Evaluating Biden’s Yemen policy: Bait and switch

June 15, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgFeb. 7 — President Joe Biden seemed to announce an end to Washington’s complete support for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen last week, reversing Trump’s and even the Obama/Biden administration’s public policy. He called the war a “humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.” In his first presidential foreign policy speech on Feb. 4, Biden said, “We are ending all [U.S.] support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.” (whitehouse.gov) But he quickly added that Washington will continue to help Saudi Arabia to “defend its sovereignty and territory,” including selling the Saudis massive new high-tech weapons, for “defensive” purposes.  On Jan. 25, over 300 antiwar and humanitarian organizations worldwide called for an end to the Saudi war and highlighted the Western countries’ role as enablers of Saudi crimes in Yemen. “The war is only possible because Western countries — and the United States and Britain in particular — continue to arm Saudi Arabia and provide military, political and logistical support for the war . . . The Western powers are active participants and have the power to stop the world’s most acute human crisis.” (actionnetwork.org)What does Biden’s announcement mean for Yemen and for other countries in the Pentagon’s crosshairs, who are struggling to survive U.S. economic strangulation via sanctions?Biden seems anxious to change the perception of its role in the war in Yemen and disguise Washington’s strategy of using the reactionary Saudi monarchy to counter and attack the Iranian government. A look behind this maneuvering should ensure that no section of the antiwar movement, despite enthusiastic media and congressional applause, is taken in by Biden’s announcement.Washington led the warAccording to the Feb. 5 NY Times, “When Saudi F-15 warplanes took off from an air base in southern Saudi Arabia for a bombing run over Yemen, it was not just a plane and bombs that were American. American mechanics serviced the jet and carried out repairs on the ground. American technicians upgraded the targeting software and other classified technology, which Saudis were not allowed to touch. The pilot was likely to have been trained by the United States Air Force.“At a flight operations room in the capital, Riyadh, Saudi commanders sat near American military officials who provided intelligence and tactical advice, mainly aimed at stopping the Saudis from killing Yemeni civilians.”So, in reality the U.S. military directly collaborated in the many horrendous massacres Saudi Arabia’s armed forces committed during its ongoing war in Yemen. Every bombing run used targeting software, intelligence and tactical advice, which the Saudis were not even allowed to “touch.”The attacks included the publicized and universally condemned bombings of schools, school buses, hospitals, U.N. Aid Agencies and wedding parties. The bombing of Yemen’s civilian centers led to a cholera epidemic and famine. Biden’s announcement of U.S. support for the war in Yemen positions U.S. imperialism for continuing the war with protracted rounds of “negotiations.” Taking part in these negotiations would be Washington’s client regime in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies who backed this criminal war all along. Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution broke a major pillar of U.S domination of the region, only Saudi Arabia and Israel remain to uphold U.S. corporate power. Despite differences in how to proceed, Biden has no intention in letting U.S. support for the brutal Saudi regime slip.Yemen – a strategic crossroadsSaudi Arabia’s neighbor Yemen has a strategic location on the Bab el-Mandeb, the narrow strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Ships carrying fossil fuels must pass this choke point between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula to travel between the Persian/Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal to the SUMED pipeline. (tinyurl.com/y5zlnutr)Both Washington strategists and the totally corrupt Saudi royal family live in fear that a Yemeni government based on a popular nationalist movement could threaten Bab el-Mandeb and their domination. Despite six years of relentless bombing, use of antipersonnel bombs, U.S. naval blockade, economic sanctions and drone attacks, the U.S.-Saudi alliance has utterly failed to defeat the popularly based Ansarullah movement, also called the Houthis. As the Feb. 5 NY Times noted, “about 80% of Yemen’s population of 30 million people live in areas under Houthi control.”   The Ansarullah movementThe Ansarullah movement manages to administer a large area of Yemen, including the capital city, Sana’a and most population centers. The movement has grown and matured, from a radical uprising that began in northern Yemen against corruption, through numerous alliances, into a national insurrection demanding economic development and a democratic and nonsectarian government.In the 1990s, a mass resistance movement for change arose in opposition to Saudi Arabia’s intentionally divisive, sectarian influence in the region. Yemen has both Sunni and Shia Muslim population.Ansarullah was led by a political, religious leader, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, a member of Yemen’s Zaidi Shias, who make up about one-third of the population. Western forces named the movement after this leader, calling it the Houthis. Al-Houthi’s 2004 death did not lead to the movement’s defeat; his brother, Abdul Malik, remains a leader.This radical uprising, originally based in the Shia Muslim community of Yemen, gained broad support from the Sunni Muslim population. People saw Ansarullah as a popularly based movement against corruption and feudal reaction.In 2014, national anger erupted over an International Monetary Fund demand on the Yemeni government to implement an austerity plan and remove fuel subsidies, which raised the prices of food, water and mass transit. Mass protests overwhelmed the government in September 2014. The ranks of the military refused to act against the popular movement.In January 2015, a shaky coalition government collapsed when faced with the popular demand for a new constitution. A Revolutionary Council was declared. Then a National Salvation Government was more firmly established. In this period the two sides of the war in Yemen were formed. On one side, the Saudis, the monarchies and U.S. imperialism backed the unpopular regime headed by Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. In the U.S., British and EU media, this grouping was called the “internationally recognized government.” The “Republic of Yemen Government” had its base in Saudi Arabia. The ROYG is unable to govern any area of Yemen or hold any territory securely.  