Connect with us

Latest

Analysis

News

UK supports Saudi led bloodbath in Yemen, strikes trade deal

Meanwhile, other nations are given ultimatums about handling their alleged human rights violations before any talks take place

Published

on

441 Views

The Saudi led military campaign against the Houthis in Yemen has already led to the loss of nearly 10,000 lives, 50,000 wounded, and the worst Cholera outbreak in history. Domestically, Saudi Arabia has been home to a host of human rights violations, many of which are still ongoing, despite some reforms.

But all of this not particularly important to the British government, which is presently in a pinch to secure new trade deals as its participation in the EU comes to a close. The New Arab reports:

The foreign minister of Britain has defended the brutal Saudi-led military intervention in neighbouring Yemen, which has killed more than 9,300 people and wounded more than 50,000.

“Britain supports Saudi Arabia’s right to defend its national security against missile attacks from Yemen, many of which have targeted the Kingdom’s cities, including Riyadh,” Boris Johnson said.

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson made the remarks in a statement on Thursday, as the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman makes a controversial visit to the UK.

Britain and Saudi Arabia have meanwhile agreed to strengthen inspections for shipments to Yemen to allow humanitarian aid to reach the war-torn country.

“Today we have agreed to strengthen the UN inspection of shipping in order to ensure that all Yemeni ports remain open to the humanitarian and commercial supplies that Yemen’s people so desperately need,” Johnson said.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a military intervention in Yemen in 2015 with the aim of rolling back Houthi rebels who had seized the capital and restoring the government to power.

Foodstuff imports have been restricted for months after Saudi Arabia and its allies blockaded Yemen’s ports, accusing Iran of supplying the rebels with ballistic missiles.

Prince Mohammed is on a three-day visit to Britain, which began with a lunch with Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday, and will see him hold the second of two meetings with Prime Minister Theresa May later Thursday.

Around 200 demonstrators lined up outside the gates of Downing Street on Wednesday evening to condemn Riyadh’s involvement in the brutal war in Yemen.

“Bin Salman is a war criminal,” the crowd shouted while holding up placards saying: “Hands off Yemen” and “Stop Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE”.

The UK has licensed £4.6 billion ($6.3 billion) worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since it began the intervention in neighbouring Yemen.

Meanwhile, the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman is in the midst of historic meetings with Queen Elizabeth, and also with Prime Minister Theresa May.

As the queen met with bin Salman, a heated argument went down in the British parliament, spearheaded by Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, just prior to May’s own meeting with the crown prince to secure a 65 billion pound trade agreement. Which meeting seems to demonstrate that trade deals and profits are far more important than human lives, especially when they’re not British lives. France24 reports:

Prime Minister Theresa May defended Britain’s links to security ally Saudi Arabia on Wednesday as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met Queen Elizabeth for lunch on a high-profile visit that drew protests over Riyadh’s human rights record.

A fiery exchange in parliament between May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn underlined tension in Britain over Prince Mohammed’s trip, which was aimed at building a broader economic partnership between the two countries, but has sparked anger about alleged human rights abuses and the war in Yemen.

“The link that we have with Saudi Arabia is historic, it is an important one, and it has saved the lives of potentially hundreds of people in this country,” May said, pausing her answer briefly as opposition lawmakers cried “Shame!”. She was alluding to intelligence-sharing on Islamist militant suspects.

The debate took place as Prince Mohammed lunched with the British monarch on the first leg of a trip packed with displays of diplomatic affection designed to help widen long-standing defence ties into a more far-reaching partnership.

May later met Prince Mohammed at her Downing Street office, extending a warm diplomatic welcome to the conservative kingdom’s heir apparent and agreeing a 65 billion pound ($90.29 billion) trade and investment target.

Britain is looking for trading partners as it exits the European Union, and energy powerhouse Saudi Arabia needs to convince sceptical investors about its domestic reforms.

“This is a significant boost for UK prosperity and a clear demonstration of the strong international confidence in our economy as we prepare to leave the European Union,” a spokeswoman from May’s office said after the meeting.

But demonstrators gathered outside May’s office amid a heavy police presence to protest at both countries’ role in Yemen, where war has killed around 10,000 people. A Saudi-led coalition intervened militarily in Yemen in 2015 and critics say Riyadh has been using British-supplied weapons in devastating strikes.

“I don’t believe that someone like Mohammed bin Salman should be welcomed in Britain,” said Hassan Yassine, a 25-year-old customer service worker from London. “It is definitely not ethical, bearing in mind what is going on in Yemen every single day, every single second, even as we speak.”

Corbyn said British military advisers were “directing the war” in Yemen. May’s spokesman said British personnel had no role in carrying out coalition air strikes, and were not involved in Saudi targeting decisions.

