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Tag Archive: Saudi Arabia


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Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a news conference in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia Creates Anti-Terrorist Coalition to Save Face in Mideast

© REUTERS/ Saudi Press Agency

Politics

14:09 21.12.2015

Recently, Saudi Arabia announced it was creating a coalition of Muslim countries to fight terrorism. Such a plan was initiated by Riyadh’s intention to restore its position in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s call to arms has gained supporters. As of now, 34 nations have expressed their interest in joining the anti-terrorist Muslim coalition Riyadh is forming.Among them are countries with a majority of Shiite or Sunni population, including Jordan, the UAE, Palestine, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Qatar, Yemen, Turkey, a number of African Muslim nations as well as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia. Another 10 nations said they would be ready to join the coalition in the future.

Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry Mohammad bin Salman did not elaborate on what measures would be taken against terrorists. He only said that a headquarters will be established in Riyadh to “coordinate military operations.”

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PressTV News Videos PRESS TV

Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:15AM
A tank operated by Saudi-led forces fires at a position of Yemeni fighters in the Labanat area, between Yemen's northern provinces of al-Jawf and Marib on December 5, 2015. (Reuters photo)
A tank operated by Saudi-led forces fires at a position of Yemeni fighters in the Labanat area, between Yemen’s northern provinces of al-Jawf and Marib on December 5, 2015. (Reuters photo)

A new report says mercenaries and military advisers from the infamous US security firm, formerly known as Blackwater, are replacing UAE troops in the Saudi war in Yemen.   

The Beirut-based al-Akhbar newspaper said on Thursday UAE forces are being gradually replaced by recruits from the US-based private military contractor, which now goes by the name, Acamedi.

The move came after the UAE evacuated some of its military sites in Yemen following its failures in several operations, the Lebanese daily added.

According to al-Akhbar, UAE’s move to involve the private military contractor in the Yemen conflict has raised objections among some members of the Saudi-led coalition.

On Wednesday, Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah news website said the commander-in-chief of Blackwater mercenaries in the country was killed in the al-Omari district of Ta’izz Province.

 

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Blackwater: Shadow Army

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Bombshell: The Turkish Assault on Russia’s SU-24 was Guided by the US Air Force

Turkey ambush su-24

Russia Insider reports that the ambush on the Russian U-24 bomber was guided by the US Airforce. In an interview with the Russian news agency Regnum, a Russian military expert said that “A US Air Force Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS plane took off on 24 November from the Preveza airbase in Greece. A second E-3A of the Saudi Arabian air force took off from the Riyadh airbase. Both planes were executing a common task—determining the precise location of Russian aircraft. It is they that picked the “victim.”

The American E-3A was supposed to determine the activity of the Su-24M2′s onboard targeting radar, to determine if it was in search mode or if it had already locked on to a target and was processing launch-data. It is known that the AWACS can direct the activity of aircraft in battle, conveying information to their avionics and flight computers.

The expert went on explaining the technical details of how the US and Saudi AF planes guided the Turkish F-16s to a sure missile launch in ‘target illumination’ mode, meaning that the radar was turned off as soon as the missile locket into its target.

This elevates the US-NATO war crime on Russia to an even higher level. The leaders involved in this heinous aggression should clearly be subjected to a Nuremberg style tribunal with all its dire consequences. Instead, hypocrite Obama in a side meeting of the Paris COP21 conference laments the event to President Putin, while still supporting Turkey in their right of self-defense.

What self-defense? – At the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, a week before the SU-24 downing, all conference members allegedly unanimously agreed to join forces in their fight against ISIS / Daesh. Therefore, even if the Russian bomber would have overflown Turkish territory – which according to Russian military monitors it did not – it would not have threatened Turkey at all, as they were, Russia and Turkey along with the other G20 attendees, on the same wave length: object eradicating terror in Syria.

Or were they really? – Or was this apparent commitment just another lie, as everything coming from the west is a lie, a deceit? – No agreement, no commitment is honored, no law is obeyed – the west under the leadership (sic) of Zionist-Washington has become a bunch of criminal rogue states.

 

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TASS Russian News Agency

Greek Defense Ministry confirms Russian Su-24M bomber was downed in Syrian airspace

December 02, 16:50 UTC+3

Asked which side Greece should take, as a NATO member, Greek Minister of National Defense Panos Kammenos said – “the truth”
© TASS

ATHENS, December 2. /TASS/. The Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber was brought down by the Turkish Air Force in Syrian airspace, Greek Minister of National Defense Panos Kammenos said in an interview to the Mega TV channel on Wednesday.

