Jemenkrieg-Mosaik 719b- Yemen War Mosaic 719b

Yemen Press Reader 719b: 19. Februar 2020: Fortsetzung von Jemenkrieg-Mosaik 719, cp9 - cp19 / February 19, 2020: Sequel to Yemen War Mosaic 719, cp9 - cp19
Bei diesem Beitrag handelt es sich um ein Blog aus der Freitag-Community

Eingebetteter Medieninhalt

Dies ist die Fortsetzung von Jemenkrieg-Mosaik 719, Teil 1 / This is the sequel of Yemen War Mosaic 719, part 1:

Schwerpunkte / Key aspects

Kursiv: Siehe Teil 1 / In Italics: Look in part 1

Klassifizierung / Classification

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

cp1 Am wichtigsten / Most important

cp1a Am wichtigsten: Coronavirus 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

cp12 Andere Länder / Other countries

cp13a Waffenhandel / Arms trade

cp13b Wirtschaft / Economy

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

cp9 USA

Siehe / Look at cp2, cp9a, cp13a

(* B P)

Ist das der Anfang vom Ende des Jemen-Kriegs?

SRF News: Könnte die Ankündigung von US-Präsident Biden das Ende des seit 2015 dauernden Jemen-Konflikts einläuten?

Guido Steinberg: Das ist sehr gut möglich. Biden hat angekündigt, dass er alle Unterstützung für die Saudis in ihrem Krieg einstellt. Ohne amerikanische Hilfe sind die Saudis noch nicht einmal in der Lage, ihre Flugzeuge zu fliegen. Das sind amerikanische Jets, die auch von amerikanischen Spezialisten gewartet werden.

Auch die US-Hilfe bei der Erstellung der Zieldaten wird eingestellt. Ich kann mir unter solchen Umständen nicht vorstellen, wie der saudische Krieg in der Luft weitergehen soll. Den Krieg haben die Saudis vor allem aus der Luft geführt. Sie können ihn nicht ohne amerikanische Hilfe fortsetzen.

Was bedeutet die Ankündigung Bidens generell für die Golfregion?

Das wird sich wahrscheinlich schon heute andeuten, wenn Biden mit seinen wichtigsten aussen- und sicherheitspolitischen Beratern darüber sprechen wird, ob und in welcher Form neue Gespräche mit Iran über das Atomprogramm beginnen sollen. Darauf werden die Golfstaaten auch schauen, weil das iranische Atomprogramm aus ihrer Sicht die wichtigste regionalpolitische Frage ist.

Jemen ist in gewisser Weise eine Funktion des Verhältnisses zu Iran, weil die Huthi-Rebellen als wichtigste Gegner der Saudis und Emiratis in Jemen eng mit Iran verbündet sind. Die Weichen könnten deshalb schon heute in Washington gestellt werden.

Biden will auch die UNO bei ihren Bemühungen um eine Waffenruhe unterstützen. Wie könnte das aussehen?

Eine solche Waffenruhe kann innerhalb von wenigen Tagen in Kraft treten. Es gibt bereits Gespräche zwischen den Saudis und den Huthi-Rebellen unter UNO-Vermittlung. Nun steigt einfach der Druck auf die Saudis, zunächst einmal ihre Angriffe einzustellen.

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How Biden will change business as usual with Saudi Arabia

For almost 80 years, the peculiar partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia has endured through one severe strain after another. The West’s most powerful secular democracy and the theocratic absolute monarchy have always deemed their strategic and economic ties sufficiently useful to put aside their differences and work together.

Less than a month into the new Biden administration, the language and the optics of the relationship have already changed, if not most of the fundamentals.

“We’ve made clear from the beginning that we’re going to recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said this week

The Saudis may be uneasy about the chill emanating from Washington, but they need not fear termination of the bilateral security relationship, which the United States continues to value

Such arrangements on matters of security and counterterrorism can be expected to continue, and the United States remains committed to protecting Saudi Arabia from direct attack, but administration officials have made clear that Saudi sentiments will not be the primary factor in their regional policy decisions. In particular, it is apparent that Biden and his advisers would welcome a path back into a nuclear agreement with Iran, preferably broader and less limited than the original, regardless of Saudi Arabia’s opposition.

(* B P)

Film / Transscript: Biden’s Doublespeak About Ending Yemen War

In this week’s editorial pick, we select a video produced by The Empire Files and narrated by Abby Martin in which Biden’s foreign policy towards Yemen is analysed. Abby Martin explains what President Biden really means by the duplicitous language in his major Feb. 4 foreign policy speech on ending the Yemen war.

Joe Biden has made a major announcement that he's taking action to end the Yemen war. This, of course, is encouraging news to the many anti-war organizations who have been fighting to stop this US backed genocide. But with so much at stake, it's important to take a careful look at what Biden actually said.

But the key word used by Biden here is offensive operations. Why did Biden need to add this qualifier offensive rather than just saying he was ending support for military operations in general? See, according to Saudi Arabia and its allies, the entire war is defensive. In fact, the word defensive was used to justify the US getting into the war in the first place under the Obama Biden administration. Up until now, the US has been providing training, logistical, tactical support for targeting and more. But by the Pentagon's logic, many or even all of these actions could be considered defensive.

This leaves the door open for a lot. It could mean the exact same operations against Yemen will continue, but reframed as defending Saudi sovereignty. Let's look at more of what Biden's statement said.

Ending arms sales to the Saudi coalition used to relentlessly bomb poor Yemenis and commit countless war crimes, like that Lockheed Martin bomb that struck a school bus in twenty eighteen, killing at least twenty six children and wounding 19 more would be a very important policy shift. Biden says he's only paused such shipments, implying it's temporary. But why did Biden announce he would be ending relevant arms sales, not arms sales in general? Because he knows the US will continue to sell the same weapons to the war coalition as long as they're officially not relevant to the offensive war. And how is it even possible to monitor how thousands of missiles are used? Adding the word relevant could just be a way out of scrutiny for Biden. Furthermore, Biden seems to only be talking about bombs and airstrikes by the Saudi coalition, this certainly is a major part of the suffering in Yemen, but definitely not all of it. The biggest threat to civilian life right now is the famine, mainly due to the naval blockade of the country.

And it shows us how crucial grassroots actions are to halt the gears of the military machine. So continuing that pressure is more important now than ever to make sure Biden follows through on this pledge and more, rather than using these statements as a smokescreen to keep himself safe from antiwar criticism. And most importantly, the US empire has been supporting this genocidal war to begin with because of its dedicated support to the Saudi right wing dictatorship, their shared domination of the region, and the fact that the Houthi fight is seen as a proxy war against Iran, which the US is hell bent on destroying. Ending the Yemen war is not enough. These core policies have got to go.

(* B K P)

Biden Takes First Actions on Yemen

[overrview article]

(* A P)

Austin calls MBS days after Biden's snub of the Saudi crown prince

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday to reaffirm the "strategic defense partnership" between the two nations and discuss recent changes to U.S. policy on Yemen, the Pentagon said.

Why it matters:The call comes just days after the White House said it would "recalibrate" its relationship with Saudi Arabia, and return to "counterpart to counterpart" engagement, with President Biden's counterpart being King Salman, not MBS.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki's comments were widely seen as a snub to the crown prince, who is considered by many as the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia.

"Secretary Austin reiterated recent changes in U.S. policy toward the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen, discussed the importance of ending the war, and thanked the Crown Prince for Saudi Arabia’s commitment to a political settlement," it added.

Austin "underscored Saudi Arabia’s role as a pillar of the regional security architecture in the Middle East and the importance of sharing the responsibility of regional security and stability. "

"Secretary Austin noted US and Saudi shared commitment to countering Iran’s destabilizing activities and defeating violent extremist organizations in the region."


(* A P)

US secretary of defence makes first call to Saudi crown prince

Lloyd Austin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discuss Houthi attacks on kingdom and efforts to end war in Yemen

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin made his first call to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in which they discussed the Iran-backed Houthi rebels’ attacks on the kingdom and efforts to end the war in Yemen.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Gen Austin reaffirmed to Prince Mohammed, who is also the Saudi Minister of Defence, the US commitment to their strategic defence partnership.

“He underscored Saudi Arabia’s role as a pillar of the regional security architecture in the Middle East and the importance of sharing the responsibility of regional security and stability,” Mr Kirby said.

Gen Austin tweeted that the call was productive and "discussed the continued commitment to the 70-year US-Saudi security partnership".

The US defence chief said there was shared commitment between Riyadh and Washington “to countering Iran’s destabilising activities and defeating violent extremist organisations in the region".

Gen Austin condemned the recent Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia and expressed US commitment to assist the kingdom in defending its borders.

At the same time, Gen Austin reiterated changes under the Biden administration as it relates to the Yemen war

and by Saudi Press Agency:

My comment: What really has changed? Rhetorics – and not even this.

(B P)

Paul Vallely: Biden should side with Yemeni people

The UK and the United States have been guilty of fuelling the conflict. Most of the weapons with which the Saudis have bombarded Yemen have been provided by us.

The Americans also provided Saudi with intelligence and refuelled its aircraft.

The policy was one of the biggest blunders of the Obama administration. President Obama backed the Saudis in a cynical attempt to appease them after he signed the deal with Iran to lift sanctions if it curbed its nuclear programme.

It is crucial now that President Biden assert his moral authority to come down on the side of millions of defenceless Yemenis. And it is important that Britain, as the junior partner in the supply of arms to the conflict, bolster him in that purpose.

(* B P)

The Biden Administration’s Opportunities to Promote Peace in Yemen

A federalist system is the only viable option for a new government in Yemen.

When discussing an end to the war in Yemen, the U.S. special envoy and the international community must acknowledge that an armistice or negotiations will have no value without a change in the military balance of power on the ground. In light of the increasing Houthi threat to Marib and continued Houthi control over Hodeidah, addressing ongoing Houthi attacks is imperative before the Security Council can help Yemen work towards a ceasefire and a transitional period.

I have some reservations about the term “terrorist,” since it seems that the U.S. administration applies this term loosely according to its interests without outlining any clear definition and seems more motivated by domestic concerns than any linkage to a particular event—such as the Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oilfields. It is also important for the U.S. administration to set up mechanisms to prevent a potential negative impact on humanitarian issues, building on the new administration’s one-month exemption for human rights groups.

But if the Biden administration hopes to establish an end to the war in Yemen, it must understand that it will have to create new incentives—and penalties—for the Houthis in order to seriously pursue a peace agreement. At this point, it is vital to handle the decision to remove the designation in a way that works towards a breakthrough in Yemen’s ongoing war. If the Biden administration hopes to make progress towards bringing the Houthis to the negotiating table, it will have to determine some other means of creating pressure, as the Houthis show no signs of stopping their assault on Marib.

The reality is that U.S. administration will likely not be able to bring all sides to the table unless it hints at severe penalties against all who hinder the peace process, whether the obstructors are the Houthis themselves or their opposition, including the STC and Tariq Ali Saleh’s forces.

Federalism Is the Only Option

The second question is what type of government the U.S. administration would support in Yemen if a ceasefire was actually successful. All things considered, federalism is the only opportunity for Yemen to evolve into a functioning state, and a federalist system is the only possible way to guarantee Yemen’s unity, sovereignty, and position in the world that enjoys normalized, secure relations and mutual interests with countries in the region and beyond. Ending the war in Yemen without a move towards federalism will simply set the country up for another conflict later on.

The way in which the international community advocates for governance in Yemen matters; setting up a federalist system in the wake of a ceasefire will require a long transitional period that could provide an opportunity to test out the practicality of a peace agreement.

The transitional period will also have to grapple with a flood of logistical issues, from financial arrangements that ensure the receipt of taxes and customs duties from all the country’s points of entry, to ensuring the continued flow ​​of mineral resources, namely oil and gas, along with the sustainable success of Yemen’s fishing industry. A unified central bank is needed with federal arrangements that guarantee support for the national economy and pay salaries and contributions. Moreover, this period will have to face Yemen’s severe humanitarian crises, focusing on health while combating poverty and famine.

Federalism is uniquely suited to tackling these ongoing challenges and ensuring that power and wealth will be shared fairly between all sectors of Yemeni society.

In addition, federalism is also important because it has the best chance of actually being accepted by the conflicting sides.

The most likely complication is the need to gain the confidence of the Southern Transitional Council, which does not currently recognize the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference and generally seeks to have southern Yemen secede entirely. The STC’s acquiescence to federalism could be greatly aided by an international guarantee providing logistical support for this process and control over implementation mechanisms.

Convincing the legitimate government in Yemen to apply and support federalism will require a different tack; the U.S administration and the international community must convince the Hadi government that its talk of restoring the Yemeni state to the centralized political structure that existed before the war is clearly impossible under the current conditions.

Therefore, Biden’s special envoy should outline and emphasize that it sees federalism as the ultimate end-goal for Yemen – by Olfat Al-Dubai

My comment: A quite odd US-centered article: The US shapes the world. And the Houthis still are treted as a kind of enemy. A peace broker simply could not act this way.

