UN’s Decision on Yemen Offers No Solutions

“Two thousand people have been killed and there is more than half a million displaced people, since March.” Yemen is the poorest country in the region and one of the poorest countries in the entire world. The conflict between Rebel forces and loyalist fighters still continues, but the increasing of these confrontations between those two groups have increased since the UN peace talks have been indefinitely postponed.

Hopes for a political solution to the conflict since March fade as violence continues in Yemen’s third city, Taez

A decision making which is correlated with the decision of the exiled president Hadi, who demands Al Houthis withdraws from cities before being allowed to participate. The problem in this difficult aspect is that this decision which has been made by the UN has restarted the attacks. The violence continues in Yemen’s third city, Taez where Shia Houthi rebels bombarded several districts with rocket and tank fire.

“There’s a real massacre going on in Taez, the city that spearheaded the revolt” against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who now supports the Houthis, one resident said.

The real threat is that with each day pass, the struggle in Yemen becomes more and more difficult to resolve and reach the peace. That decision to postponed peace talks, in Geneva on 28 May, suppose the increasing of civilian people dead, displaced persons, the increasing of famine and the destabilization of this poor country that it will last many years until it recovers all their economical, demographical and political loss. Yemen is not an influential country and it has no power in the international community, as we have seen there is a coalition of nine countries to fight against the Houtis rebels but the truth is that the only country that has intervened in this issue it has been Saudi Arabia. The main reason of this intervention is because it makes border with this country and this could be a threat for its own interests and national security. But it seems that the UN and the exiled president do not see what it is really happening. In recent months Yemen has descended into conflicts between several different groups, pushing the country “to the edge of civil war”, according to the UN’s special adviser.

Map by Louis Martin-Vézian and Evan Centanni.

Yemen is in the grip of its most severe crisis in years, as competing forces fight for control of the country. The Houthis are an opposed group to al-Qaeda who has had a great influence and power in these last years in the Arabian Peninsula. So, as the Houthis are fighting also with Yemen´s al-Qaeda to gain ground and they have reached important victories such as the significant stretches of ground in Radaa, a district in al-Bayda governorate and a traditional stronghold of al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, who is a roving Middle East correspondent for Al Jazeera said: “The Houthis say they will continue their fight until al-Qaeda is defeated or evicted from these areas.”

The Houthis say they will continue their fight until al-Qaeda is defeated in its strongholds [EPA]

At this point my dears readers I leave you a question that whoever at home, in his cars, offices etc. can answer as you think and want. The poorest intervention and implication not just of the Arabs countries that can be affected for this conflict but the international community too, could be explained for the positive aspects that the slaughter between the Houthis and al-Qaeda members represent? Taking into account that al-Qaeda has practically no more power and influence after the defeats against this rebel group.

U.S. Drone Strike Kills leader of Al-Qaeda who claimed the responsibility of the paris Attacks.

Nasser Bin Al Al-Ansi, the leader of the Yemeni Al-Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula (AQAP) branch has been killed by some US drones. The drones in 2014 killed more than a hundred AQAP leaders and militants.

Al-Ansi

Al-Ansi

Al-Ansi was born in October 1975 in Ta’iz Yemen, in 1997 he was returned to his home country Yemen, and then proceeded to Afghanistan where he joined Al-Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden personally selected Al-Ansi for an intense training course in Afghanistan. Just after he had been freed from jail during a prison break in Al Mukalla, Yemen.

The AQAP was founded by Saudi and Yemeni Al-Qaeda wings in 2009, it is seen as the most dangerous branch of the global terrorist network of Al-Qaeda because of its number of responsibilities for takes on western targets.

The brain behind the moves of Al-Qaeda is the person who projected the Charlie Hebdo bloodbath in Paris on the 7th of January 2015.

This attack resulted in 16 deaths and many other people wounded, the attack was revenge for the French journalist drawing images of the Prophet Mohammed.

SITE, an international Intelligence Agency has reported that the leader who “claimed” the attack of Charlie Hebdo has been killed; these are his words: “As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we…claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the Messenger of God,”

One week after the tragic terroristic attacks, Al-Ansi had declared through a video: “the leadership of Al-Qaeda have selected the target, planned the attack and financed the operation”.

A U.S. official confirmed that Al-Ansi was dead, but would not say whether his death was the result of a drone strike. However according to an online video statement from an AQAP it confirmed he was dead. It is clear that he is dead but it is not certain when he was killed by the drone strike.

Al-Ansi has also claimed the group was responsible for killing Luke Somers following a botched U.S. raid in December 2014 according to MBC news. He also in previous videos had advocated that future jihadists not to head abroad and wage war in their home countries.

The U.S government have been using drones since Obama came into power, he promised policies to reduce war and the number of men being shipped to Afghanistan. Instead he has used an increased amount of drones that resulted in the death of Al-Ansi and many more Jihadists within the Middle East.

