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Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:38 am

Saudi-Trump War on Yemen: Cholera Cases could Reach 130,000 in Two Weeks
By contributors | Jun. 3, 2017 |

arties to the conflict to prioritize the boys and girls of Yemen and put an end to the fighting,” said UNICEF official Geert Cappelaere.
Nearly 600 fatalities have already occurred among a total of 70,000 cholera cases in Yemen. Now, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has warned that the situation, already deemed as critical, is on the cusp of turning into a catastrophe.
Following his visit to the war-torn country, UNICEF Regional Director Geert Cappelaere stated, “Cholera is spreading incredibly fast in Yemen,” adding that the “number of suspected cases is expected to reach 130,000 within the next two weeks.”
Common Dreams reported that Cappelaere had witnessed harrowing scenes while in Yemen. These included visits to children who were barely alive and tiny babies weighing less than two kilos who were fighting for their lives at one of the handful of operating hospitals in the country.
Ironically, Cappelaere stated “they are the lucky ones. Countless children around Yemen die every day in silence from causes that can easily be prevented or treated like cholera, diarrhea or malnutrition.”
He reiterated that cholera is not the type of disease that needs a permit to cross borders or checkpoints, hinting to the fact that the disease may spread to other parts of the region. He also noted that cholera doesn’t “differentiate between areas of political control.”
Despite working in precarious conditions, health care workers in Yemen have been working around the clock to stave off the deaths resulting from cholera.
Meanwhile, UNICEF has been soliciting and collaborating with partners to respond to the epidemic which hit Yemen almost a month ago. In doing so, the organization has been able to provide safe drinking water to over 1 million people throughout Yemen and deliver over 40 tons of medical equipment, including medicine, oral rehydration salts, intravenous fluids and diarrhea disease kits.
However, Cappelaere has made the case clear that it’s not enough.
Though calling for greater international cooperation, he stressed that “most importantly, it is time for parties to the conflict to prioritize the boys and girls of Yemen and put an end to the fighting through a peaceful political agreement. This is the ultimate way to save the lives of children in Yemen, and to help them thrive.”
As if a cholera epidemic weren’t enough, Yemen, facing a two-year-long war of aggression led by Saudi Arabia and financed by the United States, is also suffering from famine. In one form or another, some 19 million people of its 28 million population are in need of humanitarian aid.
Adding insult to injury, less than half of the country’s health facilities are functioning.
In April, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres appealed for a total of US$2.1 billion in aid to avoid the “starving of an entire generation” in Yemen. The request was made at the commencement of a donor session conference in Geneva.
“On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every 10 minutes,” said Guterres, adding that, “this means 50 children in Yemen will die during today’s conference and all of those deaths could have been prevented.”
Even if aid is provided, getting assistance to the Yemeni people amid the war-torn country may prove to be a serious challenge. It has been reported that the Saudi-led coalition had previously targeted the country’s main port of Hodeidah, obstructing attempts to import much needed food, medical and fuel supplies. ... 30000.html

'Nearly 600 cholera deaths' in Yemen over past month
UNICEF says disease spreading fast, with number of suspected cases expected to reach 130,000 within the next two weeks.

The already dire situation for children is turning into a disaster [AJ Zeyad/Reuters]The already dire situation for children is turning into a disaster [AJ Zeyad/Reuters]
An estimated 70,000 cases of cholera have been reported by UNICEF in Yemen, with nearly 600 people dying over the past month, as the disease continues to spread at an alarming rate.

The UN agency, which provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries, said on Friday that the already dire situation for children in Yemen was quickly turning into a disaster.

"Cholera doesn't need a permit to cross a checkpoint or a border, nor does it differentiate between areas of political control," said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director, following his visit to the country, according to a statement on the agency's website.

WATCH: Yemen cholera outbreak - Hundreds dead in one month (1:34)
He gave warning that "the number of suspected cases is expected to reach 130,000 within the next two weeks" in the Arabian Peninsula country.

UNICEF said at least 10,000 cholera cases were reported in the past 72 hours alone.

Cappelaere described harrowing scenes of children who were barely alive - tiny babies weighing less than 2kg, fighting for their lives at one of the few functioning hospitals he visited.

"But they are the lucky ones. Countless children around Yemen die every day in silence from causes that can easily be prevented or treated like cholera, diarrhoea or malnutrition," he said.

Cappelaere said health workers are racing against time to prevent cholera from killing more children, despite not receiving their salaries in almost nine months.

Yemen has been torn apart by conflict since 2014, when Houthi fighters, allied with troops loyal to former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, captured much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

Continuing tragedy

A coalition assembled by Saudi Arabia launched an air campaign against the fighters in March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

Since then, the conflict has killed more than 10,000 people, forced millions from their homes and pushed the country to the brink of famine, according to the United Nations.

UN officials say that without a pause in the conflict and without more financial resources, cholera will continue to spread across the country.

READ MORE: Millions of Yemenis face hunger during Ramadan

The UN has said that the unprecedented cholera outbreak in Yemen threatens the lives of 1.1 million malnourished pregnant women, who need immediate care and reproductive health services.

Almost a quarter of the Yemeni population needs urgent food assistance right now, according to the World Food Programme.

Millions of people in Yemen are on the brink of starvation [Al Jazeera]
With millions of people on the brink of famine, those who are malnourished and have weak immune systems are at acute risk of succumbing to cholera.

Only a few medical facilities are still functioning and two-thirds of the population are without access to safe drinking water, the UN has said.

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease that is transmitted through contaminated drinking water. It can be fatal within hours if left untreated.

Worst-hit areas

A cholera epidemic late last year petered out, but outbreaks are becoming more frequent.

Sanaa has been worst hit, followed by the surrounding province of Amanat al-Semah, WHO data has shown.

Cases have also been reported in other major cities including Hodeidah, Taiz and Aden.

About 17 million of Yemen's 26 million people lack sufficient food and at least three million malnourished children are in "grave peril", according to the UN.

