YEMEN – Deadly Spiral

The country is divided by a multitude of conflicts and alliances, in which regional powers intervene

It is a war with multiple fronts and many warring parties. It is a religious war, an ethnic war and an ideological war. A war that is fought on the ground, at sea and in the air. Foreign agents intevene in this war in order to test and confront each other. Furthermore, it is a war that serves as a laboratory for all the Islamist schools of thought, leading to a permanent escalation in radicalisation. The result of all this is an extraordinary chaos which, to the great misfortune of the Yemini population caught in the cross-fire, renders any cartography of the conflict extremely difficult . Since the summer, the pro-government forces have regained the advantage thanks to air and ground support, provided by Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf Allies.

The pro-government forces have won the battle for the Port of Aden, the country’s second largest city. Although the situation in Aden remains unclear, President Abed Rabbo Mansour Haid, the only figure recognised by the international community, was recently able to return to the city after six months in exile. The pro-government forces then went on to recapture five southern regions.

But this coalition is, to say the very least, disparate : what unites it, is a shared hostility to the rebellion and the fact that it operates under Saudi command, benefitting from supplies of weapons, subsidies and being managed by the Arab monarchies. Under the name of “popular resistance”, it thus unites those who want to see self-government, members of the southern independence movement (South Yemen was independent until 1990), Islamist fighters, volunteer soldiers and Sunni tribes. Currently, the coalition is attempting to move up to Sanna and advance to the Red Sea – it has captured the famous strategic strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, in the south of the Red Sea – but its advance is proving very slow.

New territories for Al-Qaeda

A new front has also opened near to the ancient city of Maarib, in the east of the country. Here again with the government soldiers we find units from Saudi Arabia, reinforced by other members of the Arab coalition, particularly the United Arab Emirates.

The other side is just as diverse. It brings together the northern Houthi rebels, a radical Zaidi sect (the Zaidis are similar to Shia muslims) who have been in dissent with the government for many years and who last year captured Saana and a large part of the country. They are allied with forces loyal to the ex-president Ali Abdallah Saleh, swept out of office as a result of the popular uprising in 2011.

It was the capture of the capital by the rebels, followed by their rapid advance towards Aden which had provoked Riyad’s reaction and the intervention by the coalition air force, which since March has been bombing the country in general and the capital in particular.

But the two coalitions are not the only ones involved in the conflict. Taking advantage of the weakening of the country’s government and the chaos created by the escalation of the conflict, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has been active for some time now in the south-east of the country, has seized new territories. They now control the vast semi-desert Hadhramaut region (where Osama Bin Laden’s family came from), the Al Mukalla port, some districts of Aden, along with various enclaves. For several months, it has imposed the strictest Sharia law, executing anybody accused of witchcraft or homosexuality and amputating the limbs of those accused of theft.

Some months ago, a new force appeared on the scene: the Islamic State. It portrays itself as the enemy of all warring parties, claiming to take them all on alone. In September, it took everybody by surprise when it made its first deadly attacks in Aden, targeting the government and the coalition troops fighting against the Houthi rebels. According to the Soufan Group, a company specialised in security and intelligence, “The war in Yemen is a perfect laboratory for a terrorist group looking to expand regionally. The group is following the strategy deployed in Iraq and Syria, taking advantage of chaos and insecurity”.

The fact is that a “great game” is being played out in Yemen, the players of which are either independant – AQAP and the Islamic State – or linked to one of the regional powers – the Houthis, supported by Iran, the “Popular Resistance”, supported by Ryad and the Arab coalition. As a result, the Arabia Felix of ancient times, along with Syria, has become the battlefield of choice for Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The Saudi kingdom has always considered Yemen as its exclusive domaine. Ryad believes that the military action of the Houthis is part of an Iranian strategy to encircle Saudi Arabia, with Shia militants playing a similar role to that of Hezbollah in Lebanon. This explains the violent reaction of the Saudis. A Gulf state foreign minister highlights that it is “the first time that the Saudis have embarked on a large-scale military operation without the support of the US”. It is the Kingdom’s first major foreign military operation.

Though the military intervention is popular in Saudi Arabia, it is a daunting task for the monarchy. If it fails, it will undermine the Sudairi dynasty, which regained control of the country following the death of King Abdallah in January 2015. In his role as defence minister, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, the deputy crown prince, personifies the war in Yemen. If he fails, his place on the throne will pass to Muhammad bin Nayef, the crown prince and deputy prime minister.

For Iran, on the other hand, Yemen is not a domestic political issue. Nor is it an Iranian military priority in the same way as Syria or Iraq. Nevertheless, the Iranian regime has the opportunity to confront the Saudis by supporting the Houthis and using them as a strategic pawn. This explains the supply of arms to the rebels by Theran, as demonstrated by the recent seizure of an Iranian ship by the Saudis.

