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Yemen update 6/21/2016..8 Yemenis killed in Saudi airstrikes in Lahij, Ta’izz

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 20:10
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(Before It's News)

Saudi Arabia Violates Truce Agreement in Yemen

Saudi warplanes and artillery units pounded a number of areas in Yemen’s province of Hajjah several times over the past 24 hours, violating a UN-brokered truce agreement that had just taken effect. The Saudi army’s artillery units targeted several towns and cities, specially Midi region, in Hajjah province in the border with Saudi Arabia at midnight on Monday.

Meantime, the Saudi warplanes bombarded the border cities of Hajjah province, including Abas and Heyran, over past 24 hours.

Saudi Arabia has been waging a war on Yemen since late March 2015 in a bid to reinstate Mansour Hadi and undermine the Ansarullah movement, which took over state matters after Hadi resigned. Over 9,800 Yemenis, including 4,000 women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.

Yemenis, in return, have been carrying out retaliatory attacks on the pro-Saudi forces deployed in the country as well as targets inside Saudi Arabia.

This is while UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon announced that Saudi Arabia will be removed, pending investigation, from a blacklist it was on for its role in killing children in the Yemen war, prompting blackmail speculation. Ban has since as good as confirmed the Saudis subjected him to extortion and condemned them for going too far, while stories have circulated they blackmailed him and threatened to pull funding for a raft of humanitarian programs. Ban complained of “unacceptable” and “undue pressure” to take the Saudis off a blacklist for killing children.

Anti-regime demo continues in Bahrain

The Gathering Storm: How a Redline Could Bring About Regime Undoing in Bahrain

Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani has issued a warning against the Al Khalifah regime in Bahrain, which is unprecedented by any standards.

General Soleimani, who leads the Iranian military advisors in both Iraq and Syria, warned the Manama regime on June 20 to stay away from Bahraini Shiite cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassim or wait for dire repercussions, including armed struggle by people and overthrow of the Al Khalifa dynasty.

General Soleimani further warned the Manama regime that in case of any insult or disrespect for Sheikh Qassim, “the toppling of the regime will only be a small part of the repercussions that will also include armed resistance”.

The warning came after Bahrain’s Interior Ministry announced in an statement that the country’s top Shiite cleric was stripped of his citizenship.

As is, Bahrain is a place where peacefully calling for the country to become a republic will get you life in prison. Free expression is prohibited. Regime critics face arbitrary arrests, detention and torture, followed by rubber-stamp convictions and imprisonment under harsh conditions. Guilt is automatic for anyone charged. So are torture and other forms of abuse. That said, the current situation cannot hold forever:

1- The human rights situation in Bahrain remains an issue of serious concern to the international civil society. True, Sheikh Qassim has been publicly criticising the Al Khalifas regime. Yet he has never called for violence. Still, the regime went ahead with no evidence to accuse him of extremism and revoke his citizenship.

2- Despite continuing efforts at peaceful reform, the ruling family’s hold on the judicial process has increasingly taken a turn for the worse, with no end in sight for the prosecution of high-profile critics, a curtailing of the right to any meaningful form of protest or assembly, and an escalating human rights abuse record, which includes rampant, unabated torture.

3- The regime’s despotism resists democratic change, cracking down viciously on political opponents, human rights activists, independent journalists, academic freedom, and even medical professionals treating nonviolent protesters brutalized by the security forces. Here, the West is not totally blameless. The abusive regime is but an extension of American-British-Saudi will in the region, and as such its anti-democracy campaign has been but an expression of their Colonial-Wahhabi legacy.

4- The regime has many “friends”, among them the world’s loudest human rights advocates: The US and the UK. These “friends” put politics before rights, refuse to address the regime’s refusal to take serious steps to hold security forces accountable for abuse, or to call openly for the release of high-profile political prisoners. Despite the outcry, these “friends” also stand by the autocratic regime, labour to defeat the opposition, and cooperate when interests intersect.

5- For the sake of political correctness and geopolitical interests, human rights violations and imprisonments in Bahrain seldom make the mainstream media headlines in the West. The latest being the revoking of Sheikh Qassim’s citizenship.

6- Despite the outrage, the regime is unlikely to face rebuke from the United Nations. The US and UK have established military bases in Bahrain, transforming it into a main base for regional military presence and aggression. It’s a reward to the silence they provide on the regime’s human rights abuses.

Taken in total, the revoking of citizenship of Sheikh Qassim and other political prisoners further stains the Al Khalifah regime’s troubling human rights record. Despite the “political reforms” claims made by the US and British governments, something is seriously amiss in the country. The regime’s practices continue unaccountably while Washington and other rogue Western regimes turn a blind eye.

As maintained in numerous reports by the Human Rights Watch and the International Federation of Human Rights, there is no evidence to suggest the regime has ever made any progress in implementing political reforms. There is also no evidence to suggest the regime will ever change course, a change that involves its citizens in its politics and opens up space and possibilities in accordance with international norms.

Under these circumstances, General Soleimani is right to say the long-suffering people of Bahrain have every right to press ahead with their peaceful drive, even armed struggle, to regain their democratic rights and realise their lawful demands.

Disrespecting Sheikh Qassim triggers armed resistance in Bahrain: IRGC commander

Egyptian judicial sources say a court in Cairo has declared null and void an agreement to hand down control of two islands to Saudi Arabia.


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