Image ... 57685.html

Yemen: Trump Expands U.S. Military Role in Saudi War as Yemenis Brace for Famine

The U.S. is also rapidly expanding military operations in Yemen. The U.S. has reportedly launched more than 49 strikes across the country this month—according to The New York Times, that’s more strikes than the U.S. has ever carried out in a single year in Yemen. While the U.S. airstrikes have been targeting suspected al-Qaeda operations in Yemen, The Wall Street Journal is reporting the U.S. is now offering even more logistical and intelligence support for the Saudi-led war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are accused of being linked to Iran. More than 10,000 people have been killed since the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen began two years ago this month. Meanwhile, The New York Times is reporting today that the Trump administration has approved the resumption of sales of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. President Obama froze some of these weapons sales last year due to concern about civilian casualties in Saudi Arabia’s expanding war in Yemen. We speak to Iona Craig, a journalist who was based in Sana’a from 2010 to 2015 as the Yemen correspondent for The Times of London.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to look at Yemen, where the U.S. is also rapidly expanding military operations. The U.S. has reportedly launched more than 49 strikes across the country this month—according to The New York Times, that’s more strikes than the U.S. has ever carried out in a single year in Yemen. While the U.S. airstrikes have been targeting suspected al-Qaeda operations in Yemen, The Wall Street Journal is reporting the U.S. is now offering even more logistical and intelligence support for the Saudi-led war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are accused of being linked to Iran. More than 10,000 people have been killed since the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen began two years ago this month. Meanwhile, The New York Times is reporting today that the Trump administration has approved the resumption of sales of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. President Obama froze some of these weapons sales last year due to concern about civilian casualties in Saudi Arabia’s expanding war in Yemen.

AMY GOODMAN: This all comes as the United Nations is warning Yemen is on the brink of famine. This is U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien.

STEPHEN O’BRIEN: Well, it’s not just the number of people who are food insecure, which represents about 14 million out of the 26 million or so Yemenis, which is an enormous number for any nation to have to bear; it’s the fact that we have seen an increase in severe acute malnourishment, particularly in young children and in lactating mothers. We have seen a very severe deterioration in the number of patients needing dialysis services, access to oxygen, and where we need to see more antibiotics being brought in and medical facilities made available. These are seriously deteriorating.
AMY GOODMAN: To talk more about the situation in Yemen, we go to London to speak with Iona Craig, a journalist who was based in Sana’a from 2010 to '15 as the Yemen correspondent for The Times of London. She was in Yemen again last month, where she reported on January's Navy SEAL raid that left 25 civilians and one U.S. Navy SEAL dead.

Iona, welcome back to Democracy Now! Talk about the situation on the ground in Yemen right now.

IONA CRAIG: Well, as you’ve already mentioned, the humanitarian situation is certainly getting worse. I went to several of the areas, remote areas, where some of the internally displaced people are finding it increasingly difficult to get access to food and even water. And then, on the military front, there is a stalemate on a lot of the—on the side of the ground war, whilst also a new offensive was actually launched on the Red Sea Coast whilst I was in Yemen in January, that then pushed a lot of the civilian population into these incredibly remote areas where there are no aid agencies to support them and to provide shelter and to provide food. So, across the country, really, it doesn’t matter which side of the front line you are, if you’re a civilian. People are finding it increasingly difficult to both access food and to be able to afford to pay for food, because many of the government employees have not been paid for more than six, seven months now, and so that reduces people’s capacity to even purchase goods, even when they are available, in areas where they’re not affected by the conflict.

So, really, there’s a massive sense of war weariness amongst the civilian population. People are just really desperate for this war to come to an end, obviously. But certainly, on the political side, there is no indication that is about to happen. And, in fact, the warring parties are not even willing to even engage or speak with the U.N. special envoy who is charged with trying to find a political resolution to the conflict. So, both on the military front, things are shifting slightly or have done, but certainly, on the humanitarian side, things are getting worse, with the prediction now of wheat supplies soon to run out in perhaps the coming weeks, or certainly in the next two months, that that is only going to get worse, as well.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, Iona, as this humanitarian situation is worsening, the Trump administration is reportedly planning changes to the U.S. policy in Yemen. Could you tell us a little about the kinds of changes that are being considered and what their impact would be if they’re put into place?

IONA CRAIG: So, one thing that appears to have already been changed, from what we’ve heard, is Yemen now, or parts of Yemen, anyway, being regarded as areas of active hostility. Now, that’s quite a technical term, but essentially what it means is those selected areas are put on a war footing the same as Iraq and Afghanistan. So, previously, under the Obama administration, Yemen was considered an area outside of active hostility, so there were different protocols put in place to ensure the prevention of civilian casualties. And it meant that when drone strikes or airstrikes or raids were carried out, that there had to be a near certainty that there were no civilian casualties. Obviously, that didn’t always work. I have spent many years covering Yemen, and that included covering incidents of mass civilian casualties under the Obama administration. But now, when that changes to put in parts of the country into areas of active hostility, that near certainty basically gets chucked out of the window, and it means that those civilian casualties are kind of allowed and only have to be proportional. So, that’s obviously very concerning for the civilian population in Yemen. We’ve also seen more military activity, as you’ve already mentioned, in the form of airstrikes. So that’s more military activity, less oversight, because of the way the command structure is now—appears to have been changing, as well, in the sense that the military is going to be allowed to take more decisions on that level without the kind of micromanaging the Obama administration was always accused of, as well as moving these—removing these protocols to—that were supposed to, anyway, protect civilian lives.

In addition to that, now there is talk of the U.S. wanting to become more involved on the side of the Saudi-led coalition, who have, of course, been carrying out this aerial bombing campaign against the Houthi-Saleh forces, who are predominantly in northern Yemen, and have been carrying out this aerial bombing campaign against them, and ground war, since March 2015. Now, the U.S. wants to—has been—has put in a request to become more involved, particularly in an offensive that the Emiratis, the UAE, who are part of the Saudi-led coalition, are looking to launch on the Red Sea Coast, particularly on the port of Hudaydah, which is a vital supply line for northern Yemen, which is the most densely populated part of the country, which relies heavily on that route for the import of food.