Its rotating cabinet has had numerous splits, changes and assassinations. There have been divisions between northern Yemeni commanders and the South Yemen Southern Transitional Force, who hold the port of Aden and have shifted alliances back and forth. Fighters aligned with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Islamic State group, who have often received U.S. and Saudi support in Syria and Iraq, have now moved into areas of South Yemen.In an effort to prop up and give legitimacy to the Hadi “government in exile,” multiparty negotiations were held in Stockholm, Sweden, and Geneva, Switzerland.Arrogant miscalculationsOn March 25, 2015, Saudi Arabia announced the beginning of military operations in Yemen to restore the overthrown Hadi government. The Saudi-U.S. strategists expected the operation to win quickly, lasting one month at most.A war coalition of more than 10 countries was hastily cobbled together by Saudi Arabia with full U.S. support. It included the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Pakistan, Morocco, Egypt, Sudan and Jordan.Two years into the quagmire, this reactionary coalition of monarchies and military dictatorships completely collapsed amid competing interests, infighting, backing different forces in Yemen and suffering humiliating defeats. Country after country withdrew their military forces.The war has turned into a disaster for Saudi Arabia and the U.S. They are hopelessly bogged down in an unwinnable war and faced with a dilemma.Airstrikes alone are incapable of defeating the Ansarullah armed insurrectionary movement. Sending ground troops into the north Yemeni highlands could lead to mutiny and collapse of the Saudi military. On the other hand, a complete Saudi withdrawal and victory of a radical uprising on the Saudi border could be a dangerous humiliation and highly contagious.In September 2019, missiles struck Saudi Arabia’s eastern oil fields of Abqaiq and Khurais, disrupting nearly half of Saudi oil production. The resistance movement openly claimed responsibility. Saudi Arabia and Washington refuse to acknowledge Ansarullah’s capacity to strike such a devastating blow. Instead, they have accused Iran of carrying out the attacks. And they blame Iran for supporting the Ansarullah insurrection, although Yemen is under complete naval blockade and has no common border with Iran. Lessons of Syria and AfghanistanWashington during the Obama-Biden Administration played a similar role in Syria. In 2011, a small uprising instigated by Washington received immediate support.There was great confidence that the Syrian government would not survive a month. A complete collapse was predicted. U.S. imperialist allies and corrupt Gulf monarchies signed on to an all-out effort to pull the Assad government down.  Negotiations involving an appointed government in exile took place for years in London, Geneva, Paris. The Syrian people rallied to oppose this imperialist takeover. More than 100,000 well-armed and financed mercenary and reactionary fighters were imported into Syria. From 2014, U.S. bombardment and U.S. bases and U.S. sanctions have continued the efforts. During the entire war, Washington’s politicians and other imperialist forces have claimed they are seeking a peace accord.In Afghanistan where U.S. war has ground on for 20 years, at every step the U.S. has promised a withdrawal — as soon as a stable government is in place or a negotiated peace agreement. Washington’s involvement in negotiations has never meant an end to war. It is just another form of continuing the war. Yemen’s Response to Biden“We consider any move that does not end the siege and aggression against Yemen as just a formality and do not pay any attention to it,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council said in a post published on his official Twitter page early on Feb. 6. “The U.S. decision to end its involvement [in the war] and command of the aggressor states is not enough. . . . Washington’s allies must also commit themselves to compensate victims, enact a package of measures to guarantee the sovereignty of Yemen, recognize its independence and legitimate right to self-defense, and consider any military action either by Arab or foreign states as a criminal act.”  Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, another member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, told Al Mayadeen TV news on Feb. 5 that “The war in Yemen ends once all airstrikes stop and foreign forces leave the country. . . . The United States may reduce its support for aggressor states without stopping it altogether.” Saudi Arabia – new U.S. basesU.S. Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for Central Command, said U.S. evaluation of a Red Sea port in Saudi Arabia and an additional two airfields began following the 2019 missile attack against the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities at Abqaiq, which was blamed on Iran. Currently, some 2,500 American soldiers maintain fighter jets and Patriot missile batteries at Prince Sultan Air Base southeast of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have continued joint military exercises in a show of force over the past six weeks. Biden said the purpose of his Feb. 4 remarks was to “send a clear message to the world: America is back” and that Washington will continue to help Saudi Arabia  defend its sovereignty and territory. This may well mean far greater involvement, not less.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Reliance chairman says India on path to renewable energy transition in next few decades

