakes are too high not to try. But the administration should also bear in mind that whatever it does, it will have to be firm with Saudi Arabia about its decision to pull the United States back from most activities relating to the war, however difficult that may be. Ending the war may prove to be beyond the new administration’s influence. Ending U.S. complicity in it is not.


The intractability of the war in Yemen should serve as a stark reminder of the costs of entering such conflicts to begin with. It should also, then, compel the Biden administration to come to grips with a crucial question: How can the United States avoid becoming complicit in similar disasters?

A good place to start would be with the fundamentals of U.S. security partnerships in the Gulf. Washington has given far-reaching assurances that it will come to the defense of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states and has arranged to place in their hands a large arsenal of American weapons, sustained by American parts and personnel. Because of the way in which these partnerships are structured, when one of these states chooses to launch an unwise war, especially when there is a defensive rationale, the United States will face a hard choice. Should it join the effort to demonstrate fealty to its assurances and try to influence how its weapons are used? Should it refuse to participate but continue to allow arms and assistance to flow? Or should it cut off support and risk rupturing its relations with a regional partner, recognizing that other would-be weapons suppliers, such as China, Russia, or Turkey, might well step in?

These are the sorts of questions that ought to be examined in the reassessment of U.S.-Saudi relations that Biden has promised. At the heart of that review will be a calculation of which of two paths would better serve U.S. interest.

The war in Yemen is a tragedy for its people, an enduring source of instability for the region, and an open wound for the United States. At this point, however it ends, it is unlikely to end well. At the very least, the United States owes it to itself and to the victims of the war to learn something from the disaster. That would be one way in which the precedent in Yemen might do Washington and the world some good: if it forced U.S. officials to candidly reexamine the United States’ posture in the Gulf and recognize how easy it can be, despite the best of intentions, to get pulled into a disaster – by ROBERT MALLEY, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group, and STEPHEN POMPER, Senior Director for Policy at the International Crisis Group

(** B K P)

American Drones Kill Indiscriminately. Biden Can Change That | Opinion

In total, there have been six drone strikes on members of the al-Ameri and al-Taisy families. No one has ever explained why they are being targeted. They ask for answers, time and again.

International human rights organization Reprieve wrote to the U.S. government on the families' behalf, providing evidence of their innocence. Rather than deign to respond directly, officials anonymously briefed newspapers that the family were "militants," without offering proof.

The family has consistently and vehemently denied any connection with Al-Qaeda or other militant groups. Salem and Ahmed al-Ameri, killed in September 2018, were both soldiers in the Yemeni military: American allies, killed by American missiles. In total 34 members of the family have been killed, among them nine children.

Lacking a viable route to justice through U.S. federal courts, on January 26, they filed a complaint against the U.S. government before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In it, they ask the commission to expedite interim measures to stop further attacks, as they understandably fear for their lives and worry another attack is imminent.

The al-Ameri family's experience may be an extreme case, but it is emblematic of a U.S. armed drone program that often relies on imprecise intelligence to take strikes far from traditional battlefields, in Yemen and Pakistan, Libya and Somalia, Afghanistan and Niger.

The dead are only part of the story. There are also those left behind: children who lost their parents, men and women who literally picked up the pieces of their relatives, communities traumatized by what they have seen and terrorized by the drones that continue to buzz overhead. The surviving members of the al-Ameri family have lost any semblance of a normal life, free from fear and hardship.

President Biden has a stark choice ahead of him. He can persist with the failed drone policies that he helped to define during the Obama administration, or he can chart a new path, one that sees us grapple as a nation with the harm that we have caused.

It is likely that targeting standards will be tightened. There will be talk of reversing course and taking more care than the Trump administration to avoid civilian casualties. But if the strikes continue, so will the damage to innocent communities and families.

The al-Ameri's story shows us that a fundamental reset is needed, away from a program of assassination that targets the USA's enemies thousands of miles away, at incalculably vast expense, and very often kills the wrong people. It would make us all safer in the long run.

My comment: This article offers a close look at the Obama / Biden centrist US “soft” imperialism, at the view of those centrists on US geopolitics (which is led by what they think to be “US interests”: Like the “trumpists”, they claim “US interests” all around the world, ahere to tactics supportive to these interests, for which all other countries and people just are figures on a chessboard – to be sacrified if this is of advantage for these “US interests” – as happened to the Yemeni pawn, i. e. the 230,000 Yemenis who up to now had been killed by this war and its consequences. – A very necessary corrective is here:

(** B K P)

Biden’s Bolt From Yemen?: Symbolic Step, Systemic Limits, and Linguistic Gymnastics

The Intercept labeled it a "dramatic policy shift.” And here’s hoping it’s that. Still, President Joe Biden’s announcement – during his first major foreign policy address – that he would end American support for Saudi and United Arab Emirates-led "offensive operations" in Yemen, needs more nuance.

Thus, while the president’s rhetorical corrective – and vague promised policy shift – on America’s role in the Yemen catastrophe deserves a cautious (and perhaps equally vague) at-a-boy, Biden shouldn’t be the sole story here. A sober accounting of the U.S. role in this sordid affair demands systemic-, rather than personality-driven, debate and critique. Viewing multi-administration – Obama-Trump-Biden – policy analyses through electoral season lenses is precisely what keeps the war industry cash a’ flowing, and the Yemeni babes a’ dying.

The real story of America’s unforgivable fiasco is how and why such small (for us) dirty (for Yemenis) wars-by-proxy persist through supposedly transformative presidential transitions. For these post-9/11 forever wars, their formula is the disease, and must be fought according. Unfortunately, that means wading through wastelands of rhetorical distraction. Greasing the grotesque wheels of otherwise unexplainably obdurate US support for the Saudi terror war – which, according to recent UN numbers, has left 233,000 Yemenis dead and left some 80 percent of the population reliant on humanitarian aid – is a Washingtonese dialect of linguistic-gymnastics that’s long confuses We The People about what’s actually done our name.

It begins with how one defines the terms – and here, let’s say Joe’s words may conceal as much as they reveal. Biden’s bunch of "bestests and brightests" are offered an obscuring assist by an acronym- and euphemism-prone Pentagon populated with countless career "company men.” Plus, lurking over the whole strategic needle-thread is the trumped-up threat of Iran. Only, outside of occasional heart-rending photos of distended young bellies, and too large to comprehend – yet likely underreported – death, disease, and displacement statistics, actual Yemenis rarely factor in Washington’s cruel calculus. That’s the trick – America’s professional policy-makers and -watchers speak in swirling intellectual circles until their complicit war crimes congeal as abstraction.

A cursory glance at the more common terms tossed about in Yemen war discussions demonstrates just how many unknowns and – as yet – unanswered questions linger in Biden’s declaratory wake. Let’s start with what the president is presumably halting: US support for "offensive operations." Well, what are those – and who gets to define what constitutes offense? Even according to that glowingly-titled Intercept piece, "The Biden administration has not yet announced operational details of the move or clarified what they meant by" the term. Make no mistake: plenty that’s putrid plays out behind such cosmetic vagary.

See, specifics matter – demanding a breakdown of the macabre components and processes – a sort of how an "operation" becomes a dead Yemeni mother 101. First, the hardware – the Saudi arsenal of atrocities. Biden promised to end "relevant arms sales," but what exactly constitutes relevance? Well, his administration already placed a "temporary freeze" on billions of Trump-bonanza-brokered weapons deals – meaning a "review" (see what I mean about the fuzzy buzzwordian language thing?) of transfers of advanced military hardware, like air-ground munitions. Okay, but how long is temporary, and how thick is its frozen veneer?

In my limited experience, bureaucratic reviews read as somewhat less sterner than permafrost. And what about all those F-35 fighter jet and Reaper drone-sweetened bribes to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – ensuring their Palestinian-sellout of diplomatic "normalization" with Trump’s chum King Bibi Netanyahu of Israel? Naturally, the junior Emirati partners in the great Gulf criminal conspiracy of 2015 will spy a loophole, since they technically drew down most of their forces in Yemen back in 2019 – despite remaining involved through local partners and proxies.

Of course, the U.S. has always peddled as many "beans" as"bullets" to their criminal compatriot death-dealers in the Kingdom.

Think on it: can US sustenance really be said to cease if Pentagon – and their private-sector subcontractor – personnel still train and advise the Saudi officers commanding missions, the Saudi specialists selecting targets, the Saudi pilots dropping ample American ordinance on Yemeni kids, and the Saudi geek squad of tech-experts greasing the grotesque wheels of war?

Speaking of those plum private security contractors – we need to talk about American mercenaries. See, it’s rarely – convenient, that – reported that the U.S. sends espionage and militant mercenaries to assist the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Other security and logistical hired guns – like the boys at Booz-Allen Hamilton – aid the Royal Saudi Navy’s starvation-inducing blockade of the Yemeni coastline. And that’s the real rub: the almost invisible Saudi blockade has always caused more Yemeni suffering and fatalities than the brutal bombing. Only it turns out that slow-deaths are less attention-grabbing – if more grueling. Ultimately, the blockade’s the thing – as a Saudi Shakespeare should surmise – and until Biden’s squad articulates its applicability in their new way, it’s impossible to determine the decisiveness a purported policy pivot.

Furthermore, in his speech, Biden suggested a susceptibility to standard Saudi arguments – peddled by those oh-so-practiced players in Washington’s language-stretching game. For seasons after season, they’ve been scoring Riyadh immense benefits in dollars, operational assistance, and diplomatic top-cover. No matter, in one hell of hedge, Joe still pledged to "help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity." By that he mainly means Houthi-rebel missile attacks on Riyadh’s oil refineries – opening the door to loopholes tailor-made for the Saudi line.

The classic pitch goes something like this:

Forget that we started the war back in 2015, and that we’ve actually aggressively intervened in Yemen for decades – if not centuries – to render the Arab world’s poorest state a neocolonial satellite. Focus on the blowback of resultant Houthi-responsive attacks on Saudi turf – and exaggerate the late and limited Iranian support role in them (to really up the alarmist ante) – then use extortive fear-mongering to warn of an existential threat to our allies’ global oil supply. Presto, I-told-you-so! You see: the war was waged in self-defense all along (Psst! Ignore that minor matter of us creating all the conditions, and essentially asking for, those very same Houthi attacks…)

Look, none of this is to say that Biden’s speech and – even if imprecise – policy pronouncements aren’t preferable to Trump’s coarse gleeful-enabler, and boastful blank check arms-sale-bonanza bit. But improved language – however admirable – often masks much more stable, status quo, indecency.