(* B K P)

The US-UAE defense & security relationship

Since the publication of the fourth edition of this report in February 2019, the defense and security partnership between the U.S. and the U.A.E. has grown and broadened in very measurable ways. There are a number of notable developments that warrant mention at the outset of this updated study:

The signing of the Abraham Accords: While the U.A.E. and Israel have enjoyed longstanding security cooperation, the normalization of bilateral relations through the September 2020 signing of these accords now has the opportunity to expand partnerships, particularly in areas such as cyber security, joint military exercises, and planning. 1 Importantly, the warm peace that continues to develop between the U.A.E. and Israel is slowly changing the tone concerning the U.A.E. in Congress.

The Trump Administration designating the U.A.E. and Bahrain as “Major Security Partners”: The U.S. decision to name the U.A.E. as a Major Security Partner in January 2021 reflects the importance the U.S. assigns to its security ties with the U.A.E., and it indicates that the U.S. and the U.A.E. expect to continue to grow their mutually beneficial defense and security partnership in the future. More so, this designation signifies the importance of the U.A.E.’s defense and security contributions throughout the region. • The new Biden Administration and Congress: The U.A.E. enjoys a significant degree of good will with both the Administration and Congress as a result of the Abraham Accords and the long history of close economic, political, and military partnership between the two countries.

The U.S. and U.A.E. signing a letter of agreement on a historic, $23.3 billion arms sale: This January 2021 agreement for 50 F-35 Lightning II aircraft, 18 MQ-9B drones, and air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions demonstrates the U.A.E.’s continued desire to turn to the U.S. for the most up-to-date defense systems.

The evolving regional threat environment: The September 2019 attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil facility demonstrated the potentially devastating power of UAV swarms, and the need for the U.A.E. to be able to defend itself from a similar fate at the hands of unmanned aircraft. Iranian sponsored attacks on U.A.E. shipping in the Gulf and possible planned attacks on U.A.E. critical infrastructure have also highlighted the evolving threat environment.

The U.A.E. withdrawal of its forces from Yemen: The U.A.E.’s withdrawal of its forces from Yemen has given the U.A.E. an opportunity to focus more on improving the institutional capacity of the U.A.E. Armed Forces.

An increase of the landed presence of western defense companies within the U.A.E: The U.A.E. has encouraged Western defense companies to establish a landed presence in the country

My comment: What a BS is this???

Comment: "The UAE encouraged Western defense companies to establish a landed presence in the country" If War Inc. gets its way, the US gov won't be able to prevent weapons sales & companies like @RaytheonTech can sell directly Not yet legal, but may be coming soon

(A P)

Defending Dictators Award of Shame: Melanne Verveer

Freedom Forward presents former U.S. Ambassador Melanne Verveer with our Defending Dictators Award of Shame.

This award “recognizes” Ambassador Verveer for partnering with the United Arab Emirates, a brutal dictatorship that is responsible for the deaths of thousands of women in Yemen and the imprisonment and torture of women in the UAE and abroad. As the executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, Verveer joined the repressive UAE monarchy to co-host an event supposedly dedicated to women’s advancement.

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security claims to “celebrate peacemakers,” yet the brutal dictatorship of the UAE continuously violates women’s rights, opposes democracy, and has brought suffering and misery to thousands through its war in Yemen. By partnering with the UAE, Ambassador Verveer has helped a repressive monarchy with the propaganda it needs to hide its widespread women’s rights violations.

(* B K P)

Attack in Iraq highlights Biden's Saudi problem

The tension is emerging as the Pentagon, at Biden’s direction, undertakes a review of whether changes need to be made to U.S. military deployments worldwide.

President Joe Biden campaigned on ending his predecessor’s “dangerous blank check” to Saudi Arabia, vowing to hold Riyadh responsible for human rights abuses and end U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.

But just four days after Biden took office, the four-star general in charge of U.S. forces in the Middle East traveled to the Kingdom, where he announced a basing agreement that expands military cooperation between the two nations.

The move reflects the dilemma facing the new president, who promised to treat Saudi Arabia like a “pariah” state during the 2020 campaign but must now balance the U.S. military’s reliance on Riyadh as a partner in the counterterrorism fight and buffer against Iran’s influence in the region.

The stakes are high, as U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq continue to fend off frequent attacks from Iranian-backed Shia militia groups.

The tension is emerging as the Pentagon, at Biden’s direction, undertakes a review of whether changes need to be made to U.S. military deployments worldwide, with an eye toward countering the growing threat from China. The review, while still in its initial stages, is likely to set off a new struggle for limited resources among the regional military leaders.

Some in the Biden administration question whether the military buildup in the Gulf has deterred Iran. Tehran continues to make progress toward nuclear weapons capability, and Iranian officials publicly refuse to negotiate a new nuclear pact without sanctions relief.

“To a certain extent, the Biden administration got outfoxed on this,” said Dave Des Roches, associate professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, noting that the Saudis have emphasized U.S. commitments to their territorial integrity.

“If you have a spectacular attack or missile that makes it to Riyadh, the Biden admin is in a bind. You have to respond. You have to try to take out the launch points.”

The review of worldwide deployments is designed in part to assess the continued threat from Iran, and how to best reassure partners that the U.S. is committed to maintaining stability in the region.

But in the meantime, the message from Central Command has been consistent. In public remarks last week, McKenzie noted the continued attacks on Saudi Arabia by Iranian proxies and pledged to continue U.S. military support to defend against future incursions.

“Nothing that has been said or done means that we are not going to continue to engage Saudi and our other coalition partners,” McKenzie said last week. “Our focus there is going to be to do things to help them defend themselves more effectively and efficiently and there’s a common threat there and that threat is Iran.”

And while Biden announced an end of U.S. military support to the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive operations in Yemen this month, intelligence sharing related to defending the Kingdom will continue, the Pentagon has said – by Lara Seligman

and as a reminder, from Jan. 2020:

Comment by Rep. Ro Khanna: Sending more troops to protect existing troops is exactly the tautology that has led to endless wars. Bring our troops home. Stop putting more forces in Saudi. These are not our wars.

Comment to comment: The problem is that it is "the Pentagon contractors' wars." These articles are also conveniently silent on the aggression of US warships in the Persian Gulf or the illegal pirating of Iranian Oil tankers. Biden is no different than Trump or those before him. Contractors rule.

(* B P)

Fulfilling Biden Campaign Pledge on Saudi-UAE Policy Will Require a Full Overhaul

These are important early steps. But if Biden is going to bring to fruition his campaign promises of supporting human rights and democratic values, the United States will need to fundamentally alter its relationship with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Likely War Crimes

In his State Department speech, Biden said the United States will “continue to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people.” Yet it is important that the United States not use this as a justification to continue multi-billion-dollar arms deals that have been a blessing for U.S. arms companies and a curse for Yemeni civilians.

It is critical that the United States ensure that Saudi Arabia and the UAE will not have the means to commit further grave violations of the laws of war in Yemen. The Biden administration should end arms sales to both countries unless and until they take meaningful steps to end their abuses in Yemen and act to hold those responsible for war crimes to account, something that neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE has shown any willingness to carry out.

Canceling the pending U.S. arms sales could increase pressure on the UAE to not only end support for abusive local armed groups in Yemen but also to end its involvement in Libya. Italy recently set an example by revoking authorizations for sales of thousands of missiles and bombs to Saudi Arabia and the UAE over their role in Yemen.

The Biden administration also should scrutinize its military cooperation with Saudi and UAE forces by applying Leahy Laws and similar standards that would suspend U.S. equipment, arms, and training for units involved in grave human rights abuses in Yemen. It has long been clear that the United States repeatedly cites various reasons for why such laws don’t apply. Ultimately, the United States has become complicit by neglect.

Escalate Magnitsky Sanctions

The United States also should impose sanctions on Saudi and UAE officials involved in human rights abuses, under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds on and implements the Global Magnitsky Act.

Further, the Biden administration should publicly raise concerns to Saudi and UAE leadership about their human rights abuses at home.

It is already clear that the Biden administration’s initial decisions, such as ending U.S. support for the war in Yemen, are having a tangible impact on Crown Prince Mohammed’s calculations over the external costs of domestic repression — several Saudis detained for their peaceful criticism.

The Biden administration could build on this momentum by calling for the immediate release of human rights defenders like Ahmed Mansoor in the UAE, countless human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia who have been sentenced and imprisoned for their peaceful activism, and demanding Saudi Arabia drop the travel bans and suspended sentences on released activists like al-Hathloul.

A more consistent approach to human rights messaging toward Saudi Arabia and the UAE—one that defends people’s rights in both countries in the same way as those facing unrelenting repression in Iran—would be a clear break from the previous administration. =

(* B K P)

To End the Forever Wars, Rein in the Drones

As President Joe Biden made clear in his first major foreign policy speech, the Biden-Harris administration plans to begin restoring America’s place in the world. A key aspect of this initiative that he did not address, however, will be how to responsibly end—or perhaps simply curtail—America’s “forever wars” by repealing and replacing the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF), closing Guantanamo Bay, and reinstating transparency measures surrounding the drone program. In an encouraging sign, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said in her confirmation hearing that she would support a new or revised version of Executive Order 13732, which, among other things, required all U.S. government agencies during the Obama administration to disclose publicly the number of civilians killed in drone strikes.

These reforms are a welcome departure from the Trump administration, which revoked such transparency measures, loosened restrictions on lethal action, and expanded drone operations across the Middle East and Africa. Yet ending endless war will require a comprehensive review of U.S. counterterrorism strategy and the use of armed drones within and outside of active conflicts. Increasing transparency is not a panacea for ending perpetual warfare, and it is important to build on, rather than simply reinstate, Obama-era policies.

What is missing from the debate is a broader assessment of how to align American values with the use of force in a world where the line between war and peace is blurred. In the past two decades since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the reliance on armed drones as a foreign policy tool has further eroded this line, enabling killing in remote places far from traditional battlefields. The problem is not with drone technology per se; the risk is that drones make it easier to resort to force on a continual basis without clear temporal or geographic limits, and without the scrutiny that conventional wars invite. For this reason, it is impossible to truly end the forever wars without reining in the drones.

Ironically, the new administration may end up doing just the opposite. The pressure to draw down conventional military forces from the Middle East—another key aspect of ending the forever wars—could necessitate greater reliance on light footprint operations and drone strikes to fill the void and protect U.S. national security interests. The logic of this approach is compelling and has led to a steady, if not always linear, expansion of drone operations: on average, the Trump administration conducted one strike every four days in office, compared to once every 5.4 days under Obama, which represented a tenfold increase from the Bush years. As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, there are perhaps even more incentives to turn to remote warfighting as the safer, “riskless” option for U.S. forces in a world filled with visible and invisible threats.

But policymakers should resist relying reflexively on drones. Drone strikes are only as precise as the intelligence on which they are based, as discriminating as the targeting thresholds they seek to meet, and as just as the ends for which they are employed.

And all of this requires grappling with the larger question of what it means to be at war in an age where the battle lines are indistinguishable from daily life, if they exist at all. President Obama’s prescient remarks from seven years ago still ring true today, “we must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us.”

The Biden-Harris administration has a unique opportunity to define this struggle and chart a new path for U.S. leadership on drone use – by Brianna Rosen

(B P)

List of US Terrorism ... Diplomacy of Necessity Governs Washington's Stances Towards Yemen

Have the Americans changed overnight? The US policy has not changed and will not change. It takes matters according to the criterion of its interests and alliances.

The US before the decision and after it will not give up on Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf sheikhdoms. There is in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf countries the financial money for the US. The Gulf market is open to the US products, companies and institutions. The armies of those kingdoms and sheikhs most of their weapons are from the US. Of course the weapons in the Gulf region are used for decoration only, as there are no professional armies that are able to defend and use weapons. This is what former US President Trump meant by saying the US provides protection and security to the Saudi monarchy and the rest of the Gulf countries.

The US was, is and will continue to lead the war on Yemen. It is the one who provides the Saudi and UAE with intelligence and logistical support, and it directs the strikes and provides information for that. It is the one who imposes an economic blockade on the country and the humanitarian tragedies that result from this to the point of famine, and it is the one who instructs to prevent tankers of oil derivatives from entering the port of Hodeidah, causing the tragedies that affect for everything in the country.

America, as a colonial state, does not deal with humanity and its lofty principles and values. It is a pragmatic state, whose interests are above values, principles and ethics. In order to reach its interests, it tramples on everything and transcends everything.

My remark: A Houthi view.

(* B P)

Biden Team Downgrades Saudi Crown Prince to ‘Recalibrate’ Ties

U.S. President Joe Biden’s criticism of Saudi Arabia on the campaign trail appears to be translating into the first policy steps. His press secretary said that the president will emphasize ties with King Salman rather than the crown prince. Bloomberg’s Simone Foxman reports on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Middle East.” = =

(* B K P)

Leaving the War in Yemen: The Mostly Good, the Bad, and the Muddled

While it should come as no surprise that Biden’s approach marks a break from the Trump administration, his reshaping of U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia and the role of U.S. military support in Yemen offers the first glimpse into how this approach will work in concrete terms. Here, I examine how these policy changes will affect the war in Yemen, including prospects for ending the conflict and addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and how this first application of Biden’s approach likely will shape the administration’s response to similar situations that will arise throughout its term. After contextualizing these policy changes, I assess the mostly positive outcomes, but also note the limitations to this approach as well as remaining uncertainties.

