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Russia’s Sanaa pullout is a sharp rebuke to the Houthis

There has yet to be a clearer indication of Russia’s opposition to the Houthis than Moscow’s diplomatic withdrawal from Sanaa following the group’s assassination of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Andrew Korybko

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Negating The Narrative

Right off the bat, any reader who frequents the Alt-Media Community needs to leave aside what they think they know about Russia’s policy towards Yemen before continuing with this article. There have been several misleading but “politically correct” narratives spreading through this information space since the beginning of the 2014 War on Yemen, one of which is the very nature of this conflict itself. The prevailing notion is that it’s an international war, which is true in some regards, but overlooks the civil war dynamics that drove it in the first place. More specifically, this is the regional conflict between the Houthis and President Hadi in what was previously known as North Yemen, and then the overspill of this conflict into the former territory of South Yemen after the Houthis captured Aden. It was only then, when the rest of the country was on the verge of coming under the Houthis’ control, that the Saudi-led coalition intervened and began its merciless bombing campaign and naval blockade of Yemen.

The War on Yemen is thus a multidimensional conflict with both domestic and international components, and this should have been clear to all objective observers from the outset.

Nevertheless, there is a strong disposition in the Alt-Media Community to take narrative cues – both stated and implied – from Iran when formulating analytical angles in addressing events such as this one, and it’s for that reason why the myth has pervaded that the Houthis are a National Liberation Movement for all of Yemen. It’s indeed true that they function in this regard when it comes to the old realm of North Yemen, but they’re distinctly seen as invaders by many of the people in South Yemen. The author himself, prior to learning more about the deeper nuances of this conflict, was admittedly under a similar spell in only seeing the short-term and subjective “positives” of the movement, but the passing of time and intense research has revealed that the Houthis aren’t the “picture perfect” National Liberation Movement that they’re made out to be by Iran and its friendly supporters in the Alt-Media Community. As a case in point, the Houthis slayed Saleh and showed the world that they won’t accept a “compromised” peace agreement with the coalition.

Haunted By The Houthis

The assassination of the former Yemeni President removed any hope for state-level “international legitimacy” that the Houthis could have ever dreamed to receive from Russia, and with this militia now fully in control of the capital after carrying out its “deep state” coup against its former General People’s Congress (GPC) allies (to be fair, they claim it was in response to them “backstabbing” the Houthis first), it’s understandable why Moscow wouldn’t consider this as a safe environment for its diplomats. Just like ousted President Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia, so too are the Russian diplomats going there as well, at least until the situation stabilizes, which might imply the Houthis reaching a real power-sharing agreement with Saleh’s GPC or another group as opposed to essentially sidelining the former after their leader was killed off. Also, it might have escaped the notice of most Alt-Media readers, but Russia has always continued to recognize Hadi as Yemen’s legitimate President, and recently signed an arms deal with coalition leader Saudi Arabia that included grenade launchers and heavy flame systems that could eventually see battlefield use in Yemen.

However, for as much as Russia has remained pro-Hadi, it hasn’t been anti-Houthi either. Russia did, in fact, retain a diplomatic presence in Sanaa despite the forces of what Moscow officially considers to be the country’s legitimate president not being in control of the capital. That, though, was during the time that Saleh was still alive and his GPC was in an actual alliance with the Houthis. Now that this wartime coalition is basically disbanded for all practical intents and purposes, Russia might fear that it can’t trust the Houthis to protect its diplomatic facility or personnel. After all, Russia and the Houthis’ hated nemesis Saudi Arabia are in the process of a fast-moving and comprehensive rapprochement, one which must been seen askance by them and their partners in Iran. Furthermore, considering that reports claim that Russian doctors saved Saleh’s life in mid-October after the historic visit of Saudi King Salman to Moscow, there’s a chance that the country’s diplomats might have feared that they’d become the target of Houthi retribution after the group’s former ally “betrayed” them.

Piecing Together The Proof

Altogether, Russia’s support for ousted President Hadi, its rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, and previous medical intervention in saving  the life of former President Saleh come together in such a way that it would be both “diplomatically inappropriate” and possibly even outright dangerous for Moscow to retain its diplomatic presence in the Houthi-controlled capital of Sanaa after Saleh’s slaying. So as not to be misunderstood, there are no credible reports that the Houthis threatened Russia’s diplomats, but it might have just been enough for Russia’s Saudi partner to hint as much in order for Moscow to take preventative action in avoiding what it could have been fear mongered to think could become its own Benghazi, especially bearing in mind how four journalist hostages – one of whom might be a Sputnik freelance correspondent – apparently died under Houthi captivity. At the same time, however, Russia is coordinating its peacemaking efforts in Syria with the Houthis’ Iranian partner, so Moscow had to announce its diplomatic withdrawal from Sanaa in a sensitive manner so as to not risk Tehran’s ire and inadvertently jeopardize the deep level of trust that undergirds their joint Astana efforts.