“The attack (on Su-24M) took place in Syrian airspace. This is beyond doubt,” he said. “The Turkish side knows that, otherwise Ankara would ask to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter, requesting the Alliance’s help.”

“This is undoubtedly a military action in the territory of another state,” Kammenos said. “But even more important point is the murder of the pilot, who was shot dead by members of the Turkish extremist group Grey Wolves.”

Asked which side Greece should take, as a NATO member, the minister said – “the truth”. “If Russia had violated Turkish airspace, we would support Ankara”, the defense minister said.

An F-16 fighter jet of the Turkish Air Force shot down Russia’s Su-24M bomber on Tuesday, November 24. Ankara claims the Su-24M bomber violated the Turkish airspace in the area of the border with Syria. However, Russia’s Defense Ministry has said the Su-24M plane stayed exclusively over the Syrian territory and “there was no violation of the Turkish air space.”

Turkey’s F-16 fighter that shot down the Russian Aerospace Forces’ Sukhoi Su-24M bomber was in Syria’s airspace for 40 seconds and went inside its territory by 2 kilometers, while the Russian bomber did not violate the Turkish state border, the commander-in-chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Viktor Bondarev, said on November 27. “In line with air defense means objective control materials, the Turkish plane was in Syria’s airspace for 40 seconds and flew two kilometres inside its territory, whereas the Russian bomber did not violate the state border of Turkey,” Bondarev said. He said the crew of the second Su-24 plane confirmed the launch of the missile from the F-16. After the combat employment at the mentioned target and left turn to 130-degree course “it observed on the left side of it flame and a tail of white smoke, which it reported to the flight operations director,” he said.

 

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Exclusive:

Saudi Warplanes Drop Cluster Bombs on Own Soil to Prevent Yemeni Forces’ Advances

Saudi Warplanes Drop Cluster Bombs on Own Soil to Prevent Yemeni Forces' Advances

TEHRAN (FNA)- Saudi Arabia’s warplanes are targeting the Southern parts of the kingdom with cluster bombs in a bid to stop the Yemeni army and popular forces’ continued and rapid advance deep into their territories.

Saudi Arabia has used cluster bombs many times before, but this is the first time that it is using it against its own population in a desperate move to stop the huge advances made by the Yemeni forces inside the kingdom in recent days.

The Yemeni army and popular forces have frequently crossed the border captured the Saudi military bases and outpost, ruined the military sites and returned home in the last few months and after the Riyadh-led coalition refrained from stopping its air raids on residential areas in Yemen’s cities.

But, after months of coalition intensified air raids on civilian areas, the Yemeni forces changed strategy and warned that they would start ground assaults on Saudi territories to force Riyadh stop the massacre.

The new strategy was put into effect on Sunday, when Yemen’s army and popular forces crossed the border and captured several key military bases in three provinces in Southern Saudi Arabia near the border.

The Yemeni forces seized Malhama, al-Radif and al-Mamoud military bases in Jizan, al-Rabou’a military base in Asir and Nahouqa military base in Najran provinces.

Then on Monday, the Yemeni forces took control of three more Saudi military bases in al-Shurfa region in Najran.

They also captured a military camp in Najran, and destroyed the military vehicles in there.

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Floating cars, people in boats: Havoc as Qatar, Saudi Arabia ravaged by heavy rains (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

© carolyn_redaelli
Cars floating in rivers that were once streets, water gushing through ceilings and people sailing to work on boats – that’s the current picture in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both desert countries, which should be dry and sunny for the whole year.

Qatar’s capital Doha was apparently unprepared for the deluge and flooding that damaged many buildings in the city. The area near the capital’s Hamad International Airport was hammered with around 66mm of rain in just a few days, according to the Qatar Meteorology Department. For the record, Doha has 75mm of rain on average a year.

 Many buildings at the multibillion-dollar airport failed to hold up to the torrent: pictures and videos on social media show water flooding into the passenger terminal.

Cascades of water fell from a ceiling inside Ezdan Mall in Doha, Doha News reported.

“Inclement weather” prompted the closure of schools across the country as well as the US Embassy in Qatar on Wednesday.