Contextualizing Biden’s Policy Reboot

The Good

Biden’s decision to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive military operations could not come soon enough.

Reversing this decision allows humanitarian aid to continue, a critical need for a population where food insecurity, cholera, and a lack of clean water have already devastated the country. Further, Yemen’s humanitarian response is already significantly underfunded, including a U.S. suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars in 2020. (See Scott Paul’s detailed analysis of USAID’s decision to suspend 80 percent of funding to Yemen last July here.)

By ending U.S. support for offensive coalition military operations, naming a special envoy to lead a concerted push for peace, and reversing the harmful FTO designation, Biden has reset U.S. policy in a positive way. This approach removes potential U.S. legal responsibility for future violations of international humanitarian law by the coalition, while reestablishing the importance of respecting human rights and international humanitarian law within U.S. foreign policy. It also sends a clear message to the Saudi government that the time to reach a political deal to end the conflict is now.

The Bad

Biden’s decisions redirect U.S. policy in a way that should reduce civilian casualties and increase the likelihood of ending the conflict. But, as with any policy approach, it has limitations and the administration has little leverage to force either side to stop fighting. Likewise, the administration should do more to increase humanitarian aid, although recent indications, including reports of a donor conference scheduled for early March, suggest that it will.

While removing the Houthi FTO designation will allow humanitarian aid operations to continue, the humanitarian crisis remains the worst in the world.

And although the Saudi government expressed its desire to cooperate with the Biden administration, and that it welcomes international diplomacy in the conflict, there is no indication that it will immediately cease its military operations against the Houthis.

Likewise, the Houthis will be reluctant to join peace talks given the group’s relatively strong military position.

Thus, while Biden’s approach is a considerable improvement and at least limits negative outcomes, it also illustrates the limitations of any foreign policy to end a protracted armed conflict between entrenched adversaries.

The Muddled

It also remains unclear exactly what Biden’s announcement means for U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia. For now, it seems likely that the administration will cancel or at least modify a $500 million weapons deal to Saudi Arabia, as well as a massive $23 billion deal to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a key Saudi partner in the coalition.

Still, details are lacking and proceeding with these sales (or at least some version of these deals) is not unrealistic after a strategic pause or assurances that these weapons will not be used for offensive military operations. Such a result could be seen as a reasonable compromise between meeting security imperatives and upholding legal rules and ethical values, but, depending on the specifics of the deal, it also would risk undermining Biden’s message.

Likewise, ending support to offensive military operations likely will not mean the end of all U.S. military operations in Yemen.

More immediately, the United States still intends to provide support to “defensive” coalition military activities (likely intelligence and training), although it is unclear precisely what this support will entail.

In this sense, while Biden changed U.S. policy considerably, key continuities remain in place and U.S. forces will continue to assist Saudi Arabia and pursue AQAP. This recalibration is a sound strategy, as it removes U.S. support for what has become an unwinnable war with thousands of civilian causalities, and returns the emphasis on finding a political settlement to the conflict. Above all, it shows that this administration values diplomacy, democracy, and human rights and understands that lasting peace and security are just as dependent on these aims as military force. Whether the administration maintains this balanced approach throughout its term remains to be seen, but it is certainly a good start and a welcome departure from the past four years – by John Hursh

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Biden, Obama Off to Same Footing on Middle East | Opinion

While these uncanny similarities [between the situations then under Obama and now under Biden] have already been pointed out, it is unlikely they will amount to any real change regarding Yemen. As I have written before, the complexity and suffering of the war in Yemen is almost beyond comprehension. The key parallel here is that President Biden has also committed unwavering support for Saudi Arabia.

Every now and then Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman correct a wrong that they should have never committed in the first place to distract from any negative attention. Once complete, then it is back to regularly scheduled programming.

In fact, many progressive groups seem to believe the same thing, culminating in calls to permanently cancel dozens of arms deals worth tens of billions to dollars to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. If President Biden does not take any further steps, the suffering in Yemen will not stop and the war will continue to be a protracted conflict for many years. In this sense, President Biden is in the same situation President Obama was in, partly due to conditions out of his control, but mostly due to actions he can control.

Similarly, the tensions between Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will continue, even as the blockade has been lifted.

These tensions run much deeper than a normalization of relations would show. Couple that with the rehabilitation through public relations that Saudi Arabia tends to habitually go through, and it becomes clear that any real progress on both the issues of Yemen and Qatar needs much more work from President Biden.

Otherwise, he will remain in a position similar to that in which President Obama was, and tensions between these nations can, and more probably will, spiral back into conflict – by Sam Fouad

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Don’t stop with Saudis — Biden must cut off weapons to UAE, too

The administration’s new policy should include a review of all U.S. sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the nations that are primarily responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. It is important that sales to the UAE receive the same scrutiny given to Saudi arms offers.

These weapons deals with the UAE threaten to increase violence and fuel conflict at a time when the Biden administration should prioritize ending the wars in the greater Middle East. Not only should the Biden administration rescind these offers, but it should also reconsider the nature of the U.S.-UAE alliance to align it with emerging U.S. security objectives in the Middle East and North Africa.

This is no time to be offering a flood of new weaponry to the Emirates, given its role in fueling the wars in Yemen and Libya, its diversion of past U.S.-supplied arms to extremist groups, and its record of internal repression. The UAE, along with the militias it arms and trains, has also engaged in torture and detention-related abuses in Yemen

The $23 billion package is far from the first major arms offer to the UAE. Over the past decade, the United States has pushed a total of $59 billion in arms sales to the Emirati regime, for everything from attack helicopters and armored vehicles to tens of thousands of precision-guided bombs, many of which have been used in the brutal Saudi/UAE intervention in Yemen.

The United States is far and away the largest arms supplier to the UAE, accounting for over two thirds of its arms imports between 2015 to 2019.

Reversing all of Trump’s arms sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia would be an excellent first step towards fulfilling President Biden’s desire to end the war in Yemen, as well as a step towards reorienting U.S. policy in the broader Middle East towards promoting peace and reconciliation rather than war and confrontation – by William Hartung

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Audio: Why Yemen’s Houthis spent 29 days on a US ‘terror’ list

What does revoking the US ‘terrorist’ designation mean for aid to Yemen?

Designating Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a “foreign terrorist organization” was one of the last foreign policy decisions of the Trump administration. It was a move that many aid agencies feared would push the worst humanitarian crisis in the world into further chaos. Now, weeks later, the new administration under President Joe Biden has walked it back. So just how big a shift is this for US policy towards Yemen, and what does it mean for Yemen’s war? =

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In foreign policy shift, Biden lifts terrorist designation for Houthis in Yemen

Nick Schifrin reports on the prospects of diplomacy, and speaks to Timothy Lenderking, the new U.S. envoy to Yemen, to learn more.

Lenderking: I think there was a decision, a realization by the new administration that the FTO designation was really a mixed bag, that, on the one hand, it memorialized certain activities of the Houthis that were terrorist in nature, their attacks on civilian infrastructure, their kidnapping of U.S. citizens, their close relationship with the IRGC.

But the new administration asked, well, what does that give us in terms of benefit to the political process and benefit to other aspects of Yemen? And there was a quick realization that it's a net negative on the humanitarian space, and that, if we're going to make improvements in the humanitarian sphere, bearing in mind that Yemen is the world's greatest humanitarian disaster at this moment, we can't stress that system any further.

So, that is, I think, a key factor in why the administration decided to undo this designation. It doesn't remove every sanction some of the Houthi leaders. Some of those remain from several years ago. So it's not a free pass at all.

I think that the Houthis need to be tested, in terms of their stated commitments and the messages that they have sent that they are committed to a peace process and to the betterment of Yemen.

And I think there are international actors here that we're going to be leaning on and looking toward who have influence over the Houthis to see what they can do as well.

This is not something that United States can do alone. It's going to require very close coordination with the U.N. envoys, Martin Griffiths, with the Saudis, and with the neighboring countries as well.

Certainly, when we look at Iran's behavior in the region, it's highly problematic and, in many cases, antithetical to the peace efforts that much of the rest of the world is trying to engender, so, whether you look at Iraq or Syria or other places where Iran uses proxy forces.

And let it be known to the Iranians that if they want to do something positive for the region, Yemen is not a bad place for them to start. And that involves their relationship with the Houthis and the arming, the trading — the training and the embedding of the Houthis that they do.

So, it would be an excellent way for Iran to show goodwill by working in this diplomatic space that I have described to bring about the kind of better result in Yemen that we're all seeking.

And in the Yemen conflict, you need Saudi Arabia. And they will have to play a leading role. After all, this is their backyard. This is the Gulf region's backyard. And just as we are — follow things that happen in our backyard very carefully, so must the Saudis and so will the Saudis.

So, they will be a very strong partner in this effort, I'm convinced, and we will be able to maintain the president's commitments with regard to Saudi Arabia, while ensuring that the Yemen conflict is brought to a close. That is very much the goal (and interview in film)

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Saudi Arabia Wants to Be a Normal Country

And Biden should treat it as exactly that.

It is time for a reset of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. U.S. President Joe Biden has made his intentions very clear: The Trump administration’s so-called “free pass” to the erratic and uniquely powerful leadership of Saudi Arabia must end. For too long, the relationship has been run out of the public eye where its norms have been allowed to erode.

At long last, in other words, there is some daylight and scrutiny coming to the bilateral relationship.

Somewhat ironically, normalization is also what Saudi Arabia has demanded. Saudi Arabia seeks a place on the world stage; as the 2020 host of the G-20, its core foreign-policy aspirations have been to seek legitimacy, normalcy, and respect as a destination for foreign investment and international tourism. And Biden should give Saudi Arabia exactly what it wants—to be treated like any other state with responsibilities and external scrutiny for its actions and policies at home and abroad. This will be difficult in the short term, especially as the window narrows for a reentry to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. A successful Iran policy will require a functional and cooperative bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia.

The challenge will be to acknowledge the United States’ own role in accommodating and excusing Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses at home and abroad and then establishing a new framework for engagement with a country that, even as the locus of fossil fuel trade shifts elsewhere, still matters to the United States. Convincing members of Congress and U.S. citizens that a healthy U.S.-Saudi bilateral relationship is in the United States’ interest will be a necessary pivot for the Biden administration if it is to achieve even its limited policy agenda in the Middle East.

The United States has treated Saudi Arabia as a special case for decades, making excuses for its draconian domestic politics while trying to sustain a partnership centered on oil and security.

Treating Saudi Arabia as a normal country, a regional power with influence and interests, will mean Riyadh will also have to improve its diplomatic game. It will require more transparency in its own reporting of its military performance in Yemen as well as accountability and access to its judicial processes domestically. If Saudi Arabia wants to distinguish itself from Iran and present itself as a partner in countering Iran’s malign activities in the region, it must allow scrutiny of the accusations of terrorism it makes against its own citizens.

The United States can accept that Saudi Arabia is in the throes of a transformation and that Mohammed bin Salman will rise and stay in power for some time to come. The Biden administration can put some guardrails on this relationship, and at the same time, give Saudi Arabia what it covets. The United States needs to start treating Saudi Arabia like the regional power it wants to be – by Karen E. Young

[from Dec. 2020] A New Direction: A Foreign Policy Playbook on Military Restraint for the Biden Team

Greater Middle East

Top-line recommendations

  1. Drawdown the U.S. military’s presence in the region.
  2. Support an inclusive security architecture.
  3. End the wars in Syria and Yemen, normalize relations with Iran.
  4. Lead by example on human rights.

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

Siehe / Look at cp1, cp9, cp15

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Verhältnis zwischen USA und Iran: Neukalibrierung in Nahost

Atomstreit, Jemenkrieg, Irak: An gleich drei Fronten muss sich die neue US-Regierung mit Iran auseinandersetzen, diplomatisch wie militärisch. Die Neuausrichtung der Linie im Nahen Osten berührt auch das Verhältnis zum Verbündeten Saudi-Arabien.

Irans Oberster Führer Ali Chamenei dagegen hat das Regime auf die Linie eingeschworen, dass die USA zunächst alle Sanktionen aufheben müssten - erst dann werde Iran sich wieder an das Atomabkommen halten. "Wir haben viele große Worte und Versprechungen gehört, die verletzt wurden", bekräftigte er am Mittwoch in einer Fernsehansprache. "Dieses Mal geht es nur um Taten."

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Why hasn’t Biden returned to the Iran nuclear deal?

Something is going very wrong with President Joe Biden’s Iran policy and it’s not clear why. Unless he corrects course, Biden risks losing a vital agreement and putting the two nations back on a path towards war — at precisely the time he wants to focus on the multiple domestic crises gripping America.

Biden is, in effect, continuing Trump’s failed “maximum pressure” campaign and keeping intact the wall of silence between the two nations. Why?

Logically and legally, Biden should rejoin the agreement he helped craft, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The current crisis with Iran began when Trump pulled out of the multi-nation accord. Biden harshly criticized Trump’s action then, calling it a “manufactured crisis” that made “the U.S., the region and our world less safe.”

