UK troops ‘secretly operating in Yemen’

Britain has a secret detachment of up to 30 troops in Yemen, where they are training Saudi forces amid the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, Declassified has discovered.

The British personnel are said to be based at Al-Ghaydah airport in Mahra province of eastern Yemen, where Human Rights Watch says Saudi forces run a prison camp in which detainees are subject to torture and extraordinary rendition.

British troops are believed to have been based at the airport for months. A local journalist who was embedded with Saudi forces at the airport, Naser Hakem Abdullah Awidh, told Declassified he has seen British troops there this year.

He claimed: “They are a fully-fledged force. We can’t say they are minor.” The British forces allegedly spend their days off conducting tourist trips in civilian clothes to local archaeological sites.

Hameed Zaabnoot, a tribal sheikh who has led sit-in protests against the presence of Saudi forces in Mahra province, told Declassified that staff at Al-Ghaydah airport have seen British troops inside.

— source | Naser Shaker, Mark Curtis, Phil Miller | Jan 3, 2022

Nullius in verba

British Soldier Arrested for Protesting Against Yemen War

Ahmed Al-Babati was a lance corporal in the British Army until last August, where he staged a public protest in London, demonstrating against British complicity in the violence. Born in Yemen but growing up in the industrial city of Sheffield in the north of England, Al-Babati told Lowkey that he naively believed that the army would pay him to travel the globe and that the organization he was joining was a pro-Muslim one. However, he soon found that it was actually filled with fascists who support far-right provocateurs like Tommy Robinson or Nigel Farage. Britain plays an outsized role in the conflict in Yemen. A 2018 paper found that an estimated 7,000 employees of U.K. contractor companies, civil servants, and temporarily deployed military personnel were currently aiding Saudi forces in their attack on the country. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the Saudi Arabia is by far Britain’s most important arms customer, responsible for 49% of all international weapons purchases.

— source | Sep 13, 2021

Nullius in verba

The frame of protecting Saudi borders is very concerning

President Joe Biden has pledged to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, supported by both the Obama and Trump administrations, describing it as a “humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.” The six-year war in Yemen has devastated the country, killing at least 100,000 people and pushing 80% of the country into instability requiring some form of aid or protection, according to the United Nations. Biden’s remarks on Yemen come amid a freeze of U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with similar sales to the United Arab Emirates also up for review. “This is the culmination of six years of activism and advocacy to end the U.S.’s role in the war in Yemen,” says Yemeni scholar and activist Shireen Al-Adeimi, an assistant professor at Michigan State University. “We have a president who finally acknowledged the devastating war that is, frankly, caused by the U.S.’s participation.”

— source | Feb 05, 2021

Nullius in verba

Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War—But

The February 4 announcement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that President Biden would end U.S. support for ​“offensive operations” in Yemen was understandably met with celebration by those opposed to the war. Almost six years of the U.S.-Saudi‑U.A.E. war on Yemen have left the country devastated by humanitarian disaster and famine. Anti-war activists have spent these years — first during the Obama-Biden administration, then the Trump-Pence administration, and now the Biden-Harris administration — agitating to end U.S. participation in the onslaught. It has been an organizing effort that often seemed like shouting into the wind, as the bombings of hospitals, factories and weddings piled up. The countless people who have been toiling in obscurity to end this war, and those in Yemen who have joined in this effort while surrounded by hardship and death, certainly deserve praise and gratitude for the fact we’ve gotten this far.

But Biden’s foreign policy speech, delivered just hours after Sullivan’s teaser, unfortunately underscored that we must not celebrate the end of the war until we verify that it has actually, materially ended. That is because Biden’s remarks leave just enough room for the president to gesture toward ending the war without actually halting all U.S. participation in it.

Biden first noted that USAID will reach Yemeni civilians who have suffered ​“unendurable devastation” (the Trump administration suspended aid to much of Yemen in 2020) and declared ​“this war has to end.” He then added, ​“We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen

— source | Shireen Al-Adeimi, Sarah Lazare | Feb 4, 2021

Nullius in verba

British training of Saudi pilots continues amid bombing of Yemen

The Royal Air Force (RAF) is training pilots from Saudi Arabia in the UK while the Gulf dictatorship continues airstrikes in Yemen, the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian disaster where 20 million people need urgent assistance. UK Defence Minister James Heappey made the admission to parliament on Monday, a day after the RAF celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain fought against Germany’s Nazi dictatorship. Heappey told Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle: “Training for Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) aircrew has continued and is ongoing, with the most recent RSAF aircrew graduating from flying training in April 2020.”

— source | Oct 13, 2020

Nullius in verba