 

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Russia Insider logo

Russia Insider

Is This Real Life? Saudi Arabia Executes ‘Wizards’, But Condemns ‘Syrian Human Rights Violations’

A Saudi-proposed UN resolution expresses “outrage” at the worsening violence in Syria (fuelled by Saudi-backed extremists) that has left at least 250,000 dead

18 hours ago  

Obama greets a brave anti-wizard crusader
Obama greets a brave anti-wizard crusader

Close your eyes and think about “defenders of human rights”. What image bubbles up from your subconscious? If you answered “Saudi Arabia”, you probably represent one of the 115 countries that just passed a Saudi-proposed UN resolution condemning “Syrian human rights violations.”

Yes, Saudi Arabia —the oasis of human dignity where Harry Potter fans (widely considered the greatest dangers to world peace) are dealt with accordingly — is leading the fight against Syrian violence caused by Saudi-funded terrorists. Here are the terrible details:

A resolution presented by Saudi Arabia was adopted by a vote of 115 to 15, with 51 abstentions.

China, Iran and Russia were among the countries that voted against the measure that now goes to the full General Assembly.

The resolution expresses “outrage” at the worsening violence that has left at least 250,000 dead and displaced more than 12 million people. It stressed the need for accountability and encouraged the UN Security Council to take action, noting that the International Criminal Court (ICC) could play a role. An attempt last year to refer Syria to the ICC for war crimes was blocked by Russia, Syria’s ally, and China at the Security Council.

 

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the guardian

Cultural figures and human rights groups call for release of poet facing execution

Individuals and creative organisations join Amnesty International to demand Saudi Arabia overturn Ashraf Fayadh’s conviction for renouncing Islam

Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh
Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh is facing execution in Saudi Arabia for renouncing Islam, a charge he denies. Photograph: YouTube

Leading international cultural figures have joined human rights campaigners in calling for the release of Ashraf Fayadh, the Palestinian poet and artist facing execution in Saudi Arabia.

Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, historian Simon Schama, playwright David Hare, and Egyptian novelist and commentator Ahdaf Soueif are among the those calling for the death sentence imposed on Fayadh by a Saudi court last week to be overturned.

More than a dozen organisations for artists, writers, musicians and freedom of expression from the UK, North America and Africa – including Index on Censorship, literary association PEN International and the International Association of Art Critics – have also signed a joint statement condemning Fayadh’s conviction for renouncing Islam, a charge which he denies.

The statement, which will be delivered to the Saudi embassy in London on Friday, says: “We believe that all charges against him should have been dropped entirely, and are appalled that Fayadh has instead been sentenced to death for apostasy, simply for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and freedom of belief.”

Amnesty International launched an urgent action on Tuesday to lobby for Fayadh’s release, which denounced his lack of legal representation as a violation of international and Saudi law.

Schama said: “Anyone with a conscience should abhor the sentence and shun those responsible as inhuman.”

 

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Saudi Arabia executes 100th prisoner in 6 months

AFP Photo / STR
Saudi Arabia has beheaded a Syrian drug trafficker, rocketing the number of this year’s executions in the Kingdom to 100. This figure is already more than the 87 sentenced and put to death in the country during the whole of last year.

The execution took place on Monday in the northern region of Jawf. Syrian Ismael al-Tawm smuggled “a large amount of banned amphetamine pills into the kingdom,” the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement, as cited by AFP.

READ MORE: 89 in 5 months: Saudi Arabia continues executions

The man was sentenced to death according to the nation’s strict version of Sharia law, under which such crimes as murder, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking are punishable by death. Public executions are mostly conducted by decapitating the accused with a sword.

The 100th execution has surpassed the 87 recorded by AFP in 2014, but is still some way below the highest figure of 192, recorded by the human rights group Amnesty International in 1995. The watchdog has been scathing of the Kingdom’s human rights record, saying they “fall far short” of global norms.

“Almost half of the executions carried out so far this year have been for drug-related offences, which don’t fall into a recognized international category of ‘most serious crimes,’ and the use of the death penalty for such offences violates international law,” a statement on Amnesty International’s website read.

 

 

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ZeroHedge

Wednesday brought a veritable smorgasbord of “new” information about the Russian passenger jet which fell out of the sky above the Sinai Peninsula last weekend.

First there was an audio recording from ISIS’ Egyptian affiliate reiterating that they did indeed “down” the plane. Next, the ISIS home office in Raqqa (or Langley or Hollywood) released a video of five guys sitting in the front yard congratulating their Egyptian “brothers” on the accomplishment.