Until Trump left in May 2018, Iran was in complete compliance with the agreement.

Iran waited a full year after Trump violated the accord. Then, it took what it says are compensatory steps away from the agreement, but repeatedly insists it will immediately reverse those steps once the United States returns to compliance by lifting the Trump sanctions.

During the presidential campaign, it seemed that Biden’s plan was to quickly rejoin the JCPOA, as he has quickly rejoined other critical arrangements Trump shunned. During the transition, his team likely developed a plan to do so. But in the first month, they have made no progress, exchanging their original theory of “compliance for compliance” with the mantra that Iran must first come back into complete compliance before the United States moves. This is a variation of John Bolton’s “Libya Model.” The other side must do everything before the United States does anything.

The Biden team may believe that this approach provides “leverage” and that it can use the so-called “sanctions wall” — erected by Trump’s hawkish advisers to block Biden’s return to the deal — as pressure to compel Iran to make concessions on its nuclear program or other issues. But, as Rebel Alliance Admiral Gial Ackbar from Star Wars warned, “It’s a trap.”

Leverage works two ways. Iran responded to each Trump move with its own moves and a dangerous cycle developed. On February 7, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Tehran’s “final and irreversible” decision was to return to compliance only after the United States lifted sanctions. On February 23, Iran will likely take another step away from the deal, implementing a law passed by Iran’s parliament that will reduce the access of nuclear inspectors to some of Iran’s facilities.

In this deadly game of nuclear chicken, Biden may believe that he will look weak if he moves first. His advisers are likely angered by Iran’s pressure tactics. They are also under pressure from some donors and conservatives in the Democratic Party, such as hawkish Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, to punish Iran.

But Biden can’t simply put Iran on hold. Time is not on his side. There are too many things that could go wrong and too many saboteurs in both nations that want to kill the deal. The longer he waits, the more likely it is that an incident in the Middle East wars, such as Israeli attacks on Iranian sites and personnel, or the recent Iraqi militia attack that killed an American contractor in Erbil, will trigger a larger conflict.

The only certain path away from war is through a quick return to the agreement that prevented one – by Joe Cirincione

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The US risks pushing Iran towards a nuclear weapon

President Biden’s hesitation thus far in lifting sanctions imposed on Iran by his predecessor and returning Washington to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, nuclear deal risks a repeat of events between the United States and North Korea more than two decades ago when Pyongyang withdrew from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and began manufacturing nuclear weapons in earnest.

Just last week, the Iranian Minister of Intelligence warned in an interview that, according to the fatwa issued by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Tehran is not pursuing the manufacture of nuclear weapons. But, he continued, if a cat is trapped in a corner, it will behave in a way that a free cat will not. Iran cannot be blamed, he said, if Western countries push it into a corner.

While certain Western media outlets have interpreted his words as designed to pressure the Biden administration to return to the JCPOA, the fact remains that demands to leave the NPT are on the rise in Iran.

Hardliners enjoy a majority in the Iranian parliament today

Today, Tehran and Washington appear to be trapped in a childish game of who must return to the deal first and comply with their commitments. Iran insists that the United States should take the first step, as it was the Trump administration that left the deal in 2018. But the Biden administration insists that it is Iran that must first abide by its commitments and return to the JCPOA’s limits on uranium enrichment which it began exceeding a year after Washington’s withdrawal. This situation only favors extremists in both countries, not to mention other regional countries, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, that are determined to kill the nuclear deal.

In July 2019, prominent international relations scholar John Mearsheimer, warned that Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran may push Iran to manufacture nuclear weapons. It seems that the United States may now be committing the same mistakes it did with North Kore

The main concern for Biden’s administration is preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Whether the United States or Iran is obliged to take the first step to return to their JCPOA obligations is secondary. The continued impasse could likely leave Biden with only two options because Iran has demonstrated that it will not change its policy even when subjected to the toughest sanctions: he must either come to terms with a nuclear armed Iran, which will be a major foreign policy failure, or start a costly war with an unpredictable outcome – by Jalil Bayat

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Rouhani hopes new US administration will make up for past mistakes, return to rule of law

President Hassan Rouhani says the new US administration needs to act swiftly to make up for the past mistakes and return to the rule of law by resuming its commitments under a UN resolution that endorsed the 2015 agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.

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Iran will reverse nuclear actions when U.S. lifts sanctions, says Zarif

Iran will "immediately reverse" actions in respect of its nuclear programme when U.S. sanctions are lifted, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Friday, reiterating Tehran's position on Washington's offer to revive talks.

The Joe Biden administration said on Thursday it was ready to revive a 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers that former president Donald Trump abandoned in 2018 before reimposing sanctions on Iran.

When sanctions are lifted, "we will then immediately reverse all remedial measures. Simple," Zarif said on Twitter.

On Thursday, Zarif had tweeted that Iran’s "remedial measures" were in response to violations of the accord by the U.S., Britain, France and Germany. Other signatories to the 2015 deal were China and Russia.


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Zarif denounces US, allies for throwing ball into Iran’s court as JCPOA revival hangs in balance

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounces the US and its European allies for attempting to paint Iran responsible for, what they call, nuclear non-compliance, while it was their non-commitment in the first place that had Tehran suspend its obligations under a nuclear agreement.

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Biden repudiates Trump on Iran, ready for talks on nuke deal

The Biden administration said Thursday it’s ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, in a sharp repudiation of former President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure campaign” that sought to isolate the Islamic Republic.

The administration also took two steps at the United Nations aimed at restoring policy to what it was before Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018. The combined actions were immediately criticized by Iran hawks and are likely to draw concern from Israel and Gulf Arab states.

In addition to signaling a willingness to talk with Iran, the administration also reversed Trump’s determination that all U.N. sanctions against Iran had been restored. And, it eased stringent restrictions on the domestic travel of Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations.

The State Department announced the moves following discussions between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his British, French and German counterparts, and as Biden prepares to participate, albeit virtually, in his first major international events with world leaders.

In a statement, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. would accept an invitation from the European Union to attend a meeting of the participants — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, along with Iran — in the original nuclear agreement.

“The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program,” he said. The U.S. has not participated in a meeting of those participants since Trump withdrew from the deal and began steadily ramping up sanctions on Iran.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the administration notified the Security Council that it had withdrawn Trump’s September 2020 invocation of the so-called “snapback” mechanism under which it maintained that all U.N sanctions against Iran had been re-imposed. Those sanctions included a conventional arms embargo against Iran that had been set to expire.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Mills sent a letter to the Security Council saying the United States “hereby withdraws” three letters from the Trump administration that culminated in its Sept. 19 announcement that the United States had re-imposed U.N. sanctions on Tehran due to it’s “significant non-performance” with its obligations.

Trump’s move had been ignored by the rest of the Security Council and the world, and the overwhelming majority of members in the 15-nation council had called the action illegal because the U.S. was no longer a member of the nuclear deal.

The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, quickly denounced the steps. “It is concerning the Biden Administration is already making concessions in an apparent attempt to re-enter the flawed Iran deal,” he said. “The Trump Administration created leverage for President Biden on Iran — we should not squander that progress.”

and also

and US statement on talks:

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US diplomacy has had a turbulent history. The Biden administration now has the opportunity to take meaningful steps on the path to peace.

The JCPOA represents precisely the kind of diplomacy needed to facilitate goodwill and avoid conflict.

But the Iran deal also raises the specter of America’s unilateral power. As the most powerful country in the world, the United States plays a central role in the commitment to peace. Unfortunately, US foreign policy over the last several decades has often instigated the very conflicts the international community aspires to prevent.

Under the Trump administration, the US lifted the façade of international collaboration all together, flexing its economic dominance and boasting its military strength under the banner of “America First.”

Trump’s failed “maximum pressure” policy on Iran achieved none of its policy objectives, damaged the reputation of the US, hurt millions of ordinary Iranians with brutal sanctions, and almost sparked another disastrous war.

Diplomacy matters because it is critical to achieving the lasting peace that the vast majority of humanity longs for. The road toward a real and lasting peace will be long. It will require the conviction of many and the US will have to play an integral role. But in order to achieve peace, our outlook and our actions must fundamentally change. Rejoining the Iran nuclear deal would represent a step in the right direction, but it should only be a starting point.

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This year will see new presidents in both the U.S. and Iran. The questions of whether and how to reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) confront the new Biden administration. It is an ideal time to review broader U.S. policy toward Iran.

U.S. security interests regarding Iran are narrow and under less threat than many suggest:

The U.S. does not want significant, long-term disruptions to the global oil supply, and preventing a regional hegemon achieves that. Iran lacks the conventional military power to seize oil-producing territory from its wealthy neighbors, let alone hold it against U.S. and international counteroffensives.1

The U.S. does not want Iran to sponsor or launch terrorist attacks against the U.S., but the prospect of brutal retaliation deters that.

Diplomacy is the only realistic way to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon; even preventive military strikes will only delay Iran’s nuclear program while incentivizing Tehran to complete it.

The U.S. does not want Iran to be able to coerce it with nuclear weapons, but the massive U.S. nuclear deterrent makes this threat toothless. Beyond self-defense, Iranian nuclear coercive threats would lack credibility, as has been the case with other nuclear powers.2

At the same time, the opportunity cost of a U.S. war—and even friction—in the Middle East is growing.

A war with Iran is therefore very unlikely to succeed. The war would also come with many risks: wider escalation, crippling costs, further entanglement in the Middle East, and deeper global economic disruption. So avoiding war with Iran is the main bilateral goal for the United States. Reducing tensions with Iran and increasing reliance on regional partners’ ability to balance Iran and defend themselves would enable the U.S. to pull resources away from the region, bringing costs and attention more in line with its narrow security interests.


Proponents of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran argued it would get a better nuclear deal and moderate Iran’s foreign policy. The strategy has achieved the opposite. It has made war more likely, increased Iranian attacks, and encouraged Iran to advance down the nuclear path. And it has strengthened hardliners, rather than undermined them. It is not even clear that the strategy has given the U.S. leverage to get an expanded deal, since Iran has sought leverage of its own on several fronts.

On the security front, the “maximum pressure” strategy has coincided with a major increase in Iranian and Iranian-supported violence, including attacks at Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil facility, in the Gulf of Oman, and off the United Arab Emirates’ Fujairah port: rocket and ballistic missile strikes on American facilities in Iraq; the downing of a U.S. reconnaissance drone: and a milit

In sum, the “maximum pressure” strategy has increased the danger of war and aided hardliners in Iran while not merely failing to deliver on its promises of a more docile, less nuclear Iran, but also making Iran more aggressive and accelerating its nuclear program.


Restoring the JCPOA offers a natural place to begin a reorientation of U.S.-Iran policy. It will immediately bring down Iran’s stockpiled nuclear materials. The regular diplomatic contact embedded in the JCPOA created opportunities for further diplomacy, such as the rapid release of U.S. Navy sailors who had been detained by the IRGC Navy after mistakenly entering Iranian waters in January 2016. Restoring basic communication channels will reduce the risk of unintended escalation amid tensions.

Rejoining the deal should be part of a shift in the U.S. posture in the Middle East.

More than 20,000 U.S. troops have been dispatched to the Middle East to support that campaign or deal with its fallout.6 These troops should return home. While the U.S. has narrow security interests regarding Iran, it may wish to pursue other goals, such as limiting Iran’s missile capabilities or improving human rights. Measures that raise the risk of war should be avoided given the secondary nature of these interests.

When the JCPOA was in effect, Iranian officials sometimes expressed skepticism of pursuing further deals covering issues beyond the nuclear program. That skepticism has only grown because of “maximum pressure.” A less tense U.S.-Iran relationship may create openings for further diplomacy over time, but this will likely require years of confidence-building – by John Allen Gay

and main points:

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Israel's ambassador says not interested in working with US on return to Iran deal

The Biden administration has pledged to consult with Israel and other allies before making any moves to join the landmark nuclear deal.

“We will not be able to be part of such a process if the new administration returns to that deal,” Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, told Army Radio.

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Transcript: NPR's Full Interview With Secretary of State Tony Blinken

There is no doubt that our ability to wave the banner of democracy and human rights to some extent has been tarnished by recent events, especially the egregious attack on the Capitol on January 6. On the other hand, what's so powerful about it is that our democracy is resilient.

[on Iran]

And so I think we have an incentive to try to put Iran back in the nuclear box. Presumably, Iran still has incentives to get what it bargained for in the deal, which was some sanctions relief given the state of its economy. So I think there's still interest on both sides — including among our negotiating partners in Europe, also Russia and China — to do this. But it would be a necessary first step, but also an insufficient one. Time has passed. And so if we're to get back into the deal, if Iran returns to compliance and we do the same, we need to work on an agreement that's longer and stronger than the original one. And we also need to engage other issues that were not part of the original negotiation that are deeply problematic for us and for other countries around the world: Iran's ballistic missile program, its destabilizing actions in country after country. All of that needs to be engaged. But the first step would be Iran returning to compliance. And President Biden has been clear that if they do, we would do the same. The path to diplomacy is open right now. Iran is still a ways away from being in compliance. So we'll have to see what it does.