Now, the most troubling part of this request to become more involved with the Saudi-led coalition appears to be because there has been—certainly come out from the White House, from the White House spokesman—this sense of conflating the Houthi rebels, who I mentioned, with Iran. Now, the Houthis have had support from Iran, and that appears to have been increasing, with specific military assistance and weapons to the Houthis over the last nine months. But to call them an Iranian proxy or to conflate them with Iran, it now appears that the—that this almost amounts to the U.S. wanting to start a proxy war with Iran in Yemen. And, of course, that is incredibly dangerous. It’s incredibly dangerous for the civilian population, who are already facing famine at the moment, and it’s incredibly dangerous because we don’t know what the reaction would be from Iran. That reaction may not just be in Yemen. It may be elsewhere in the region, where they’re also involved in wars—for example, in Syria. And that’s really an unknown quantity. The known quantity is that the civilian population in Yemen will certainly suffer as a consequence of that, if the Americans become more involved in the Saudi-led coalition’s efforts in the country. ... itary_role
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Re: Yemen

Postby Iamwhomiam » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:56 pm

Right. Nothing at all to do with the Shia - Sunni love spat between two warlords, of course. Obama's responsible for the all suffering in Yemen. While O sold $115B in arms to the Saudis, Trump intends to sell them more than $300 billion for arms. Unique to Trump is his cutting-loose the military, to do as they wish, wherever and whenever they have the desire to without congressional oversight. Yes, Rory, let's not rail any further on Trump. He is only in his 6th month 'serving' as President, after all.

Funny how nearly 60 years ago Ike warned us this day would come.
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Re: Yemen

Postby norton ash » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:00 pm

Looks like Rory pulled his comment. But it was the usual 'if a Democrat ever did something wrong you're a hypocrite to criticize Trump' school of dip-shit sophistry.
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Re: Yemen

Postby MacCruiskeen » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:09 pm

Reply to norton deleted. He mischaracterises Rorys post, and unfairly too, but it's all trivial under the circumstances.

Back on-topic.
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Re: Yemen

Postby Harvey » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:31 pm

There are few of his calibre, compare this interview not quite as a neophyte journalist, having earned his spurs in previous decades, but cocksure, with an entire network behind him:

With this, his most recent interview. Still an outsider in the sense that he has not relinquished his humanity to easy concessions with the flow, derided by many who aren't fit to to touch the hem of his garment. Not hagiography on my part, just recognition of the difficulty of remaining visible and on the outside, retaining compassion and objectivity precisely when it is hardest to do so. When almost everyone else sees the sense in giving in to the current, to the thing itself:

There's a sense of continuance in seeing the both of them together. How one becomes the other. Greatness isn't in the recognition of ones own time, but in the recognition of ages. Perhaps both will remain when others are long forgotten.
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings
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Re: Yemen

Postby Harvey » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:33 pm

^ Trust me, it's on topic.
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings
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Re: Yemen

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:03 pm

Saudi Warplanes Strike Yemen Hospital amid Cholera Epidemic
A girl infected with cholera lies on the ground at a hospital in Sanaa.

Published 4 June 2017

The WHO announced Friday that nearly 73,700 people have been affected by Yemen's cholera epidemic.
Saudi warplanes struck a health facility in Northwest Yemen treating patients for cholera Saturday night, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported, killing and injuring a number of people.

The attack in Qahza, in the province of Sa’ada, also devastated the facility’s medical equipment and the building itself, forcing the center to halt operations.

The assault comes as the World Health Organization said Friday that Yemen’s cholera epidemic has resulted in 605 deaths thus far, 40 percent of whom were children, with the number of people likely infected totaling up to 73,700.

WHO Yemen ✔ @WHOYemen
#Cholera continues to spread in #Yemen. Over 73,700 suspected cholera cases and 605 associated deaths have been reported in 19 governorates.
1:01 PM - 2 Jun 2017
103 103 Retweets 47 47 likes

U.N. envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed also said last Tuesday that only “less than 45 percent” of medical facilities in the country were functioning, Press TV reported.

In addition, UNICEF warned Saturday that the cases of cholera could double every two weeks, unless more aid is delivered to the region ravaged by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war. The official warned that the outbreak could potentially "spread beyond Yemen" as the imperialist aggression enters well beyond its third year.

"It is sad today, but we hope the cholera outbreak will be the turning point in turning people's attention to Yemen," he stated. "Cholera is not going to be stopped by any border."

Despite calls for aid, assistance to Yemenis amid the war proves challenging, given reports that the Saudi-led coalition has previously targeted the country's main port of Hodeidah, obstructing attempts to import much-needed food, medical and fuel supplies. ... -0010.html

Yemen Faces 'Total Collapse' If We Don't Act Now, the U.N. Warns
Ryan Kilpatrick
May 30, 2017

NewsWorldMiddle East
After two years of war, Yemenis face cholera, famine and state collapse
Already one of the world’s most urgent humanitarian disasters, the situation in Yemen is only getting worse

Sophia Dingli 5 hours ago

The dire conflict in the Arab nation receives relatively little attention from the outside world EPA
Yemen and its people are engulfed by utter devastation. In the two-plus years of the conflict between the Houthi movement and its allies, including former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and an interim government supported by a Saudi-led military coalition, more than 10,000 people have died – and not just because of violence.

Two thirds of Yemen’s 26 million people live with the reality of famine, with about 7 million already suffering from acute malnutrition. Of this number, more than 3 million face acute malnourishment. In these conditions, a child under five dies every 10 minutes. What’s more, the World Health Organisation is sounding the alarm over a new cholera outbreak in the country, which has killed hundreds of people and put some 150,000 at risk.

While it’s true that both sides of the conflict have inflicted innumerable harms on Yemeni civilians, the overwhelming force of the Saudi coalition, backed and supplied by the US and the UK, has received the bulk of the attention, at least in the Western media.

This is partly because of reports that the Saudis have used US- and UK-manufactured and internationally banned cluster bombs against civilians, which have drawn the ire of human and civil rights campaigners and concerned legislators on both sides of the Atlantic.

The problem is that focusing on Saudi excesses, as most Western coverage does, seriously simplifies the situation.

An even bleaker future

For starters, the ongoing famine is mostly the result of the Saudi coalition’s ongoing naval blockade, which targets not just weapons but also the food imports on which Yemen is almost entirely dependent.

The fixation on Western involvement also overlooks the actions of the Houthis, who have contributed to the crises underway today – not least via their protracted ground operations and siege of the city of Taiz. Meanwhile, Yemen’s economy has all but collapsed, and its financial institutions are seriously mismanaged. This means that even where food is available, people cannot afford to buy it.

The situation could deteriorate further yet. The Saudis and their allies have long been preparing an attack on the Houthi-controlled port city of Hodeida, so far a crucial supply route and lifeline for Yemenis, and have requested direct US military aid. In response to that request, a bipartisan group of members of Congress wrote to Donald Trump and his defence secretary, James Mattis, demanding that they end the US’s support for the Saudi campaign. The same members have threatened to take legislative action to insist on congressional oversight of the US’s role in the conflict.

