Questions about Taliban Special Forces
Although the topic doesn’t get the media attention it deserves, it’s no secret that Saudi-led airstrikes frequently target non-military civilian areas such as funerals, hospitals, and agricultural land– with U.S. and U.K.-supplied weapons. But the violence doesn’t only come from the skies as a new report from Amnesty International shows that Saudi-backed forces on the ground are also terrorizing doctors, hospitals, and patients in the city of Ta’iz.
Doctors and staff stated that harassment and threats from the Saudi-backed coalition have been commonplace inside hospitals over at least the past six months. Pro-Hadi forces terrorize and intimidate hospital staff by forcing them at gun point to abandon treating Houthi fighters for life threatening injuries and instead treat Pro-Hadi Saudi-backed fighters for minor injuries such as broken legs. President Hadi currently lives in hiding in Saudi Arabia. The terrorism has prompted at least three hospitals to shut down. “According to eyewitnesses three armed men stormed an office at the hospital and threatened to kill medical staff if it was not shut down immediately. They also tried to drag the two surviving Huthi fighters – one of whom is a minor- out of the hospital’s intensive care and recovery units, but were prevented by medical staff. The third Huthi fighter had died while receiving treatment,” the report states describing an incident from last week.
Washington, DC (TFC) – TIME ran a piece on 16 August entitled “Russia and Iran Fly Across a Key Threshold in the Middle East” which opens with the following quote: “Looks like the U.S. and its allies have a new “axis of evil” in the Middle East: Syria, Iran and Russia.” A desire for an attention-grabbing opening line notwithstanding, this sort of propagandist statement only serves to cloud the already murky waters of the Syrian Civil War and reveals the Western bias of the mainstream media. The problems don’t end at the first line, but let’s unpack that first, and perhaps along the way we can find a more salient discourse on the Syrian conflict.
The phrase “axis of evil” is an echo of a speech by then President George W. Bush, who named Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in the positions TIME writer Mark Thompson assigns to Syria, Iran, and Russia. It’s hardly a surprise that Iran again made the cut; the demonization of that country in the West has continued virtually without pause in the intervening years. The phrase is in itself a reference to the Axis Powers of World War Two, a rhetorical device designed to associate the named countries with Nazism, genocide, and the ever-amorphous “Evil.” The veracity of this comparison has to be called into question, however.