It should be self-evident at this point that Russia does not, never did, nor ever will support the Houthis, and that Moscow simply tolerated them so long as they were allied with Saleh and the former (and at one recent point, possibly hoped-for future) state figure was alive. As a result of “EuroMaidan”, Russia is reluctant to ever recognize what it views to be the unconstitutional overthrow of any national leader, no matter how valid the motives for opposing that individual may have been, but Alt-Media has hitherto had a tendency to pretend that this wasn’t the case, possibly out of fear that emphasizing a lack of agreement with Iran on any issue at all would somehow undermine their cooperation in Syria. Should that have been the reason, though, then it would be silly and self-deluded because it suggests that passive information consumers outside of any of the relevant countries’ decision-making (“deep state”) apparatuses are somehow capable of deciding the course of international partnerships at the state-to-state level, which isn’t true but remains a popular Alt-Media delusion.

The Art Of “Balancing”

By withdrawing from Sanaa, Russia is showing the world in an indirect way (per the political sensitivities of its partnership with Iran) that it doesn’t feel safe keeping its diplomats in the capital after the Houthi takeover of Sanaa, the execution of former President Saleh by the group, and the possible death of four of the 41 journalists (one of whom might be a freelance Sputnik correspondent) that were taken hostage by them in the aftermath, with the unsaid message being that the Houthis might constitute a very real security threat to Russia’s citizens. This conclusion contradicts the prevailing narrative spread across many Alt-Media platforms for nearly the past three years and reveals it to have either been deliberately self-serving or terribly short-sighted, either of which were proven at the end of the day to be wrong. No matter what might have been alleged in the past, it’s now obvious that Russia was only tolerating the Houthis because of Saleh, not as part of some tacitly executed “master plan” with Iran to irk Saudi Arabia, the second of which is now a very close Russian partner.

In fact, Russia and Saudi Arabia are now on such close terms with one another nowadays that it wouldn’t be surprising if Riyadh warned Moscow about an imminent bombing campaign against the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital, which could have been all that it took to convince any second-guessing Russians of the need to withdraw from Sanaa as soon as possible. Nonetheless, it should be remembered that Russia isn’t inherently anti-Houthi by any stretch of the imagination, and is likely involved in backstage diplomatic efforts to encourage the application of its Syrian model to the Yemeni conflict, which could entail third-party-brokered (Russian) peace talks, the categorization of non-state militias into “moderates” and “terrorists”, “de-escalation zones”, constitutional “reform”, and new internationally supervised elections, all of which are key elements of UNSC Res. 2254 and the Astana peace process. Russia wouldn’t preclude pragmatically incorporating the Houthis into a “political solution” to the War on Yemen, but nor will it ever favor them when it has more to gain by “balancing” between all parties instead, with Russia’s policy being guided solely by realpolitik and not in any way influenced by Alt-Media’s “wishful thinking” fantasies.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution. 

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I think the assassination came about because Saudi Arabia corrupted Russia at gun deal profit point when Russia sold its arms to Saudi Arabia, it was too good a deal: Russia could not turn it down [blackmail], part of that corrupt deal required Russia to lean on Saleh to become a Saudi coalition puppet, it really was just like the white house Saudi Puppet MBS tried to do in arresting and detaining the PM of Lebanon (Saad al-Hariri) both events happened at about the same time,, .. http://www.mirror.co.uk] mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/hezbollah-leader-accuses-. When the Hauthis discovered Russia would deal with Iran to invoke… Read more »

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New Zealand enacts new weapons ban just six days after massacre

The American left is sure to pick this up and start screaming for an “assault weapons ban” because this supports their agenda so well.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Reuters reported on Thursday, March 21 that the Prime Minister of New Zealand enacted a sweeping change, banning weapons of the type that were used in the massacre of at least fifty Muslims, who were gunned down on livestream while in Friday prayer services in Christchurch last week. We quote from the Reuters piece below, with added emphasis:

New Zealand will ban military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles under tough new gun laws following the killing of 50 people in its worst mass shooting, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday.

In the immediate aftermath of last Friday’s shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, Ardern labeled the attack as terrorism and said New Zealand’s gun laws would change.

“On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place,” Ardern told a news conference.

“All semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned.”

Ardern said she expected the new laws to be in place by April 11 and a buy-back scheme costing up to NZ$200 million ($138 million) would be established for banned weapons.

All military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles would be banned, along with parts used to convert weapons into MSSAs and all high-capacity magazines.

Australia banned semi-automatic weapons and launched a gun buy-back after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 in which 35 people were killed.

Ardern said that similar to Australia, the law would allow for strictly enforced exemptions for farmers for pest control and animal welfare.

“I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride.”

This is undoubtedly going to be real red meat (or perhaps real vegetables) for the anti-gun lobby in the United States. This is because New Zealand strongly resembled the US in terms of firearm rights and the penetration of numbers of guns in the populace of this remote island nation. Reuters continues, with statements that would probably surprise, even horrify some gun owners in the States, but which are doubtlessly useful for the application of pressure on such individuals:

New Zealand, a country of fewer than 5 million people, has an estimated 1.2-1.5 million firearms, about 13,500 of them MSSA-type weapons.

Most farmers own guns while hunting of deer, pigs and goats is popular. Gun clubs and shooting ranges dot the country.

That has created a powerful lobby that has thwarted previous attempts to tighten gun laws.

Federated Farmers, which represent thousands of farmers, said it supported the new laws.

“This will not be popular among some of our members but … we believe this is the only practicable solution,” a group spokesman, Miles Anderson, said in a statement.

The main opposition National Party, which draws strong support in rural areas, said it also supported the ban.

The changes exclude two general classes of firearms commonly used for hunting, pest control and stock management on farms.

“I have a military style weapon. But to be fair, I don’t really use it, I don’t really need it,” said Noel Womersley, who slaughters cpoliticalattle for small farmers around Christchurch.

“So I’m quite happy to hand mine over.”

To be absolutely fair, the attack on the mosques was an awful event, made the worse by the shooter’s deliberate attempts to politicize various aspects of what he was doing and what he “stood for” as an attack ostensibly against US President Donald Trump, some seven thousand miles away in the United States.

The immediate reaction of the people interviewed, some among them related or friends with the victims of the massacre, was to embrace the weapons reform laws:

Nada Tawfeek, who buried her father-in-law killed in the attacks, Hussein Moustafa, on Thursday, welcomed the ban.

“It’s a great reaction. I think other countries need to learn from her [Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern],” Tawfeek said.

Mohammed Faqih, a member of the Islamic clergy who flew in from California and attended the funerals for some victims on Thursday, said he was “extremely grateful” for the gun ban.

“I wish our leaders in the States would follow on her footsteps and do the same thing,” he said.

One can expect there to be quite the outcry among American liberals about gun control, especially if anything remotely resembling this event takes place or is thwarted in coming days in the US.

It may seem very cold and cruel to focus on the political angle of this story rather than the human tragedy that it is. However, in this situation we have seen signs that the most vile form of human tragedy has actually taken place – the murder of dozens of innocent people for a mere political point. Indeed this thought has been noted and vilified already, as Mr. R.X. Dentith, writing for the New Zealand website Spinoff here quoted:

American paleo-conservative Rush Limbaugh was one of the first to note: “There’s an ongoing theory that the shooter himself may, in fact, be a leftist who writes the manifesto and then goes out and performs the deed purposely to smear his political enemies, knowing he’s going to get shot in the process. You know you just can’t – you can’t immediately discount this. The left is this insane, they are this crazy. And then if that’s exactly what the guy is trying to do then he’s hit a home run, because right there on Fox News: ‘Shooter is an admitted white nationalist who hates immigrants.’”

…[P]eople like Limbaugh… can’t stomach the idea the terrorist action in Otautahi might be motivated by the kind of rhetoric Limbaugh helps disseminate – tend to think there is a culture war going on, and they are on the losing side.

This war has many names, and the enemy is easily identified: it is the battle against Cultural Marxism; the fight against Toxic Feminism; the resistance to Identity Politics; and the fear of the Great Replacement, the thesis at the heart of the terrorist’s own manifesto.

The Great Replacement thesis posits that the majority white European countries are being “invaded” by non-white, non-European peoples. Not just that, but due to declining birth rates in the West, this “invasion” constitutes a wholesale replacement of the white population over time.

Mr. Dentith tries further to knock down this notion of the Great Replacement. However, he misses a much more basic point.

Someone who goes and takes human lives and broadcasts them for any reason is not a mere political operative. The person who does this is a very sick, deranged human being indeed. Evil is certainly appropriately used here.

However, evil is often quite cunning, and despite the intellectual arguments about the reality or non-reality of any particular manifesto statement, in this case, the killer played the media with infernal intelligence, and they took the bait. It is possible that Prime Minister Ardern also took the bait, in this most awful of bad situations, and to give her credit, she took swift actions to try to “correct” what was wrong.

But the problem here was not the type of weapons used. The problem is the fact that they were used by a person who thought these fifty people’s lives were worth nothing more than a bit of policy change. One of the worst examples of human evil in recent times, this incident shouts to the world that there is a problem, but the problem remains unsolved, even though many people will hand over their firearms out of a genuine wish for compassion to those lost and the hope that somehow this action will prevent a future incident.

But the logic of this emotional reaction is nil. And what is worse is that the American Left knows this, but does not care. The movers and shakers of liberalism will likely milk the actions of sincerely horrified New Zealanders for all they are worth to try at affecting change in American constitutional rights.

And the innocent dead will not rest in peace, because the real problem has not even been examined.

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Upstart Populist Party Shocks In Dutch Election Upset, 2 Days After Utrecht Attack

International reports have described the FvD as receiving “a surge of last-minute support” in the days following the Utrecht attack.

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Via Zerohedge…


Dutch voters have sent shock waves through Europe at the polls on Wednesday in the wake of Monday’s deadly Utrecht terror shooting, in which a now detained 37-year old Turkish man went on a terrifying tram killing spree which left three dead and three injured.

Euroskeptic party, Forum for Democracy (FvD), has emerged victorious in key provincial elections this week, paving the way to making it one of the two largest groups in the Dutch Senate, and representing growing Dutch frustration with the recent unprecedented refugee influx in Europe.

Newcomer Forum for Democracy party is led by 36-year-old Thierry Baudet, who is a critic of the EU and of the Netherlands’ immigration policies, via EPA

International reports have described the FvD as receiving “a surge of last-minute support” in the days following the Utrecht attack, which investigators have since described as having a “terror motive” based on a letter found in shooter Gokmen Tanis’ possession.

Forum for Democracy party leader Thierry Baudet had immediately placed ultimate blame  for the incident on the government’s “lax immigration policies” and provocatively stated a day before the elections (referencing his political rival)

If people want more deadly shootings like the one in Utrecht, then they have to vote for the VVD.

Baudet, riding a wave of renewed Euroskeptic sentiment, and whose party also wants to see more military spending, green initiatives, and an easing on income tax while greatly restricting the borders, said in the aftermath of Wednesday’s vote: “The voters in the Netherlands have spread their wings and shown their true power.”

Referencing the Utrecht attack and other deadly terror incidents on European soil, he added: “We have been called to the front because we have to. Because the country needs us.”

Three were killed and several injured in Monday’s Dutch tram terror attack, which raised the country’s emergency threat level to five as it was unfolding, its highest level.

Interestingly, the 36-year old Baudet and his party continued campaigning down to the last moments even as others stopped in the wake of Monday’s attack which rocked the Netherlands. According to Al Jazeera:

Following the lead of US President Donald Trump, Baudet opposes immigration and emphasises “Dutch first” cultural and economic themes. He opposes the euro and thinks the Netherlands should leave the European Union.

Baudet had continued campaigning when other parties stopped after Monday’s attack in Utrecht, in which a gunman shot three people dead on a tram. The populist leader blamed the incident on the government’s lax immigration policies.

The FvD is now set to take 12 seats in the upper house of parliament, which is equal to Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD Party, a scenario before this week considered unlikely according to many observers.

The FvD slightly outscoring the VVD means Rutte’s government has lost its majority for the 75-seat Senate ahead of upcoming May elections.

In a post-election speech on Wednesday, Baudet described further that what’s now being described in international media as “an upstart populist party [that has] shocked the Dutch political establishment” as punishing the arrogance of elites.

In his pro-Western civilization themed remarks, Baudet added, “We are standing in the rubble of what was once the most beautiful civilization in the world.”

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Will The Trump White House finally punish Facebook for censorship?

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 113.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at US President Trump’s tweet where he has said that he would be “looking into” a report that his social media chief, Dan Scavino Jr. has been censored by Facebook.

Are we finally about to see the Trump White House move to punish social media outlets for their blatant and bias censorship of alternative narratives that dare to stray from globalist neo-liberal and radical left ideology?

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Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

“Conservatives face a tough fight as Big Tech’s censorship expands”, authored by Donald Trump Jr., via The Hill…

As Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives becomes ever more flagrant and overt, the old arguments about protecting the sanctity of the modern public square are now invalid. Our right to freely engage in public discourse through speech is under sustained attack, necessitating a vigorous defense against the major social media and internet platforms.

From “shadowbans” on Facebook and Twitter, to demonetization of YouTube videos, to pulled ads for Republican candidates at the critical junctures of election campaigns, the list of violations against the online practices and speech of conservatives is long.

I certainly had my suspicions confirmed when Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, “accidentally” censored a post I made regarding the Jussie Smollett hoax, which consequently led to me hearing from hundreds of my followers about how they’ve been having problems seeing, liking or being able to interact with my posts. Many of them even claimed that they’ve had to repeatedly refollow me, as Instagram keeps unfollowing me on their accounts.

While nothing about Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives truly surprises me anymore, it’s still chilling to see the proof for yourself. If it can happen to me, the son of the president, with millions of followers on social media, just think about how bad it must be for conservatives with smaller followings and those who don’t have the soapbox or media reach to push back when they’re being targeted?

Thanks to a brave Facebook whistleblower who approached James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, we now know that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant developed algorithms to “deboost” certain content, limiting its distribution and appearance in news feeds. As you probably guessed, this stealth censorship was specifically aimed at conservatives.

Facebook appears to have deliberately tailored its algorithm to recognize the syntax and style popular among conservatives in order to “deboost” that content. “Mainstream media,” “SJW” (Social Justice Warrior) and “red pill” — all terms that conservatives often use to express themselves — were listed as red flags, according to the former Facebook insider.

Facebook engineers even cited BlazeTV host Lauren Chen’s video criticizing the social justice movement as an example of the kind of “red pills” that users just aren’t allowed to drop anymore. Mainstream conservative content was strangled in real time, yet fringe leftists such as the Young Turks enjoy free rein on the social media platform.

Despite the occasional brave gesture, politicians have been far too sluggish in recognizing the extent of the problem. But the Republican Party and the conservative movement are becoming more vigilant against the suppression of our speech, as we saw at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Silicon Valley lobbyists have splashed millions of dollars all over the Washington swamp to play on conservatives’ innate faith in the free-market system and respect for private property. Even as Big Tech companies work to exclude us from the town square of the 21st century, they’ve been able to rely on misguided conservatives to carry water for them with irrelevant pedantry about whether the First Amendment applies in cases of social media censorship.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has been making a name for himself as a Republican prepared to stand up to Big Tech malfeasance since his time as Missouri’s attorney general. He delivered a tour de force interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel in front of the CPAC crowd, one that provided a clear-eyed assessment of the ongoing affront to the freedoms of conservative speech and expression.

Hawley demolished the absurd notion that “conservative principles” preclude taking action to ensure free debate online simply because Big Tech firms — the most powerful corporations in the world — are private companies.

Hawley pointed out that Big Tech companies already enjoy “sweetheart deals” under current regulations that make their malfeasance a matter of public concern. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, for instance, allows them to avoid liability for the content that users post to their platforms. To address this problem, Hawley proposed adding a viewpoint neutrality requirement for platforms that benefit from Section 230’s protections, which were originally enacted to protect the internet as “a forum for a true diversity of political discourse.”

“Google and Facebook should not be a law unto themselves,” Hawley declared. “They should not be able to discriminate against conservatives. They should not be able to tell us we need to sit down and shut up!”

It’s high time other conservative politicians started heeding Hawley’s warnings, because the logical endpoint of Big Tech’s free rein is far more troubling than conservative meme warriors losing their Twitter accounts. As we’re already starting to see, what starts with social media censorship can quickly lead to banishment from such fundamental services as transportation, online payments and banking.

Left unchecked, Big Tech and liberal activists could construct a private “social credit” system — not unlike what the communists have nightmarishly implemented in China — that excludes outspoken conservatives from wide swaths of American life simply because their political views differ from those of tech executives.

There is no conservative principle that even remotely suggests we are obligated to adopt a laissez-faire attitude while the richest companies on earth abuse the power we give them to put a thumb on the scale for our political enemies.

If anything, our love of the free market dictates that we must do whatever is necessary to ensure that the free marketplace of ideas remains open to all.

Donald Trump Jr. is executive vice president at The Trump Organization.

 

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