Of course, given Biden’s own squishy foreign policy record – along with inevitable war industry lobbyist, Israel/Gulf State, and Iranophobe counter-pressure – that’s a big if. But if Joe genuinely wanted to makes some moves in his adopted town, here’s a radical thought for a crisis demanding radical action: try some responsibility and reflection. Dream with me, and imagine the precise language Biden could bring to bear: – by Danny Sjursen, ret. US army major =

(** B K P)


Domestically, the group has suppressed dissent and won complete control of what is left of the Yemeni state, appointing loyalists in civilian and military bodies and transferring powers from government institutions to a shadowy network of Houthi supervisors. A pervasive security apparatus, built on the ashes of Ali Abdullah Saleh-era intelligence bodies (UN Panel of Experts, 27 January 2020: 9), has focused on protecting the Houthi regime and monitoring the movements of suspected enemies, including humanitarian organizations. Among the successes boasted by Houthi officials is the restoration of security and stability in Houthi-controlled regions, which they contrast with the mayhem plaguing the areas under the authority of the internationally recognized government and allied coalition forces (Yemen Press Agency, 21 December 2019; Al Masirah, 21 July 2020; Ansarollah, 2 January 2021).

Yet despite these repressive efforts, tensions continue to rise in northern Yemen. From the failed uprising incited by former president and erstwhile Houthi ally Ali Abdullah Saleh to sporadic tribal rebellions and infighting within Houthi ranks, localized resistance to Houthi rule has turned violent in several provinces. Confronted with the outbreak of dissent, the Houthis have accused “foreign-armed forces” of terrorist activities, and have used violence to force internal opponents into submission. However, the roots of these incidents are largely domestic in nature. Not only do they highlight the unstable and violent nature of governance in Houthi-controlled territories, their occurrence also challenges the very essence of the wartime political order based on the acquiescence and collusion of societal groups with the Houthi-dominated state authorities (Staniland, 2012).

This report draws on ACLED data to examine patterns of infighting and repression in Houthi-controlled Yemen from 2015 to the present. It shows that behind the purported projection of unity in the face of the ‘aggression,’ local struggles within the Houthi movement, and between the movement and the tribes, are widespread across the territories under Houthi control. This geographic diffusion, however, has not translated into a unitary front against the Houthis; it rather reflects localized resistance to Houthi domination and encroachment in tribal areas which has stood little chance against the Houthis’ machine of repression.


Despite their ostensible cohesion, the armed forces loyal to the Houthis consist of a heterogenous assortment of militants and professional soldiers. These forces are composed of approximately 200,000 troops, two thirds of which have been recruited since the start of the war according to a recent report (Al Masdar, 3 January 2021). Alongside the regular army, special military units and armed militias operate under the command of high-ranking Houthi officials, loyal tribal shaykhs, and other prominent figures capable of rallying support locally. While expected to show ideological commitment to the Houthi cause, local commanders also enjoy relative autonomy, operating as a network of militias that are involved in the extraction of levies and the recruitment of fighters in support of the war effort (Diwan, 25 November 2020).

This “cartel-like” structure (Shiban, 4 December 2020), however, is prone to stoking tensions within the movement. Rival factions are reported to exist among senior Houthi officials competing over access to positions of power and control of rents. While these are rarely — if ever — acknowledged in public, concerns over balancing their relative influence on decision-making are said to determine the allocation of regime posts and resources (Al Araby, 19 July 2019; Marib Press, 28 December 2019). Across Houthi-controlled territories, tensions have occasionally arisen between local Houthi ringleaders, derogatively known as mutahawwithin (ACAPS, 17 June 2020), and militia commanders hailing from Yemen’s northern governorates, the cradle of Ansarallah. Such hostilities have emerged in response to the latter’s encroachment in central Yemen at the expense of local Houthi elites who face increased marginalization in political and security institutions.

Data recorded by ACLED reveal that infighting within Houthi ranks reached a new peak in 2020 (see figure below). In 2020, more than 40 distinct battles between opposing Houthi forces were recorded in 11 governorates, compared to the 15 battles distributed across six governorates in 2018 and the 31 battles across seven governorates in 2019. Since 2015, confrontations have involved a wide range of actors within the Houthi camp, including regular army troops, Republican Guard soldiers loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh and his nephew Tareq (who now leads the anti-Houthi forces on the western front), and local Houthi supervisors, or mushrifin. With the notable exception of events in December 2017 — when the spike in infighting was a direct result of the collapse of the Houthi-Saleh alliance — what has since been driving this internecine violence is a multitude of locally situated struggles among elements of the Houthi regime over land property, checkpoint control, and taxation.

Despite a relative decrease from the record high of 2019, Ibb remains the ‘hotbed of infighting’ in Houthi-controlled areas with nearly one fourth of the total events recorded by ACLED in 2020 (see figure below). Since 2017, tensions between the local security director Abdulhafiz As Suqqaf — a former ally of Saleh and an enabler of the Houthi advance in Ibb — and the loyalist Houthi faction from Saada escalated into heavy clashes, involving their allied tribal networks and plunging the governorate into instability (for more, see ACLED’s report on Houthi infighting in Ibb). In fact, these clashes are a testament to the local resentment existing among groups that had been acquiescent over, or had actively supported, the Houthi takeover across central and northern Yemen in 2014 and 2015, and were later disposed of by Houthi loyalists. More recently, sporadic outbursts of violence between rival Houthi factions continued through the first half of 2020, resulting in at least eight deaths between January and July.

Other governorates experienced a marked increase in internecine violence in 2020. In Al Bayda, the town of Radaa, which had fallen under the control of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in 2012 (Van Veen, 29 January 2014), was the site of several violent confrontations between rival Houthi factions linked to the local tribal networks of Riyam and Al Jawf Al Qayfa (Hafryat, 12 January 2020; Al Masdar, 19 July 2020). The conflict thus combines tribal grievances over land disputes and revenge killings with factional hostilities between Houthi ringleaders in Radaa. In Al Hodeidah, clashes broke out in the southern districts of Tuhayat and Hays over the distribution of levies among local Houthi leader

This disparate sequence of events across Houthi-controlled territories reflects the tensions running between the center and the periphery of the movement. In some territories, the centralization of power in the hands of an inner circle consisting of Houthi loyalists is facing opposition from local factions that risk losing authority. Occasionally, factional infighting has merged with communal disputes, leading local Houthi ringleaders to mobilize their respective tribal supporters (Al Mashhad Al Yemeni, 13 January 2020). Indeed, relationships between the Houthis and the tribes have grown increasingly strained in much of northern Yemen, with rising levels of tribal resistance and Houthi repression.

Tribal Disorder

Since 2015, tribes have spearheaded the military campaign against the Houthis in several battlefronts across Yemen, although intermittent or inadequate support from the armed forces of the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition has been a frequent cause of frustration. Over the past year, the Murad tribe mounted a fierce resistance against the Houthi offensive in Marib amidst a spectacular failure of the army to coordinate and lead the fighting (Nagi, 29 September 2020). Likewise, tribal fighters and shaykhs have been enlisted to join brigades associated with the government and the coalition, such as the powerful Second Giants Brigade deployed on the western front and dominated by the Al Subayha tribe (Al Masdar, 3 January 2021). Beyond mere fighting, tribal mediation has also succeeded in achieving several prison swaps between the government and the Houthis, often outperforming UN-brokered mediation efforts (Al Masdar, 9 December 2019; Al Dawsari, 10 November 2020).

Inside Houthi-controlled territories, tribal coexistence with Ansarallah has been mixed


While spared by the fragmentation and insurgencies that characterize much of southern Yemen (for more, see ACLED’s analysis series mapping little-known armed groups in Yemen, as well as our recent report on the wartime transformation of AQAP), infighting and repression constitute two major sources of instability in Houthi-controlled territories, and a potential challenge to the survival of the Houthi regime in the coming years. Within Ansarallah, factional infighting has pitted local Houthi commanders against loyalists hailing from the northern governorates, reflecting resentment over the centralizing trends sponsored by the movement’s leadership. The co-option of tribal shaykhs as security or political officials in local government structures has nonetheless brought communal disputes over revenge killings or land property inside the movement itself. Overall, relationships between the Houthis and the tribes have considerably worsened since Ali Abdullah Saleh was assassinated in December 2017, igniting a cycle of revolts and repression.

Yet, this widespread disorder at the local level has not escalated into mass defections from the regime. Divide-and-rule strategies, exemplified by the selective co-option of tribal shaykhs in governance structures, together with the pragmatic considerations of the tribes that are wary of antagonizing Ansarallah, have allowed the movement to navigate these turbulences almost unscathed. Without external support for domestic groups or a collective uprising against Houthi rule — both of which are highly unlikely in the current context of a prolonged war of attrition — there is little chance that these uprisings could turn into a wider challenge for the regime. More likely, infighting and repression will continue to permeate relations between the Houthis and other groups at the local level (maps, infographics9

(** B K)

Rockets over Yemen: Inside the Houthis’ Botched Attack on Aden Airport

The attack on the airport of a busy port city was caught on multiple videos. But so were a number of missile launches from Houthi-held cities to the North-West of Aden — on the very same day. An analysis of open source information from these locations suggests that, despite their denials, the Houthis were most likely responsible for the attack on Aden airport.

As we can see, three explosions take place over the period of about a minute, all between the plane and the terminal building. The Yemeni Government claimed the attack happened at 13:24, which they supported with footage from CCTV cameras. The earliest identified public reports of this attack having taken place were posted at 13:27 Yemen time, immediately followed by numerous posts reporting the same event.

By examining other videos of the attack it is possible to establish where these missiles exploded in relation to the terminal building and the plane. The exact position of the plane can be established due to the guidance lines marked on the tarmac being visible in both this video and satellite imagery.

The location of the second impact is especially important. A journalist from the news website Bawabatii who was present at the airport reported that the plane was supposed to have parked in a different landing bay, but could not due to a large crowd of supporters on the apron. Instead, it parked further away from the terminal. This is supported by footage of a large number of people milling around on the apron as the flight arrives, as well as the presence of a red carpet laid out for the bay closest to the terminal building, some distance from where the plane actually parked.

The Crater

We know where the munitions landed, but where were they launched from?

The second impact point contains a crucial clue. As our previous investigations have demonstrated, craters can be used to identify the direction of origin of munitions. In this case the crater can be compared to the lines on the airport apron, which clearly indicate that the munition arrived from a north-westerly direction.

By manipulating the photo to appear as if we are viewing it from above, it can be established that the direction of origin is very close to the city of Ta’izz, where, as we will see, there were multiple reports of rocket launches that day.

At the time of the attack on Aden airport, Tai’zz and the surrounding region were largely under the control of Houthi militias.

The Munitions

There is less open source information about exactly what munitions were used. Fragments of these munitions were collected by the authorities and later displayed at a press conference on January 15, however, all of them were relatively small and there were no high-quality images of the fragments themselves. As such none were clear enough to be able to identify the exact munition.

Once again, the craters offer some clues. The location of the first impact, several metres up a wall below an overhanging roof, suggests that this was not a weapon with a high arc, such as a mortar. Individual frames in several videos caught at least one of these munitions immediately before impact. Although perspectives may be altered by the extremely short exposure, the munition appears to be the shape of a rocket rather than a mortar bomb or loitering munition. This would rule out use of the Qasef or Sammad, UAVs known to be used by the Houthi forces.