Strategic partnership

Police said a man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after an egg was thrown at a police vehicle as bin Salman’s motorcade arrived in Downing Street.

Wednesday’s first official engagement was a trip to Buckingham Palace to see Queen Elizabeth – a rare honour usually reserved for heads of state.

The Saudi delegation then met May at her offices to launch a UK-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council.

The meeting set out the mutual trade and investment target, which would include direct investment in Britain and new Saudi public procurement with British companies. This would be spread across sectors including finance, education, healthcare, renewable energy and defence, May’s office said.

Britain is vying to land the stock market listing of state oil firm Saudi Aramco, but no decision is expected this week.

“We would like the Aramco share option to be issued in the United Kingdom and we will continue to suggest the City would be the best place for it,” junior foreign office minister Alistair Burt told parliament.

Later this month Prince Mohammed visits the United States, which also wants the lucrative listing, although sources said both countries might miss out.

British officials were privately delighted at the decision by Prince Mohammed, 32, to choose Britain as the major Western destination on his first foreign trip since becoming heir to the Saudi throne last year.

The British government is keen to develop a two-way trade and investment relationship, eyeing both an expanded market in Saudi Arabia for service sector exports, and attracting Saudi cash to finance domestic projects.

For his part, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious heir wants to show that “shock” reforms have made his country a better place to invest and a more tolerant society.

Photographs posted online showed London taxis displaying advertising graphics welcoming Prince Mohammed, and electronic billboards around the capital promoted pro-Saudi messages with the hashtag #anewsaudiarabia.

Business deals are possible with British defence group BAE Systems and European weapons maker MBDA, and initial agreements could be concluded on gas exploration, petrochemicals and other industries, according to British and Saudi sources.

Royal treatment

The three-day visit will include a second Royal audience – dinner with Prince Charles and Prince William on Wednesday – and a prestigious visit to May’s country residence on Thursday.

The prime minister intends to use the private dinner at Chequers, a 16th-century manor house 40 miles (60 km) northwest of London, to further press her concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, her spokesman said.

The Saudi-led coalition is fighting the Iran-allied Houthi movement in Yemen in a campaign to restore its internationally recognised government, generating what the United Nations said in January is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Demonstrators are protesting against Britain for licensing 4.6 billion pounds of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia since 2015.

May said all arms sales were strictly regulated, that Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the conflict was backed by the U.N. Security Council and her government supported it.

“The prime minister and crown prince agreed on the importance of full and unfettered humanitarian and commercial access, including through the ports, and that a political solution was ultimately the only way to end the conflict and humanitarian suffering in Yemen,“ the statement from May’s office said.

Meanwhile, other nations are given ultimatums about handling their alleged human rights violations before any talks take place, whether it be Iran, North Korea, Syria, etc, but not the Saudis. Any time they feel that their regime could be facing a threat, whether real or imagined, they are justified in whatever actions they take.

If it’s a nation that UK leaders don’t have the fondest relations with, they are not allowed to defend their sovereignty, they are bad guys, and a change in regime would be utterly fantastic, as we saw in Syria. If NATO claims that they support terrorists, then there is another reason to invade or blockade, but when NATO’s friends do it, well, just don’t pay attention to that.

This sort of behaviour leads to the conclusion that the concerns about human rights that some western nations yell so loudly about, even as an excuse to invade and topple regimes, is more of a political stunt to reshape the map in their favour than a peace keeping organization, or force for the protection of human life and liberty.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

The conclusion of Russiagate, Part II – news fatigue across America

The daily barrage of Russiagate news may have been a tool to wear down the American public as the Deep State plays the long game for control.

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

on

Presently there is a media blitz on across the American news media networks. As was the case with the Russiagate investigation while it was ongoing, the conclusions have merely given rise to a rather unpleasant afterbirth in some ways as all the parties involve pivot their narratives. The conclusion of Russiagate appears to be heavily covered, yet if statistics here at The Duran are any indication, there is a good possibility that the public is absolutely fatigued over this situation.

And, perhaps, folks, that is by design.

Joseph Goebbels had many insights about the use of the media to deliver and enforce propaganda. One of his quotes runs thus:

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.

and another:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

If there has ever been a narrative that employed these two principles, it is Russiagate.

A staggering amount of attention has been lavished on this nothing-burger issue. Axios reports that an analytics company named Newswhip tallied an astounding 533,074 web articles published about Russia and President Trump and the Mueller investigation (a number which is being driven higher even now, moment by moment, ad nauseam). Newsbusters presently reports that the networks gave 2,284 minutes to the coverage of this issue, a number which seems completely inaccurate because it is much too low (38 hours at present), and we are waiting for a correction on this estimate.