My comment: It’s an odd idea that the US claims there must be a new deal just restricting Iran more than the former Nuclear Deal. What for? If there really should come “an agreement that's longer and stronger than the original one”, there are some more topics: US “destabilizing actions in country after country” in the Middle East; US military 7,000 miles away from the US; Israel’s nukes (Keep the Middle East free of nukes!), US arms exports to the Gulf states outnumber Iranian arms supplies many times. Iran should inist on these subjects if the US insists on a new deal.

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Majority of Middle East scholars in survey say immediate US return to the Iran nuclear deal before addressing other issues will produce results favorable to US interests. (infographic)

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Irans erster Test für Joe Biden

Bei einem Raketenangriff auf eine amerikanische Basis im Nordirak gibt es einen Toten und Verletzte. Eine kaum bekannte Gruppe reklamiert die Attacke für sich. Beobachter halten jedoch das Regime in Teheran für verantwortlich.

Die Amerikaner seien nirgendwo im Irak vor ihrer Rache sicher, hieß es weiter. Die Gruppe kündigte weitere Angriffe an, um das Blut zu vergelten, das die „den Märtyrertod gestorbenen“ Führer vergossen hätten.

So ähnlich hat es sich immer wieder zugetragen, nachdem vor etwas mehr als einem Jahr der iranische General Qassem Soleimani in Bagdad durch einen amerikanischen Drohnenangriff getötet wurde; und mit ihm der irakische Sicherheitsfunktionär Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, Führer einer Dachorganisation von Paramilitärs, die von irantreuen Milizen dominiert wird: Nach Raketenangriffen auf ausländische Militärstützpunkte oder diplomatische Vertretungen im Irak bekennen sich obskure bewaffnete Gruppen mit klangvollen Namen zu den Taten.

Nach Einschätzung irakischer und amerikanischer Regierungsmitarbeiter soll das die wahren Täter verschleiern, die aus dem Kreis der üblichen Verdächtigen stammen, nämlich der großen schiitischen Milizen, die von den iranischen Revolutionswächtern gelenkt werden – allen voran die Gruppe „Kataib Hizbullah“. So fiel der Verdacht auch nach dem Raketenbeschuss am Montagabend schnell auf die Stellvertreter Teherans. „Made in Iran“, lautete ein Kommentar.

Der amerikanische Außenminister Antony Blinken zeigte sich „empört“. Er sicherte Masrour Barzani, dem Ministerpräsidenten der kurdischen Regionalregierung, in einem Telefonat die Unterstützung Washington für alle Bemühungen zu, die Täter zu finden und zur Rechenschaft zu ziehen.

Irakische und amerikanische Beobachter werteten den Angriff als Test für den neuen amerikanischen Präsidenten Joe Biden. Teheran wolle herausfinden, wie weit seine irakischen Stellvertreter gehen können, lautete eine Vermutung.

(A P)

Rouhani: Ball in US court to lift bans, put Iran deal back on track

President Hassan Rouhani has once again reiterated Iran’s opposition to any renegotiation of a nuclear deal it clinched with major world states in 2015, saying the United States should practically lift its “illegal” sanctions in the first place in order for the agreement to get back on track.

(* B P)

Atomabkommen mit dem Iran: US-Politik der Piraterie und Erpressung

Präsident Trump hat das Atomabkommen mit dem Iran 2018 gebrochen und schwere Sanktionen verhängt. Die Hoffnungen, dass sein Nachfolger Biden das Abkommen wieder in Kraft setzt und die Krise entspannt, haben sich nicht erfüllt, im Gegenteil.

Biden hat im Wahlkampf angedeutet, dass er das Atomabkommen, dass ja in seiner Zeit als Vizepräsident ausgehandelt worden ist, wieder in Kraft setzen könnte. Die Möglichkeit, das schnell zu tun hätte er, wie zum Beispiel sein Einverständnis für die Verlängerung des NEW START-Vertrages gezeigt hat. Aber beim Iran hat Biden es offensichtlich nicht eilig.

Das Abkommen sieht vor, dass der Iran – wenn andere Vertragsparteien sich nicht an ihre Verpflichtungen halten – seine eingegangenen Verpflichtungen auch nicht mehr einhalten muss. Das ist geschehen, als die USA das Abkommen gebrochen und harte Sanktionen verhängt haben. Westliche Medien und Politiker verschweigen diesen Passus aber und berichten stattdessen laufend, der Iran breche das Abkommen, wenn er zum Beispiel Uran wieder stärker anreichert, als im Abkommen vorgesehen.

Der Regierungswechsel in den USA wäre für Politik und Medien eigentlich eine Gelegenheit gewesen, hier umzuschwenken und endlich wahrheitsgemäß zu berichten. Das hätte vielleicht auch ein wenig politischen Druck auf Biden aufgebaut, die USA in das Abkommen zurückzuführen. Der Iran hat mit seinen Reaktionen damals ein ganzes Jahr gewartet und auch danach nur in sehr kleinen Schritten seine eingegangenen Verpflichtungen gebrochen. Aber ich wiederhole es: Dazu war er laut Abkommen berechtigt, nachdem die USA es zuerst gebrochen hatten.

Der Iran hat Biden eine Brücke gebaut, die ihm einerseits die Möglichkeit gibt, zum Abkommen zurückzukehren, aber andererseits auch Druck macht. Wenn die USA bis nicht bis zum 21. Februar (einen Monat nach Bidens Amtseinführung) zu dem Abkommen zurückkehren und die Sanktionen aufheben, wird der Iran die Inspektionen seiner Atomanlagen erheblich erschweren.

Biden verlangt nun aber, der Iran müsse erst seine Verpflichtungen wieder einhalten, bevor die USA zum Abkommen zurückkehren.

Da aber der Spiegel-Leser nicht weiß, dass es kein “Ausstieg” aus dem Abkommen, sondern ein Vertragsbruch der USA war und dass der Iran laut Abkommen an seine Verpflichtungen nicht mehr gebunden ist, wenn ein Vertragspartner gegen seine Verpflichtungen verstößt, bleibt Empörung über Bidens Verhalten natürlich aus. Biden setzt die Politik von Trump fort und die Medien decken das.

Damit aber nicht genug. Die Sanktionen, die Trump verhängt hat, sind völkerrechtswidrig. Die USA haben aber Tanker des Iran beschlagnahmt, was de facto Piraterie ist. Biden scheint die Lage eskalieren zu wollen, denn er hat das iranische Öl, das die Tanker transportiert haben, verkauft und den Erlös US-Bürgern zukommen gelassen. Das ist definitiv Piraterie.

Reuters hat am 10. Februar berichtet, die US-Regierung habe über eine Million Barrel iranischen Öls verkauft.

Von dem Erlös sollen offiziell Opfer von “staatlich finanziertem Terror” entschädigt werden, aber natürlich nur US-Bürger. So steht es auf der Seite des US-Justizministeriums zu lesen. Aber es gibt eine interessante Hintertür: Mit dem Geld können auch US-Soldaten entschädigt werden, die in den US-Angriffskriegen in Afghanistan, dem Irak und so weiter verwundet worden sind.

Das ist Zynismus pur: Die USA führen illegale Angriffskriege, zerstören Länder, töten hunderttausende unschuldiger Zivilisten und die US-Soldaten, die dabei zu Schaden kommen, werden mit Geld entschädigt, dass die USA durch den Verkauf von iranischem Öl verdienen, das sie sich ebenfalls illegal durch Piraterie unter den Nagel gerissen haben.

Verhält sich so ein US-Präsident, der einen Weg sucht, die Krise mit dem Iran zu entschärfen? Oder müssen solche Aktionen der neuen US-Regierung nicht automatisch zu einer Verschärfung der Lage führen?

(* A P)

U.S. sells illicit Iranian fuel, another seized cargo on the way

The United States has sold more than a million barrels of Iranian fuel seized under its sanctions program last year, a Department of Justice official said, as another ship with intercepted Iranian crude oil sails to a U.S. port.

The seizures are part of Washington’s tough economic sanctions on Tehran imposed over its nuclear program and the U.S. designation of a number of Iranian groups as terrorists, continuing decades of rancor between the two nations. Iran rejects U.S. accusations of wrongdoing.

In a new approach last year, the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump used civil forfeiture procedures to seize some 1.2 million barrels of gasoline it said were being sent from Iran to Venezuela aboard four tankers.

The shipments, the largest seizure by Washington of Iranian fuel to date, were transferred to other vessels and sent to the United States, where the fuel was meant to be sold and the proceeds distributed to a fund for U.S. victims of state-sponsored terrorism.

My comment: Piracy, 21. century style. For this fund, see here: and here:

(A P)

UN nuclear chief to visit Tehran; Merkel presses Rouhani

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog will travel to Iran this weekend in an effort to find a “mutually agreeable solution” that allows it to continue its inspections in the country, the organization said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Iran’s president for “positive signals” that would help resolve a diplomatic standoff over the future of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, her office said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said that Director General Rafael Grossi will visit Tehran on Saturday for discussions with senior Iranian officials, whom it did not identify.

(A P)

‘Positive signals’ needed to save JCPOA, Merkel tells Rouhani

German chancellor calls for diplomatic solution to nuclear dispute during phone call with Iranian president, who insists only way forward is for the US to revoke ‘inhumane’ sanctions

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Iran to take steps ensuring its return to full compliance to a landmark 2015 nuclear deal, in a rare phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.


(A P)

Rouhani tells Merkel: Adding anything to nuclear deal ‘impossible’

President Hassan Rouhani says it would be “impossible” to modify the country's landmark nuclear agreement, emphasizing that the only way to save the deal is to lift the United States’ “inhumane sanctions” on Iran.

cp10 Großbritannien / Great Britain

(* B K P)

The British government’s continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia underline its moral bankruptcy

Talal Hangari argues that by refusing to stop its sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the British governmnent is complicit in the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet in Yemen.

The 2019 Conservative Manifesto reads: ‘the UK has long been a beacon of freedom and human rights - and will continue to be so’. Yet Boris Johnson’s government persists in licensing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners as they wage a destructive war in Yemen. This policy is morally bankrupt and has helped to facilitate the severe crimes that have been taking place since the conflict began in 2015. If the British government was in any way serious about defending human rights, it would end these arms sales immediately.

The very risk of the use of British arms to commit war crimes, let alone the evidence that British arms have actually been used to attack civilians, should disqualify the continuation of arms sales as a political option. But the Conservative government proceeds with impunity.

The supply of these British weapons is undoubtedly significant. The British government has licensed £5.4 billion worth of arms exports to Saudi Arabia since 2015, and it is therefore no surprise that British arms have been employed in attacks on civilian targets. Saudi Arabia has used British missiles, British Typhoon and Tornado aircraft, and British precision bombs. I

Alongside this military support, the British government unabashedly lies to the public on behalf of the Saudi-led coalition. In July 2020, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss exemplified this mendacity when she stated that Saudi Arabia’s ‘possible’ violations of international humanitarian law were ‘isolated incidents’.

The unfortunate conclusion that one is forced to reach is that the government regards the profits of arms companies and its defence relationship with Saudi Arabia as more important than the many civilian deaths that these arms sales have contributed to. The government points to violations committed by the Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen, which have certainly been documented, but the government does not support Houthi crimes. It has, however, been abetting the Saudi-led coalition’s crimes and has the ability to stop doing so.

Those of us who are British citizens have a democratic duty to hold our leaders accountable for what they have done and continue to do. The role of the British state since 2015 in supporting criminal atrocities in Yemen must not be forgotten

(A P)

Aron to Asharq Al-Awsat: Houthis are Seeking Gains before Facing a ‘Ceasefire’

UK Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron has warned that the Houthi militias may be seeking to secure gains on the battleground ahead of any ceasefire deal in the war-torn country.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Aron’s caveat comes after the Saudi-led Arab Coalition intercepting and destroying a Houthi explosive drone that was targeting Saudi Arabia.

“They (Houthis) are trying to make progress before peace efforts from the international community. They are afraid of a ceasefire and want to advance on the ground before that,” Aron told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“Undoubtedly, this is a very bad thing, and we do not need that,” he added, stressing that the UK negatively views Iran’s support and arming of the Houthis.

According to Aron, starting direct or semi-direct consultations between rival Yemeni parties to end the conflict is the best option to alleviate the suffering of the Yemenis.

“Without progress in the peace process and direct or semi-direct negotiations between the parties, we will see a greater deterioration on the ground,” Aron stated, adding that rebooting talks and achieving a ceasefire remain a top priority.

Despite his remarks, the diplomat admitted that any future peace will not be easy nor soon. He, however, reiterated confidence in efforts mounted by the UN.

More so, Aron stressed that the international community is aware and fully comprehends the dangers of the Houthi group.

“We have no doubts about the Houthis. We understand what the Houthis are, but if the war continues, without negotiations, then the Houthis will occupy the entire north of Yemen,” he noted, adding that the Iran-aligned militia would reshape society and end tolerance in Yemen.

and also

My comment: By a British official, a statement like this one is rather odd, as Britain is one of the main supporters of the Saudi coalition – in nearly every respect, just “boots on the ground” are missing.