In the same press conference in which the munition fragments were displayed, stills from CCTV footage were shown, which also appeared to show some kind of rocket.

The View from Ta’izz

On the same day as the attack in Aden, multiple videos were posted on social media appearing to show rockets being launched from Ta’izz and Dhamar, another city controlled by the Houthi movement.

We were able to geolocate four of these videos to Ta’izz, all of which show the same launch of two missiles, characterised by the distinctive flight of one of those missiles gyrating wildly before falling to earth.

Multiple other images and videos of this launch which were posted on December 30, but it has not been not possible to geolocate them. All show what appear to be the same launch of two missiles, one of which falls in the distinctive manner described earlier.

That so many videos and images from Ta’izz, all showing the same rocket launch from multiple angles, were posted online the same day, along with testimony of this event taking place, strongly indicates that they were all indeed filmed on the same day: December 30.

We chronolocated these videos using the angles of the sun and the shadows it cast to establish a time window during which they were filmed. In order to mitigate the inaccuracy with this method we used multiple objects in each of the videos, establishing they were filmed not long after 13:00. It should be noted that there is a measure of inaccuracy to this method, and as such the timing is approximate.

The View from Dhamar

As well as the launches from Taiz, four videos discovered by our partners at the Yemeni Archive appear to show two successful launches from Dhamar. These videos all appear to show the same launch: a distinctive cloud, as well as the identical trail from the missile, can be seen in all four.

Using the intersection method, it was possible to identify the vicinity from which these missiles were launched. This location is marked as a police training centre on Google Maps, which is consistent with multiple social media posts claiming that a missile launch occurred at a police base.

A Houthi Hallmark

The open source evidence for the attack on Aden airport is substantial and significant. It shows that on December 30, shortly after 13:00, four missiles were launched from Houthi-controlled territory: two from the vicinity of Ta’izz airport and two from the vicinity of a police base in Dhamar. The launch of one of these missiles from Tai’zz was a failure; it corkscrewed to the ground and impacted a field a short distance away.

Although fragments apparently from this munition do not allow us to conclude much about its precise type, the size of the fragment, and the presence of control-canards, suggests a relatively large guided missile. It has been claimed by the Houthis that the Badr-1P ballistic missile, which could be a possible match, has a range of 150 km. This range would be enough to reach from Ta’izz to Aden, however Dhamar is almost 200km from Aden airport. It seems possible that the projectiles launched from Dhamar were either a different kind of missile, or a Badr-1P which may have been modified in some way.

As such the available evidence indicates that, despite their denial, the Houthi movement were likely responsible for this attack. This continues a theme of the Houthi movement using effective intelligence and targeting of high-value targets to carry out long-range and accurate strikes, as previously seen in Aden, Al-Anad and Marib. (photos, videos, stills, imaginery) =

and a shorter report:

(** B H K)

The Suffering Underclass of War-Torn Yemen

“I feel the pain of my homeland as they do,” he said. “There’s no difference between us and them. Our only difference is the color of our skin.”

Merely ending US involvement cannot bring peace to Yemen; active efforts at peace building are required. On a recent trip to the country, I saw a country more divided than ever, with at least five armed groups (and a plethora of local militias) vying for control of territory.

The war has exacerbated and laid bare ethnic, religious, and infrastructural problems that were allowed to develop under the reign of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The countries that have sponsored the war have an obligation to help Yemen emerge from the mess of violence it has been plunged into.

Unlike other Yemenis, who are affiliated with tribes who can support them in times of trouble, Muhamasheen (whose name means “the marginalized”) are outside of the tribal order.

Muhamasheen are looked down upon by other people in the country—they are also referred to as al-Akhdam (the servants)—and seen as dirty. This is reinforced by the murky perception that they are the descendants of ancient Ethiopian occupiers of Yemen, and because many of them have darker skin than other Yemeni Arabs. Many of the internally displaced and the starving in the country belong to this group.

Activists among the Muhamasheen say that the discrimination dates to their enslavement in the 12th century. Even though social castes and slavery were formally abolished in the 1960s, the Muhamasheen often remain trapped in the strictures of a tribal system where justice often occurs through informal channels. A popular saying runs, “Don’t eat with the Akhdam because worms come out of their plates.”

The Muhamasheen settlement at Wadi al-Qadim was typical of the minority’s neighborhoods across the country: Shacks and lean-tos cleaved to the periphery of a large city. Even so, “life was like heaven,” according to Aisha, a grandmother who lived in the area at the time. “Yes, we were scavengers, but at least we had steady salaries.”

After the Saudi strike that Bayan Fouad described, the Muhamasheen of Wadi al-Qadim decided to flee south, walking and hitching rides through curving mountain valleys. Along the way, front lines shifted between militias and rebel groups.

After about 40 miles, they arrived at the town of at-Turba, which had become choked with refugees fleeing the fighting to the north. Some 8,000 families (in Yemen, the average family is around seven people) had been displaced to Turba. An estimated 4 million people are internally displaced across Yemen at the moment because of the war.

In Turba, the residents of Wadi al-Qadim settled at the al-Fajr al-Gdeed school, a complex of three squat cinderblock and concrete structures that serves 1,200 students. Now, 57 families live in the school, and the students only have 11 classrooms to study in. Teachers across Yemen lament the fate of education during the war. “The future of Yemen is being lost,” a professor from Ta’iz recently told me.

The al-Fajr school has become a camp for internally displaced people, supported by the United Nations’s International Organization of Migration, but resources are scarce, and families can barely afford to support themselves.

The Muhamasheen minority number between 500,000 and 3.5 million (exact figures, as often is the case in Yemen, are hard to come by). When they are displaced, they are particularly at risk. Rania Rajji, an academic who has studied the Muhamasheen and authored a 2016 report on the group, told me that the war had exposed the vulnerabilities of the Yemeni system. “Knowing how dire the humanitarian situation is in Yemen, how severely the conflict has affected the general population, then naturally it will disproportionately affect people who are already vulnerable on a socioeconomic level,” he said.

The Muhamasheen “are vulnerable by not knowing they are vulnerable,” Rajji said. “They are not allowed to marry outside of their caste. They live in slums, and they are not integrated in the main cities.”

Before the war, some progress was being made toward integrating the Muhamasheen into normal life.

When the war came, much of that progress was swept away, Rajji told me. The Muhamasheen were among the first to be displaced, and host communities were often deeply prejudiced toward them.

But like other IDPs, the Muhamasheen cannot safely return home. The residents of the al-Fajr school have lived there for almost six years. Most are terrified at the prospect of returning to Wadi al-Qadim.

The discrimination against the Muhamasheen of al-Fajr is extreme. I was told by residents that thugs come at night to harass the Muhamasheen and steal their motorcycles. “There’s no work here,” Bilal ar-Raboui, a young man with a scrawny beard told me. “Nobody wants to hire us for anything. We can only wash cars and beg.”

In the last few years, the local government has come under pressure to move the displaced people from the al-Fajr school. At one point, an area of farmland outside town was allocated for this purpose, but when a small group of the al-Fajr residents went there, a local farmer threatened them and warned them not to come back.

When I asked him if there was discrimination against the Muhamasheen in their new home, he gave a wan smile. “The people here look at us like a wound,” he said. “They want to remove that wound from their body.”

The Muhamasheen are Yemenis who should participate in Yemeni society and in any peace process, ar-Rabboui insisted. They should be involved in the peace effort as well: It is the duty of all Yemenis to work to end the war and rebuild the country (with photos). – by Nicolas Niarchos

cp1a Am wichtigsten: Coronavirus und Seuchen / Most important: Coronavirus and epidemics

(A H)

2 new cases of COVID-19, incl. 1 death reported in Hadramout

(A H)

Three new cases of coronavirus reported in Hadramout

(B H)

IOM and @Sida continue to carry out a #COVID19 prevention and response in Yemen. In January, over 12,500 people participated in IOM’s health awareness sessions across the country.

(* B H)

New survey shows how COVID-19 exacerbates the critical needs of Yemen’s IDPs

In the country facing the world's most acute humanitarian crisis, the impacts of the pandemic have been devastating. As conflict and flooding continued to trigger mass displacement in Yemen in 2020, a new survey by IDMC highlights how IDPs have been particularly affected by the fallout of the virus.

In IDMC's 2020 mid-year update, we noted that lockdown measures and the economic downturn associated with the pandemic were exacerbating the vulnerabilities of the 3.6 million people estimated to still be displaced in Yemen at the end of 2019. Seeking to shed further light on the issue, IDMC commissioned an online survey to investigate the impacts of the pandemic on internally displaced people (IDPs) and non-displaced people in November 2020.

More than 1,600 web users across the country completed the survey, including 381 IDPs currently displaced by conflict, violence, and disasters. While the findings suggest that the pandemic has negatively affected the lives of most respondents, the impacts were especially severe for IDPs.


There have been 2,126 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Yemen and 616 associated deaths as of the 2nd February 2021 but this is likely to be an underestimate for various reasons, including the country's low testing capacity. Overcrowded living conditions, underlying health conditions, and poor hygiene and sanitation in the areas where IDPs live were expected to heighten IDPs' risk of contracting coronavirus. Forty-five % of IDPs said that they, or someone in their household, had experienced symptoms of COVID-19, compared with 30% of non-displaced people. The inability to distance from others was the most commonly cited challenge preventing IDPs from limiting the risk of catching or spreading the virus ( see Figure 1). Lack of hand-washing facilities appeared to be a significant challenge for IDPs living in organised or spontaneous sites.

cp1b Am wichtigsten: Neue Jemen-Politik der USA / Most important: New US Yemen policy

Siehe / Look at cp1, cp9

(* B K P)

Der Stopp der amerikanischen Waffenhilfe für die Saudi ist eine Chance für Jemen

Diese Entscheidung ist so richtig wie überfällig.

Die USA waren nie offiziell Mitglied der Koalition gegen die Huthi, doch ohne ihre Unterstützung wäre die Bombenkampagne nicht möglich gewesen.

Mit der Einstellung der Militärhilfe korrigiert Biden eine Entscheidung, die er als Vizepräsident von Barack Obama zu Beginn selbst mitverantwortet hatte.

Sechs Jahre nach Beginn der Intervention muss klar sein, dass kein Weg an Verhandlungen mit den Huthi vorbeiführt.

Die Einmischung ausländischer Mächte erschwert den Prozess nur und heizt den Konflikt unnötig an. Vor diesem Hintergrund bietet Bidens Entscheidung zur Einstellung der Militärhilfe die Chance, die Saudi endlich zum Rückzug aus Jemen zu bewegen. Eigentlich sucht der saudische Kronprinz Mohammed bin Salman ohnehin längst nach einem Weg, das kostspielige Abenteuer zu beenden. Doch solange Trump hinter ihm stand, war der Druck nicht hoch genug.