Then the UK grounded air traffic from Sharm el-Sheikh noting that the plane “may well” have had an “explosive device” on board.

Finally, US media lit up with reports that according to American “intelligence” sources, ISIS was probably responsible for the crash.

Over the course of the investigation, one question that’s continually come up is whether militants could have shot the plane down. Generally speaking, the contention that ISIS (or at least IS Sinai) has the technology and/or the expertise to shoot down a passenger jet flying at 31,000 feet has been discredited by “experts” and infrared satellite imagery.

But that’s nothing the CIA can’t fix.

With the Pentagon now set to deploy US ground troops to Syria (and indeed they may already be there, operating near Latakia no less), Washington is reportedly bolstering the supply lines to “moderate” anti-regime forces at the urging of (guess who) the Saudis and Erdogan.

Incredibly, some of the weapons being passed out may be shoulder-fire man-portable air-defense systems, or Manpads, capable of hitting civilian aircraft. 

 

 

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World | Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:11pm GMT

Reuters
Rescue workers carry the body of a Muslim pilgrim after a stampede at Mina, outside the holy Muslim city of Mecca, in this September 24, 2015 file photo.
Reuters/Stringer/Files

 

The deadly crush that occurred at the haj near Mecca last month killed at least 2,070 people, nearly triple the number accounted for in a death toll maintained by Saudi authorities, a Reuters tally indicated on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the disaster. Safety during the pilgrimage is a politically sensitive issue for the kingdom’s ruling Al Saud dynasty, which presents itself as the guardian of Islam and custodian of its holiest sites in Mecca and Medina.

The figure, based on information provided by the state and religious authorities and local media reports in the home countries of the victims, would make it the worst such catastrophe to befall the annual pilgrimage since 1,400 people were crushed to death in a tunnel in 1990.

Saudi officials have stood by their official counts of 769 dead and 934 injured, which have not been updated since two days after the crush. The healthy ministry has said any discrepancies in death tolls may stem from countries counting pilgrims who had died of natural causes.

 

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 POLITICO
151022_yemen_ap_1160.jpg
Sources inside the administration say they are struggling to keep in check the opposing sides in Yemen. | AP Photo

Obama officials at odds over Saudi airstrikes

Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes in Yemen, conducted with U.S. assistance,
are alleged to have killed at least 1,500 civilians, dividing members of the Obama administration over whether the U.S. risks being accused of abetting war crimes in a bombing campaign that could ultimately strengthen Islamist militants.

Sources inside the administration say they are struggling to keep in check
the opposing sides in Yemen, one of the clearest examples of the intensifying Saudi-Iran proxy war in the Middle East. But even as reports of civilian suffering and terrorist gains pile up, U.S. officials believe that reducing American support for the Saudis could make the situation even worse.

The White House does not want to anger Saudi Arabia, a vital, oil-rich ally already unhappy with President Barack Obama’s decision to pursue a nuclear deal with Iran. At the same time, what many hoped would be a short Saudi-led campaign against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who overthrew Yemen’s government, is now entering its eighth month with no end in sight.

“The White House is increasingly frustrated with the Saudis, and they’re trying to figure out how to handle it,” said one foreign policy expert familiar with the administration’s deliberations. Private conversations seem to be having limited effect, the source said, but “the U.S. is walking on such eggshells around Saudi when it comes to the public domain that they’re not willing to ramp up their public pressure.”

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Al-Qaeda’s Air Force: United States And Saudi Arabia

Anthony Freda Art

By Brandon Turbeville

It was evident early on that the US bombing of alleged ISIS targets inside Syria was, in reality, an attempt to support the terrorist organization backed by NATO and the US as opposed to an attempt to defeat it. While such a suggestion has been repeatedly labeled as a “conspiracy theory” by the mainstream media and other gatekeepers in the “independent” media, the fruits of America’s labor in terms of the bombing campaign cannot be ignored. Likewise, neither can the world ignore the results of Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen.

The truth is that the United States, NATO, and the GCC/Arab League are bombing in couched support of ISIS, increasing its gains and hold on power with every sortie fired. With this fact recognized, the NATO/GCC network of national governments can now officially be labeled as the Air Force of Al-Qaeda.

For instance, while the secular government of Bashar al-Assad remained the only force inside Syria actually fighting al-Qaeda and ISIS – terrorist organizations trained, funded, armed, and deployed by the United States, NATO, and the GCC – the brutality of these death squads was used by the Western propaganda machine to justify a bombing campaign that was actually directed at Syrian military and civilian infrastructure.