Meanwhile, the UN’s Special Envoy in Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, is now trying to bring about an agreement between parties to the conflict which would prevent military clashes in Hodeida and ensure aid can still get in. But the conflict has become so intractable that his chances of success probably are not high.

At the same time, Trump’s multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia, his rollback of Obama-era civilian protections against drone strikes, and the botched raid against al-Qaeda in the village of al-Ghayil on 29 January, coupled with the British Conservative Government’s unchanged stance on the conflict, do not bode well for Yemenis.

Instead, the Yemeni people are being treated as little more than disposable pawns on the chessboard of Gulf geopolitics. This attitude is replicated in the Gulf among the Saudis and their allies, as well as their enemies the Iranians – and for that matter, by Yemeni politicians too.

Moral outrage versus politics

On returning from a visit to Yemen, Jan Egeland, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, stated in exasperation: “Men with guns and power inside Yemen as well as in regional and international capitals are undermining every effort to avert an entirely preventable famine, as well as the collapse of health and education services for millions of children.”

His statement perfectly grasps the root of Yemen’s misery. Politics, Machiavelli taught us, often overrides moral concerns; indeed, it has a logic of its own. Shared moral principles, including the principles that absolutely prohibit the wilful production of famine, often are not enough to shape the actions of powerful actors as they pursue their interests. This is especially true in a conflict that receives relatively little attention from the outside world.

The fixation on Western involvement overlooks how the Houthis have contributed to the crises underway (EPA)
What can change this? The answer, in part, is not spasmodic expressions of moral outrage, but politics. People need to put consistent pressure on their elected representatives in the UK and US to amend, stop or examine their governments’ behaviour and to pressure their regional allies into resolving the conflict. The complication, of course, is that Yemen’s tragedy is taking place in a country relatively inaccessible to the press and unfamiliar to Western audiences. What is more, global powers may have little to no influence on their regional allies, especially in the context of a rapidly changing global distribution of power.

Still, activists are persisting, and governments are not completely Awol. They might yet be able to offer Yemenis some sort of lifeline, whether via effective investment in the emergency food programme or through actively supporting Cheikh Ahmed’s attempts to prevent a catastrophe at Hodeida.

These may look like small victories, but for millions of Yemenis, they are a matter of life and death. They are testament to a simple truth: justified moral outrage is all very well, but without political action, it does not save live ... 66896.html
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Re: Yemen

Postby Harvey » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:18 pm

SLAD :hug1:
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings
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Re: Yemen

Postby PufPuf93 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:33 pm

Whatever happened to plans for a USA air and naval base on Socotra Island (Yemen)? A basing agreement was reached early in POTUS Obama 1st term circa 2009.
There are more recent reports that Saudi Arabia has militarily occupied Socarta. ... d-masirah/ ... tra/24044/



Socotra is a very beautiful and unusual natural environment. ... ORM=IDBBCQ
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Re: Yemen

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:11 am

Trump greenlit the Yemen raid as a favor to the United Arab Emirates in an attempt at getting his Dubai golf course fast tracked by the UAE government.....that's what I think

Yemen cuts diplomatic ties with Qatar: state news agency
Yemen's internationally recognized government cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of working with its enemies in the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, state news agency Saba reported.

"Qatar's practices of dealing with the (Houthi) coup militias and supporting extremist groups became clear," the government said in a statement.

It added that Yemen supported a decision by a Saudi-led coalition fighting for more than two years to oust the Houthis from the capital Sanaa to remove Qatar from its ranks announced earlier on Monday. ... 8W0RS?il=0

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen cut ties with Qatar ... -terrorism
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Re: Yemen

Postby SonicG » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:18 am

Oh phhhuuqqq ...the same Qatar that is scheduled to hold the World Cup in 2022? Troi oi...

FIFA issued a short statement on Monday saying it spoke with "the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup."

FIFA added: "We have no further comments for the time being." ... host-qatar

If just to get them to stop murdering workers, they need to pull the Cup from Qatar....

I am not attempting any red-bait so don't get your panties in a twist, but this popped up in my news search. I had forgotten that Russia is scheduled to host the 2018 Cup! And FiFA had a lot to say about conditions in Russia recently...the mention of abused Norther Korean laborers?
World Cup 2018: Fifa admits workers have suffered human rights abuses

The Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, has admitted there have been human rights abuses of workers involved in the construction of the arena in St Petersburg due to host matches in next year’s World Cup. In a letter to the presidents of four Nordic football associations, which the Guardian has seen, Infantino also acknowledged that some men from North Korea, whose working conditions are “often appalling”, were deployed to work at the Zenit Arena in St Petersburg.

The presidents of the Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic FAs wrote to Infantino raising their concerns last week, following in-depth reportage by the Norwegian football magazine Josimar, which highlighted dreadful working conditions at the St Petersburg site. The article alleged that accommodation for the North Korean and other workers was in crowded storage containers outside the stadium, and cited local reports that a North Korean man was found dead in one of the storage containers, having suffered a heart attack.

The conditions of North Korean workers in Russia, China and the Middle East, effectively sent abroad by their country’s totalitarian regime in return for commission, was described as “exploitation” and “slave-like” in a resolution of the United Nations in November. The Josimar report interviewed migrant workers from other countries who said they had worked long hours in dismal conditions at the Zenit Arena and been underpaid, in cash. ... hts-abuses

FWIW and OT, I know but it's all connected, innit, WW3 and stuff like that...
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Re: Yemen

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:04 pm

The $1bn hostage deal that enraged Qatar’s Gulf rivals

Doha reportedly paid al-Qaeda affiliate and Iran to win release of royal hunting party

Saudi Arabia moves to tame upstart Qatar

Members of Iran-backed militia Kata’eb Hizbollah, which kidnapped the Qataris in 2015, on parade in Baghdad © Reuters

6 HOURS AGO by: Erika Solomon in Beirut
Qatar paid up to $1bn to release members of the Gulf state’s royal family who were kidnapped in Iraq while on a hunting trip, according to people involved in the hostage deal — one of the triggers behind Gulf states’ dramatic decision to cut ties with Doha.