The killing of Al-Ansi has been a big achievement for the US government as he is the second senior AQAP leader to be killed recently. However Al-Qaeda is a forever growing organization launching hundreds of attacks every year.

Use of Drones in Yemen from 2002 until 2015

Use of Drones in Yemen from 2002 until 2015

‘Obama apologises for accidental drone strike deaths’

On the 23rd April 2015 Obama held a press conference in the White House to publicly apologise for the drone strike in January that resulted in the death of an American and Italian who were held hostage in an Al Qaeda sanctuary in Northern Pakistan.

The official goal of the mission was achieved by killing Ahmed Farouq who was a well-known leader of the terrorist group Al Qaeda. The two men killed were American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giovanni Lo Porto.

“Despite hundreds of hours of surveillance, the White House said it had no reason to believe the US and Italian hostages were being detained in the Al Qaeda compound targeted during the operation”

This apology was not necessarily anticipated by the general public both in the US and Italy as it is unusual for the US government to “disclose information”. There are questions currently being raised as to why Obama has felt the need to “take full responsibility” for these deaths. This is potentially to increase transparency and public knowledge of the current situation of drone strikes and attacks. However critics are questioning the timing due to the citizenship of the victims involved. There are further criticisms because the apology was a result of the death of individuals from the Western world.

Obama appears to prefer the use of drones to minimise the casualties of US troops oversees. Since 2008 Pakistan (see graph below) has been the main target for US drones. Obama has previously had support for the use of drones from both the Democrats and Republicans.

Source: New York Times

Source: New York Times

Giovanni Lo Porto was an Italian aid worker who was abducted while working in Pakistan to improve the quality of drinking water in 2010. Warren Weinstein was a “contract worker for the US agency for international development”

Reactions to what happened:

  • Mira Esposito a colleague of Lo Porto said “I do not know what happened and why he was killed. I would like to know more. We miss the people we know, but many more are killed for no reason from a distance by just pushing a button”
  • An investigator from Amnesty international: “Obama’s statement is really moving,” “and we welcome that, I welcome the fact that he has done that” But he added “there are hundreds, potentially thousands of others who deserve the same apology”
  • Elaine Weinstein criticises the US government for “inconsistent and disappointing” assistance during her husband’s captivity. “But they failed to take action earlier in his captivity when an opportunity presented itself”

It is clear that both the family and friends are devastated by the events and are critical of the use of drones by the US government.

Obama attempted to show remorse and transparency with this apology however there is a back log of criticism that follows this recent press conference because a presidential apology is so rare.

Inside Story: The so called Syrian Opposition

The Syrian Opposition is a false freedom force, whose members are brainwashed into a lie. When it comes to speak about the Syrian Opposition, one of the first things that we might think about is the Syrian National Council, which was created by Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France, UK, US etc. This works as its political wing but what we should focus about is their armed group usually referred as the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The reality is completely different than what media Arab channels are showing, just like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, which are indeed run stated media controlled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, same countries supporting with tons of daily weapons, financially and logistically the armed group FSA.

FSA coat of arms

FSA coat of arms

It’s important to recognize that after the first period of riots in Syria, the FSA was composed by a really short number of defectors and lots of radical Muslims from all over the world inspired by other extremist Muslims to join a fictional jihad in Syria, the way to recruit was simplythrough videos on YouTube, on online Muslim forums, through social media such as Facebook or Twitter, just like happened recently in Libya, the links between this so called FSA and the terrorist groups such as AL Qaeda, Ashabaab and Jabhat alNusra cannot be hidden any longer, shown at any moment by the traditional black flag – Laa ilaha ila lah/ There’s no god but Allah – their constant violent actions against civilians and killing and slaughtering those who do not believe in their religion.

It is important to remind that Al Qaeda has been created by the CIA, who created them to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, so that the soviets would not take control over the country giving a geo-strategical advantage against the U.S.

American, British and Turkish agents are supplying weapons to the FSA violating international law, all of this information has been acquired due to the constants clashes where large quantities of weapons and fighters are being sized.

Recent reports have indicated that British, American and French Special Forces have been actively training members of the FSA, from a base in Turkey. The training is also taking place in Libya and Northern Lebanon.

That is the democracy and freedom that the FSA and their western allies are bringing to Syria, a country which was widely known for its tolerance to any religion, cohabitating peacefully for centuries as neighbors, because as Syrians say, they are first Syrians than Jews, Christians or Muslims.

It’s becoming more and more clear that the intentions from the west over Syria is nothing but controlling the region and to create a weak balance in the whole middle east, if Syria falls the next one on the western agenda will be Iran.