Ein Rückzug der Saudi böte paradoxerweise auch die Chance, Teherans Einfluss in Jemen einzudämmen. Denn erst der Krieg hat die Huthi in die Arme der Iraner getrieben

(* B K P)

Hoffnung für die Jemeniten

Trotz Kurswechsel der neuen US-Regierung ist ein tragfähiger Frieden noch weit

Was das in der Realität bedeutet, ist offen, denn gleichzeitig hieß es aus dem Weißen Haus, man werde Saudi-Arabien weiterhin bei der Selbstverteidigung helfen. Es ist auch nicht damit zu rechnen, dass die Geheimdienstkooperation eingestellt wird und die Unterstützung bei der Blockade der Häfen im Nord-Jemen. Ebenso wenig ist zu erwarten, dass der Krieg bald endet.

Die Nachrichten aus Washington haben dennoch die Diplomatie wieder in Gang gesetzt: Anfang der Woche reiste UN-Sondergesandter Martin Griffiths erstmals zu offiziellen Gesprächen nach Teheran. Auch Saudi-Arabien sucht einen Ausweg aus dem Krieg: Man kann ihn sich schlicht nicht mehr leisten. Ziel sei es, sagen Diplomaten der UNO, die Situation zu nutzen, um die Konfliktparteien erneut an den Verhandlungstisch zu bekommen und sie zu einer tragfähigen Vereinbarung zu bewegen. Sämtliche vorangegangenen Abkommen waren gescheitert, und auch jetzt ist die Skepsis groß.

(* B K P)

Rückbesinnung auf Diplomatie

Die Ankündigung der USA, die Waffenverkäufe an Saudi-Arabien zu drosseln, ist ein erstes ermutigendes Zeiche

Bidens künftige Außenpolitik will mit vielen Punkten des Vorgängers brechen. Er will sich mit der Uno um einen Waffenstillstand, den Zugang zu Hilfsgütern und Friedensverhandlungen im Jemen bemühen.

Der neue Kurs der US-Regierung betreffe daher nur Kampfhandlungen, „die den Bürgerkrieg verlängert haben, der zu einer humanitären Krise geführt hat“, ließ Biden mitteilen. „Relevante“ Waffenverkäufe an Saudi Arabien solle es künftig nicht mehr gegen. Allerdings stellt sich die Frage, ob auch andere Waffenschmiede dem Beispiel der Amerikaner folgen werden. Denn solange Deutschland und Frankreich zwar nach außen hin betonen, Lieferstopps nach Saudi Arabien zu verfügen, aber U-Boote an Ägypten liefern, ist das Ende des Krieges im Jemen nicht in Sicht. Wer den Militärdiktator am Nil aufrüstet, rüstet auch Saudi Arabien auf. Nicht umsonst gelten die Ägypter als Leibwächter der Saudis.,-rueckbesinnung-auf-diplomatie-_arid,1958725.html

(* B K P)

US-Kurswechsel Grund zur Hoffnung im Jemen?

Mit dem neuen US-Präsidenten Joe Biden gibt es Hoffnung auf frische Friedensbemühungen im Jemen.

Mit dem Machtwechsel in den USA hoffen Experten auf frischen Schwung in den Friedensbemühungen. Die USA wollen im Jemen ihre Unterstützung für Kampfhandlungen einstellen und stattdessen die Diplomatie verstärken, auch mit ihrem neuen Jemen-Beauftragten Tim Lenderking. Nach Bidens Willen sollen auch die Waffenverkäufe an Saudi-Arabien ausgesetzt werden.

(* B K P)

Jemen: Zehn Jahre Revolution

Zurückhaltende Hoffnung

Politische Analysten bewerten die neue US-Position zunächst noch zurückhaltend. "Ein Stopp der Verkäufe bedeutet nicht unbedingt, dass sie dann tatsächlich auch eingestellt werden", sagt Al-Hamdani. "Es ist typisch für US-Administrationen, die Arbeit der Vorgängerregierungen zunächst einmal auf Eis zu legen, um sie dann zu überprüfen." Umso mehr setzt sie allerdings auf die Arbeit des neuen UN-Sondergesandten für den Jemen, den US-Diplomanten Timothy Lenderking. Es sei ermutigend, dass er vor Ort versuchen werde, die Konfliktparteien zu einem Waffenstillstandsregelung zu bewegen.

Auch Farea Al-Muslimi, Vorsitzender und Mitbegründer des Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, hält den Stopp der Waffenverkäufe zwar für vielversprechend, aber nicht ausreichend. "Es ist ein sehr guter Schritt", so Al-Muslimi im DW-Gespräch. "Aber wird er dem Jemen Frieden bringen? Nein." Er würde es zwar ebenfalls begrüßen, wenn aus dem Westen weniger Waffen kämen. "Aber das wird nicht ausreichen, um im Jemen einen umfassenden Frieden zu begründen." Auch er setzt vor allem auf die Arbeit von UN-Diplomat Lenderking.

(A K P)


Nach den Ankündigungen von US-Präsident Joe Biden zum Jemen-Konflikt hat die saudi-arabische Führung ihre Unterstützung einer politischen Lösung für das Bürgerkriegsland unterstrichen. Das Königreich strebe "eine umfassende politische Lösung" für den Jemen an und begrüße, dass Biden den Schwerpunkt auf "diplomatische Anstrengungen" zur Beilegung des Konflikts lege, meldete am Donnerstag die staatliche saudiarabische Nachrichtenagentur SPA.

(* B K P)

Warum die Houthi-Rebellen es Biden im Jemen schwer machen

„Man kann jetzt aber kaum erwarten, dass jetzt alle Beteiligten plötzlich mit dem aufhören, was sie über Jahre betrieben haben“, sagt der jemenitische Sicherheitsexperte.

Skeptische Töne sind auch von westlichen Diplomaten zu hören. Ein solcher amerikanischer Schritt hätte weit größere Wirkung entfaltet, wäre er in das erste oder zweite Jahr des saudisch geführten Feldzugs im Jemen gefallen, heißt es von westlichen Diplomaten.

Nach fast sechs Jahren eines erfolgsarmen Feldzugs, der den Jemen in eine dramatische humanitäre Krise gestürzt hat, gibt es eine weit längere Liste von Akteuren, die kein Interesse an einem Ende des Krieges haben. Dieser hat einige weitere örtliche Konflikte aufs Neue entfacht. I

Riad ist längst an einem gesichtswahrenden Ausweg interessiert. Einfacher wird es jetzt aber nicht für das Königreich, einen solchen zu finden. „Wenn sich jetzt etwas verändert, dann ist es die Position Saudi-Arabiens, die viel schwächer ist“, sagt Farea al Muslimi, ein jemenitischer Experte von der Denkfabrik Chatham House. „Indem man die Houthi ohne Vorbedingungen von der Terrorliste gestrichen hat, wurde eine Möglichkeit vertan und ein Hebel aus der Hand gegeben“, kritisiert er.

Al Muslimi glaubt nicht daran, dass die Houthi ein Interesse daran haben, militärische Erfolge im Zuge von Verhandlungen in politische Legitimität umzumünzen. „Sie folgen einer militärischen Logik und streben die Kontrolle über den ganzen Norden an.“

So oder so, das Misstrauen der Rebellen gegenüber Washington, das laut ihrer Erzählung Teil der großen Verschwörung gegen den Jemen ist, dürfte bleiben. Dass Bomben aus amerikanischer Produktion, abgeworfen von der saudischen Luftwaffe, über Jahre auch Zivilisten trafen, wirkt auch unter denjenigen Jemeniten nach, die den Houthi skeptisch gegenüberstehen. Ebenso amerikanische Drohnenangriffe im Krieg gegen Al Qaida.

Mein Kommentar: Wie soll man die Frage der Überschrift beantworten? Weil die US es den Huthis sechs Jahre schwer gemacht haben, wäre viel zu verniedlichend: Weil die USA sechs Jahre den Jemen zerstört haben und für 230.000 Tote entscheidend verantwortlich sind, trifft es besser.

(B K P)

Biden will den Krieg im Jemen beenden

Erstmals seit sechs Jahren gibt es für Jemens geschundene Bevölkerung einen Schimmer von Hoffnung. "Das ist ein Schritt zurück ins Leben, ein großer Schritt hin zu echtem Frieden zwischen allen Konfliktparteien", bejubelte die bekannte Menschenrechtlerin Radhya Almutawakel die erste außenpolitische Grundsatzrede des US-Präsidenten Joe Biden.

Doch das Ringen um eine politische Nachkriegsordnung im Jemen dürfte langwierig und zäh werden. Warlords beider Seiten verdienen gut an den Kämpfen – auch stehen sich bei den Verhandlungen die Erzfeinde Saudi-Arabien und Iran indirekt gegenüber. "Der wirkliche Beweis für Frieden im Jemen ist ein Ende der Aggressionen und die Aufhebung der Blockade", twitterte Huthi-Sprecher Mohamed Abdel Salam. Offenbar als Faustpfand wollen seine Mitkämpfer den Supertanker Safer nutzen, der seit Jahren mit 1,1 Millionen Barrel Rohöl im Bauch vor Jemens Westküste verrottet.

(B K P)

Ein bisschen Hoffnung in Arabien

(** A K P)

Remarks by President Biden on America’s Place in the World

We’re also stepping up our diplomacy to end the war in Yemen — a war which has created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe. I’ve asked my Middle East team to ensure our support for the United Nations-led initiative to impose a ceasefire, open humanitarian channels, and restore long-dormant peace talks.

This morning, Secretary Blinken appointed Tim Lenderking, a career foreign policy officer, as our special envoy to the Yemen conflict. And I appreciate his doing this. Tim is a life — has lifelong experience in the region, and he’ll work with the U.N. envoy and all parties of the conflict to push for a diplomatic resolution.

And Tim’s diplomacy will be bolstered by USI- — USAID, working to ensure that humanitarian aid is reaching the Yemeni people who are suffering un- — an undurable [sic] — unendurable devastation. This war has to end.

And to underscore our commitment, we are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks, UAV strikes, and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries. We’re going to continue to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people.

(* A K P)

Audio: Yemen war: Joe Biden ends support for operations in foreign policy reset

The US is to end its support for offensive operations by its allies in Yemen, which has been devastated by a six-year war in which more than 110,000 people are believed to have died. "The war in Yemen must end," President Joe Biden said in his first major foreign policy speech.

(** B K P)

Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War—But It's Too Soon to Celebrate

The details of Biden’s Yemen war announcement are what matter. Those are still not clear.

The February 4 announcement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that President Biden would end U.S. support for ​“offensive operations” in Yemen was understandably met with celebration by those opposed to the war.

But Biden’s foreign policy speech, delivered just hours after Sullivan’s teaser, unfortunately underscored that we must not celebrate the end of the war until we verify that it has actually, materially ended. That is because Biden’s remarks leave just enough room for the president to gesture toward ending the war without actually halting all U.S. participation in it.