Commanders of militant groups and government officials in the region told the Financial Times that Doha spent the money in a transaction that secured the release of 26 members of a Qatari falconry party in southern Iraq and about 50 militants captured by jihadis in Syria. By their telling, Qatar paid off two of the most frequently blacklisted forces of the Middle East in one fell swoop: an al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria and Iranian security officials.

The deal, which was concluded in April, heightened concerns among Qatar’s neighbours about the small gas-rich state’s role in a region plagued by conflict and bitter rivalries. And on Monday, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain took the extraordinary step of cutting off diplomatic ties and transport links to Qatar, alleging the country fuels extremism and terrorism.

“The ransom payments are the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said one Gulf observer.

Doha denies it backs terrorist groups and dismissed the blockade by its neighbours as “founded on allegations that have no basis in fact”. It said it could not immediately respond to a request for comment on the hostage deal. But a person close to the Qatari government acknowledged that “payments” were made. The person was unaware of the amounts or where the money went.

Qatar, a US ally that hosts an American military base, has long drawn the ire of its neighbours, who consider Doha an irritating regional maverick. The world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas, it has used its immense wealth to court relations from London to Washington and Tokyo.

But critics accuse it of seeking to punch above its weight diplomatically, meddling in regional affairs and using the Arabic channel of Al Jazeera, the satellite television network it set up, as a propaganda tool.

Doha has a history of reaching out to all kinds of controversial groups, from rebels in Sudan’s Darfur region to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hamas in Gaza. Qatar touts itself as a neutral player that can act as an intermediary in regional conflicts. But its critics, notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE, allege it also uses such interventions to play both sides and fund radical Islamist groups, most recently in Libya and Syria. And to Doha’s critics, the hostage deal was further evidence of that role.

Doha’s alleged support for terrorism pits vital US allies in Middle East against each other

“If you want to know how Qatar funds jihadis, look no further than the hostage deal,” said a Syrian opposition figure who has worked with an al-Qaeda mediator on hostage swaps in Syria. “And this isn’t the first — it is one of a series since the beginning of the war.”

The Financial Times spoke to people involved on both sides of the hostage swap deal, including two government officials in the region, three Iraqi Shia militia leaders and two Syrian opposition figures.

Around $700m was paid both to Iranian figures and the regional Shia militias they support, according to regional government officials. They added that $200m to $300m went to Islamist groups in Syria, most of that to Tahrir al-Sham, a group with links to al-Qaeda.

Those who spoke to the FT said the deal highlighted how Qatar has allegedly used hostage payments to bankroll jihadis in Syria. But to its Gulf neighbours, the biggest issue is likely to be the fact that Doha could have paid off their main regional rival, Iran, which they accuse of fuelling conflicts in the Arab world.

This particular saga began when an Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militia, known as Kata’eb Hizbollah, kidnapped the Qataris in December 2015. Three Iraqi militia leaders say the hostages were held in Iran.

Kata’eb Hizbollah is an Iraqi group but it is seen as having links with Iran’s main regional proxy, Hizbollah, the Lebanese militant group. The latter is helping Iran back Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, in his country’s six-year conflict.

Two regional diplomats said they believed one of the Iraqi group’s motives for the kidnapping was to give Hizbollah and Iran leverage to negotiate the release of Shia fighters kidnapped by the radical Sunni group Tahrir al-Sham in Syria.

Tahrir al-Sham, in previous iterations, was an al-Qaeda branch. It claims it has broken the connection, but the international community still views it as an affiliate.

The hostage transaction was also linked to a separate agreement to facilitate the evacuation of four towns in Syria, two surrounded by jihadi forces and two besieged by Shia militias, say Syrian rebels and diplomats.

One western diplomat said the arrangement provided Qatar the “cover” to finance the hostage deal. “Iran and Qatar had long been looking for a cover to do this [hostage] deal, and they finally found it,” he said.

According to two opposition figures with close contact with the groups paid, Qatar used the evacuation arrangement to pay $120m-$140m to Tahrir al-Sham. Another $80m, they said, went to the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham.

“The Qataris pay anyone and everyone, to what end? They have only brought about our ruin,” said a Syrian rebel commander, who gave details of the payments but asked not to be identified.

A regional Arab official said the total paid to jihadi groups was closer to $300m.

Foreign fighters pour into Syria to bolster Assad regime
Shia from Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and beyond join sectarian conflict

“So, if you add that up to the other $700m they paid to Iran and its proxies, that means Qatar actually spent about a billion dollars on this crazy deal,” he said.

The Iraqi Shia militia commanders in Iraq, all from hardline Iranian-backed groups, said that, to their knowledge, Iran had obtained around $400m after giving them a payment they would not disclose. They agreed to share some details because they were unhappy about their share of the payment.

“They [the Iranians] took the lion’s share,” said a member of one of the Iranian-backed Shia militias in Iraq. “That’s caused some of us to be frustrated, because that was not the deal.”

“The hostage deal was perhaps a miscalculation,” said Gerd Nonneman, professor of international relations at Georgetown University in Qatar. “This would have been done in good faith in order to return hostages — there would have been no intention to funnel money to Iran.”

Another confusing chapter of the deal is that Haidar al-Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister, said in April his government had seized hundreds of millions of dollars, which Iraqi officials said arrived on Qatari planes “illegally”. It is not clear if this is money is part of the sums mentioned above or an additional amount.

“The money all came in suitcases. Can you imagine this?” said one senior official. ... 3e61754ec6

Jared Kushner relationship ➡️U.A.E. ambassador in Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba➡️Foundation for Defense of Democracies (Adelson & Netanyahu):

Jay McKenzie‏ @JamesFourM 10h10 hours ago
Replying to @JamesFourM @ellyn_gesell and 3 others
The leaks show Qatar is involved with terrorist organizations. Adelson's research institute was aware & trying to deflect blame onto UAE.

Why? Only 3 weeks ago Trump lavished praise on Qatar in part because of their work with Saudi Arabia to "combat terror."
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Re: Yemen

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:11 pm

Where Does the Saudi-Qatar Death Match Leave Trump’s Troops?
Saudi Arabia just drastically cut ties with Qatar—leaving the Trump administration and American troops in the MidEast in an awkward position.