(A P)

Covid: Dominic Raab calls for global ceasefires to allow for vaccinations

The UK government has now expressed particular concern about Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia being able to roll out the vaccine.

My comment: What a hypocrisy by one of the world’s leading arms exporters. Now they lament about all the wars they themselves have inflamed and have kept going on.

(A K P)

Zarah Sultana, MP: The US has suspended arms sales to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen. But the Tories refuse to do the same. When even the US makes your foreign policy look bad, you know you're grossly in the wrong. I've signed this letter from @KimJohnsonMP calling for these arms sales to end.

cp12 Andere Länder / Other countries

(* B K P)

Europeans come down like a hammer on Saudi-UAE arms sales

Momentum is building towards ending the unconditional Western support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The European Parliament, meanwhile, adopted its own tough and wide-ranging resolution on Yemen on February 11.

The motion, initiated by the Belgian Socialist MEP Marc Tarabella, who serves as the vice-chair of the delegation for relations with the Arabian Peninsula, was endorsed by more than 90 percent of the MEPs, covering the entire political spectrum, with the exception of only a handful of extreme right-wing members. It calls on the EU member states to halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, without distinction between the “offensive” and “defensive” arms, and for the body to refer the human rights violations in Yemen to the International Criminal Court.

MEPs also urged the EU governments to use the newly adopted EU Global Human Rights Sanctions mechanism to target, through asset freezes and travel bans, Saudi and Emirati officials, among others, involved in war crimes in Yemen. They also call for a suspension of Saudi Arabia and UAE membership in UNESCO due to their role in the destruction of Yemen’s cultural and architectural heritage.

Similar calls were issued by the European Parliament on a regular basis since 2016.

There are, however, some elements that make this resolution stronger than previous efforts.

First, the role of the EU governments is being scrutinized to a greater degree than before. For one, the continued arms sales by a number of countries, including France, Spain, and Belgium, are deemed incompatible with the legally binding EU “common position” on arms trade, which prohibits selling arms that can be used to stoke regional conflicts and cause severe violations of international humanitarian law.

Also, the EU states are called out for the assistance they provide to U.S. “lethal operations,” such as drone attacks, which have in the past led to extra-judicial killings in Yemen. Although justified in terms of hunting down Al-Qaeda terrorists, such operations run the risk of “collateral damage,”

Second, while the UAE’s role in Yemen is often obscured by a focus on Saudi Arabia, this time it was highlighted in a detailed and pretty damning way. Not only did the MEPs put the Emirati role in the war on the same level as the Saudis, but they also singled out Abu-Dhabi for running a notorious network of prisons in Yemen where inmates were tortured, raped and subjected to other forms of sexual violence.

Third, the specific clauses in the resolution calling for the arms embargo garnered more support than on previous occasions.

One explanation of such a shift could lie in the fact that the Houthis’ abuses and their connection to Iran were adequately reflected in the text, which helped to make it more balanced. Still, the narrative pushed by the Saudis and Emiratis blaming Iran as the primary cause of the conflict failed to convince the MEPs.

These resolutions are not binding to national governments. Some of these countries, like France, are likely to continue selling arms to Saudi Arabia and UAE. Yet the Parliament’s censure, as the only directly elected EU institution representing 500 million European citizens, carries a politically significant message

(A K P)

The crisis in Yemen demands an independent review of NZ’s military links with Saudi Arabia

The revelation that Air New Zealand had been silently contracting services to the Saudi Arabian navy was apparently not the only instance of New Zealand’s connection to the murderous war in Yemen.

A week after Air New Zealand apologised to the government, it emerged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) had approved exports of military equipment to Saudi Arabia in 2016 and 2018.

Both cases involved a startling lack of transparency and direct inconsistencies with both corporate and country commitments to upholding international human rights obligations.

Despite being on record supporting calls for all parties in the Yemen conflict to abide by international law, New Zealand can no longer deny any potential complicity in this humanitarian abyss.

Unfortunately, it seems the excessive profits to be made from a soaring arms trade have pushed aside evidence of war crimes or assassinations (in the case of the extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi).

Along with the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the US (although the Biden administration is reportedly reconsidering its policy), it now appears New Zealand is included in this company. =


(A P)

New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern 'not aware' her KiwiSaver scheme profited from Saudi military deals

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was not aware her KiwiSaver scheme was invested in companies which supplied weapons to the Saudi military.

Ardern ordered an inquiry into a deal under which Air New Zealand serviced engines for the Saudi Arabian navy, saying the deal did not pass the “sniff test”.


(A K P)

'Appalling' - Chlöe Swarbrick devastated to learn of ANZ KiwiSaver link to Yemen war

(* B K P)

Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv to Establish Spy Bases on Strategic Yemeni Island

Long before the new chapter of relations between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, the Emiratis had worked with Israeli surveillance experts and firms.

In fact, the first visit to the UAE by an Israeli official was made by the head of Mossad to discuss “cooperation in the field of security and issues of common interest”.

Shortly after the trip, it was revealed that Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv are involved in a joint surveillance project in Yemen.

The two sides were reportedly working silently on a plan to establish spy bases on the strategic Yemeni island of Socotra.

According to JForumm, the official site of the Jewish and French-speaking community, “The purpose of such a spy station would be to collect intelligence across the region, particularly from the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a sea route chokepoint between the Horn of Africa and the south of Yemen, along with the Gulf of Aden and the Middle East.”

We have different aspects of Cyber Intelligence; Cyber Intelligence covers the domestic threat and the external threat. And in this case we have the Emiratis who like to control the opposition groups and like to make sure that they monitor their own officials and other citizens or political parties, including many foreign companies on their soil. But above all, the collaboration between Israel and the Emirates is mainly directed toward Iran to make sure that they can also control the nearby country and also the Iranian company that are acting on the, they are working (in the UAE).

Elijah Magnier, Journalist and Political Analyst

While the Emirati authorities are engaged in regional surveillance for their regional ambitions, which is to become the leading power of the Middle East, they need Israel’s spying hardware and software to maintain the status quo within the borders.

In fact, Abu Dhabi has long been engaged in muting dissenting voices with the help of Israeli cyber-surveillance companies.

The Falcon Eye surveillance system

For example, in 2015, Abu Dhabi contracted Israeli Asia Global Technology for a civil surveillance project called Falcon Eye.

A source privy to the project told Middle East Eye, "Every person is monitored from the moment they leave the doorstep to the moment they return to it."

The Israelis managed to collect strong capability. And they've signed an agreement with the United States on cybersecurity deals, and also they have this recent agreement that goes back into three years where the narrative is not very new.

Every year they invest between 450 to $500. million on the collaboration on cyber security. Even if the normalisation of relationship was announced, only very recently in the last few months, but the collaboration between Israel and the Emirates, go back to several years.

Elijah Magnier, Journalist and Political Analyst

Perhaps, one of the high-profile cases refers to the Emirati human rights activist Ahmad Mansoor who was targeted by the Israeli Pegasus spyware, developed by NSO Group Technologies.

Any social media that is allowed in any country, particularly in the Middle East, the government needs to have full control of it, including communication like WhatsApp, Viber, ToToK, Twitter and Facebook, all these social media that are an open space, and they can provide Cyberintelligence, with an open source intelligence, they give indication to the states of the level of threat, as I said earlier, if it is growing, how much is it growing, who are the most active people, who will likely represent danger to their well being or security or regime, for advertising democracy? Who are attacking this personality or another key figure in the state? So all these social media networks that are an open platform, are very closely monitored. And when they are not when the government doesn't have access to it, then it blocks it. Therefore, when it is not blocked, and is available, it means the government has access and can control what's going on.

Elijah Magnier, Journalist and Political Analyst =

(* B K P)

Jemen-Krise: Die VAE bauen ihre Militärbasis in Eritrea ab

Die VAE sollen Teile ihrer Militärbasis in Eritrea abgebaut haben. Diese wurde auch genutzt, um Gefangene aus dem Jemen-Krieg festzuhalten.

Die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate (VAE) sollen Teile einer Militärbasis, die sie in der ostafrikanischen Nation Eritrea betreiben, abgebaut haben. Satellitenbilder, die von The Associated Press Show analysiert wurden, sollen zeigen, dass die VAE neu gebaute Strukturen in der in Assab stationierten Militärbasis abreißen.

Das Land, das einst vom ehemaligen US-Verteidigungsminister Jim Mattis als "Little Sparta" gelobt wurde, scheint laut Experten im Jemen-krieg an die Grenzen seiner militärischen Expansion gestoßen zu sein.

Die VAE bauten ab September 2015 einen Hafen und erweiterten eine Landebahn in der Assab-Anlage. Sie nutzten die Anlage als Basis, um schwere Waffen und sudanesische Truppen in den Jemen zu befördern, während sie dort zusammen mit einer von Saudi-Arabien geführten Koalition gegen die vom Iran unterstützten Huthi-Rebellen kämpften.

Beamte der VAE nahmen diesbezüglich keine Stellung gegenüber AP. Eritrea, das den Emiratis eine 30-jährige Pacht für diese Basis gewährte, beantwortete ebenfalls keine Fragen, die an seine Botschaft in Washington geschickt wurden.

Die VAE haben Millionen von Dollar in die Verbesserung der Basis in Assab gesteckt, die nur etwa 70 Kilometer vom Jemen entfernt ist. Sie bauten Kasernen und Flugzeugüberdachungen in dieser Basis, die ursprünglich in den 1930er Jahren von der Kolonialmacht Italien gebaut wurde.

In der letzten Zeit stationierten die VAE laut Experten der Vereinten Nationen dort Leclerc-Kampfpanzer, selbst fahrende Varianten von G6-Haubitzen und BMP-3-Schützenpanzer. Diese Arten schwerer Waffen wurden dann später auf jemenitischen Schlachtfeldern gesehen. Auf den Landebahnen der Basis wurden zudem Kampfhubschrauber, Drohnen und andere Flugzeuge gesichtet.

Die Basis diente zudem zur Unterbringung verwundeter Soldaten, indem die VAE dort "eines der besten chirurgischen Feldkrankenhäuser im Nahen Osten" errichtet hatten, sagte Michael Knights, ein Mitarbeiter des Washington Institute for Near East Policy, der die Assab-Basis untersucht. Inmitten des Krieges nutzten die VAE die Basis auch, um Gefangene festzuhalten, da die von Saudi-Arabien geführte Koalition einem zunehmenden internationalen Druck wegen Missbrauchs von Häftlingen und Luftangriffen ausgesetzt war, bei denen abertausende Zivilisten getötet wurden.

(* B K P)

UAE dismantles Eritrea base as it pulls back after Yemen war

The United Arab Emirates is dismantling parts of a military base it runs in the East African nation of Eritrea after it pulled back from the grinding war in nearby Yemen, satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press show.

The UAE built a port and expanded an airstrip in Assab beginning in September 2015, using the facility as a base to ferry heavy weaponry and Sudanese troops into Yemen as it fought alongside a Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels there.

But the country once praised as “Little Sparta” by former U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis appears to have found the limits of its military expansion in Yemen’s stalemate conflict, experts say. After it withdrew troops from the conflict, the satellite photos show it began shipping off equipment and tearing down even newly built structures.

“The Emiratis are paring back their strategic ambitions and are pulling out of places where they had presences,” said Ryan Bohl, an analyst at the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor. “Having that hard-power deployment exposed them to more risk than the Emiratis are now willing to tolerate.”

The Emiratis also built barracks, aircraft canopies and fencing across the 9-square-kilometer (3.5-square-mile) facility initially built in the 1930s by colonial power Italy.

Over time, the UAE stationed Leclerc battle tanks, G6 self-propelled howitzers and BMP-3 amphibious fighting vehicles at the airport, according to United Nations experts. Those types of heavy weapons have been seen on Yemeni battlefields. Attack helicopters, drones and other aircraft have been seen on its runways.

Barracks on the base housed Emirati and Yemeni troops, as well as Sudanese forces filmed disembarking in Yemen’s port city of Aden. Records show the ship carrying them, the SWIFT-1, traveled back and forth to Assab. The vessel later came under attack by Houthi forces in 2016 and the Emirati government asserted it carried humanitarian aid, a claim for which U.N. experts later described themselves as being “unconvinced of its veracity.”

The base also aided wounded soldiers by housing “one of the best field surgical hospitals anywhere in the Middle East,” said Michael Knights, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near-East Policy who has studied the Assab base.

As Yemen’s war dragged on, the Emiratis also used the base for holding prisoners as the Saudi-led coalition faced increasing international pressure over detainee abuse and airstrikes killing civilians. The UAE announced in the summer of 2019 it had begun withdrawing its troops from the war, which still rages today.

“There’s only so far that they can punch above their weight, which they do militarily and economically,” said Alex Almeida, a security analyst at Horizon Client Access who has studied Assab. “Once they figured out Yemen wasn’t worth it for them, they decided, ‘We’re going to end it,’ and they ended it pretty suddenly.”

Satellite pictures from Planet Labs Inc., analyzed by the AP, show that decision appears to extend to Assab as well.

and also

(A P)

Eine Prinzessin im goldenen Käfig

Dubai gilt vielen als Vorzeigeort für eine moderne Stadt im Nahen Osten. Neueste Berichte der Tochter des Emirs trüben diesen Eindruck – und bringen viele in Verlegenheit.