It’s never been about democracy or freedom in Syria, it’s always been as in the rest of the other Arab countries, all about controlling geo-strategical points in the region so the superpowers can assure their supply of natural resources, just like natural gas and oil, besides being closer to their potential enemies, such as China and Russia.

http://www.aljazeera.com/category/organisation/free-syrian-army

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2013/10/future-free-syrian-army-2013105155250560782.html

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/10/free_syrian_army_con.php

http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/The-Free-Syrian-Army-24MAR.pdf

Syrian rebels: terrorists or freedom fighters?

A Syrian rebel prepares to advance against government troops in Azaz. (Manu Brabo / Associated Press)

The question of “whether or not the Syrian rebels should be supported” is highly controversial. This is because there is evidence that the rebel forces have been infiltrated by members of dangerous organizations who could alter the initial democratic goals with radical Islamic elements which are highly criticized in the West.

The Syrian population took to the streets to call for political reform and freedom from the corrupt government of President Basar Al Assad, having been inspired by the successes of their neighboring countries. The government used brutal force thus triggering a violent response from the people. The country quickly descended into civil war. This led to major socio-politico-economic problems for both Syria and the international community because of the constant exchange of population and the dangers that armed, leaderless groups posed to border security.

Different political analysts and governments have expressed increasing concerns over whether or not the rebels should be supported in their fight against Assad’s oppressive regime. However, the Syrian government has classified the rebels as terrorists from the beginning of the conflict. Other governments who support the Assad regime, such as Iran, have done the same. This is because the rebels fit the definition of terrorists, according even to Western standards. These states also argue that foreign extremist groups and fighters have joined with the rebels in an attempt to gain political advantages with the future regime. Initially, these accusations were dismissed by the international community as an attempt on the Assad Regime’s behalf, to justify the brutal measures taken against peaceful protesters. When the armed conflicts started, they were seen by the international community as a repetition of the events in other Arab countries during the Arab spring; countries that have opposed their oppressive regimes with force like Libya.

However, having monitored the situation in Syria for the past two years, some rebel actions have seemed unorthodox like: intentionally attacking Syria’s neighbors Turkey and Lebanon to trigger an international response or the desecration of the shire of the revered Shiite figure, Hojr Ibn Oday. More recently, UN officials have accused the rebels of using banned chemical weapons in their struggle against the regime whereas U.S. and U.K. intelligence services suggest that the Damascus regime is responsible.

As such, there are increasing concerns that the rebels have been compromised by Islamist extremism. There is even evidence that members of al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations such as Jabhat al-Nusra have infiltrated the rebels. Jabhat al-Nusra’s leader, Al-Amir Gazi al-Haj, did confirm the participation of his organization in Syria, but stressed the nature of their intentions as being pure and honorable. This brings the spread of Islamism extremism among the rebels who were fighting for democracy. The NY Times issued an article pointing out the problems with The Supreme Military Council and the Leaders of the different rebel groups, there are some influential people who “seek to infuse the future Syrian Government with Islamic law”, which is highly controversial and criticized in the Western world. The Supreme Military Council is the organization that is supposed to unite and control the rebels in Syria. If its initial democratic goal is compromised by non-democratic principles then the war struggles and the lives lost would have been in vain.

In this case, the US, who has recently reconsidered the idea of supplying weapons to the rebels, and its allies actually have a tough decision to make. This is because whoever wins, Syria will still be a problem in the future. The Assad regime is already known for its anti-Israeli and anti-American positions and supporting the rebels may be counterproductive if the rebels actually have ties with the Taliban, Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah, because it would mean that the US is arming its own enemies and the terrorist organizations will have sympathizers within the new Syrian government for having fought alongside them in the war.

By: Isabel Elena Esteban

Alexandru Movila

Giovanni Baldoni

Hurkan Karas.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Last Monday 7th of May, 32 Yemenis militants were assassinated by Al Qaeda on two army posts in the south of Yemen in response to the previous murder of an Al Qaeda leader Fahd al Qasaa by US soldiers and the Yemenis Government. In the attempt of protecting the international community and civilian populations from being gravely and massively killed, military forces are contributing to the universal chain of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

Since human beings exist, we are experiencing the exercise of lethal military force against people with the same lethal force intentions. One example of this group of people are terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, whose main aims are not understandable in terms of civic-mindedness. Producing widespread fear, embarrassing or weakening government security forces or attempting to influence government decisions, legislation or other critical decisions are without any doubt an excuse to commit such massacres or genocides –characteristic of Al Qaeda, which acts normally with a high number of victims.

The most recent happenings of the chain of disputes between military forces coming from both Yemen and the United States took place last September, when Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-US citizen linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and accused for plotting abortive attacks on US targets, was killed in a drone attack. The US president Barack Obama described it as a “significant milestone”.

