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Trump calls on Saudi Arabia to “completely allow food, fuel, water and medicine to reach Yemeni people”

Trump: “This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately.”

Alex Christoforou

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Following his Jerusalem statement that sent shock waves across the Middle East, POTUS Trump called on Saudi Arabian leadership to completely lift the years long military blockade on war-torn Yemen.

Trump said through a White House press release…

“I have directed officials in my administration to call the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it,”

“This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately.”

Zerohedge reports…

Though it’s unclear exactly why the directive was suddenly issued after years of humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, it is likely connected with the widespread shock and condemnation from world leaders which immediately followed in the wake of Trump’s speech formally recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The Yemen directive was published by the Office of the Press Secretary only a matter of two hours later.

And while Trump cites “humanitarian reasons” for the urgent directive requesting the lifting of the siege, Saudi Arabia has enforced a military blockade on deeply impoverished Yemen since it began bombing the country in 2015. Furthermore, media and human rights groups began reporting on the de facto naval blockade of Yemen’s ports – which quickly left over 20 million Yemeni civilians facing a dire humanitarian crisis – soon after the war began in March of 2015. This occurred as the US and UK stationed military and intelligence officers in Saudi command and control centers in order to assist in targeting Yemeni Houthi rebel locations.

As early as June 2015, for example, a Guardian investigation found that the US and UK were enabling the crippling blockade, which has been widely acknowledged as a “humanitarian disaster”. According to the report, “nearly 80% of the population are in urgent need of food, water and medical aid, in a humanitarian disaster that aid agencies say has been dramatically worsened by a naval blockade imposed by an Arab coalition with US and British backing.”

While it’s clear that the lifting of the siege is a welcome step in the right direction for the millions of suffering Yemeni men, women, and children impacted, the White House decision in reality has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns, as the US itself has for the past two years been partnering with the Saudis in all its actions in Yemen (also including Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Sudan, and with the UK as a huge supplier of weapons).

Saudi airstrikes on the impoverished country, which have killed many thousands of civilians – a shocking percentage of children among them according to the UN – and displaced tens of thousands, have further involved the use of American military hardware. Cholera has recently made a comeback amidst the appalling war-time conditions, and civilian infrastructure such as hospitals have been bombed by the coalition. Though likely falling short of the true number, as of November 5,295 civilians have been killed and another 8,873 injured in the war, according to figures provided by the UN.

And the coalition’s military campaign greatly intensified this week following former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s death, which resulted in an uptick in the aerial pounding of Sanaa, which was overrun by Houthi rebels.

So why is Trump belatedly citing “humanitarian reasons” now?

As Middle East analyst Hassan Hassan says, it appears that today’s statement on Yemen is no doubt connected with what many described as the strong and vehement reaction to the earlier Jerusalem recognition move by both King Salman and MBS. “This sounds like a tit-for-tat statement concerning the Jerusalem move. What happened suddenly for this administration to care about Yemenis, esp given recent news the Saudi-led Coalition lifted some of the blockade?” observed Hassan Hassan shortly after the release of the Yemen directive.

No doubt, Trump understands how he can leverage regional allies on the issue of human rights anytime they don’t fall in line with the US position – he knows where the skeletons are buried as the US has long been in the trenches with Saudi Arabia and other gulf allies during the region’s “regime change” wars in places like Libya and Syria. But this goes the other way too, as we previously predicted of the recent Qatari-Saudi diplomatic war which resulted in both sides accusing the other of human rights abuses and aiding terrorism in the region: “the United States itself will not be spared in this new open season of airing dirty laundry as old allies turn on each other.”

According to Zerohedge, while Trump suddenly and conveniently puts Saudi Arabia in the hot seat using human rights as an excuse, we should expect that Saudi Arabia will itself eventually retaliate, likely through some kind of leak or media interview.

Trump has already received an immense amount of push back over his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital by moving the US embassy there. The countries condemning the move include the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Russia, China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, as well as the EU and Arab League.

As Trump finds he’s put himself in an isolated position over the Jerusalem move, and as he potentially lashes out further against US regional allies, things are about to get even more interesting in the Middle East.

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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Five Saudis Face Death Penalty Over Khashoggi Killing; Crown Prince Cleared

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime.”