„Besorgniserregend und erschreckend“ nannte der britische Außenminister Dominic Raab am Mittwoch Videoaufnahmen, die die BBC am Abend zuvor ausgestrahlt hatte. In ihnen hatte sich Prinzessin Latifa Bint Muhammad Al Maktoum zu Wort gemeldet, die nach eigenen Angaben seit Monaten von ihrem Vater, dem Premierminister und Vizepräsident der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate und Herrscher von Dubai, in einem Haus in Dubai in „Isolationshaft“ gehalten wird.

und auch

(A P)

Dubai princess’ backers seek Biden help to win her freedom

Supporters of an Emirati princess held against her will for almost three years are urging Joe Biden to put pressure on her father to release the woman, saying the U.S. president is one of the few world leaders with the stature to win her freedom.


(A P)

Princess Latifa: People want to see missing Dubai princess is 'alive and well', says Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

Princess Latifa has accused her father of holding her hostage in secret videos seen by Sky News, after attempts to flee the UAE.


(A P)

Former UAE prisoner Matthew Hedges says the UK government 'should do more' to help Princess Latifa, who is accusing her father of holding her hostage in secret videos released to Sky News.

cp13a Waffenhandel / Arms trade

Siehe / Look at cp10, cp12

(* A K P)

Biden administration approves arms sale to Egypt despite human rights concerns

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced it had approved a possible $197 million sale of missiles to Egypt, just days after the Egyptian government is said to have detained family members of a US-based Egyptian American human rights activist.

The State Department said in a news release that the proposed sale of the missiles and related equipment "will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally country that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East."

"The proposed sale will support the Egyptian Navy's Fast Missile Craft ships and provide significantly enhanced area defense capabilities over Egypt's coastal areas and approaches to the Suez Canal," the release said.

The proposed sale comes amid continued concerns about Egypt's human rights record

cp13b Wirtschaft / Economy

(* B E K P)

Yemen Economy Tracker Initiative

Providing data on economic trends and developments to support analysis and economic policy for Yemen

The decline of Yemen’s economy due to conflict has had a major impact on people’s well-being. Since the recent conflict in 2015, food prices have doubled and the cost of basic living, measured by the Survival Minimum Expenditure basket has increased fourfold. Food is available in markets, but fewer and fewer Yemenis are able to afford it. As a result, 24.1 million Yemenis, 80% of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance.

17 million Yemenis rely on food assistance and over a third of households report inadequate food consumption (HNO 2019, WFP VAM 08/2019, FEWSNET 10/2019).

Yemen is almost entirely reliant on imports, accounting for more than 90% of food items. As a result, any shocks to Yemen’s economy are passed on almost directly to consumers as higher prices. Given the already dire food security situation, Yemenis are not able to absorb further shocks. Economic competition between the north and south has impacted heavily on prices, particularly for fuel.


The YETI Dashboard is separated into 3 sections

Daily exchange rate tracker

Regional commodities comparison

ACAPS events Monitoring

Access the datasets behind YETI

We brought all components of the YETI project together. Click the button below to access it all.

cp14 Terrorismus / Terrorism

(A T)

It's reported that ISIS in Yemen has issued today a statement declaring its fighters are fighting against what it says "idolators Houthis" in Al-Kasarah front in Marib. I couldn't confirm its authenticity nor the source of publication by ISIS (image)

(B T)

#Yemen's Houthis & #ISIS claim to be fighting one other in #Marib. This claim serves the interests of both. Be sceptical. In January, the UN Panel of Experts concluded that "#ISIL may have affiliated themselves with those Houthis that they were fighting" (S/2021/79, Annex 5 p.66)

and pro-Houthi news site refers to it.

(B T)

As Houthis continue ground offensive to take Marib, their propaganda machine will spread stories that AQAP & ISIS r fighting with tries against them. Sm western media & analysts pick those stories & report them thus become themselves tools for spreading for disinformation.

In Yemen, political actors manufacture "terrorist groups" & attacks to serve their agenda. Houthis cooperation with "ISIS" in Baydha against tribes is no secret. I will post some reports & articles below that reported on that

"The Houthis have provided tactical help, cooperation, prisoner exchanges and handover of military camps to ISIL under Houthi supervision" says this UN report

my comment: As claimed by the anti-Houthi side. Anyway, there is a lot of evidence that AQAP fighters are fighting against the Houthis side by side with anti-Houthi forces.

cp15 Propaganda

(A P)

Keep an eye on the Security Council’s coming statement

The UN is behind this massive war on Marib, the city which hosts 60% of all Yemen’s war escapees. Because it has emboldened this Shiit ISIS by getting them removed from the US terror list.

Obviously, the Houthis are attacking and the army in Marib is defending.

A question that imposes itself is: Will the UN Security Council in today’s session issue a stern message demanding Houthi withdrawal or a call to “both parties” to cease fire?!

If the Council demands “ceasefire” from “both parties”, then that is a sign that the well-intentioned Council has placed its trust in the Houthi fighters (well-intentioned too) to cease fire and stay where they have reached, in Marib’s borders.

So that they (Houthis) take rest for a week or two and then change to peace makers!

(A P)

Yes, the Houthis are a terrorist group

“If you want to keep a secret,” George Orwell once observed, “you must also hide it from yourself.” The Biden administration's decision earlier this month to remove the Houthis, the Iranian-backed, Yemen-based militia, from the registry of Foreign Terrorist Organizations is no secret. But it can, perhaps, be categorized as an exercise in self-deception.

The Houthis can fairly be classified as a terror group, and both press and policymakers would do well to note it.

The Houthis themselves aren’t shy about revealing their objectives. The Houthi motto (“Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam!”) is straight out of a terrorist playbook.

It is true, as one analyst wrote in the Washington Post, that “the Houthis aren’t actually Iranian puppets.” But their success in Yemen would have been unlikely without the largesse and support of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

Another salient fact has gone unmentioned in press coverage of the debate over the FTO designation: Tehran arms and equips for a purpose. =

My comment: Keep things right: “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism”: This is the US.

(A P)

Surge in Houthi violence is sign of desperation, says Saudi envoy

After an intense, two-hour meeting of the Security Council to discuss the crisis in Yemen, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN paused to reflect on the recent escalation of Houthi aggression in the country.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on Thursday, Al-Mouallimi said that the surge in violence is a sign of “the state of desperation the Houthis find themselves in,” their apprehension about a shift in the mood of the international community against them, and their failures on the battlefield, where they have suffered “tremendous setbacks.”

(A P)

'A Catch-22': Iran's win in Yemen a problem for Biden – with no clear solutions

“Iranians clearly are able to operate freely in Houthi-controlled areas,” a Senate Republican aide who was not authorized to speak publicly said. “They could really inflict a lot of pain on the globe, fairly inexpensively.”

President Biden and U.S. allies in the region can ill-afford to concede to Iran such a two-pronged throttle on global energy supplies. And yet, the obvious options for countering the Iranian regime in Yemen come with their own grim downsides.

The available tools for economic pressure would only worsen the civilian suffering while raising the risk that the Houthis would grow even more dependent on Iranian supplies.

“It’s a Catch-22. No matter what you do, it is wrong,” a senior European diplomat said. "If you have three or four more rockets falling on Saudi soil, I don’t know what the State Department is going to do.”

“It is a very big deal if Iran is able to overthrow a government and have its ally or proxy take over a country,” the former Trump administration official said, adding Iran has co-opted government entities in Iraq and Syria. “If you add to that actually overthrowing a government and taking over a country, it's a significant expansion of Iranian power and influence in the region.”

Houthi forces feel the wind at their backs with a new offensive underway to seize one of the last major cities controlled by government loyalists. “It's a really difficult problem, and therefore, it's a really difficult problem for the Biden administration,” said the former Trump administration official.

(A P)

The Stockholm agreement was the price we Yemenis paid so that Jeremy Corbyn party have a better chance to win elections. The losers didn’t even win but Yemenis continue to pay the price for his idiotic gamble.

Houthis moved most of their military equipment & forces in the west coast to Marib. The Stockholm agreement provide protection for Houthis so that they can continue their military offensive elsewhere. We all said that but were dismissed as war mongers. Now what @OSE_Yemen

Exactly. There's a legion of preachy "humanitarians" out there now who only have themselves to blame. Predictable and predicted, and really sad. Slight glimmer of hope was the mental gymnastics by Tim Lenderking yesterday: Marib is near Saudi (?) so its kinda defensive (?) ...

(A P)

UN Double Standards in dealing with the conflict in #Yemen Cartoonist @RashadAlsamei

(A P)

Qatar postures as ‘neutral mediator’ in Yemen crisis, back channel for US-Houthi contacts

Doha said to provide the Houthis with a regional political support base and an international communication conduit through Muscat.

Informed political sources said Washington communicates with the Houthis through back channels most likely including Oman and Qatar.

US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking hinted at such channels without identifying the countries in question.

Sources revealed that Doha has been deploying intensive diplomatic contacts since the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, presenting itself as a “neutral mediator” entrusted by Washington with the role of a backchannel in the Yemen crisis.

They indicate that the sense of urgency projected by the new administration and the new US envoy’s statements make it clear that preparations for Qatar to play such a role had already been made and were not the result of recent efforts by the Biden administration after entering office.

Over the years, several meetings have taken place between US officials and Houthi leaders in the Omani capital of Muscat. Such contacts intensified during the tenure of former US Secretary of State John Kerry from 2013 to 2017.

Leaked documents later showed that in 2011, Qatar sought to abort the Gulf initiative and its implementation mechanism after it withdrew from the initiative. It also encouraged many Yemeni parties, including the Houthis and Muslim Brotherhood currents, to reject it.

Yemeni analysts confirm that Qatar played a decisive role in preventing the defeat of the Houthi militias through its membership in the Arab coalition in support of the legitimacy camp before ending its participation in that coalition in mid-2017.

Observers believe that Doha’s long history of destabilisation activities in Yemen and support for the Houthi rebellion and other radical groups does not position it to be a true mediator, but instead brings it closer to Qatar’s goal of turning Yemen into an exporter of violence to neighbouring countries.

Sources tell The Arab Weekly that Qatar is likely to soon move to a new stage in its support for the Houthis in Yemen, as it feels it enjoys a wider margin of manoeuvre after the signing the Al-Ula agreement, even if it does not seem inclined to carry out any of its provisions.

Doha is working to reap the dividends of rapid transformations in the region that serve its agenda.

My comment: Beginning seriously – morphing into anti-Qatar propaganda.

(A P)

In Tehran’s Eyes, Biden is a Pushover

It has only been eight weeks since President Joe Biden was sworn into office, but Iran has already tested him on several fronts. First, thousands of members of the Iran-backed Houthi militia rushed to threaten the densely populated city of Marib in Yemen.

Iran does not fully deny responsibility for all these events that were organized by its affiliated militias, namely Ansarallah in Yemen, Saraya Awliya al-Dam in Iraq, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

If the current US administration wants Iran to return to the negotiating table and discuss the nuclear deal and the war in Yemen, as well as preventing the collapse of the regime in Baghdad, then President Biden needs to flex his muscles – by Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television

Seven American presidents, from Carter to Trump, took different approaches when dealing with Iran, a country that only listens to force.

My comment: By a Saudi news site, by a main Saudi propagandist. he seems to have specialized in this propaganda subject, look also: n

(A P)

How Egypt-Gulf consensus can advance peace in Yemen

Egypt agreed with the Gulf states on the need to limit Iranian influence in Yemen and support the recent US inclination to end the Yemen war.

Haridi told Al-Monitor via phone, “There is a consensus between Egypt and the Arab Gulf states on rejecting Iranian interference in Yemen. Iran’s acts threaten Saudi national security and aim to bargain with the US to ease its economic sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear program.”

He noted that the Egyptian-Gulf consensus should encourage the international community to step up efforts to stop the war in Yemen and support the newly appointed US envoy to pressure Tehran to halt its interference, settle the crisis politically and stop the war.

Rakha Hassan, member of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, told Al-Monitor that Egypt rejects any moves that compromise the security of the Gulf, which is part of its national security. “There is an Arab consensus to confront any attempts to threaten the Arab national security whether in Yemen, Syria, Iraq or Libya, and to reject regional interventions, whether Iranian or Turkish,” he said

(A P)

My theory is that Houthis manufactured ISIS to justify their ops n Bayda & threaten Marib. If u ask Bayda tribes about AQ, they know who they r & what they do. But ISIS is "A big mystery" as they say. But they tell u ISIS r in th mountains & they get supplies from Houthis n Radaa

(A P)

UN smuggles Houthi leaders from and back to Sana’a

A Yemeni news website it has learnt from a well-informed source that the UN and its organizations in Sana’a are involved in smuggling Houthi leaders (banned from travel) from Sana’a to outside Yemen and back to the city.