In April, the United Statesmilitia ended Muqbel Said al Omda’s life. Omda was the chief financial officer of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and was also accused to participate in the attack against the US warship USS Cole in 2000 –where 17 marines came to death. The financial officer formed part of a US authorities’ list of the most wanted terrorists.

Four days after it, on Sunday the 6th, another Al Qaeda leader Fahd al Qasaa was killed in a drone attack by the United States army in Al Rafd (Yemen). Al Qasaa was killed together with two of the fighter’s bodyguards when two missiles slammed near his home. Al Qasaa, also called Abu Hazifa al Yemeni, was the Al Qaeda leader in Yemen since 2009. He had already been accused for participating in the attack on USS Cole in 2000 and condemned to prison for 10 years. But one year after entering in prison, he managed to escape. Like Omda, al Qasaa was one of the most wanted terrorists in US authorities’ lists.

Last Wednesday, 2nd of May, in the first anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death, 13 Al Qaeda militants were killed by US soldiers during a special mission of the US army. The anti-terrorist policy adviser of the US Administration, John Brennan, defended the legality of the use of drones:
“We do not seek revenge. In fact, we use specific white attacks because they are necessary to mitigate the threat posed to prevent attacks, prevent the development of strategies and save American lives” declared Brennan.

These quarrels against terrorists have the purpose of protecting populations from being killed, which may sound totally coherent. But these continuous disputes between international military forces and terrorist organizations are beginning to become a constant chain of murders with no ethical response. We have questioned ourselves if such reciprocal attacks indeed seek to bring peace and justice. Besides, is it absolutely necessary and, certainly, ethical to kill some people in order to save other people from dying?

Our dilemma on this issue is if the responsibilities of the international community to protect civilian populations whose human rights are being gravely and massively violated actually pass the barrier of exaggeration. And if protecting human lives from terrorism has to imply the imperative use of violence in these massive clashes, which result in millions of deaths, of which the population generally does not know about. Setting priorities is a relevant concern in these cases. In our minds, giving priority to the security of the international population is without a doubt the best option. Though, we think that this has gone too far. Someone should put an end to these disputes, taking into account that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (US Declaration of Independence 1776, Second Paragraph).

Angela Gutierrez Moreno,
Linn Andersson,
Danira Milosevic
& Jesus Alcantara Landa

Halt in French Election at Gun Point

After a 10 day rampaige by a gunmen who is now known to be Mohamed Merah, taking place in south-western France, a sniper was finally able to take him down in Toulouse. Merah was a 23-year-old unemployed Frenchmen, who was a convicted juvenile delinquent, and confessed to police that he trained in Pakistan with al-Qaeda. Although he has been under surveillance for years now, it did not stop him from killing four French soldiers, three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school. Among many other questions, a big one is, how could this have happened even though a close eye was on Merah? With this happening just a month before the first round of the presidential elections, people want answers, and they want them now.

The way the candidates and current president, Nicolas Sarkozy who is running for a second term, reacted to this crisis was crucial in regards to their campaign. Sarkozy personally visited Toulouse to extend his condolences to the families of the diseased. Coming in roughly second in the polls as of now, Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande, suspended his campaign as well as Marine Le Pen, who is a far-right candidate. However, Le Pen was the first to retract the halt of her campaign, which naturally met with negative feedback. Francois Bayrou, who is currently ranked in fourth place, did not suspend his campaign, and instead attacked his fellow candidates about their anti-immigrant stance and comments that were made in the past. Although Sarkozy took a strong stance on trying to keep the flow of immigrants into France to a minimal, there are millions of immigrants that make up their population.

Peter Wilkinson from CNN wrote on March 22nd:

“Sarkozy must tread warily: a year ago he oversaw the ban on Islamic veils in public but he is aware there are six million Muslims in France, Half of them from North African former colonies, and he is careful to say few of them are radical.”

As of now, Sarkozy has a slight boost in his campaign because of the recent shootings because the way he has handled the situation. Although, Wilkinson writes, “The crisis could yet have a negative effect on Sarkozy though, with the far-right saying that the government had failed to protect French people from Islamic fundamentalists.” Also the question which was brought up by his fellow socialist candidates, why did it take more than 30 hours to kill the gunmen? This and other questions like it can have a negative effect in the long run for the current president’s campaign.

When is comes down to it, this tragedy that has changed the lives of many people for the worse, has been reduced to a political move for the current president and potential candidates. Yes, it is true that it does matter how these people who may be running the country of France react in times of crisis such as this. However, it is disrespectful to the families of the people who were lost in this disaster when they use this situation to make political gain or negative jabs at opponents. Even though this may sway the peoples vote and outlook on the current candidates, there are still other huge issues at hand such ad the economic crisis and unemployment rates.

By: Crystal Blankenbaker, Irina Czakó, Ksenia Solovyova and  Juliana Milanesio