With the Islamic State’s sudden entry into the conflict, the war has become even more complicated because, like AQAP, this organisation has succeeded in rallying local tribes and dignitaries. As a result, the work of the Arab coalition has become even more complicated. Despite hundreds of air strikes and the dispatch of reinforcements by the thousands, the Arab coalition has not managed to defeat the Houthis and their allies, who still control Saana and the north of the country. The coalition will need to fight on two fronts, especially since the former president and ally of the Houthis, Ali Abdallah Saleh, has renewed his ties with former jihadi networks in order to reduce military pressure on his camp.

Strategc turmoil

Furthermore, rifts are beginning to open up within the coalition; there are differences between southern separatists – often those who were part of or close to the old communist regime of south Yemen – and Sunni Islamists, whether they be members of Al Qaida or not. In these circumstances, it is difficult to imagine the coalition attempting to seize Sanaa or even Taëz, a large city in the centre of the country that is currently under the control of both the Houthis and groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Yemeni conflict reflects the dramatic strategic shifts taking place in the region. Saudi Arabia, estranged from the US, is now emerging as a military power, adopting the role of the leader of the Arab world (Egypt no longer has the means to do so). The war also reveals the kingdom’s strategic and defence priorities. “Its alliance in Yemen with radical Islamist groups shows that difficulties with the Shias and not the jihadis are the key concern for Riyad”, according to one expert. François Hollande, ally and friend to Riyad, must be well aware of this.

15 October 2015

See also: https://geostrategieblog.wordpress.com/youssef-hindi-war-in-yemen/


Translated from French

The original author was Jean-Pierre Perrin, a journalist at Libération

Source: Libération

http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2015/10/15/yemen-l-engrenage-infernal_1404958

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The Noose Tightens

“We will have a world government, I don’t know whether it will be before or after the Third World War, but we will have one”

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This is the prediction of Jacques Attali, our cosmopolitan and planetary pundit, special adviser to all our former presidents.

As for world government, we have seen it actively spread its tentacles everywhere over several decades. It began in 1945 with the creation of the UN at the San Francisco conference, less than three months after the division of the world at the Yalta conference. The victors wasted no time, and the race for world domination began.

Behind its New York glass facade, the UN is the workshop of the New World Order which, under the pretext of ‘peace building’,  aims in reality to replace sovereign nation states with the fantasy of collective sovereignty. In other words, it aims to establish a divine global bureaucracy. This ‘world-building’ takes place step by step and is done before our very eyes. But because we lack an overall vision we only see the immediately discernible segments, and so we fail to see the connections between them. But if we to return to the history of events, it is easy to see where we are going and where it is taking us. Just one word defines our promised paradise: totalitarianism!

Bear in mind that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has legal and coercive means at its disposal to have entire nations vaccinated or to contain them by force on the mere presumption of an epidemic risk.

Likewise, the international super pressure-group, representing those who believe in the idea of man-made global warming, will hold its High Mass at enormous cost in Paris at the end of November. The objective will be to draft an international treaty which will limit global warming to 2 °C.

Climate change is undeniable. But it is easy to see what is lurking behind the ostensible aim of reducing everybody’s carbon footprint. Indeed, what is really being planned in the name of the common good and ecological salvation are new ways to enrich a few oligopolies, justify the introduction of new taxes and, even worse, reinforce the control of our industries and our private lives.

Without coming to any hasty conclusions, let’s just note that, while inland ice sheets are shrinking, this is not necessarily the case for the polar ice caps. In 2013, for example, the Arctic ice cap had increased by 60% during the summer, that is to say by 2 383 000 km2, which is equivalent in size to half of Europe! This is a spectacular recovery after the record melting in 2012 and comes six years after the BBC had announced that, in 2013 precisely, global warming would have completely wiped out the summer ice caps. This just goes to show the complexity of environmental phenomena, which are exploited in order to increase government interference in society with the ultimate aim of severely restricting people’s lives by the application of supranational laws.

As for the Third World War, it’s not something that will happen in the future as it has already started! In Syria, there are about forty different nationalities involved in the conflict. Indeed, by way of example, Chechen Islamic extremists fight side by side with Turkish-speaking Uighurs from the Asian Steppe. This explains why Russia intervened in Syria and why China is more vigilant. The world government is therefore making progress on two fronts:

  1. the establishment of a ‘Universal Republic’ via the UN and international policy forums
  2. the creation of a series of conflicts leading to a ‘ring of fire’ from the Sea of Japan to the Gulf of Guinea.

Translated from French

The original author was Jean-Michel Vernochet, a French writer and geopolitical analyst.

Source : Boulevard Voltaire
http://www.bvoltaire.fr/jeanmichelvernochet/gouvernance-mondiale-letau-se-resserre,214919

Does the FBI create terrorists?

Source : Le Point http://www.lepoint.fr/monde/le-fbi-fabrique-t-il-des-terroristes-21-10-2015-1975418_24.php


Are all means justified in the fight against terrorism?