These strikes were launched against Syrian oil refineries (see here also), bridges, civilian neighborhoods, warehouses, agricultural centers, and grain silos. Others were made strategically against infrastructure that was set to soon be taken back by the Syrian military after long-fought battles with the terrorists.

 

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IN THE ISLAMIC CONCEPT of qadar, your divine destiny is inescapable. If you try to cheat death it will find you. For two women on a dusty road in mid-June on the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula, their repeated attempts to dodge fate ended in tragic failure.

Leaving the war zone of Yemen’s southern port city of Aden on June 10, the women headed north in a Toyota Cressida driven by a male relative. The pair were escaping the violence that had already turned entire streets in Aden to rubble, left hundreds dead and thousands of civilians under siege, struggling to find food, water and medical care.

Driving ahead of them was a family of four in a Hilux pick-up truck, slowing at the numerous checkpoints along the road and weaving around potholes in the asphalt. Between 4:30 and 5 p.m., seemingly from nowhere, the first missile struck. The Hilux flipped into a cartwheeling fireball, killing the two children and their parents inside.

Before the women in the Toyota had a chance to compose themselves an ominous whistle preceded a second missile, which smashed into the ground beside them and sent their car careering off the road into the dusty scrubland. Twice in the space of just a few minutes the women had stared death in the face.

 

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Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines

Why the U.S. Owns the Rise of Islamic State and the Syria Disaster

Posted on Oct 8, 2015

By Gareth Porter

An Islamic State militant waves his group’s flag as he and another celebrate in Fallujah, Iraq. (AP)

Pundits and politicians are already looking for a convenient explanation for the twin Middle East disasters of the rise of Islamic State and the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria. The genuine answer is politically unpalatable, because the primary cause of both calamities is U.S. war and covert operations in the Middle East, followed by the abdication of U.S. power and responsibility for Syria policy to Saudi Arabia and other Sunni allies.

The emergence of a new state always involves a complex of factors. But over the past three decades, U.S. covert operations and war have entered repeatedly and powerfully into the chain of causality leading to Islamic State’s present position.

The causal chain begins with the role of the U.S. in creating a mujahedeen force to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Osama bin Laden was a key facilitator in training that force in Afghanistan. Without that reckless U.S. policy, the blowback of the later creation of al-Qaida would very likely not have occurred. But it was the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq that made al-Qaida a significant political-military force for the first time. The war drew Islamists to Iraq from all over the Middle East, and their war of terrorism against Iraqi Shiites was a precursor to the sectarian wars to follow.

The actual creation of Islamic State is also directly linked to the Iraq War. The former U.S. commander at Camp Bucca in Iraq has acknowledged that the detention of 24,000 prisoners, including hard-core al-Qaida cadres, Baathist officers and innocent civilians, created a “pressure cooker for extremism.” It was during their confinement in that camp during the U.S. troop surge in Iraq 2007 and 2008 that nine senior al-Qaida military cadres planned the details of how they would create Islamic State.

 

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WWIII – Syria, Russia & Iran – The New Equation

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counterpunch

The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century

hillary-libya

On October 2 President Barack Obama, alluding to Russia’s decision to launch air strikes in Syria, told reporters at the White House that for Russia to view the forces targeted “from the perspective they’re all terrorists [is] a recipe for disaster, and it’s one that I reject.”

In other words, he was saying that Moscow is not (as it claims) really focusing on ISIL and the al-Nusra Front but on the anti-regime opposition in general, which supposedly includes “moderates.”

Never mind that Obama himself as well as Joseph Biden have on occasion pooh-poohed the existence of a moderate armed opposition that controls territory in Syria. Didn’t Biden say last year at Harvard that “there was no moderate middle [in Syria] because the moderate middle are made up of shop-keepers, not soldiers”?

And hasn’t it been shown that maps showing territory in the hands of the “Free Syrian Army” are the figments of propagandists’ imagination? The FSA has no coordinated command structure and its networks overlap those of groups that Washington would not normally define as “moderate” (unless it wanted to rehabilitate al-Qaeda, which having attacked the U.S. on 9/11 and supposedly the cause of all the—disastrous—post-9/11 U.S. military actions in the Middle East), has gradually become my-enemy-against-my-enemy and hence a new found friend.

 

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