December 31, 2020 0 Comments

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:India will fully move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy in the next few decades, the chairman of Reliance Industries, operator of the world’s biggest refining complex, said on Monday.Reliance, which operates two giant refineries with a combined capacity of 1.4 million barrels per day in western India, aims to become a net zero carbon company by 2035.“India is in the right mindset to completely, in the next few decades, move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Be Atmanirbhar (self dependent),” Mukesh Ambani said at a book launch event on Monday.India, the world’s third biggest oil importer and consumer, ships in about 80% of its oil needs.Reliance Group, which works across the oil, telecom and retail sectors, aims to build up a mix of clean and affordable energy with hydrogen, wind, solar, fuel cells and battery power, Ambani told shareholders earlier this year.[Nidhi Verma]More: Reliance says India will fully shift to renewable energy in next few decades Reliance chairman says India on path to renewable energy transition in next few decadeslast_img read more

Webinar to explore real & predicted impact of data breaches

December 18, 2020 0 Comments

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Nicole ReyesExperts are expecting another busy holiday season for retail data breaches and financial sector cybersecurity incidents. When asked if he expects another major retailer breach in the next few weeks, cybersecurity investigative journalist Brian Krebs told CBS This Morning, “I don’t have any doubt.”To share fraud-detection learnings and best practices for minimizing financial losses related to a breach, TMG will present a complimentary webinar, “Year of the Data Breach in Rewind,” for financial institutions (FIs) on Tuesday, Dec. 9.During the hour-long event, I’ll provide insight on how Target and the myriad of breaches since continues to impact credit union and community bank card issuers. I’ll outline the methods TMG has employed to not only spot, but also predict – and, importantly, stop – attacks on consumer accounts stemming from stolen payment card data.Card fraudsters are bringing their A game. And they aren’t just after card data. They’re exploiting any kind of sensitive info they can access. Email addresses create more effective phishing campaigns; answers to security questions easily found on social networks can get them access to accounts via call centers. We’re looking at much more than payment fraud, and fortunately, consumers are becoming more aware of that. continue reading »last_img read more

Mets’ Jacob deGrom, Astros’ Justin Verlander win 2nd Cy Young Awards; Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu finishes 2nd

