U.S. Still Servicing Saudi Warplanes That Are Bombing Yemen

(ANTIWAR.COM) — The Biden administration has finally clarified the extent to which it is still supporting Saudi Arabia’s military in Yemen. In comments to Vox, Pentagon officials admitted that the US is still maintaining Saudi Arabia’s warplanes by using contractors. The US could cancel the contracts at any time, which would effectively ground the Saudi Air Force, ending the vicious bombing campaign that has been raging since March 2015. “The United States continues to provide maintenance support to Saudi Arabia’s Air Force given the critical role it plays in Saudi air defense and our longstanding security partnership,” a Pentagon spokesperson told Vox over the weekend. The maintenance is done through the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales program, which means Saudi Arabia pays the US to provide contractors that can maintain the warplanes. The admission comes over two months since President Biden said he was ending support for Riyadh’s “offensive” operations in Yemen. Vox reporter Alex Ward asked Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Monday if the planes that the US is servicing could be used for offensive operations in Yemen. Kirby admitted that the “maintenance support for systems could be used for both” offensive and defensive operations. Biden’s special envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, claimed to Congress last week that he was

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Biden Bombs Syria and Claims Self Defense

(CJ Opinion) — On orders of President Biden, the United States has launched an airstrike on a facility in Syria. As of this writing the exact number of killed and injured is unknown, with early reports claiming “a handful” of people were killed. Rather than doing anything remotely resembling journalism, the western mass media have opted instead to uncritically repeat what they’ve been told about the airstrike by US officials, which is the same as just publishing Pentagon press releases. Here’s this from The Washington Post: The Biden administration conducted an airstrike against alleged Iranian-linked fighters in Syria on Thursday, signaling its intent to push back against violence believed to be sponsored by Tehran. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the attack, the first action ordered by the Biden administration to push back against alleged Iranian-linked violence in Iraq and Syria, on a border control point in eastern Syria was “authorized in response to recent attacks against American and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats.” He said the facilities were used by Iranian-linked militias including Kaitib Hezbollah and Kaitib Sayyid al-Shuhada. The operation follows the latest serious attack on U.S. locations in Iraq that American officials have attributed to Iranian-linked

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Controversy as Saddam Hussein's daughter appears on TV

The appearance of the eldest daughter of the later Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on Al Arabiya TV caused a diplomatic crisis between Baghdad, Riyadh and Amman, regional media reported yesterday. Raghad Saddam Hussein appeared with Sohaib Charair on a programme aired by Saudi satellite channel Al Arabiya, saying it is possible for her to play a role in Iraqi politics. Following the show, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned the Jordanian and Saudi ambassadors to protest against Raghad’s appearance on TV. Raghad has lived in the Jordanian capital Amman since 2003, when the US invaded Iraq and ousted her father. Charair asked Raghad if she intended to play a more direct role in Iraqi politics soon. She replied: “Everything is possible.” She slammed Iranian interference in the region, noting that “the Iranians violated Iraq after the absence of a real power.” هل من دور سياسي كانت تمارسه النساء في أسرة #صدام_حسين أثناء حكمه؟ #رغد_صدام_حسين حصريا للعربية#العراق@RghadSaddam@sohaibpic.twitter.com/BKCOGif4Pi — العربية برامج (@AlArabiya_shows) February 15, 2021 READ: Iraq’s Muqtada Al-Sadr warns of looming normalisation with Israel

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PA condemns Israel plan to expand 4G to 95% of West Bank

Palestinian Authority (PA) yesterday condemned Tel Aviv’s decision to allows Israeli cellular companies to expand their 4G services to 95 per cent of the area of the occupied West Bank, ignoring international laws and the legitimate rights of Palestinians, Wafa news agency reported. In a statement, PA Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, Ishaq Sider, said that his ministry is closely following up on this matter with the relevant authorities, including the International Telecommunication Union and the International Quartet’s office. He said that his ministry is going take the issue to international courts “to put an end to this blatant transgression, through which the Israelis aim to destroy the Palestinian economy and the Palestinian telecom companies that would prevent the development of the Palestinian technological sector.” “While the Palestinians are still deprived until today of 4G and 5G services, the Israeli government continues to impose a fait accompli on the ground and in cyberspace, which we consider a violation and theft of the Palestinian people’s resources.” According to the statement, the minister stressed that “this grave aggression is not the first by Israel and that it is part of an Israeli policy that aims to dominate the Palestinian airwaves and