This is a question for all democratic countries. Especially the US where, to hunt jihadi apprentices in America, the FBI uses a growing army of undercover operatives, who are accused of sometimes pushing impressionable minds to commit terrorist attacks.

Working under cover and benefitting from legal immunity, these infilitrators can even go so far as to designate a target or provide weapons in order to better deceive terrorist suspects. According to human rights organizations, this amounts to “creating the terrorist” on the pretext of combating terrorism.

This situation is inevitable, according to Mubin Shaikh, a former Canadian undercover agent and author of Undercover Jihadi. He justifies this sort of action by saying:

“We need the suspects to be convinced that you are on their side. You must play the game, do what they tell you. Otherwise, the whole operation is compromised.”

According to him, making suggestions is all part of the “game”. He recalls a conversation he once had with an alleged extremist. “In December we may organize a training camp. Would you like to come along and train a few guys? He understood perfectly well, but refused: ‘No, brother, I’m here to study religion’. From this, I concluded that he was not the type of peson we were looking for, as he did not bite the bait. But, if I say exactly the same thing to someone who says ‘yes’, then it’s not entrapment, he is simply caught.”

Set-ups

According to agreed figures, the FBI has at least 15,000 underground informants, who are often generously paid and involved in a wide range of investigations, from pedophile rings to the drugs trade. But identifying ISIS supporters, the number of which has increased “spectacularly”, is now the focus of all efforts. James Comey, FBI chief, stated on 8 October that:

“This summer, we have tracked dozens and dozens of people, over the whole of the United States. We have disrupted the plans of many terrorists.”

The only thing is that, in some cases, infiltrators apply pressure to encourage suspects to commit terrorist acts that they might not otherwise have committed.

On the 10 April, the FBI announced the arrest of a man, John Booker, who was on the verge of carrying out a suicide attack using a car bomb against a Kansas military base. But according to the investigation report, seen by AFP, Booker was subject to FBI manipulation for six months. It was the undercover agents who helped the jihadi apprentice to make his martyrdom video. They provided a list of the necessary components to make his bomb. Finally, they constructed the device – which in fact was disactivated – and gave it to the suspect along with the car.

In a July 2014 report, the human rights NGO Human Rights Watch accused the FBI of “creating terrorists’ by targeting vulnerable people in its operations. This is the focus of a documentary “(T) ERROR”, which appeared this year at the Sundance festival. Murtaza Hussain co-directed a very informative investigation released in late June on the “Fort Dix Five”, a group of Albanian men involved in planning an attack against a military base in New Jersey. Four were sentenced to life imprisonment, including three brothers.

Before their arrest in 2007, they had been placed under surveillance eighteen months after a holiday video showing them shooting at targets in nature – a popular hobby in the United States – shouting “Allah is the greatest”. They had previously shown no inclination for terrorism. In footage secretly filmed by the FBI, the undercover agent quite clearly pushes the Albanians to stage a terrorist attack, despite their reluctance. The agent rebukes the brothers:

“You live according to the Koran, yet you do not fight for Muslims! Make your minds up!”

Strategic necessity

Murtaza Hussain concludes that the use of infiltrators “is a necessary strategy, but one that we should use in moderation and only for proven plots”.

He regrets that “there is a now a real sense of paranoia, especially in the Muslim community. They can no longer discuss or engage in political campaigns without fear that someone in their entourage is an informant.”

The FBI officially admits that the use of informants “may include an element of deceit, interference in private lives or cooperation with people whose seriousness and motivations are dubious.”

But to justify its actions, the FBI points out that the judiciary acknowledged that this method was”legal and often vital to the success” of an investigation. In addition, the FBI assures that the use of informants “is subject to careful assessment and close supervision in order to ensure that rights of people under investigation are not violated.”

Many think that some “radicalized” Americans are basically young misfits, for whom the internet offers a way of feeling that they exist. This is the case of a young Jewish boy living with his parents in Florida, Ryne Joshua Goldberg, who had created a second life by pretending to live in Australia and inundated social network sites messages advocating jihad. He was caught by the FBI, to whom he sent information on how to make a bomb. Arrested last month, this boy of twenty may spend the next twenty years in prison.

Another example is Ali Amin, a skinny teenager from Virginia, who was sentenced in late August to eleven years in prison for having supported ISIS on his Twitter account, which numbered some 4000 subscribers. For the former undercover agent Mubin Shaikh, this “skinny, weakling” is a “tragic case.”

“This kid went from ‘zero’ to ‘hero’, thanks to 140 characters (a message on Twitter). Suddenly, he becomes important, people consult him for a religious opinion …”

On the other hand, he continues, “when such guys connect to the internet to spread the ideology of ISIS, attempt to indoctrinate and recruit people, are we not forced to take action?”

Yes, but how far and how?


Article Translated from French