Christopher Dickey
06.05.17 12:09 PM ET
PARIS—Barely two weeks after Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, an experience that left him aglow with adulation from the ailing octogenarian king, the president’s royal buddies in Riyadh have launched an aggressive political and economic campaign against Qatar, denouncing it as a supporter of terrorism.
But there is, for Trump, a painful paradox here. Qatar also hosts the most important U.S. military installations in the Gulf, which are vital to operations against the so-called Islamic State and al Qaeda. According to the website of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), Qatar “hosts more than 10,000 U.S. and Coalition service members at Al-Udeid Air Base.” It’s the home of CENTCOM’s Forward Headquarters, its air component, U.S. Air Forces Central Command and its Combined Air Operations Center.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters in Australia they believed the Arabs can settle their differences through dialogue, so everything's cool in the hot wars America's waging. "I do not expect that this will have any significant impact, if any impact at all, on the unified ... fight against terrorism in the region or globally," said Tillerson. And Mattis followed up: “In regards to the implications for the counter-ISIS fight, I am positive there will be no implications coming out of this dramatic situation at all.”

But that sounds like whistling in the desert.
Measures taken so far by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and the Saudi-backed government of Yemen stop short of war, but they are draconian.
The border with Saudi Arabia is closed and some 40 percent of Qatar’s food supply may be cut off; diplomatic relations are severed and diplomats given 48 hours to leave the Emirates. Saudi citizens have been called to return from Qatar in no less than two weeks, and Qatari citizens in Saudi Arabia are to be expelled in the same time frame. Airlines are suspending all flights to the Qatari capital, Doha, while airspace is closed to Qatar Airways.

All this could have a major impact on U.S. operations in the region, and it is not clear how far in advance the Trump administration was informed about the move, or if it was informed at all. Mattis and Tillerson, at the conference in Australia, appeared to have learned about the action just moments before they met the press.
But the timing, so soon after the Trump visit to Riyadh, certainly suggests that Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the king’s son and the driving force in the government, figured Trump would support his power play.
The stated reason for the rupture is Qatar’s supposed support for terrorists of both the Sunni al Qaeda/ISIS ilk and the Shiite Iran-backed variety.
In fact, little Qatar, which looks like a polyp on the eastern edge of the Arabian peninsula, has long been a nuisance that the Saudis wished they could excise. Historically they’ve seen the Qatari people as Wahhabis like themselves who somehow went astray, and their rulers as impudent upstarts.
The irritation intensified greatly after Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani overthrew his father in 1995 and began to build his own empire out of “blowing sand and natural gas, Allah and ambition,” as we wrote some years ago.
By the time he handed the reins of power to his son, Sheikh Tamim, in 2013, little Qatar’s per capita income was well over $100,000 a year, the highest on earth.

“The future of Qatar is soft power,” its former ambassador to Paris liked to say. The country used skilled diplomacy, along with all that money from the natural gas boom, to make itself a surprising new presence on the world stage—one that its rulers hoped would be too well known for the Saudis to smash or absorb.
It created the Al Jazeera international television network in the 1990s, which became hugely popular and powerful as it brought to the region for the first time hard hitting, largely independent news coverage in Arabic and with an Arab perspective. It drove the Saudis crazy—and infuriated the George W. Bush administration, as well, which branded it a mouthpiece for Osama bin Laden.
The Qataris asserted their independence from Riyadh by developing good relations with all the other major players in the region, including with Iran, but also, commercially, with Israel. Members of the Qatari royal family became important patrons of education (Georgetown University and Texas A&M are two of several American institutions with branches there). Sheikha Mayassa, the young sister of the current ruler, quickly became one of the most powerful figures in the international art world. They bought up sports teams, including the Paris Saint-Germain soccer club; they purchased Harrod’s department store in London; and they used their money behind the scenes to facilitate hostage releases in the region. The list of largesse goes on and on.
But during the uprisings that swept through North Africa and the Middle East in 2011—the so-called Arab Spring—Qatar overplayed its hand, and the Saudi royals began to see it not just as an annoyance, but as a potential threat to their existence.
Qatar had always had close ties to the international Muslim Brotherhood, but its power had been largely circumscribed, or crushed, by the region’s dictators. Now they were in trouble, and the Brotherhood moved to exploit the situation, either directly or through affiliated groups—and with Qatar’s backing. Al Jazeera’s Arabic service started to look like little more than a propaganda organ for the Islamists, and by the time Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, elected the Brotherhood candidate as its president—again, heavily subsidized by Qatar—the Saudis started building a counteroffensive.
In 2013, the former Egyptian military attaché in Saudi Arabia, who had risen to be commander of Egypt’s armed forces, exploited popular discontent to depose President Mohammed Morsi and his Brotherhood-dominated government. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared the Islamist organization “terrorist,” and set out to crush it using every means at his disposal, from massacres to mass imprisonment. Qatar’s financial support for Egypt disappeared overnight, and instantly was replaced by Saudi money.
In Syria, the situation grew more complicated, and with devastating effects.
Traditionally, the most ruthless and well organized opponent of the Assad dynasty was the Syrian branch of the Brotherhood. Decimated by an infamous massacre in Hama in 1982, it had managed to rebuild itself abroad, in Europe as well as in Qatar. And when the Arab Spring came along, the Brotherhood moved to assert its leadership in Syria as it had in Egypt.
That presented a big problem for Saudi Arabia. Riyadh wanted Bashar Assad’s regime removed, because Assad is an ally and a client of the hated Iranian mullahs. But it did not want the Brotherhood, backed by Qatar, to come to power. The internecine intrigues that resulted were part of the reason the Syrian opposition found it virtually impossible to organize a political front, while on the battlefield Saudi Arabia and Qatar funded competing groups whose factions became hard to distinguish from al Qaeda and the competing Islamic State if, indeed, they could be distinguished at all.
Unrest in the little island nation of Bahrain in 2011 led to intervention by the Saudi National Guard, which simply drove across the causeway to impose order on a restive Shia population ruled by a Sunni monarch. It’s probably also worth noting that Bahrain and Qatar have been rival emirates since they competed for pearl fisheries in the days before oil and gas were discovered.
On Monday, the Saudi declaration announcing the measures against Qatar declared it had taken “this decisive decision” becauses of “grave violations” in secret and in public by the authorities in Doha, including “adopting various terrorist and sectarian groups,” among them “the Muslim Brotherhood Group, Daesh (ISIS) and al Qaeda.” The Saudis accused Qatar of meddling in Yemen, where the Saudis are at war, in Bahrain (possibly on behalf of Iran), and in Saudi Arabia itself.
Yet, as American diplomats, spies, and military leaders have understood for a long time, as slippery as the Qataris might be, they could also be useful even on the fractured Syrian battlefield. In his “posture statement” published just three months ago, CENTCOM chief Gen. Joseph Vogel wrote, “In Syria, given their relationships with a wide range of actors, including more moderate elements, the Qataris are well-positioned to play an influential role in facilitating a political resolution to the conflict.”
Vogel called Qatar “a key and critical partner in the region.” But whether and how the Trump administration will defend it from Saudi-led pressure is now an open question.
Oh, and one other thing: Qatar is due to host the world’s biggest sporting event, the World Cup, in 2022—unless the Saudis see that as a threat, too. ... mps-troops

Scott Dworkin‏Verified account
Photos: Donald & Ivanka Trump do extensive business with Qatari Gov't—Qatar Airways (fully owned by Qatari Gov't) US HQ was in Trump Towers.