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Biden Ends US Support for Saudi “Offensive Operations” in Yemen

UPDATE: [embed]https://youtube.com/watch?v=j9lLsh1E2C0&feature=oembed[/embed] (ANTIWAR.COM) — President Biden will announce an end to US support for Saudi Arabia’s offensive operations in Yemen during a foreign policy speech on Thursday afternoon, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said. Sullivan said President Biden “is going to announce an end to American support for offensive operations in Yemen. That is a promise he made on the campaign that he will be following through on. But he will go further than that, he will talk about the US taking a more active and engaged role in the diplomacy to bring an end to the conflict in Yemen, and that will include the naming of a special envoy.” Biden is expected to name Timothy Lenderking, a veteran diplomat, as US envoy to Yemen who will work to end the conflict between the Saudis and the Houthis. The president will make the announcements as part of a broader foreign policy speech. While announcing Biden’s plan, Sullivan said it would not include US operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). “It does not extend to actions against AQAP,” he said. “It extends to the types of offensive operations that have perpetuated a civil war in Yemen that has

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World leaders voice shock, concern over events in US

World leaders reacted with shock and dismay to the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of US President Donald Trump, protesting congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory, Anadolu Agency reports. “Shocking scenes in Washington, D.C. The outcome of this democratic election must be respected,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Twitter. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the events “disgraceful” and said the US “stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.” Criticized for a belated reaction, after midnight local time French President Emmanuel Macron posted a video on Twitter, describing the scene of violence in Washington, D.C. as “not American.” “We believe in the strength of our democracies. We believe in the strength of American democracy,” he added. READ: Trump’s incitement led to the chaos on Capitol Hill, but democracy must prevail “I am following with concern the news that are coming from Capitol Hill in Washington. I trust in the strength of America’s democracy,” said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. “The new Presidency of Joe Biden will overcome this time of tension, uniting the American people.” German Foreign Minister Heiko

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'One state is a game changer': A conversation with Ilan Pappe and Awad Abdelfattah on the one democratic state campaign 

As the US ruling elites have fully succumbed to Israel’s political discourse on Palestine, the Israeli government of right-wing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may feel that it, alone, is capable of determining the future of the Palestinian people. This conclusion is, perhaps, gleaned from Israel’s behavior in recent years and months. The expansion of illegal Jewish settlements, the plan to annex large swathes of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the entrenching of the existing system of apartheid and perpetual colonialism are all evidence that demonstrates Israel’s renewed sense of empowerment. Israel is further emboldened by the fact that the so-called ‘international community’ has, thus far, failed to challenge American and Israeli intransigency. The European Union, which is fighting for its own identity, let alone survival, is proving to be a marginal force in Israel and Palestine. Without American guidance, the EU seems incapable of leading its own independent initiatives. Moreover, the lack of an alternative global power that could offset the political imbalance created by Washington’s blind and unconditional support for Tel Aviv is making it difficult, if not impossible, for the Palestinian leadership to invest in an entirely new political paradigm. Normalisation among various Arab countries and Israel has

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US congresswoman to fly Israel flag outside office of Rashida Tlaib

US Republican Congresswoman Kat Cammack has pledged to hang an Israeli flag outside her Capitol Hill office, which is right next door to that of Democrat Rashida Tlaib, who is of Palestinian heritage. Cammack was sworn into the 117th Congress last week by the House Speaker as the US Representative from Florida’s Third Congressional District. “She [Tlaib] has some very strong opinions about Israel, and I have some very strong opinions about Israel, so I have made a pledge that I’m going to be planting the flag of Israel outside my door right next to the American flag,” Cammack told local ABC News. “I think it’ll be very helpful as she walks past it every day,” she added. Rep. Tlaib, who has an office right next to mine in DC, has some strong opinions about Israel that I 💯 disagree with, so I’ve made a pledge to plant Israel’s flag outside my door right next to the American flag. I think it’ll be very helpful as she walks past both every day 🇺🇸🇮🇱 https://t.co/5VMDXDWllM — Kat Cammack (@Kat_Cammack) January 6, 2021 According to the Times of Israel, the Israeli flag she will be using was sent to her