In a report dated 2021-02-17, Almasadr Online’s source cited the smuggling of “Hashem Ismael the militia’s self-styled ‘governor of the Central Bank of Yemen’ from one of the Arabia Gulf capital cities to Jordan to arrange his travel back to Sana’a along with the Houthi negotiation team on prisoner exchange …”

More excerpts from Almasadr Online’s report:

“The UN had smuggled Ismael on one of its planes that transported the Houthi delegation going for the latest Switzerland talks with the government. Ismael did not attend any negotiations in Switzerland and did not return with the delegation back to Sana’a at the time. He had another task to do as it appears. He travel to Iran and came back to the Gulf capital … from where he is expected to be transported to the Jordanian capital with UN arrangement and then back to Sana’a.”

(A P)

Through its Yemen maneuver, the Biden administration is giving a free pass to Iran

The U.S. decision to remove the Houthis from the terror list plays into Tehran’s hands at the sensitive timing of the possibility of an American return to the nuclear agreement.

On Feb. 16, the State Department issued another statement, calling on the Houthis “to halt their advance on Marib and cease all military operations and turn to negotiations. The Houthis’ assault on Marib is the action of a group not committed to peace or to ending the war afflicting the people of Yemen.”

The announcements barely mentioned Iran’s involvement and direct responsibility for continuing the conflict in Yemen and its longstanding support for the Houthi rebels.

In recent years, and more so after the crisis in Yemen began, Iran transferred a variety of weapons to the Houthi rebels’ ground, maritime and air sectors the manufacturing know-how and instructors (including Lebanese Hezbollah members) for the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Yemen is an important front for Iran’s campaign against Saudi Arabia and Gulf nations, as well as the launching pad for a range of weapons, including GPS-guided armed drones (UAVs), remote-controlled Water-borne Improvised Explosive Devices (RC-WBIED), cruise missiles, ballistic

Yemen serves as Iran’s largest testing ground for the practical-operational examination of a variety of weapons, such as sniper rifles, IEDs, rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons, missiles, rockets and drones (intelligence-gathering and attack), all as part of its ongoing examination of the asymmetrical fighting strategy that it is constantly developing against the United States and Israel. It should be noted that sources in Yemen have also threatened to attack Israeli territory.

Iran has an interest in continuing the fighting in Yemen, which, since the Saudi-led Arab coalition forces were sent to the country, has not led to any substantial change in the situation on the ground.

The U.S. decision to remove the Houthis from the terror list, and halt some Saudi military aid used to attack Houthi targets in Yemen with U.S.-made precision-guided munitions, plays into Iran’s hands at the sensitive timing of the possibility of and American return to the nuclear agreement.

My comment: Look whre the author comes from:

(A P)

Why Biden’s terror designation reversal won’t change Houthi behavior

The Houthi’s recent drone attacks are significant since they occurred within hours of Biden’s terror-designation reversal. Additionally, the U.N. special envoy on Yemen visited Iran the day before the drone attacks to discuss the Yemen crisis with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Iranian officials welcomed the Biden administrations’ shifted Saudi Arabia policy and said it was a “step toward correcting past mistakes.”

It is understandable that the Biden administration is seeking a peaceful resolution to this devastating conflict. However, Iran has shown that they will take advantage of perceived American concessions. The Houthi rebels are less likely to negotiate now that the Biden administration already promised to end U.S. support for Saudi-led operations in Yemen.

My comment: Look whre the author comes from:

(A P)

Arab Interior Ministers Council Condemns Houthi militia's Terrorist Attacks

(A P)

If the Houthis are not terrorists, then neither are HTS

The limiting of aid and the effect it is having is all due to one main factor that makes it legitimate for much of the international community: the province of Idlib is held by "terrorists". To be precise, the Sunni Islamist militant group Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS).

Like the Houthis, HTS has successfully dominated its territories militarily and solidified its control over them, subjugating other rebel groups and facilitating the administration of the province through the Salvation Government which it supports and props up.

Unlike the Houthis, however, HTS has taken significant steps to break away from its roots as an Al-Qaeda affiliate. It has constantly rebranded itself over the course of the Syrian civil war, stepped up its raids against Daesh cells and has fought against and pacified Al-Qaeda affiliates, such as Hurras Al-Din, in a bid to dominate Idlib.

Also unlike the Houthis, who have a direct link with and are backed by Iran, HTS has no international allies to rely upon or to be associated with – not openly at least. It is not even backed by Turkey

With its lack of direct foreign support, its ever-evolving face, and the homogenisation of its members from foreign jihadists to mostly Syrian-born fighters, HTS is at least pretending to present itself as an authentic and effective Syrian opposition group that has cut off its ties to global terrorism and could potentially open itself up to the West.

The Houthis, on the other hand, have not taken such steps, but have instead been found to have recruited over 10,000 child soldiers, tortured civilians to death, and frequently conduct missile strikes into Saudi Arabia – a US ally.

cp16 Saudische Luftangriffe / Saudi air raids

(A K pH)

More Saudi coalition air raids Sebveral prov. Saada p., Hajjah p. Saada p.

cp17 Kriegsereignisse / Theater of War

Siehe / Look at cp1, cp18

Im Jemen herrscht ein militärisches Patt. Eine größere Offensive mit größeren Erfolgen und Geländegewinnen für eine Seite bleiben seit der Offensive der saudischen Koalition gegen Hodeidah im Jahr 2018 aus. Kleinere Offensiven, ständige gegenseitige Angriffe und Gefechte mit Toten auf beiden Seiten und Opfern unter der Zivilbevölkerung gibt es aber ständig. Besonders betroffen sind die Provinzen Hodeidah, Taiz, Al Bayda, Al Dhalea, der Bezirk Nehm in der Provinz Sanaa, die Provinzen Al Jawf, Marib, Hajjah und Saada.

There is a military stalemate in Yemen. A larger offensive with greater successes and territorial gains for one side has been absent since the Saudi coalition's offensive against Hodeidah in 2018. Smaller offensives, constant mutual attacks and skirmishes killing fighters of both sides and causing victims among the civilian population are constant. The provinces of Hodeidah, Taiz, Al Bayda, Al Dhalea, the district of Nehm in the province of Sanaa, the provinces of Al Jawf, Marib, Hajjah and Saada are particularly affected.

(A K pS)

Taiz: Houthi Sniper Shoots Child Dead

(A K pH)

Woman Injured by Saudi-mercenaries’ Shelling in Hajjah

(A K pS)

Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Interception, Destruction of Bomb-Laden UAV Launched by Terrorist, Iran-Backed Houthi Militia Toward Khamis Mushait City

My comment: The Saudi claim that the Houthis “target civilians and civilian objects in (Khamis Mushait)” is odd propaganda. At Khamis Mushait is one of the main Saudi air bases. From there the fighter jets are starting to bomb Yemen.

(A K pH)

Saudi border guards fire kills man in Sa'ada

and also

(* A K)

Gefechte im Jemen spitzen sich zu

Im Jemen spitzen sich die Gefechte um die ölreiche Provinz Marib im Norden auf dramatische Weise zu. In den vergangenen zwei Wochen wurden dabei Berichten zufolge Hunderte Kämpfer der Huthi-Rebellen und der jemenitischen Regierung getötet oder verletzt.

Die schiitischen Rebellen, die bereits grosse Gebiete im Nordjemen beherrschen, wollen dort das letzte grosse von der Regierung kontrollierte Gebiet einnehmen. Aussenminister Ahmed bin Mubarak warf den Aufständischen vor, bewohnte Gegenden mit ballistischen Raketen anzugreifen. Die UN haben vor dramatischen Folgen gewarnt.

und auch;art46446,1296072

(* A K)

Saudi-led coalition in Yemen moves troops to Marib to repel Houthi assault - sources

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has redeployed troops to the Marib region and increased air strikes to try to repel an advance by the Iran-aligned Houthi group, sources in the military and the internationally recognised government said.

Fighting in the gas-producing region has escalated as the Houthis try to take Marib city, the government’s last stronghold in the north of Yemen.

The fighting threatens to displace hundreds of thousands and complicate renewed U.S. and U.N. efforts to find a political solution to the more than six-year-old civil war in Yemen.

A government source in Marib and a military source told Reuters that hundreds of fighters had arrived from Hadhramout and Shabwa in the south, where the Saudi-backed government is based, and from the suburbs of northern Sanaa province.

One resident said military reinforcements passed through Marib on Thursday and that coalition warplanes had carried out several air strikes.

Clashes could be heard from the frontline about 30 km (18 miles) to the west of the city, the resident added.

and also


(A K pS)

Updates on #Marib's battle,18 Feb: -Houthi offensive continue across 8 fronts; -No Houthi gains; -Fierst fghtng wz nw front, Kasarah; -5 Houthi armrd vehicles, 9pickups, 4 ballistic ,2 weapons depots destroyed by Coal jets &army artillery; -Houthi drone downed; -Dozens killed.

This is another way #Houthis fool some people by spreading disinformation & propaganda on social media 2 distract ppl from their setbacks & continue recruiting more fighters. This is Houthi activist Ibrahim alHouthi says they alrdy set up 1st checkpoint at #Marib's city entrance!


(* A K)

Intense Fighting Reported Outside Yemen's Marib

Intense fighting has been reported along several fronts outside the Yemeni city of Marib, controlled by the Saudi-backed Yemeni government of President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi. Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who control the nearby capital of Sanaa, have been trying to capture Marib and strategic points surrounding it, including oil and gas production facilities.

Houthi militia fighters claim to have captured territory overlooking the city of Marib, held by forces loyal to Hadi. Video on Houthi media claims to show Houthi fighters pushing back government forces. Marib is located about 120 kilometers east of Sanaa.
Media loyal to Hadi's government are reporting that his forces pushed back the fighters along the nearby Kassara front, killing several dozen people over a 24-hour period. VOA could not independently confirm the claims by either side.

Houthi media showed video of Houthi fighters on small pickup trucks capturing the Marib dam, outside the city, Monday. Photos also showed Houthi commanders in front of a military camp they reportedly captured from Hadi's forces. Saudi warplanes reportedly strafed Houthi positions on the ground, recapturing some territory.



(* A K)

Film: UN ‘alarmed’ at military escalation in Yemen’s Marib

(A K pS)

Dozens of Houthis killed and injured west of Marib


(A K)

Houthis say to announce Marib seizure in 48 hours

The Houthi forces have made wins and advanced towards edges of the Yemeni northeastern city of Marib, spokesman for Houthi air force said Wednesday, as they would announce the seizure of Marib in 48 hours.
The Houthis took control of sites in Rahabah, al-Jowba and Hareeb districts, General Abdullah al-Jeffry added in remarks to the Anadolu Agency


(A K pH)

[Sanaa gov.] Yemeni forces advance towards Ma’rib Dam

The Yemeni army forces have continued on Wednesday to tighten the screws on the Saudi-led coalition forces inside Ma’rib city, with new field achievements and progress towards the Ma’rib Dam, south of the city.

Local sources reported that the army, backed by the Popular Committees, has fought fierce battles against the coalition forces south of the city of Ma’rib during the past hours.

The sources confirmed that Yemeni revolutionary forces have managed to advance towards the Ma’rib Dam Valley, also known as Thanna Valley, which is the last of the coalition forces’ rear defense lines south of the city.

Sana’a forces are approaching the Ma’rib Dam amid major collapses among the Saudi-led invading coalition forces, the sources added.


(A K pS)

[Hadi gov.] Army’s Spokesman: Suicide attacks by Houthi militia against Marib ends in failure

(A K)

Yemen's [Hadi gov.] national army restores vital sites in Marib


(A K pS)

Yemeni gov't says Houthis shelled another IDP camp in Marib

The Houthi group has shelled another camp for internally displaced persons in the Yemeni northeastern city of Marib, the official government said Tuesday, one day after similar charges of targeting the Sirwah-based al-Zawr IDP camp with ballistic and Katyusha missiles.

(A K pS)

Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Interception, Destruction of Bomb-Laden UAV In Yemeni Airspace Launched by Terrorist, Iran-Backed Houthi Militia Toward the Kingdom

cp18 Kampf um Hodeidah / Hodeidah battle

Seit dem Abkommen von Stockholm vom 13. Dezember 2018 gibt es einen Waffenstillstand für Hodeidah. Zwar bleiben größere Offensiven aus, kleinere Gefechte gibt es aber laufend, und beide Seiten werfen sich ständig Verstöße gegen den Waffenstillstand vor.

Since the Stockholm Agreement of December 13, 2018, a ceasefire has been in place for Hodeidah. There are no major offensives, but smaller battles are going on and both sides constantly are accusing each other of violating the ceasefire.

(A K pS)

Houthi-laid landmine leaves a civilian with critical injuries, his car completely damaged

(A K pS)

Film: The terrorist Houthi militia destroy a mosque in Hodeidah

targeting the Al-Qasimi Mosque, located in the Mashhad Al-Shaabi neighborhood in Al-Hawak district, with Katyusha rockets,

(A K pH)

Daily violations, as claimed by Houthis

Feb. 18:

Feb. 17:

cp19 Sonstiges / Other

(B C)

New Yemen book Memoir of two doctors who worked in Saada between 1972 and 2007

referring to

Vorige / Previous:

Jemenkrieg-Mosaik 1-718 / Yemen War Mosaic 1-718: 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:

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