Ivanka & Donald Trump Found Connected Directly To Terror Supporting Qatari Government
By Caleb R. Newton - June 5, 20170451

Well then. On Sunday in the Western world, news broke that a number of Arab countries had severed ties with the small Qatari monarchy, claiming that it supports terrorism. This move, which was quite drastic, with all travel between Qatar and neighboring countries cut off, diplomats expelled left and right, and citizens of Qatar asked to leave countries that aren’t Qatar, could be cast as a victory for the Trump administration.

The problem, however, is that it’s not clear if the Trump team is adept enough to realize that.

Trump, though, for what it’s worth, recently gave a speech in Saudi Arabia that called on the nations of the Arab world to put a stop to terrorism, and, well, this move could be easily perceived as a start.

Scott Dworkin of the Democratic Coalition Against Trump has pointed out something noteworthy in light of recent developments, however.

The Trump family has deep business ties to Qatar, with multiple news outlets running stories in 2015 about the fact that Qatar Airways has long rented space in Trump Tower to use as an American headquarters. Qatar Airways is owned by the government of the small Arabian peninsula nation.

Dworkin’s Twitter post making this acutely relevant observation is below.

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Photos: Donald & Ivanka Trump do extensive business with Qatari Gov't—Qatar Airways (fully owned by Qatari Gov't) US HQ was in Trump Towers.

— Scott Dworkin (@funder) June 5, 2017

The Qatari government has long been accused of supporting terrorism through turning a blind eye to the consequences of where their money ends up and through more explicit means.

For instance, ABC reports that American counterterrorism agents “were within hours” of capturing Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, an extremist who would go on to help plan the 9/11 terror attacks, when a member of the Qatari royal family tipped him off and he was able to escape.

Mohammed was captured in 2003 and is one of those currently being held in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Ironically, this whole thing is as much of a power struggle as it is a struggle over actual terror related issues, with Saudi Arabia having its own history of supporting terrorism but seeking to establish itself as a moderate superpower that is “above” the belligerent Iran. Qatar is allied with Iran.

In addition, Trump has actually already taken a substantive step to show Qatar special treatment, not including them in his repeated Muslim targeting travel bans.

Adding to the irony here is the fact that CNN reports the following: “The US’ biggest concentration of military personnel in the Middle East are located at Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base.”

It’s the nations of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives that have cut ties with Qatar, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson having announced American support for potential diplomatic talks to resolve the situation. ... overnment/
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Re: Yemen

Postby SonicG » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:46 am

Bring on the war of the Falcons!

"a poiminint tidal wave in a notion of dynamite"
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Re: Yemen

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:16 am

Aid Coordinator in Yemen Had Secret Job Overseeing U.S. Commando Shipments

A Houthi fighter guarding a shipment of humanitarian aid in Sana, the capital of Yemen, in 2015 as the country descended into civil war. Credit Khaled Abdullah/Reuters
WASHINGTON — An American kidnapped two years ago in Yemen while helping coordinate aid for Unicef and the Red Cross also had a second, secret role: He was shipping materials for elite military commandos under a clandestine contract his employer had with the Pentagon. The arrangement with Special Operations forces has never been made public.

The former hostage, Scott Darden, was the Yemen country director for Transoceanic Development, a New Orleans-based logistics company that specializes in transporting cargo to the world’s most dangerous hot spots. It belongs to a small group of firms that provide humanitarian aid to famine-stricken women and children at the same time that they help set up safe houses and supply networks for the military’s secret kill-or-capture commando units.

Mr. Darden’s work offers a rare look into the shadowy world of military contractors that operate in lawless war zones like Yemen, Somalia and Libya. But arrangements like the one Transoceanic had with Special Operations forces can cast suspicion over aid workers, potentially putting them in harm’s way, and can jeopardize humanitarian efforts in countries that depend on relief organizations.

“The bottom line is there aren’t a lot of companies willing and able to provide those kind of necessary services in a place like Yemen,” said Gerald M. Feierstein, a former ambassador to Yemen who in 2015 was the State Department’s second-ranking diplomat for Middle East policy, but who said he was not aware of Mr. Darden’s relationship with the military. “It’s not like you have people pounding down the doors for those contracts.”

Six former and current United States officials confirmed the military’s secret contract with Transoceanic, describing only its broad contours and only on the condition of anonymity because the details are highly classified. Spokesmen for the Pentagon and the military’s Special Operations and Central Commands, as well as Transoceanic, declined to respond to written questions, citing the matter’s classification. The Pentagon also refused to disclose details of the vetting that contractors undergo before they work with Special Operations forces overseas. Mr. Darden refused to answer questions about his ordeal or relationship with the American military.

This secretiveness has prompted some lawmakers to call for greater scrutiny of the military’s clandestine units. “There is not enough oversight, certainly from Congress,” said Representative Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, who is a former Marine officer and served four tours in Iraq.

It is not uncommon for the Pentagon or American spy agencies to rely on Americans such as Mr. Darden, 47, a Florida-born Muslim convert who speaks fluent Arabic, to ferry supplies and money around the world. As the head of Transoceanic’s operations in Yemen, Mr. Darden oversaw several dozen employees and offices in Sana, the capital, as well as in Aden and Hodeidah, two of the country’s most important ports.

But why Mr. Darden, a bespectacled, heavyset man before he was detained, risked venturing into to the maelstrom in Yemen was unclear.

By late 2014, chaos gripped the country. Houthi rebels allied with army units loyal to a former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, had seized the capital and sent the government into exile. The Houthis have been fighting for control of the country against groups at least nominally loyal to the current president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies.