Unfortunately, qualifiers like ​“offensive” and ​“relevant” do not signal a clear commitment to ending all forms of support for the U.S. war in Yemen, which includes targeting assistance, weapons sales (the U.S. is the largest supplier of arms to Saudi Arabia), logistics, training, and intelligence sharing with the Saudi-led coalition. Labeling Yemen’s Houthis as ​“Iranian supplied forces,” and making a commitment to defending Saudi Arabia’s ​“sovereignty,” echoes President Obama’s initial pretense for entering the war on Yemen in 2015. The White House statement that signaled Obama’s illegal entry declared, ​“In response to the deteriorating security situation, Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, and others will undertake military action to defend Saudi Arabia’s border and to protect Yemen’s legitimate government.” In other words, from the outset, this onslaught was framed by the U.S. as defensive.

Importantly, Sullivan noted that ending the war in Yemen ​“does not extend to actions against AQAP,” or al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. While sanctioned by the AUMF, it’s important to oppose this parallel U.S.-led war in Yemen that has also led to the killing of civilians.

Now, more than ever, it is vital to hold a firm line about what a real end to U.S. participation in the Yemen war means: an end to all U.S. assistance, including intelligence sharing, logistical help, training, providing spare parts transfers for warplanes, bomb targeting, weapons sales and support for the naval blockade (we still don’t know the full extent of U.S. support for the latter). It also requires that the United States immediately reverse the Trump administration’s designation of the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), a determination that is cutting off critical aid to northern Yemen and significantly escalating the crisis of mass starvation.

Because these things have not yet come to pass, it is critical to keep up the pressure until the war is really ended. As much as we might welcome positive messaging — no doubt a result of the pressure exerted by dogged organizers — we must not rest until we have won actual material relief.

This is not to sow nihilism: It is significant that President Biden, whose own Obama-Biden administration first initiated U.S. involvement in the war, feels that he has to answer to anti-war activists.

But rhetoric and positive signals are not enough. We need a material end to all U.S. assistance now, before one more Yemeni dies, and we need to verify that this assistance has ended before we declare victory – by Shireen Al-Adeimi and Sarah Lazare =

(** B K P)

Biden’s Pledge to Pull Back in Yemen Is Full of Holes

While he’s breaking with his predecessors, Biden’s rhetoric leaves room for the Saudis to slip out of commitments.

Biden’s remarks represent a strong change in tone from the Trump and Obama administrations. But this is the easy part. Despite all of last week’s hopeful fanfare, a closer examination suggests that there is still ample reason to be cautious, if not skeptical, about the prospects for peace. Biden, a president who took office with far more foreign policy experience than most of his recent predecessors, offered a few subtle qualifiers and caveats that, absent more specific information, may undercut or water down his proclamation that “this war must end.”

For one, Biden said he would terminate support for “offensive” operations. While Saudi Arabia’s intervention could rightly be described as a campaign of aggression to reinstall a regime­—that of exiled President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, ousted by the Houthis in 2014—that funnels much of Yemen’s wealth into the kingdom, Saudi leaders have been considerably slippery in their selling of the conflict, framing their efforts as defensive in nature. This raises the question of what exactly Biden is ending assistance for, and whether that proverbial door is being left ajar.

It’s well worth noting that in his next breath, Biden said, “We’re going to continue to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people” from “missile attacks, [unmanned aerial vehicle] strikes, and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries.” This language does not sound all that different from that used by the Obama administration when it announced, on the war’s first day, that it would help the coalition “to defend Saudi Arabia’s border and to protect Yemen’s legitimate government”—as if the Houthis were trying to invade the kingdom (which they weren’t).

And while Biden said that he would cancel “relevant” arms sales, he has yet to specify any criteria for relevancy.

A week earlier, Biden announced that his administration would be reviewing the $23 billion purchase of fighter jets and armed drones by the United Arab Emirates and temporarily pausing the half-billion-dollar sale of bombs to Saudi Arabia.

William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Program at the Center for International Policy, fears that the United Arab Emirates is going to try to save its deal by claiming that it is not involved in Yemen anymore. Although Abu Dhabi’s drawdown of forces in 2019 is often described in the media as the end of its intervention, Emirati forces are still heavily involved, occupying Yemen’s remote island of Socotra.

Beyond arms sales, Hartung hopes Biden’s policy shift includes a consideration of any naval support, given that the coalition’s naval blockade is responsible for an enormous amount of the suffering Yemenis are currently experiencing. “If they only include the Saudi bombs, I don’t think that would be fully effective in helping bring an end to the killing,” he said. “There’s a lot of ways they could split hairs, and I’m hoping they take an expansive view of what are offensive operations and what are the relevant weapons that sustain those.”

For some observers, Biden’s hedged language does not offer much hope for peace. Instead of the type of change necessary to stem the humanitarian disaster, it reads as a hollow concession to the constituency that has demanded an end to the war for years.

Observers aren’t imputing this sort of promise from Biden’s most recent remarks. “I think they’re treading very gingerly here. There were a lot of squishy words in that address,” Robert Vitalis, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier, said.

“There are plenty of ways of getting out of this seemingly shallow promise or gesture toward changing policy,” Isa Blumi, professor at Stockholm University and author of Destroying Yemen: What Chaos in Arabia Tells Us About the World, told The New Republic. “There are many ways to nuance these statements, which is why they’ve phrased it in these ways. They’re quite clever in doing that.”

For Blumi, Biden’s harsh words for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates signal the ascendence of Qatar as Washington’s primary ally in the Gulf and its reentry into the war in Yemen.

Neither was Blumi enthusiastic about Biden’s appointment of Timothy Lenderking as special envoy to the Yemen war. Given that Lenderking oversaw the initiation of the war as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, “he’s an old face and an old hand; all the players on the ground know who he is, and that doesn’t really reassure some of the parties,” Blumi said. “The reason why the war dragged on and why it’s such a messy situation for some of the coalition partners is because of the strong-arming and arm-twisting that was taking place in the embassies that Lenderking was gravitating around on behalf of the Obama administration. So nothing has changed in that regard. People on the ground are not happy with these theatrics.”

In his address, Biden also said that Lenderking’s diplomacy would be “bolstered by USAID, working to ensure that humanitarian aid is reaching the Yemeni people.” Waiting for her confirmation hearing as USAID administrator is noted humanitarian interventionist Samantha Power, who would be the most high-profile figure to hold that office if confirmed. Biden said he would elevate the role of USAID administrator to match Power’s reputation by giving the position a seat on his national security council.

Blumi suggests that these moves from Biden could be the groundwork for further potential escalation and destabilization. If the Houthis reject USAID, Blumi predicts, the Biden administration might use that as justification to rethink its approach to ending the war and decide to stage an intervention on humanitarian grounds, to “do what the coalition could not do over the last six years and end this quickly.”

This diplomatic gaslighting sets the tone and conditions on which the Biden administration seeks to conduct peace negotiations—namely, in a way that is most favorable to the side in the war that Washington has supported for the past six years. The statement essentially is telling the Houthis to give up their resistance to foreign intervention.

What happens next largely depends on how the Saudis interpret Biden’s signals and how much slippage the White House will grant them as Riyadh reinterprets the meanings of “offensive” and “defensive.” For historians who’ve long covered the region, Riyadh’s claims to be acting in its own defense are nothing new; they apply to “every one of their interventions in Yemen,” Victor McFarland, professor at the University of Missouri and author of Oil Powers: A History of the U.S.-Saudi Alliance, told The New Republic.

While McFarland called Biden’s remarks a “welcome change in tone,” he said the “proof will be in the pudding.” Over the course of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, “the two governments have gone to considerable lengths to hide the more controversial or more criticized elements of the relationship from public view.” Until the Biden administration offers more clarity or acts more decisively, the public will be left wondering and the Yemenis suffering – by Gunnar Olsen

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In Yemen, peace remains as elusive as ever

This, however, does not mean the war is over. If anything, the war is far from over and for many reasons. "We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales," said US President Joe Biden, announcing the US decision to pull out of the war. Does this mean the Saudis, the Emiratis and the Iranian-backed Houthis have come to an understanding to finally end this war? No.

The war wages on. And to end this, the Biden administration now has to play a diplomatic role to bring all the warring parties to the table to expedite peace talks and come to a resolution at the earliest. There is another catch: while announcing the US withdrawal from the Yemen War, Biden also added, "At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks, UAV strikes, and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries. We're going to continue to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people." And the Saudis face direct threat from the Houthis, who on previous occasions have targeted Saudi strategic assets and locations. This means that while the US will no longer directly partake in the war by providing support to the Saudis, it will nonetheless be confronting the Houthis if they do not stop going after the Saudis, which will likely have a ripple effect on the war and the humanitarian crisis.

And the US operations will continue in Yemen to fight the terrorist elements operating within the country, namely the al-Qaeda and the ISIS. This time however, it is expected that the operations will not take a toll on civilian lives, as it did ever since the start of the war six years ago.

To ensure this two pronged approach to Yemen, the US will have to walk a tight rope. First of all, while helping the Saudis in defending their territorial integrity against the Houthis, determining what is "offensive" and what is "defensive" would be a tricky challenge. From the very beginning, the Yemen war has been seen by the Saudis as a defensive measure against rising Houthi powers in the region. And while there is debate both for and against this Saudi narrative, going forward, the US will have to be more careful about its actions to make sure that while helping its ally, the US does not again get embroiled in the Yemen war.

Secondly, the diplomatic engagement to fast track the peace talks will be a challenge

And there will be pressure on the US administration internally to resume arms sales to the Saudis and Emiratis. Arms sales to the Saudis have increased significantly during the war.

The Yemen war has created a ready and increasingly expanding market for US arms, and the dealers have enjoyed the fruits of this

Stricken by deaths, destruction and famine, Yemen is on the verge of collapse. People are dying by the hour. And the US is one of the perpetrators of this crime against humanity. There will be pressure on the US to continue to be a part of this mayhem—especially from the powerful international arms sale rackets and of course from the other actors who are profiting from this. But the US must make sure that this ends before more lives are lost. Will the US administration be able to handle this pressure? Only time will tell.

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Ending the Other War in Yemen

Whether Biden’s proclamation will mean much in the real world beyond a temporary hold on the weapons deals Trump made just before leaving office is yet to be seen.

“Look,” Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes reassured investors anticipating this move, “peace is not going to break out in the Middle East anytime soon. I think it remains an area where we’ll continue to see solid growth.” The prospects for peace in Yemen probably depend more on sustained international pressure than on a kinder and gentler administration in the White House.

In case the president gave the misimpression that the U.S. was getting out of the business of killing Yemenis completely, the next day the State Department issued a clarifying statement, “Importantly, this does not apply to offensive operations against either ISIS or AQAP.” In other words, whatever happens in regard to weapons sales to the Saudis, the war that has been waged for 21 years under the guise of the Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by congress authorizing the use of the US Armed Forces against those responsible for the September 11 attacks, will continue indefinitely, despite the fact that neither ISIS nor Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula existed in 2001.