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Houthis threaten to bomb Saudi ports after coalition blocks their ships 

Houthi militias yesterday threatened to bomb Saudi ports in the Red Sea after their oil tankers were blocked from reaching Al-Hudaydah port in Yemen, Al-Khaleej Online reported. Foreign Minister of the Houthis’ self-proclaimed National Salvation Government, Hisham Abdullah, warned that the militias would carry out revenge attacks on ports of countries which form part of the Saudi-led coalition. “Sanaa will not stand idle as expected by some,” Abdullah said, “if the siege on the Yemeni ports continues, the ports of Yemen’s enemies will not remain safe.” In the recent months, Saudi ports on the Red Sea have been targeted by the Houthis several times, Al-Khaleej Online said, noting that some of these attacks were aborted and some others caused harm to foreign ships. “Blocking the oil tankers aggravates the crisis and pushes back any political solution,” Abdullah said, pointing out that Saudi’s intermittent permission for some tankers to reach Al-Hudaydah port from time to time “contradicts Saudi and UAE claims of offering humanitarian assistance to Yemen.” READ: Amnesty calls on Algeria ‘not to deport Yemen refugees’ 

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Yemen campaign urges president, government to return to Aden

Yemeni activists on Tuesday launched an online campaign calling on President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the newly formed government to return to the interim capital of Aden. The activists said the campaign aims to put pressure on the presidency, the government and the Yemeni parliament to immediately return to the country to carry out their duties. They went on to call for the new government, which was formed on Friday, to take its constitutional oath in Aden and not in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, tomorrow. Armed groups should be removed from Aden, they continued, and state security operations should be in control of the safety and security of the country. Groups wishing to continue to protect Yemen should join the army, they continued. Earlier this week, five Yemeni ministers in the new government left the temporary capital Aden and headed to Riyadh to take the constitutional oath before Hadi. The minister’s departure goes against the terms of the Riyadh Agreement, which stipulates that the ministers should take the oath before the president in Aden. Aden is still controlled by the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC), with presidential protection forces unable to enter. Last Friday, Hadi issued a republican decision to form a new government headed

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US Slaps More Sanctions on Iran, Claiming Tehran Has Secret Chemical Weapons

(ANTIWAR.COM) — The US slapped more sanctions on Iran on Thursday, claiming that Tehran is operating a secret chemical weapons program despite a lack of evidence and Iran’s staunch opposition to chemical warfare. The Treasury Department announced that the Shahid Meisami Group and its director had been added to the US sanctions list over alleged links to chemical weapons research. “The United States will continue to counter any efforts by the Iranian regime to develop chemical weapons,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. Many Iranians were victims of chemical weapons attacks during the Iran-Iraq war that lasted from 1980 to 1988. The US supported Saddam Hussein in the war while being aware that he was using chemical weapons. CIA documents that were declassified in 2013 revealed that in 1988, the US shared intelligence with Hussein to show the location of Iranian troops, knowing he would use lethal gas against them. The documents revealed the US had firm evidence Hussein was using chemical weapons as early as 1983. A 1994 congressional inquiry found that US companies shipped anthrax and dozens of other biological agents that could be used to make chemical weapons to Iraq during the war. Chemical weapons killed an estimated

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Qatar cancels $300m annual trade subsidy with Australia over airport search debacle