As Yemen hurtled toward civil war, the United States shut down its embassy in February 2015 and evacuated its personnel in Sana because of safety concerns, hampering the American government’s efforts to conduct intelligence and counterterrorism operations in the country.

As Yemen became increasingly dangerous for foreigners, Mr. Darden, who split time between Yemen and Dubai, where his wife and young son lived, arranged the next month to fly to Sana. He had begun working for Transoceanic in November 2014, just a few months earlier.

Special Operations officials warned Mr. Darden not to go to Yemen, as did Sam Farran, a security expert working for Transoceanic and a former Marine who had worked at the United States Embassy in Yemen. His wife, Diana Loesch, said she did not understand why her husband had to rush back; Mr. Darden said his company needed him there.

But days after arriving, a panicked Mr. Darden called Mr. Farran, who had him taken to a safe house tucked away in one of the city’s warrens.

Gerald M. Feierstein in Sana in 2012 when he was the ambassador to Yemen. Mr. Feierstein was the State Department’s second-ranking diplomat for Middle East policy in 2015 but said he was not aware of Mr. Darden’s relationship with the military. Credit Yahya Arhab/European Pressphoto Agency
“He was scared,” Mr. Farran recalled in an interview. Unlike many in his field, Mr. Darden had no previous military or law enforcement experience.

Hours later, on March 27, Houthi fighters raided the villa and detained Mr. Darden and Mr. Farran on suspicion of being spies. They were among a handful of Americans swept up by the rebels as Yemen unraveled in 2015. One, John Hamen, an Army veteran from Virginia, was tortured and killed.

For months, Mr. Darden endured beatings and interrogations.

After word leaked on Facebook in September 2015 that Mr. Darden was being held captive in Yemen, a spokesman for Transoceanic issued a statement saying Mr. Darden “was in Yemen coordinating the warehousing and delivery of humanitarian aid as part of his job in international logistics.” No mention was made of his secret work with the military.

Later that month, after the men had been in captivity almost six months, prison guards knocked on Mr. Farran’s cell, asking for his shirt and shoe sizes. The brought him out of his cell and forced him to sit in a hallway, he said, where Mr. Darden joined him. They had been separated and saw each other only once during their imprisonment, Mr. Farran said.

“He looked pretty shabby,” Mr. Farran recalled. The men hugged and started crying.

The guards shaved the beards of the two men and brought them clothes. Mr. Farran recalled that guards started videotaping Mr. Darden, but he does not know what Mr. Darden said.

They left the prison and headed to the airport in Sana, where they boarded a Boeing 737 sent by the sultan of Oman, who served as a go-between to gain the Americans’ release. On the flight to Oman, Mr. Darden confided to his friend that he regretted what he had told the Houthis. Mr. Farran tried to comfort him by reminding Mr. Darden that he had been coerced. But, Mr. Farran said, Mr. Darden never told him about a relationship with the American military or why he had rushed back to Yemen.

Yemen has been one of the most active conflict zones for Special Operations forces in the post-Sept. 11 era. It is where the United States is battling hardened Qaeda fighters and where a member of the Navy’s SEAL Team Six died in January in the first commando raid approved by President Trump.

At the time Mr. Darden was captured, about 125 Special Operations advisers had been working closely with Yemeni military and counterterrorism forces. Those advisers and other clandestine operators relied on companies like Transoceanic for much of their logistical support.

The company says it delivers “vital cargo worldwide on time and intact for humanitarian relief, defense and peacekeeping missions, and reconstruction projects.” According to Transoceanic, the “world’s leading N.G.O.s, relief organizations, and governments rely on it.”

Mr. Darden also handled contracts with Unicef and the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to his LinkedIn profile and people familiar with his work in Yemen.

Anna K. Nelson, a spokeswoman for the I.C.R.C., said it was unaware of Mr. Darden’s relationship with the American military. Transoceanic had a six-month contract with the Red Cross that began in June 2014, according to Ms. Nelson.

“Transoceanic’s role was strictly related to the processing of standard paperwork,” she said. Transoceanic helped the Red Cross clear customs, serving as a middleman between the relief organization and Yemeni government ministries.

Najwa Mekki, a spokeswoman for Unicef, said the organization had contracted with Transoceanic through September 2016 “to provide warehousing services in Yemen,” but was not aware that the company was also helping supply the military.

“We would not enter into contracts that would create risks for Unicef operations or our personnel,” Ms. Mekki said in a statement.

The United States Embassy in Sana in 2014. It was shut down in 2015 and its personnel were evacuated because of safety concerns, hampering the United States’ efforts to conduct intelligence and counterterrorism operations. Credit Mohamed Al-Sayaghi/Reuters
Using the cover of humanitarian aid is fraught with serious risks, and the consequences can be deadly. In 2011, the news media revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency had hired a Pakistani doctor to run a vaccination campaign to obtain the DNA of Osama bin Laden. Afterward, health workers in Pakistan were attacked, and the C.I.A. said it would no longer use vaccine programs as cover.

Mr. Darden was born in Miami and grew up in Atlanta, later attending Georgia State University. Raised Catholic, Mr. Darden studied Arabic in Saudi Arabia in the late 1980s and early 1990s and eventually converted to Islam, his wife said.

He briefly worked at an Apple store in Charlotte, N.C., a decade ago, but starting with a job at Maersk, a transport and logistics company, in Kuwait, he developed deep ties to the world of military logistics and has traveled widely, including to Iraq and Afghanistan, Ms. Loesch said.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Darden worked for Wilhelmsen Ships Service from 2010 to 2012, when he oversaw the return of more than 40,000 American troops leaving Iraq through the ports of Aqaba, Jordan, and Umm Qasr, Iraq.

Mr. Darden had a quiet homecoming — no public welcome, no interviews. After reuniting with his wife and son in Oman, where the F.B.I. interviewed him — agents familiar with the case will not say what he told the agency — Mr. Darden spent time in Atlanta with his mother.

Ms. Loesch said her husband has talked little about what happened inside the Houthi prison. He never told her about his relationship with the military, she said, and withdrew after his abduction. “He was not really present,” she said a recent interview.

In April, after 15 years of marriage, Ms. Loesch said, she and her husband separated. He lives in Dubai with their son, now 11, works for a company called PAE as a logistics manager and travels extensively, she said.

“Scott is a man of many secrets,” she said. ... tagon.html
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