Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Last Call For Yemen To Do That

Even I'm getting tired of the descriptions of the "scandal-free" Obama administration, because they screwed up badly in the foreign policy arena multiple times, and while you can definitely make the case that Syria was Obama playing the garbage hand of cards dealt by Assad, Iran, and Russia, the entirely of the disaster in Yemen is 100% his fault.

The number of people facing starvation in Yemen could rise to nearly 12 million as conflict intensifies around the port of Hodeidah, a vital aid delivery link, the World Food Programme told CNN Monday. 
A collapsing currency and deteriorating economic situation in the Middle East's poorest country are also aggravating the situation, the UN agency said. 
The WFP said 18 million people in Yemen already do not know where their next meal is coming from and eight million of those are "considered on the brink of famine." 
"Since June, some 570,000 people have had to flee their homes from fighting in Hodeidah, while the Yemeni riyal has undergone an alarming depreciation, and the cost of basic food items has gone up by a third since this time last year," WFP Yemen country director Stephen Anderson told CNN. 
"If this situation persists, we could see an additional 3.5 million severely insecure Yemenis, or nearly 12 million in total, who urgently require regular food assistance to prevent them from slipping into famine-like conditions," he said.

No, Trump has done everything possible to make the situation in Yemen worse by the day, with tacit permission for the Saudis to bomb the crap out of the place while selling Riyadh the weapons to do it with, but let's not forget that the disaster started on Obama's watch, like the December 2015 assassination attempt on anti-Emirati dissident Anssaf Ali Mayo, which now turns out to be a joint UAE/Saudi operation with US cooperation.

The operation against Mayo — which was reported at the time but until now was not known to have been carried out by American mercenaries — marked a pivot point in the war in Yemen, a brutal conflict that has seen children starved, villages bombed, and epidemics of cholera roll through the civilian population. The bombing was the first salvo in a string of unsolved assassinations that killed more than two dozen of the group’s leaders.

The company that hired the soldiers and carried out the attack is Spear Operations Group, incorporated in Delaware and founded by Abraham Golan, a charismatic Hungarian Israeli security contractor who lives outside of Pittsburgh. He led the team’s strike against Mayo.

There was a targeted assassination program in Yemen,” he told BuzzFeed News. “I was running it. We did it. It was sanctioned by the UAE within the coalition.”

The UAE and Saudi Arabia lead an alliance of nine countries in Yemen, fighting what is largely a proxy war against Iran. The US is helping the Saudi-UAE side by providing weapons, intelligence, and other support.

The press office of the UAE’s US Embassy, as well as its US public affairs company, Harbour Group, did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails.

The revelations that a Middle East monarchy hired Americans to carry out assassinations comes at a moment when the world is focused on the alleged murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia, an autocratic regime that has close ties to both the US and the UAE. (The Saudi Embassy in the US did not respond to a request for comment. Riyadh has denied it killed Khashoggi, though news reports suggest it is considering blaming his death on a botched interrogation.)

Golan said that during his company’s months-long engagement in Yemen, his team was responsible for a number of the war’s high-profile assassinations, though he declined to specify which ones. He argued that the US needs an assassination program similar to the model he deployed. “I just want there to be a debate,” he said. “Maybe I’m a monster. Maybe I should be in jail. Maybe I’m a bad guy. But I’m right.”

And yes, I realize the timing on this revelation is absolutely dogpiling on the Saudis when they're already in trouble for assassinating people, but it doesn't change the fact that it happened, the Obama administration knew about it, and the US was happily helping the UAE and the Saudis destabilize Yemen to the point where now the place is a humanitarian disaster that may actually eclipse Syria in scope.

I fully understand the Republicans are going to be worse in every aspect given any chance and I'm sure when the dark history of the Trump regime's operations in Yemen become public, it will be far more gory...but I'm also getting bone weary of defending, you know, targeted assassinations by paid mercs, which is pretty much the legal definition of war crime and should be investigated as such.

Sigh.  I know, the Trump regime isn't going to open so much as a can of beer over this, let alone a DoJ investigation, not unless they can use it to lock up Obama, Kerry, and Clinton over it, but it doesn't make it right.

Of course, it's a moot point, because Republicans will think big manly Trump is sending US mercs to kill those people and that's "awesome".

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