Qatar has cancelled a $300 million annual trade subsidy for the Australian lamb industry after the country condemned a series of invasive medical examinations of its nationals in Doha in October. The deal was due to end in 2023, but the Qatari government has made the decision to finish the subsidy early, on 31 December this year. Stephen Crisp, the chief executive officer at Sheep Producers Australia, told the Guardian the sudden decision has come as a surprise for the industry, which is also grappling with Chinese import bans. “It was a surprise. I don’t think we were ready for this. But we’re fortunate to be in a very adaptable industry. We service many, many countries, so we can adapt,” Crisp was quoted by the Guardian as saying. Industry insiders cited by the British newspaper said they were unwilling to link the decision to end the subsidy early to the diplomatic row sparked by the airport search debacle. The row started after 13 Australian women were removed from a Qatar Airways flight in October and subjected to an invasive medical examination to determine whether any of them had recently given birth. The searches, which delayed the women’s flight by four hours, were carried out after a

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Hamas and the other factions must act to stop Abbas destroying the Palestinian cause

The positions of the Palestinian factions, including that of Hamas, do not live up to the seriousness of the situation following the decision by the Mahmoud Abbas-led Palestinian Authority to resume security cooperation with Israel. The PA announced this move at the same time that the factions were meeting in Cairo with representatives of the Fatah movement as part of the farcical “reconciliation efforts”. Condemnation and rejection of this crime, without forming a comprehensive national strategy to confront its dangers, means that these factions, including Hamas, will bear the consequences of what Abbas has done. Before getting into the details of what must be done in response to Abbas’s miserable decision, though, it is of utmost importance to review how serious it is. The decision represents a clear statement that Arab normalisation with Israel, which helps the occupation state to damage the Palestinian cause, now enjoys the support of Abbas and his authority. The evidence for this is that soon after announcing the resumption of security coordination, Abbas sent his ambassadors back to both the UAE and Bahrain. Moreover, the resumption of security cooperation — which I doubt was ever really suspended — lends credibility to my belief that Abbas

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Iran moves nuclear centrifuges underground, exceeds limit by 12 times

Iran has moved a cascade of advanced centrifuges from a nuclear plant and enrichment site to an underground facility, in what is the country’s latest breach of the nuclear deal agreed upon five years ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency has said. In a report released yesterday by the IAEA, Iran was seen moving the centrifuges from the Natanz nuclear facility in Isfahan on 21 October to an underground site reportedly built to withstand aerial bombardment. The move came after an explosion at the Natanz plant in July, which Iran suspects Israel of being behind in order to cause sabotage. Following that incident, Iran informed the IAEA that it would be transferring three cascades of its advanced centrifuges from the site to an underground one. The report detailed that of those cascades, the first which consists of IR-2m machines has been installed but has not yet been filled with the uranium hexafluoride gas that centrifuges are fed with. According to an unnamed senior diplomat cited by the news agency Reuters, Iran “finished installing one of the three cascades and they have started installing a second cascade,” adding that they were not yet operational during their transferral underground. READ: Iran reveals an underground missile city Iran’s

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UAE poet barred from travel for rejecting Israel deal

A prominent Emirati poet said Sunday she was barred from travel over her opposition to her country’s decision to normalise relations with Israel, Anadolu Agency reports. Dhabiya Khamis said she was banned from boarding a Cairo-bound flight from the Dubai Airport. “The ban is probably because of my announced opinion against Zionism and normalisation,” she said on her social media accounts. “I fear for my freedom and life from being threatened and arrested,” she said. Several writers and poets have expressed support and solidarity with Khamis after being banned from travel. The female poet has earned the ire of the Emirati authorities after she described her country’s decision to normalize relations with Israel as a “sad and catastrophic day”. On Sept. 15, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed US-brokered normalisation agreements with Israel at the White House, ignoring the Palestinian rejection. READ: Palestine professor narrates his suffering inside US jails

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Vatican summons US, Israeli envoys over West Bank annexation moves

The Vatican, in a highly unusual move, summoned both the US and Israeli ambassadors to express the Holy See’s concern

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Lebanon health minister celebrated as coronavirus cases rise

The viral video of Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan being celebrated by the public and civil society organisations has sparked

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Israel’s Netanyahu to Gantz: Annexation or fourth elections

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked his partner in the power-sharing government Benny Gantz to choose between the annexation

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Egypt, the Renaissance Dam and the UN Security Council

For the second time in a matter of weeks, the government in Egypt is trying to refer the case of

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