The “offensive operations” in Yemen that will continue under Biden include drone (UAV) strikes, cruise missile attacks and U.S. Special Forces raids and are a part of the larger “war on terror” that began in the administration of George W. Bush and was expanded under Obama.

The statistics around the U.S. war in Yemen are difficult to come by, in part because many of the attacks are carried out secretly by the CIA and not by the military, but the Airwars and other studies count the number of drone strikes and their victims conservatively in the hundreds

While its death toll is much smaller, the U.S. drone attacks have a disproportional effect on Yemeni society. A 2014 screening study of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms among civilians by the Alkarama Foundation found that “for a large swath of population in Yemen, living under a sky that has become a constant source of trauma is an everyday reality” and that under drone attack and surveillance, Yemen is “a precarious time and a peculiar place, where the skies are becoming traumatic and a generation is being lost to constant fear and suffering.”

If the Special Forces and air strikes are intended to defeat terrorism in Yemen as in the other countries under attack, they are having the opposite effect.

Mothana’s observation about liberal voices in the US “largely ignoring, if not condoning, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings in Yemen” was affirmed in Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign for president.

The global proliferation of weaponized drones is no surprise and Biden’s plea for peace in Yemen that allows for their continued use is a hollow one. Giving a pass, continuing to ignore, if not condone, civilian deaths and extrajudicial killings in Yemen and elsewhere will not bring peace but will ensure that for generations to come, profiteers like Raytheon, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics, will “continue to see solid growth.” Peace in Yemen, peace in the world, demands no less than an end to the production, trade and use of weaponized drones.

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Biden ends military aid for Saudi war in Yemen. Ending the war is harder.

While Yemenis and many others welcomed the decision, many shared a sense that it had come years too late and was unlikely to exert a swift effect.

“It is not like the operations are going to be suspended tomorrow because of this,” said Farea Al-Muslimi, an associate fellow at Chatham House, a London-based research group, who focuses on Yemen and the Persian Gulf. “The Gulf countries already have a lot of weapons, so the decision is symbolic in a lot of ways.”

For a range of other reasons, Biden’s decision is unlikely to portend a screeching halt to the war, which the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The United States had already reduced much of the military aid it was giving to the Saudi-led coalition.

“Even if the weapons are put down, there are deeply rooted disputes, grievances, tensions and divisions in Yemen today and more than 30 fronts of armed fighting between different factions,” said Afrah Nasser, a Yemen researcher with Human Rights Watch. “It was the responsibility of the U.S. to have a strong stance on its role, but we need a comprehensive approach to ending the conflict.”

Much remained unclear about the Biden administration’s decision to stop military aid. It did not provide specifics on which munitions and services would be halted, and Biden said the United States would continue to help Saudi Arabia defend itself, without defining which weapons the United States considered vital to the kingdom’s defense.

Still, some experts saw signs in Biden’s approach to the war that they view as encouraging, including his appointment of Timothy Lenderking, a veteran diplomat with extensive experience in the region, as special envoy charged with pushing for a peace settlement.

The emphasis on diplomacy, largely lacking among the senior leaders of the Trump administration, is welcome, said Peter Salisbury, a Yemen analyst with the International Crisis Group. And reducing arms support to one side could make the United States more able to push for a settlement.

“By removing itself from the conflict, the U.S. is better able to position itself as a diplomatic force that is credibly seeking to end the conflict,” he said. “But the difficulty will be in finding a compromise that the majority of the armed and political factions in Yemen believe is acceptable.”

Crafting a peace deal that not only stops the violence but allows Yemen to move forward could prove to be a major challenge.

“It might be possible to end the big war, but it is much, much harder to end the small wars that actually make up the conflict,” said Salisbury – by Ben Hubbard =

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Film: Is an end to Yemen's war finally in sight? | The Stream

Biden’s decision, announced on February 4, is part of a major foreign policy shakeup that reflects a break from the era of his predecessor Donald Trump. The US is to end logistical and intelligence help to Saudi Arabia in its fight against Houthi fighters who control the Yemeni capital Sanaa and much of northern Yemen. The US will also stop “relevant arms sales” to the kingdom, while an envoy to Yemen has been appointed as part of a renewed diplomatic effort. But while Biden says the US will end assistance to offensive Saudi operations, he made it clear that US will continue to “support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people”, referring to recent Houthi missile attacks against Saudi territory. Meanwhile, overlapping local conflicts may pose a challenge to international efforts aimed at ending the war. We'll look at what the Biden’s administration’s policy shift on Yemen means for people enduring a war that has driven what the UN says is now the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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Biden announced a major policy shift on Yemen. What happens now? Biden announced a major policy shift on Yemen. What happens now?

U.S. diplomacy, not U.S. military support, will shorten the war in Yemen

The Biden administration has provided few details about what this announcement will mean in practice. The U.S. had already ended the aerial refueling in late 2018, after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi security officers triggered a public outcry. A Pentagon spokesperson clarified on Friday that all noncombat assistance to the coalition’s operations, including “intelligence and some advice and best practices … has been terminated.”

Biden also promised to end “relevant arms sales,” but it’s not entirely clear which sales are included.

In his State Department speech, Biden also pledged to “help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity,” a strong suggestion that other arms sales and forms of security assistance will continue in some form.

What happens now?

The announcement that the U.S. will stop supporting the coalition was a significant one — but other news from the speech may be equally important. Biden also promised to step “up our diplomacy to end the war in Yemen,” announcing the appointment of an envoy for Yemen, support for a cease-fire and the U.N.-led peace process, and a commitment to ensuring humanitarian aid reaches the Yemeni people. This indicates the administration plans to make a sustained investment in diplomacy to end Yemen’s war. The acknowledgment that Yemen’s war is “unwinnable” — and a conflict best addressed through diplomacy — is a major pivot in U.S. policy.

The U.S. investment in diplomacy will be critical because ending American support for the coalition’s intervention won’t end the war in Yemen. The conflict is localized and began with local armed groups competing for access to governance. Ending this conflict depends on the decisions of local Yemeni groups — and whether and how they are included in peace negotiations.

My research on civil wars also suggests the United States can play a critical role in overseeing the peace process, especially by exerting leverage over its Gulf security partners to come to and abide by the terms of a peace settlement. This diplomatic support will be important to ending the civil war in Yemen – by Alexandra Stark

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Why Biden’s pledges to 'end' involvement in the Yemen war are not enough

However, amid concerns that Biden's pledges are mostly symbolic and not enough to alleviate Yemen's woes, many Yemeni-Americans who have worked tirelessly to combat Washington's involvement in the war feel more work needs to be done.

"We welcome Biden's statements about ending the role of the US in its support for the war on Yemen. But this administration is yet to clarify what this 'support' means, and what policies will be introduced to put change into action," added Hakim.

She added that a new War Powers Resolution from the Biden administration is crucial to fully end military support for the Saudi-led coalition.

"Until Yemen can finally be free from being bombed and starved, there is still too much work to do."

Shireen al-Adeimi, assistant professor at Michigan State University, told The New Arab that this may set a new precedent and encourage Washington's allies to follow suit.

"Biden is still using Obama-era language to justify involvement in supporting Saudi Arabia," said Shireen al-Adeimi. "Under the pretence of defence, there could be more future military support."

She added that Biden may simply be seeking to appease growing criticism of Washington's involvement in the war, and that he would likely not have ended support without such pressure.

Furthermore, because US military involvement was perceived as "Trump's war," this could be Biden's attempts to distance himself as an "anti-Trump" figure, said Al-Adeimi.

"Despite this public façade, Biden could still make back-door military agreements with Saudi Arabia, despite his current pledges, especially if attention towards Washington's role in the war wanes," said Al-Adeimi.

Another risk is the lax focus on the UAE's role, as Abu Dhabi has supported the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), helped it take over the island of Socotra last June, and backed militias responsible for torture in secret prisons across the south.

Though the Biden administration said it would review the Trump-sanctioned package of F-35 fighter jets, armed drones and other defence equipment to Abu Dhabi, the Emirati Ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba said last week he is confident that the deal would still proceed.

Al-Adeimi said that the UAE's proactive PR campaign could still grant it a free pass from Washington's pressure, and should Biden be relaxed about pressuring the UAE, this could allow Abu Dhabi more freedom to empower the STC which could prolong instability in Yemen.

There is also the issue of the Saudi-imposed blockade on Yemen since 2017, which has restricted vital aid deliveries into the war-torn country and further crushed its economy. Al-Adeimi said that the US may be supporting the blockade, though the details of this are not clear.

"Biden has not said anything related to the blockade that has devastated the economy. He needs to address that," Aisha Jumaan, President of the Washington-based charity Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation, told The New Arab.
"We need commercial imports and exports to be unhindered to allow business to recover and start hiring people. A country of 30 million people cannot live on aid alone."

Jumaan also stressed the need to fully reopen the capital Sanaa's airport and all other ports of entry, allow ships to pass through the Hodeida port after they receive UN certificates rather than have them diverted to Jeddah port.

She added that economic support and pressuring those countries responsible for Yemen's destruction pay their

There have also been minimal efforts to establish a stable political solution, even if Saudi Arabia is pushed to end its military campaign.

Al-Adeimi also said there should be a new War Powers Resolution to ensure that there is no intelligence sharing and that military support to Saudi Arabia and the UAE truly ends – by Jonathan Fenton-Harvey

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Op-Ed: Why tough talk about the Saudis could still lead to big arm sales

For instance, in last week’s speech, Biden also promised to help Saudi Arabia “defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity.” That could leave open the door to more weapons sales if the Saudis manage to repackage arms deals as necessary for defense against the Houthi rebels, who have attacked Saudi territory with missiles and drones.

An even bigger challenge for Biden is dealing with the Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, and the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. While Biden has pledged to defend political dissidents, like Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist, the test is whether that will translate into a new foreign policy.

A good first step is to release an unclassified report on Khashoggi’s assassination, as the new director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, has promised to do.

By releasing the intelligence community’s report, Biden can undo two years of stonewalling by the Trump administration and restore some credibility.

The Biden administration will be under pressure not to block opportunities for American companies seeking lucrative deals with Saudi leaders, after the world economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden has to resist the temptation to fall into the pattern of previous administrations: a transactional partnership with Saudi Arabia based on keeping oil prices stable, large arms deals and perceived security interests in the Middle East.

With his promise to end U.S. involvement in the Yemen war, Biden shows he is willing to diverge from the Saudi agenda. The next step is to respond in a meaningful way to the government’s human rights violations and repression.