August 26, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgHyun-Jin Ryu’s elite season in 2019 will earn him millions of dollars this winter as a free agent. But it wasn’t enough to earn him the National League Cy Young Award.New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom was a near-unanimous choice for the award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, receiving 29 of the 30 first-place votes to win his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award. DeGrom is the 20th pitcher to win multiple Cy Youngs and the 11th to win it consecutively, joining Max Scherzer (2017-2016) and Clayton Kershaw (2013-14) as back-to-back winners in the past seven seasons.Ryu received the other first-place vote and finished second, ahead of the Washington Nationals’ Scherzer.Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander was awarded his second AL Cy Young Award, beating out teammate Gerrit Cole. Verlander got 17 first-place votes compared to 13 for Cole, who became a free agent after the season. DeGrom passed Ryu down the stretch by following the opposite route. After his first nine starts, deGrom had a 3.98 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Starting in late May, however, deGrom posted a 1.89 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over his final 23 starts, allowing two runs or fewer in 19 of those 23 starts. DeGrom capped his season with 23 consecutive scoreless innings.“I feel like I was trying to better what I did in 2018,” deGrom said of his slow start, adding “I think that was something I struggled with to start this year, was kind of dwelling on what happened last year. Kind of not focusing on the task ahead as much as I probably should have.”Ryu still finished with the best ERA in baseball (2.32). But deGrom was right behind at 2.43 and had better total numbers than Ryu in nearly everything else – WHIP (0.97), strikeouts (255), innings pitched (204), strikeouts per nine innings (11.25), FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), adjusted ERA (which compensates for ballpark) and WAR, finishing in the NL’s top four in each of those categories.Opposing batters found deGrom more difficult to hit than Ryu in terms of batting average (.207 to .234), on-base percentage (.257 to .263), slugging percentage (.323 to .359) and OPS (.580 to .622).“It was a dream to play this game and a dream to win one Cy Young,” deGrom said. “To win back to back was a goal. It’s hard to explain. You set these goals, but it almost doesn’t feel real yet.”Over the past 20 years, an ERA title has translated to a Cy Young Award in the National League just seven times – three times for Kershaw (2011, 2013-14) and twice for Randy Johnson (2001-02).The St. Louis Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty, a former Harvard-Westlake standout, finished fourth in the NL voting, just behind Scherzer and ahead of the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg. The Dodgers’ Kershaw and Walker Buehler each received some down-ballot votes, finishing eighth and ninth, respectively. Kershaw received one third-place vote and Buehler received one fourth-place vote.The 36-year-old Verlander won his first Cy Young in 2011 with Detroit, when he was also named AL MVP. Since then, he’d been a runner-up three times. Verlander is the 21st pitcher to win multiple Cy Youngs.“The adversity I went through puts a new perspective on everything,” he said. “I mean, still would’ve liked to have won a couple of them.”Verlander continued a marvelous second act to his career since a 2017 trade from Detroit to Houston. He led the majors with 21 victories and padded his Hall of Fame resume by getting his 3,000th strikeout in his final start of the regular season. He also reached 300 punchouts in a season for the first time.Verlander no-hit Toronto on Sept. 1, becoming the sixth pitcher with three no-hitters in a career. He joined a group that includes Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller and Cy Young, along with 1880s pitcher Larry Corcoran.The case between Verlander and Cole was tight. Cole, who starred at Orange Lutheran High and UCLA, had more strikeouts (326) and a lower ERA (2.50), but Verlander threw 10-2/3 more innings and won more games. They are the first set of teammates to finish 1-2 in AL voting – it’s happened five times in the NL.Verlander and Cole pitched Houston to the World Series, where Cole continued to dominate while Verlander faltered. The right-hander lost twice to the champion Nationals – a letdown not factored in voting that concluded before the postseason began.He’s hoping to take another run at a title – with Cole – next season.“I know that Gerrit had a great time playing here and I know he would like to return, if possible,” Verlander said. “But that is now on Gerrit and his family and people above me.”Tampa Bay Rays righty Charlie Morton finished third a year after leaving Houston in free agency. Cleveland’s Shane Bieber, a Laguna Hills High product who was named the MVP of the All-Star Game this summer, finished fourth.Ballots, submitted prior to postseason play, were cast by two writers in each league city, and the voters differ for AL and NL in cities with multiple teams. They are tabulated on a system that rewards seven points for first place, four points for second place, three points for third place, two votes for fourth place and one point for fifth place.News services contributed to this story. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img For much of the 2019 season, Ryu was a surprise frontrunner in the Cy Young race.The 32-year-old Korean left-hander had chosen to accept the Dodgers’ qualifying offer last winter, returning to the Dodgers on a one-year, $17.9 million contract rather than take his checkered medical record into free agency.Shoulder and elbow surgeries had limited Ryu to one start over two seasons in 2015 and 2016. A groin injury had limited him to 15 starts in 2018. Those 15 starts, however, turned out to be a sign of things to come – Ryu had a 1.97 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, both career bests, over 82-1/3 innings.The award was Ryu’s to lose in mid-August this season. The NL’s starting pitcher in the All-Star Game, Ryu had a 1.45 ERA – far and away the lowest in the majors – and a 0.95 ERA through his first 22 starts. He held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 20 of those 22 starts.Over his final seven starts, though, Ryu had a 5.40 ERA including 18 runs scored in 14-2/3 innings over a three-start stretch in August. That slump brought pitchers like deGrom, Scherzer, Jack Flaherty and Stephen Strasburg back into the Cy Young debate.last_img read more