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Via Zerohedge


Saudi Arabia public prosecutor Sheikh Shaalan al-Shaalan said on Thursday that the kingdom will seek the death penalty for five suspects among the 11 charged in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, confirming suspicions that members of the murder squad purportedly sent to “interrogate” Khashoggi will now themselves face beheadings as the Saudi Royal Family closes ranks around the Crown Prince, per the FT.

As for Mohammed bin Salman who runs the day to day affairs of the world’s top oil exporter and is the de facto head of OPEC, the prosecutor said had “no knowledge” of the mission, effectively absolving him of any domestic suspicion, if not international.

The charges were handed down after the kingdom dismissed five senior intelligence officers and arrested 18 Saudi nationals in connection with Khashoggi’s disappearance. The Saudi insider-turned-dissident journalist disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to pick up documents that would have allowed him to marry his fiance. Khashoggi was a legal resident of Virginia.

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime,” according to CNN.

The prosecutor said that the former Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri, ordered a mission to force Khashoggi to go back to Saudi Arabia and formed a team of 15 people.

They were divided into three groups, the Saudi Public Prosecutor said: a negotiation team, an intelligence team and a logistical team.

It was the head of the negotiating team who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, the prosecutor said.

The Saudis stuck by latest (ever changing) narrative that the Washington Post columnist was killed after a mission to abduct him went awry. The deputy chief of intelligence ordered that Khashoggi be brought back to the kingdom, Shaalan said. The team killed him after the talks failed and his body was handed to a “collaborator” in Turkey, he said.

Asked whether Saud al-Qahtanti, an aide to Prince Mohammed, had any role in the case, Shaalan said that a royal adviser had a coordinating role and had provided information. The former adviser was now under investigation, the prosecutor said, declining to reveal the names of any of those facing charges.

Al-Shaalan did reveal that a total of 21 suspects are now being held in connection with the case. Notably, the decision to charge the 5 comes after National Security Advisor John Bolton repudiated reports that a recording of Khashoggi’s murder made by Turkish authorities suggested that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was behind the murder plot.

But as long as OPEC+ is planning to do “whatever it takes” to boost oil prices, the US’s willingness to give the Saudis a pass could always be tested if crude prices again turn sharply higher.

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U.S. May Impose Sanctions Against Turkey Over S-400 “Threat” To F-35

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform.

The Duran

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Authored by Al Masdar News:


Turkish officials have repeatedly insisted that Ankara’s purchase of the advanced Russian air defense system poses no threat whatsoever to the NATO alliance. Last month, the Turkish defense ministry announced that delivery of S-400s to Turkey would begin in October 2019.

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform, and may impose sanctions against Ankara, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency has reported, citing a high-ranking source in Washington.

“I can’t say for certain whether sanctions will be imposed on Ankara over the S-400 contract, but the possibility is there. The US administration is not optimistic about this issue,” the source said.

While admitting that Turkey was a sovereign state and therefore had the right to make decisions on whom it buys its weapons from, the source stressed that from the perspective of these weapons’ integration with NATO systems, the S-400 was “problematic.”

The source also characterized the deployment of S-400s in areas where US F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighters are set to fly as “a threat,” without elaborating.

Emphasizing that negotiations between Washington and Ankara on the issue were “continuing,” the source said that there were also “positive tendencies” in negotiations between the two countries on the procurement of the Patriot system, Washington’s closest analogue to the S-400 in terms of capabilities.

Designed to stop enemy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at ranges of up to 400 km and altitudes of up to 30 km, the S-400 is currently the most advanced mobile air defense system in Russia’s arsenal. Russia and India signed a ruble-denominated contract on the delivery of five regiments of S-400s worth $5 billion late last month.

Last week, the Saudi Ambassador to Russia said that talks on the sale of the system to his country were ongoing. In addition to Russia, S-400s are presently operated by Belarus and China, with Beijing expecting another delivery of S-400s by 2020.

Washington has already slapped China with sanctions over its purchase of S-400s and Su-35 combat aircraft in September. India, however, has voiced confidence that it would not be hit with similar restrictions, which the US Treasury has pursued under the 2017 Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

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