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How odd that a foreign policy speech by a US president didn't mention Israel

It seems that US President Joe Biden will adopt the default Democrat foreign policy that is "camouflaged" by human rights, democratic values, respect, the rejection of racism, and so on. Reflecting upon Biden's first foreign policy speech at the State Department last week, the most frequent term used was "values" and related terms in the American democratic political lexicon. Such camouflage, therefore, is probably closer to being the actor's makeup that runs at the first sign of blood, sweat, or tears.

As far as the war in Yemen is concerned, Biden referred to the need to bring it to a close and threatened an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite his pledge to preserve the Kingdom's security. I appealed to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in an open letter in 2018 to stop the war and warned that those whom he thinks are his allies will withdraw, and his major allies working behind the scenes will eventually curb his ambitions.

Based on this, I believe that a dense fog will envelop the US, Saudi, European and Arab moves to bring Saudi Arabia out of this defeat, even if it means saving face only a fraction. However, this does not rule out the possibility of replacing the ruling Saudi team after the death of King Salman, as the prince broke the three rules of governance by turning against the family by arresting fellow princes; ditching Wahhabism by banning the religious police, and introducing cinemas and concerts into the country; and decimating the oil income.

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Yemen: 10 years after the Arab Spring, new hopes sprout

Will the US's halt on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and a new envoy help bring peace?

Political analysts believe, however, that the appointment of US diplomat and Middle East expert Timothy Lenderking as US special envoy to Yemen, is an even more important step toward peace.

"Halting sales doesn't necessarily mean that they are stopped," said analyst Al-Hamdani. "It is quite typical of US administrations to halt the work of previous administrations in order to review it." Al-Hamdani is convinced that "assigning a US envoy to Yemen whose assignment is to moderate and engage all parties of the conflict and try to reach a cease-fire settlement is even more encouraging."

Farea Al-Muslimi, chairman and co-founder of the Sana'a Center for Strategic Studies and associate fellow at the London-based international affairs think tank Chatham House, also regards the halt on weapon sales as promising but not sufficient. "It is a very good step, but will it bring peace to Yemen? Hell no!" the political analyst — who was listed by the magazine Foreign Policy in 2013 as one of the "Top 100 Global Thinkers" — told DW. While he agrees that "it is definitely much better if you have fewer weapons coming from the West, it won't be enough to move forward to a larger peace in Yemen." He also regards the US envoy as being more important and reflecting a greater US investment in diplomacy. =

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Evaluating Biden’s Yemen policy: Bait and switch

What does Biden’s announcement mean for Yemen and for other countries in the Pentagon’s crosshairs, who are struggling to survive U.S. economic strangulation via sanctions?

Biden seems anxious to change the perception of its role in the war in Yemen and disguise Washington’s strategy of using the reactionary Saudi monarchy to counter and attack the Iranian government. A look behind this maneuvering should ensure that no section of the antiwar movement, despite enthusiastic media and congressional applause, is taken in by Biden’s announcement.

“At a flight operations room in the capital, Riyadh, Saudi commanders sat near American military officials who provided intelligence and tactical advice, mainly aimed at stopping the Saudis from killing Yemeni civilians.”

So, in reality the U.S. military directly collaborated in the many horrendous massacres Saudi Arabia’s armed forces committed during its ongoing war in Yemen. Every bombing run used targeting software, intelligence and tactical advice, which the Saudis were not even allowed to “touch.”

Biden’s announcement of U.S. support for the war in Yemen positions U.S. imperialism for continuing the war with protracted rounds of “negotiations.” Taking part in these negotiations would be Washington’s client regime in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies who backed this criminal war all along.

Both Washington strategists and the totally corrupt Saudi royal family live in fear that a Yemeni government based on a popular nationalist movement could threaten Bab el-Mandeb and their domination.

Yemen’s Response to Biden

“We consider any move that does not end the siege and aggression against Yemen as just a formality and do not pay any attention to it,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council said in a post published on his official Twitter page early on Feb. 6.

Saudi Arabia – new U.S. bases

U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for Central Command, said U.S. evaluation of a Red Sea port in Saudi Arabia and an additional two airfields began following the 2019 missile attack against the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities at Abqaiq, which was blamed on Iran.

Currently, some 2,500 American soldiers maintain fighter jets and Patriot missile batteries at Prince Sultan Air Base southeast of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have continued joint military exercises in a show of force over the past six weeks.

Biden said the purpose of his Feb. 4 remarks was to “send a clear message to the world: America is back” and that Washington will continue to help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and territory.

This may well mean far greater involvement, not less.

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As Houthis welcome US drop of terrorist designation, gov't distraught

Abdul Elah Hajar, a political adviser to the Supreme Political Council − the executive body formed by the Houthi movement to rule the country, welcomed the decision to drop the terrorist designation. It is a good step toward peace in Yemen, he said, adding that “President Joe Biden’s administration should implement these decisions in practice by stopping the war and breaking the siege of Yemen.”

Hussein al-Ezzi, Ansar Allah’s deputy foreign minister, told The Media Line that “canceling the decision, if and when it happens, is a positive step toward peace in Yemen.”

“It’s in the best interest of all par

“The previous [US] administration was placed in a moral dilemma before the entire world by this decision while the attacks on human rights and the unjust besiegement of the people of Yemen continue,” he added.

The Biden Administration, by reviewing and canceling past decisions, was working to overcome this dilemma, Ezzi said, adding that Ansar Allah has become a “party with significant political and popular weight,” and should be treated as such.

Hadi’s internationally recognized government did not issue an official statement regarding the cancellation of the terrorist designation.

However, The Media Line spoke with Yasser Hassani, a staff member from the president’s office, to get the government’s perspective on the issue.

Hassani described the designation’s cancellation as “an unsuccessful decision.”

Abdullah Sallam, an author, activist and political analyst, told the The Media Line that in light of the Biden Administration’s recent decisions and actions relating to the conflict, “Yemen is now closer to peace than it is to war.”

“Based on the early decisions, the Biden Administration provided a plan to stop exporting weapons to the KSA [the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia], and at a later time, stopped the logistical and intelligence support provided to Saudi Arabia with regards to the war,” he added.

The decision to designate the de facto authority as a terrorist group put the peace process at risk, and the conflict could have taken a turn for the worse,

“The Houthis must now show real initiatives with regard to the peace process, and the IRG [internationally recognized government] must do the same,” he said.

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ANALYSIS - Yemen: US policy shift in great game

Experts say ending transfer of missiles, intelligence with Arab allies’ signals carrot to Iran to rejoin nuclear deal

US President Joe Biden’s announcement to stop supporting military intervention and its intention to reverse the Trump administration's decision to designate Houthi rebels a terror group may not end the conflict in Yemen, but it has signaled a marked shift from backing the interests of Saudi Arabia.

“The Biden administration is signaling that the US is actually now going to have a policy that is focused on Yemen,” said Scott Paul, Oxfam America’s policy advocacy director, adding, “it’s the right thing to do, and it will have a dramatic impact.”

But skeptics believe the plan may not work.

Quoting Dave Harden, a former US official, who led a human development team for Yemen, the Washington Centre for Yemen Studies (WCYS), a US-based think tank in its initial assessment said the move may actually help rebel Houthis to expand and consolidate power.

The WCYS assessment said the US policy essentially means ending support to the Arab coalition to fight the Iran-backed Houthis. But also continuing the fight against America-threatening terrorists — like Al Qaeda and the Daesh/ISIS.

The center, however, added that the policy left ambiguity on the practical elements of supporting Saudi Arabia’s defense.

According to Jason Isakson, chief of policy and political affairs department of American Jewish Committee – a powerful lobby group -- Iran’s regional aggression and its posing threat to neighbors will form a part of negotiations to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) known as the Iran nuclear deal.

The new US policy will not only end delivery of precision-guided missiles but will stop sharing intelligence with Arab allies, necessary for aerial bombings, to avoid civilian casualties in war-ravaged Yemen.

Experts believe that Biden’s choice of appointing veteran Gulf hand Timothy Lenderking as an envoy to Yemen also highlights his priority to find a diplomatic solution and give a push to the UN-led process.

Saudi role under scrutiny

It is also becoming evident that under the Biden administration, the US relationship with Saudi Arabia is coming under intense scrutiny due to various factors, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, suppression and jailing of political dissidents at home; and the Saudi’s role in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

US Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has called for a “reset” of US-Gulf relations as part of efforts addressing Saudi human rights allegations.

Elisa Catalano Ewers, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for New American Security, said the Yemen decision has made it clear that the Biden administration is following through on its “principled foreign policy instincts” and showing a willingness to have tough, honest conversations.

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Audio: Biden’s next move in Yemen

But as Shireen al-Adeimi, a Yemeni American activist, tells host Marco Werman, a resolution to the crisis in Yemen will take more than executive orders.

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Analysts: Ambitious Biden Team Ready for Setbacks in Gulf

Riyadh was careful in its response to the Biden administration's announcement, welcoming instead Washington's emphasis on working with allies generally in the region. And the Saudis also didn't protest when the Biden administration revoked the designation of the Houthis as terrorists, a move urged by relief organizations to help with aid distribution to civilians.

Saudi Arabia isn't the only Gulf country trying to adjust to the Biden administration and to understand where Washington will now head in its strategy in the Gulf. Gulf leaders want to avoid an early clash with the new administration, say analysts, but are anxious.

The [Houthi] offensives prompted some Biden critics to warn that the administration's "end the Yemen war" narrative risks rewarding the Houthis and their backers, Iran.

The offensives prompted some Biden critics to warn that the administration's "end the Yemen war" narrative risks rewarding the Houthis and their backers, Iran.

Biden's revocation of the terrorist designation of the Houthis also has been criticized on the grounds the Houthis will perceive it as American weakness.

Other critics see the curtailment of support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen as part of the Biden's administration's plan to revive the multinational 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which was abandoned by Trump.

But Biden aides say they have sought to reassure Saudi Arabia, other Arab Gulf states and Israel that they still see Iran as a malign force in the region, and that the shift toward a more diplomatic approach to Iran — including in Yemen — shouldn't heighten their concerns over security.

Writing last year before his appointment as Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan noted in an article he co-authored in Foreign Affairs magazine that the U.S. should aim to try to reduce rivalry between arch rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, the source for proxy wars in the region including in Yemen, and to persuade them to share the neighborhood.

The U.S. should also push, Sullivan wrote, "for the establishment of a structured regional dialogue — with support from other members of the United Nations Security Council — that explores ways to reduce tensions, create pathways to de-escalation, and manage mistrust."

That was the policy aim of Barack Obama's administration in the Gulf, too. Biden's foreign policy advisers say the effort to try again is worth it, although they say they are ready for plenty of setbacks.

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Will Washington Pressure Saudi Arabia to Stop Its Aggression Against Yemen?

The new US declaration may, in part, fulfill activists' efforts to end this war. But the motives of the Biden administration's decision, may raise concern about where the work of his team will end. Does he condemn Saudi Arabia and its allies for their aggression on Yemen? Or will he adopt, as usual, double standards, especially since Biden, in the speech itself, considered that "Saudi Arabia faces threats and we will continue to support it to protect its territories from attacks."