Put it another way: Are you sick of Russiagate? That is because it has dominated the news for over 675 days of nearly wall-to-wall news cycles. The political junkies on both sides are still pretty jazzed up about this story – the Pro-Trump folks rejoicing over the presently ‘cleared’ status, while of course preparing for the upcoming Democrat / Deep State pivot, and the Dems in various levels of stress as they try to figure out exactly how to pivot in such a manner that they do not lose face – or pace – in continuing their efforts to rid their lives of the “Irritant-in-Chief” who now looks like he is in the best position of his entire presidency.

But a lot of people do not care. They are tired.

I hate to say it (and yes, I am speaking personally and directly), but this may be a dangerous fatigue. Here is why:

The barrage of propaganda on this issue was never predicated on any facts. It still isn’t. However, as we noted a few days ago, courtesy of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, at present, 53% of US registered voters believe that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

That means 53% of the voting public now believes something that is totally false.

Many of these people are probably simply exhausted from the constant coverage of this allegation as well. So when the news came out Sunday night that there was no evidence of collusion and no conclusive evidence, hence, of obstruction of justice by the Trump Administration – in other words, this whole thing was a nothing burger – will this snap those 53% back into reality?

Probably not. Many of them may well be so worn down that they no longer care. Or worse, they are so worn out that they will continue to believe the things they are told that sustain the lie, despite its being called out as such.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this peculiarity of human nature, in particular in the seventh book of his Chronicles of Narnia. After a prolonged and fierce assault on the sensibilities of the Narnians with the story that Aslan, the Christ figure of this world, was in fact an angry overlord, selling the Narnians themselves into slavery, and selling the whole country out to its enemy, with the final touch being that Aslan and the devilish deity of the enemy nation were in fact one and the same, the Narnians were unable to snap back to reality when it was shown conclusively and clearly that this was in fact not the case.

The fear that was instilled from the use of false narratives persisted and blocked the animals from reality.

Lewis summarized it this way through the thoughts of Tirian, the lead character in this tale:

Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape’s setting up as a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one. He had felt quite sure that the Dwarfs would rally to his side the moment he showed them how they had been deceived. And then next night he would have led them to Stable Hill and shown Puzzle to all the creatures and everyone would have turned against the Ape and, perhaps after a scuffle with the Calormenes, the whole thing would have been over. But now, it seemed, he could count on nothing. How many other Narnians might turn the same way as the Dwarfs?

This is part of the toll this very long propaganda campaign is very likely to take on many Americans. It takes being strongly informed and educated on facts to withstand the withering force of a narrative that never goes away. Indeed, if anything, it takes even more effort now, because the temptation of the pro-Trump side will be to retreat to a set of political talking points that, interestingly enough, validate Robert Mueller’s “integrity” when only a week ago they were attacking this as a false notion.

This is very dangerous, and even though Mr. Trump and his supporters won this battle, if they do not come at this matter in a way that shows education, and not merely the restating of platitudes and talking points that “should be more comfortable, now that we’ve won!”

The cost of Russiagate may be far higher than anyone wants it to be. And yes, speaking personally, I understand the fatigue. I am tired of this issue too. But the temptation to go silent may have already taken a lot of people so far that they will not accept the reality that has just been revealed.

Politics is a very fickle subject. Truth is extremely malleable for many politicians, and that is saying it very nicely. But this issue was not just politics. It was slander with a purpose, and that purpose is unchanged now. In fact things may even be more dangerous for the President – even risking his very life – because if the powers that are working behind the people trying to get rid of President Trump come to realize that they have no political support, they will move to more extreme measures. In fact this may have already been attempted.

We at The Duran reported a few months ago on a very strange but very compelling story that suggested that there was an attempted assassination and coup that was supposed to have taken place on January 17th of this year. It did not happen, but there was a parallel story that noted that the President may have been targeted for assassination already no fewer than twelve times.  Hopefully this is just tinfoil-hat stuff. But we have seen that this effort to be rid of President Trump is fierce and it is extremely well-supported within its group. There is no reason to think that the pressure will lighten now that this battle has been lost.

The stakes are much too high, and even this long investigation may well have been part of the weaponry of the group we sometimes refer to as the “Deep State” in their effort to reacquire power, and in their effort to continue to pursue both a domestic and geopolitical agenda that has so far shown itself to be destructive to both individuals and nations all over the world.

Speculation? Yes. Needless? We hope so. This is a terrible possibility that hopefully no reasonable person wants to consider.

Honestly, folks, we do not know. But we had to put this out there for your consideration.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Parliament Seizes Control Of Brexit From Theresa May

Zerohedge

Published

on

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending