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Showing posts from March, 2015

Saudi Arabia bombs Yemen and amasses troops on border ready to invade

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Latest reports are that up to 150,000 Saudi troops have massed at the border with Yemen together with heavy artillery. There are a number of allies supporting the Saudis including members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Egypt. + Add Image The Saudis have already carried out bombing attacks. The attacks were against Shia military camps in Sanaa. One attack was on the al-Dalamy air force base adjacent to the civil airport. Rescue workers said at least 15 houses had been destroyed at the civilian compound at the airport. Rescuers had found 25 bodies by Thursday afternoon but said more might be in the rubble. Egypt confirmed that it has a number of troops on transport ships off the Yemen coast who plan to join the invasion. The US confirmed both that it was in contact with the Saudi government and that President Obama has given permission for the Pentagon to provide the Saudis with logistical and intelligence support. General Lloyd Austin, head of US forces in the region, said that the…

CIA-linked General Hafter may sabotage any LIbyan peace agreement

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UN envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, proposed a unity government composed of a three-person presidential council but it also would incorporate the House of Representatives of the Tobruk-based internationally recognized government. + Add Image Leon said that his plan "gives the Tripoli government to have very important participation". Actually, the Tripoli government would give up any claim to legitimacy while recognizing that of the Tobruk government. Up to now the Tripoli government has claimed legitimacy and that view was supported by the Libyan Supreme Court. On November 6th last year, the Supreme Court ruled that June elections last year were unconstitutional and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives(HoR) should be dissolved. If the Tripoli government actually agrees to the UN proposal it would represent a huge concession. It is not clear how the main militia associated with the Tripoli government, Libya Dawn, would fit into this scenario. Leon claimed: “My impression i…

NATO angered by Russian treaty with South Ossetia

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A new treaty between Russia and South Ossetia merges a portion of the South Ossetian armed forces with those of Russia and also increases the economic integration of the two countries 


South Ossetia was originally an autonomous part of the Georgian Soviet Republic. However, at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990 it declared itself independent, angering newly independent Georgia which considers both it and another independent area Abkhazia as part of its sovereign territory. Georgia has continually attempted to enforce its rule and occupy South Ossetia.

In 2008 an attack on South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers in the area resulted in a disastrous war for Georgia. Russia recognized South Osssetia and Abkhazia both as independent states after the war. Only Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru of UN members recognize the independence of South Ossetia. Nauru may have done so because of Russian foreign aid but Nauru denies this.

NATO claims the treaty violates international law bu…

Okinawa governor orders work suspended on US base

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Governor Takeshi Onaga of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa has ordered a branch of the Defense Ministry to suspend all work in an area where a key U.S. military air base was to be relocated. + Add Image Onaga claimed that an anchor of concrete thrown in the sea as part of a drilling survey is thought to have damaged part of a coral reef. The governor who had preceded Onaga changed his position on the relocation and supported the agreement between the US and Japanese government for the relocation of the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. At a news conference, Onaga said that the use of concrete blocks had not been authorized and that damage had to be assessed. He also demanded that the Defense Bureau cease all activity relating to the relocation or lose its license for the drilling work. This could put the entire project on hold. In November last year Onaga won the governorship from Hirokazu Nakaima who had supported the transfer. Onaga campaigned against the base relocation. O…

Haftar and Tobruk government sabotaging UN-sponsored peace talks

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The UN and western powers simply refuse to face the fact that the internationally recognized government of Abdullah al-Thinni in Tobruk and his newly minted CIA-linked military chief Khalifa Haftar are on a mission to recapture Tripoli. + Add Image The UN Support Mission in Libya(UNSMIL) and the UN envoy Bernardino Leon have warned the two governments, one in Tobruk and the other in Tripoli not to bomb or battle as this conflicted with the peace talks and the transition to democracy. In response, the Tobruk government bombed the one functioning airport in Tripoli before earlier talks and again on Thursday just as the Tripoli government representatives were ready to fly to Rabat Morooco for the talks. The talks had to be postponed until Friday. Since then the same Tobruk government and allied forces have tried to advance on Tripoli and there have been further air strikes on Tripoli.The Al-Thinni government proudly announced that "forces linked to General Khalifa Haftar have launch…

Human Rights Watch statement on Houthi rebels in Yemen's mistreatment of journalists

This came to me courtesy of  Munir Alhemyari a resident of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen:

Statement of HRW Yemen: Attacks on Journalists Escalate End Arbitrary Detention, Mistreatment MARCH 23, 2015
© 2015 Nadia Abdullah (Sanaa) – Houthi forces and others in Yemen have committed a spate of attacks and other abuses against the media amid deteriorating political and security conditions. In recent weeks, there has been an increase in arbitrary arrests and violence against journalists and other media workers by Ansar Allah, the Zaidi Shia armed group known as the Houthis that now controls the capital, Sanaa. Armed Ansar Allah militia has stormed the headquarters of three media outlets since January 2015. Other groups may also be involved in attacks. On March 18, unidentified gunmenkilled Abdul Karim Mohammed al-Khaiwani, an Ansar Allah supporter and critic of the former government, near his home in Sanaa. “The breakdown in security across Yemen has put the country’s media in particular dang…

Houthi rebels seize airport at Taiz and set up checkpoints at entrances into Yemen city

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Houthi fighters along with troops loyal to former president Saleh have taken control of the airport at the southern city of Taiz and also parts of the city, setting up checkpoints at entrance points. Taiz is the third largest city in Yemen. + Add Image The Houthi Shia rebels originally based in the north of Yemen have taken control of most of the north including the capital Sanaa. After President Mansour Hadi was unable to form a government acceptable to the Houthis, they seized power and have formed their own government. Former president Ali Saleh who still has considerable power with the armed forces appears to be allied with the Houthis. The UN imposed sanctions on Saleh and two Houthi commanders last November. This did nothing to stop the Houthi advance but certainly made it more difficult for UN-brokered talks to come up with a political solution. The rise of the Houthis supported by Iran sends shivers down the spines of the US, Saudi Arabia, and members of the Gulf Cooperation C…

Greece receives over $2 billion from European Commission to avoid cash crunch

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Head of the European Commission(EC), Jean-Claude Juncker says that 2 billion euros($2.15 billion) in unused funds will be made available to help Greece avoid a looming cash crunch. + Add Image The offer of the funds, comes just a day after talks between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European leaders in Brussels dealing with Greece's compliance with the terms of the extended bailout loan. The leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Greece has agreed to draft a new reform plan that would allow it to receive further funds as part of the loan. Tsipras said that he was now "more optimistic" subsequent to the talks. Greek authorities also claimed that they were gradually coming closer to meeting the requirements of the loan extension. The Troika of creditors, the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund now rebranded at the insistence of Greece as "the institutions", agreed they would extend the current…

Heavy casualties as Iraq forces attempt to retake Tikrit

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Reports on casualties in the Iraqi offensive led by an Iranian general and including many Shia militia groups, are now beginning to emerge. The heavy toll may be one reason why the offensive is stalled. + Add Image Unofficial reports indicate that already 1,000 of the attackers have been killed. The government refuses to confirm any figures. The offensive was paused last weekend. It was supposed to last only two days while awaiting reinforcements. Now the pause is to continue through this weekend March 21 and 22. Attacks against the Iraqi forces during the pause are still resulting in 100 security forces being brought to a hospital in Samarra each day either wounded or dead according to a source there. About 20,000 are taking part in the operation against Tikrit. Even the highest-ranking Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, was concerned about the skills of the Shiite militia and said that better planning by the government was needed and greater professionalism i…

Bombing of Tripoli airport by Haftar delays arrival of Tripoli delegates at Libyan peace talks

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The internationally recognized government in Tripoli sent planes to bomb Tripoli's only functioning airport just as some representatives from the Tripoli government were preparing to leave for scheduled peace talks in Morocco. + Add Image The Matiga airport is also a military base but is now used for commercial flights as the main airport was badly damaged in earlier clashes between forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar, now commander of the Libyan Armed forces of the Tobruk government, and Libya Dawn. His allies were driven out of the airport by Libya Dawn militia associated with the Tripoli government. At the time, Haftar also bombed Tripoli a number of times in association with planes thought to be from the UAE and supported by Egypt. The recent attack by Haftar damaged the runway but repairs were expected to be finished later the same day. A spokesperson for the airport, Abdusalam Buamoud reported:"Fighting jets conducted air strikes on Matiga airport early today which d…

AdSense bans ads from antiwar site because of Abu Ghraib prison torture photos

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The antiwar site, antiwar.com, has been informed by Google Adsense that all ads on its website have been disabled. The site claims that this is because it has a page that has photos of the abuse by US troops at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. + Add Image The page of Abu Ghraib photos had been up for 11 years and during all that time Google Adsense had been running ads on the site. The page can be found here and has had two million hits since posted. The letter sent to the site can be found here. The author of the editorial at the antiwar.com site, Eric Garris, sees the timing of the removal of the ads as significant since Washington is now expanding its presence in Iraq saying: "..as Washington gets ready to re-invade Iraq, and in bombing, killing, and abusing more civilians, they suddenly decide that their "anti-violence" policy, which prohibits "disturbing material," prohibits any depiction of violence committed by the U.S. government and paid for with your tax d…

International Monetary Fund complains that Greece is its most uncooperative client ever

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Officials from the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission, complained in a conference-call Tuesday that Greek officials are not adhering to the conditions of the bailout extension deal or cooperating with creditors. + Add Image The officials did not want to be identified since the call was private. A letter was also sent by the European Commission objecting to legislation that would give free food and electricity to households in poverty and also to allow tax arrears to be paid in instalments. The letter said that the laws were in violation of the bailout agreement. since they were not cleared by the Troika. International Monetary Fund(IMF) officials claimed that Greece was the most unhelpful client they had dealt with in their entire history. German finance officials said trying to get the Greek authorities to present a rigorous economic reform policy was like trying to ride a dead horse. According to a Reuters report the teleconference was supposed to allow Gree…