It may be that ending US support for offensive military actions matches Biden's campaign promises. However, it is an insufficient step to address the US complicity in the Yemeni tragedy, which began with the Barack Obama administration. Officials in "Ansarullah" considered that Biden should have insisted on the immediate and complete withdrawal of Saudi Arabia and the UAE from Yemen, and an end to their support for the warring factions.

Those promises have no weight with officials in Sana’a, no matter how much US officials talk about ending their support for the aggression against Yemen. Ansarullah did not receive this decision with confidence or with much enthusiasm, and considered that it falls within the framework of words and not actions, according to what a member of the Supreme Political Council in Yemen,Mohammad Ali Al-Houthi, said in an interview with Al-Mayadeen. He pointed out that the Americans say, "We will be informed ... We decided to end .. We decided to stop .. We decided to do .. I mean, we hear decisions and we do not find actions."

My remark: A Houthi viewpoint.

(B K P)

Bidening the crisis

But diplomatic rhetoric will not solve the Yemen debacle; even if Yemen is included in an American-Iranian deal on the latter’s nuclear programme and regional interference. More than six years of war and destruction in the country have left it close to “irreparable”.

Whether it is Trump or Biden in the White House, it might not make that much difference as the internal scene in Yemen has become more complicated and local parties are now entrenched in a destructive course.

Yemenis inside the country welcomed the change in Washington, the main beneficiary of which will probably be the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Islah Party, now a component of the Saudi-backed government. Some 80 per cent of the Yemeni population cannot satisfy their basic needs, and they only care about retrieving normality. As one Yemeni commentator put it, “They are less interested in Trumping or Bidening the crisis.”

My comment: Mixed with a lot of propaganda.

(* B K P)

Biden Still Has a Long Way to Go to End Yemen’s War

Although applauded by aid groups, the reversal still only winds the situation back to the grim status quo ante. Yemen has been on the brink of famine for years amid a gruesome and crowded civil war that now includes a growing southern separatist movement, alongside the main conflict pitting the Houthis, who count on some support from Iran, against Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The stalemate in Yemen was only made worse by unyielding U.S. support for Saudi airstrikes under Trump, despite more and more evidence that they were disproportionally killing Yemeni civilians. Biden’s reversal of Trump’s strategy in Yemen—to the extent one even existed beyond backing Riyadh to the hilt—is a welcome shift. But difficult negotiations to end the war are still a long way off, while the underlying situation on the ground in Yemen has barely changed since the last years of the Obama administration, when the Saudi military campaign began.

“An international power vacuum is blooming,” Peter Salisbury, the International Crisis Group’s senior Yemen analyst, wrote for WPR back in late 2016, during the transition from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. “Yemen was hardly at the top of the international agenda anyway, which makes any political breakthrough seem even more unlikely. The victims of Yemen’s ‘forgotten war’—the country’s starving poor—can expect little respite.”

How much has really changed since then?

(* B K P)

Analysis: Will Saudi Yemen war end with US military assistance halt?

Will the US actions lead Arab kingdom to end the six-year invasion of Yemen?

It largely depends on the degree of the seriousness of the new US administration on ending Yemen war by pressuring bin Salman and Riyadh.

Since the onslaught of devastating Yemen war, despite widespread domestic and international criticism, the US has fully supported the Saudi-led coalition, playing a key role in perpetuating the bloody aggression.

Cessation of support for Saudi Arabia in the war, if properly implemented, would put the Saudis in a difficult position in the war. The Saudi army has shown during the Yemeni war that, despite the high spending, it is so powerless and fragile against Yemeni attacks.

The Saudis intend to continue the inhumane and barbarous siege on Yemen and punish the Yemeni people collectively, although the UN and other international organizations warn that the humanitarian crisis is worsening day by day.

Therefore, if the promise to cut off support to the Saudi-Emirati aggression is not accompanied by vast pressures on Riyadh to end the military campaign and inhumane sea, air, and ground blockade, the Saudis will go ahead with their atrocities against the Yemeni people.

(* B K P)

The Irish Times view on the war in Yemen: Joe Biden’s first foreign move

The US is determined to reset its relationship with the Saudis, who were strongly supported by Trump but have been described as a “pariah” state by Joe Biden

Washington’s renewed emphasis on diplomacy and the UN’s peace efforts are welcome, but the prospects for even a ceasefire remain gloomy – the Saudis and their mixed bag of warring internal allies remain well-armed and show little inclination to resume talks. The Iran-backed Houthis, who control the capital Sana’a and the populous north, have recommenced attacks despite US appeals for restraint. While reducing arms support to one side could make the US more able to push for a settlement of the “big war”, the country’s many little wars remain largely intractable.

(* B K P)

Critic Of U.S. Role In Yemen Responds To Biden's Plans To Pull Back

Shireen Al-Adeimi is a Yemen-born professor at Michigan State University who has opposed the U.S. role in the war. She argues that the U.S. has done "really everything except for pulling the trigger."

"The U.S. has really been a major part of this war over the last six years," she tells All Things Considered.

Al-Adeimi says she was relieved to hear about Biden's push for renewed diplomacy to end the war, but remains skeptical. Here extended excerpts from Al-Adeimi's interview with All Things Considered.

You said you feel relieved, you wept with relief, but you're also skeptical about what may come next.

Because of the language that was used by President Biden in describing this. So he said that he was ending the offensive support for the war on Yemen and that he was committed to defend Saudi Arabian territories and defend Saudi Arabia's borders from the Houthi rebels. And this reminded me of the reasons that President Obama said he was getting into this war in the first place back in 2015 when they said that they were interested in protecting Saudi borders from the Houthi rebels. So I thought that this framing was a bit problematic if we are back to where we started.

And what does this mean for Yemenis on the ground? How do we differentiate between defensive and offensive operations when this entire mission, this entire involvement was under the pretext of defensive operations?

Does the U.S. have any kind of constructive role to play if the ultimate goal is to end this war and the U.S. retains influence in the region?

I think the U.S. has the duty to provide reparations, to supply aid and to increase aid, which was cut to areas of Yemen under the Trump administration.

We can influence our allies like the Saudi Arabians, for example, and to use our diplomacy to get people to talk to one another, to lift the blockade, to get countries like the U.K. and Canada to stop fueling this war through arms sales and other forms of support. I think that's a role we have to play and allow Yemenis to work out the rest on their own. But, you know, sadly, we weren't on the right side of history on this one, we weren't on the right side. We have caused incredible damage to Yemen and have participated in the killing of so many Yemenis. And I don't think that we've earned the right to talk about peace.

(* B K P)

Biden wants to mend US-Saudi ties

Most of Biden’s party has given up on the Saudi regime, particularly after its agents murdered and then dismembered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.
But it would be a mistake to read too much into the Biden administration’s opening move in its attempt to reset the US relationship with its oldest ally in the Middle East. Unlike members of Congress, the US president does not have the luxury of only posturing on an issue. He also has to make policy.
This is why it’s important to pay attention to what else Biden said Thursday. He pledged US support to revive long-dormant peace talks between the Saudis and the Houthi rebels in Yemen and to continue to sell Saudi Arabia defensive weapons to protect it from drones, missiles and other threats.
In other words, Biden is interested in mending, not ending, the US-Saudi relationship.
This process will not be entirely positive for the Saudis. For one, his administration has promised Congress that it will release an unclassified CIA report on the crown prince’s own culpability in the Khashoggi murder. According to the Washington Post, the agency concluded in 2018 that he did indeed order the operation in Istanbul. At the time, administration officials pushed back on that assessment.
There is also an inter-agency review of the broader relationship. It’s possible that more senior Saudi officials could face sanctions for Khashoggi’s murder.

There will be far more pressure now on Riyadh to end its war in Yemen.
All of that is good as far as it goes. But Biden will also have to come up with ways to tame the reckless crown prince. Some Saudi watchers, particularly Saudi dissidents, believe this to be a fool’s errand.

At the same time, alienating Riyadh entirely undermines the national interest. If the Biden administration fails to bring an end to the war in Yemen, the Saudis can always purchase less precise munitions from China or Russia. As the Wall Street Journal reported last year, the Saudis have already begun working with China on a civilian nuclear power program.
If the Saudis are persuaded that the US will remain a steadfast ally, they will be more willing to bankroll humanitarian relief work and reconstruction in Yemen, Syria and the Palestinian territories – by Eli Lake

(A P)

Saudi Arabia reiterates Biden’s commitments to its defence after Houthi attack

The statement from Riyadh comes after the interception at the weekend of an armed drone launched from Yemen

Days after the US ended support for the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen against the Iran-backed Houthis, Riyadh continued to bring up President Joe Biden’s commitment to the kingdom’s defence and territorial integrity.

The Saudi Council of Ministers welcomed the US commitment to “co-operate with the kingdom to defend its sovereignty and address the threats against it", the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The council also affirmed Saudi “support for diplomatic efforts to reach a comprehensive political solution in Yemen".

(* B H P)

U.S. Shifts Policy in Yemen, But the War Is Not Over Yet

The Biden administration’s intent to revoke the designations has relieved aid groups, which had already been scrambling to gather enough supplies to support Yemenis amid fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which is explored in the new FRONTLINE documentary Yemen’s COVID Cover-Up.

Even so, some aid groups worry that supply companies they rely on for medicine and food may be spooked enough by the Trump administration’s designation to cease operating in Yemen entirely. In its intent to revoke the designation, the Biden administration made clear its concerns about the “reprehensible conduct” of the Houthis, including attacks on civilians and the kidnapping of American citizens, as well as attacks within Saudi Arabia.

“It is still too early to tell what exact impact the designation will have on our work and humanitarian action, in general, in Yemen,” Basheer Al-Selwi, a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross, told FRONTLINE. “But we are concerned that any increased legal or operational risks … may constrain the humanitarian response in Yemen.”

Fortsetzung / Sequel: cp2 – cp19

Vorige / Previous:

Jemenkrieg-Mosaik 1-715 / Yemen War Mosaic 1-715: oder / or

Der saudische Luftkrieg im Bild / Saudi aerial war images:

(18 +, Nichts für Sensible!) / (18 +; Graphic!)

Liste aller Luftangriffe / and list of all air raids:

Untersuchung ausgewählter Luftangriffe durch Bellingcat / Bellingcat investigations of selected air raids:

Untersuchungen von Angriffen, hunderte von Filmen / Investigations of attacks, hundreds of films:

10:02 11.02.2021
Dieser Beitrag gibt die Meinung des Autors wieder, nicht notwendigerweise die der Redaktion des Freitag.
Geschrieben von

Dietrich Klose

Vielfältig interessiert am aktuellen Geschehen, zur Zeit besonders: Ukraine, Russland, Jemen, Rolle der USA, Neoliberalismus, Ausbeutung der 3. Welt
Dietrich Klose