Middle East (SCF) – Although it is well known that the Wahhabist governments, royal families, and top businesses of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain directly finance jihadist terrorists in Syria, Iraq, and countries around the world, Read More
Yemen (GPA) – According to reports, at least 8 children have died and at least 15 more have been injured after a Saudi airstrike “mistakenly” hit an elementary school in the Sana’a district of Nihm. Sources on the ground say that over Read More
Bahrain (Tasnim) – A Bahraini court has upheld death sentences against three young people as the Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed crackdown on pro-democracy campaigners in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom. On Monday, Bahrain’s Court of Cassation found Read More
In a recent meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to the Iranian ayatollah, Iraqi Vice President and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki thanked Iran for their assistance in fighting jihadists and criticized the Gulf States for colluding with these groups.
Maliki praised the Islamic Republic of Iran during a visit to Tehran to improve diplomatic and military relations. He thanked Iranian officials for the ongoing assistance they have provided during Iraq’s battle against takfiri militants such as the Islamic State (IS). The VP said despite many countries promising to assist in the campaign against jihadists, Iran was the only one to deliver on their promises.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has proposed ways to pave the way for creating a mechanism to uproot terrorism and extremism worldwide.
In an article published in the Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs on Friday, Zarif said, “The twin problems of terrorism and extremism, far beyond the never-ending polemics among politicians, stand out as the natural outcome of intrinsic failings in the current (and recent) international situation.”
This has been a big week in world events and we here at Geopolitics Alert have covered a few major stories. Here are your key takeaways for the week of December 25th:
Israel Reacts to the UNSC Settlement Decision.
After the United Nations Security Council bite last week calling for a halt to Israeli settlement in Palestinian territory, Israeli officials have been, in the words of some commentators, “throwing a tantrum.”
A former Kuwaiti lawmaker is facing at least 42 years and six months in prison on various convictions that include posting on Twitter comments deemed by the authorities insulting to the neighboring countries of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
On 22 December, a court of appeal convicted Abdulhameed Dashti in absentia of insulting Saudi Arabia and sentenced him to ten years in prison, bringing his total jail term to 42.5 years. Dashti, who is currently in the UK for medical reasons, was stripped of his parliament seat to allow Kuwaiti authorities to prosecute him. Dashti also was convicted of prior charges of insulting religion, Kuwait’s Emir (the country’s ruler), and the judiciary.
One of the West’s key allies in the Middle East has admitted to what it calls “limited use” of UK-manufactured cluster bombs in Yemen. These types of munitions are banned under international law.
When a cluster bomb explodes, it releases several smaller projectiles which allows the damage to spread to a larger area– potentially putting civilian lives at risk. These sub-munitions can also essentially become landmines. Cluster bombs were banned under international law in 2010– a treaty Britain signed upon its creation in 2008. However, Saudi Arabia and most of their coalition partners– including the United States– have not signed this same treaty.
The country has its sights firmly placed on the spectacle occurring over the hack/leak of documents that may or may not have influenced the election. It’s irrelevant. The people of the United States cannot grant the Central Intelligence Agency (or any intelligence agency) the power to cast doubt on the results of elections via unconfirmed, unsourced, and politically biased findings. At the end of the day, the precedent set by allowing a secret agency to veto election results is the death of democracy.
So what did you miss while this was occupying the national narrative? Lots. Troops are deploying to Afghanistan, the Boko Haram is back in the headlines, a new pipeline fight, and much more.
In one of his final moves in office, president Obama has committed another 2,300 US troops to Afghanistan to help the government curb the resurgence of the Taliban.
After a year of territorial gains by the Taliban in their fight against the weakened Afghani government, the US is sending around 2,300 troops from armor and aviation brigades to assist in attempting to turn the tide. The troops are being sent as part of operation Freedom’s Sentinel to “advise and assist” the Afghan security services in their ongoing fight.
The Afghan forces are also combating the still-active al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan as well as a new cell of the Islamic State that materialized in the country earlier this year. The US forces have have their work cut out for them judging by the failures of the Afghan government in the past few years as well as the rampant corruption within the security services.
The United States has announced they will be canceling– or at least holding off– on an expected arms sale to Saudi Arabia due to the high number of civilian casualties in Yemen. However, military aid in other areas will continue flowing to Riyadh. Other Gulf allies complicit in the Saudi-led coalition will continue to receive military aid as well.
On December 8th, the U.S. Defense Department announced five major upcoming weapon deals including sales to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates. If completed, the deals were expected to total a whopping $7.9 billion. These five are on top of the sales announced in November to Qatar and Kuwait. Well now Washington appears to be backing-out of the Saudi part of the deal– but not entirely.
A Reuters exclusive reported today that the United States would be halting some air dropped munitions destined for Saudi Arabia including precision-guided munitions. Instead, Washington has decided to focus on beefing-up security along the Saudi-Yemeni border and intelligence sharing. “It’s not a matter of how smart or dumb the bombs are, it’s that they’re not picking the right targets. The case in point … is the one on the funeral,” an official said.
Dozens of Civilian Deaths Underscore Need for Saudi Arms Embargo.
The Saudi Arabia-led coalition killed several dozen civilians in three apparently unlawful airstrikes in September and October 2016, Human Rights Watch said today. The coalition’s use of United States-supplied weapons in two of the strikes, including a bomb delivered to Saudi Arabia well into the conflict, puts the US at risk of complicity in unlawful attacks.
Bahrainis have rallied to voice their anger at a visit by British Prime Minister Theresa May to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom which has been cracking down on pro-democracy protests for years.
The demonstrators took to the streets in the island village of Sitra on Wednesday evening to condemn London’s support for the Manama regime, stomping on a Union Jack.
Men, women and children in Yemen are at risk of “catastrophic hunger” as the conflict between a Saudi Arabian led coalition and the Yemeni government continues.
Mass unemployment, rising food prices and a drop in exports means people in Yemen could run out of food fast, international charity Oxfam has warned.
German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch has announced they’ll no longer be supplying weapons to countries they deem “undemocratic and corrupt,” many of the countries that fit this criteria are US allies.
The primary countries who will lose access to the variety of pistols, rifles and submachine guns produced by the company will be a host of non-NATO nations. This includes the governments of places like Brazil, Mexico, India and Saudi Arabia.
Part of the reason Heckler & Koch won’t be selling to these countries is tight restrictions on bidding for these contracts imposed by the German government. The company has seen their profits decline around 90% in the last year due to difficulty obtaining the contracts with governments not on Germany’s list of “green” nations.