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January 17, 2022

Yemen's Houthi Tell Abu Dhabi To Pull Back Its Forces

Since 2015 Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are fighting against the Houthi movement in Yemen.

The two countries are different aims. Saudi Arabia wants to destroy the Houthi movement and install a Yemeni government that it can control. The UAE wants to control the ports of Yemen and the seaways around it. For this purpose it has build its own proxy force of southern Yemeni tribes.

The Houthi have hit back at Saudi Arabia by attacking its airports, cities, and oil installations with missiles and drones. They have pushed out Saudi controlled troops from various Yemeni provinces. Recently they were on the verge of taking the the Saudi controlled city of Marib and the rich oil fields around it.

In contrast the Houthi had so far not attacked the UAE. Two years ago the UAE had pulled its troops from Yemen and mostly stopped fighting the Houthis. Their proxies kept control of the harbor cities and the islands the UAE desired to control.


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Early this year the Houthi had again warned that they intend to liberate all of Yemen, including the UAE controlled areas. They also captured a UAE owned 'hospital ship' which carried military trucks and weapons.

Meanwhile the Saudis had great difficulties to stop the Houthi attacks on Marib. Despite the loss of some support from the U.S. they resorted to an extensive bombing campaign:

Yemen Data Project @YemenData - 10:06 UTC · Jan 17, 2022

Saudi Coalition Bombings Surge in Yemen Following End of U.N. War Crimes Investigations - link

2021 ended with 224% month-on-month increase in civilian casualties in bombings. Airstrikes killed 32 civilians and injured 62 in December, more than in the 11 previous months of 2021 combined. Following GEE dissolution, air raids increased 43%, civilian casualties at 2.5yr high.

Almost half of all air raids in 2021 hit Marib. 884 air raids, up to 5,322 individual airstrikes targeted Marib up 21% from 2020. Hudaydah was the worst place for civilians in the air war in 2021 - the highest rate of air raids & civilian casualties since 2018 Stockholm Agreement.

Despite the intense bombing campaign the Houthi were still advancing.

That changed last week when suddenly the UAE came back:

Yemeni forces backed by the United Arab Emirates have joined coalition troops fighting the Houthi movement around the central city of Marib in a renewed push to secure the prize of an energy-producing region.
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The Saudi-led coalition this week announced a new operation aimed at turning the tide after newly deployed UAE-backed Giants Brigade forces, supported by air strikes, expelled Houthi forces from oil-producing Shabwa reopening access to Marib.

The Brigades - mostly based along the western coast which has been relatively quiet over the past three years - entered Marib on Monday and have since seized large parts of Huraib district, local military sources said.

"The Giants Brigades are better armed and trained (than other Yemeni coalition forces) and fresh to the fight ... The Houthis will put up fierce resistance, but in general their ranks are exhausted," said Maysaa Shuja Al-Deen, a fellow at the Sanaa Centre for Strategic Studies.
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The conflict is a multifaceted one with several Yemeni factions vying for power. The UAE largely ended its military presence on the ground in 2019 amid a military stalemate but continues to hold sway via Yemeni forces it armed and trained.

The Houthi could not leave that without a response. Today they gave a very public warning to the UAE by attacking it on its own ground:

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group attacked the United Arab Emirates using drones on Monday, setting off explosions in three fuel trucks and causing a fire near the airport of Abu Dhabi, capital of the region's commercial and tourism hub.
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The UAE, a member of the coalition, has armed and trained local Yemeni forces that recently joined fighting against the Houthis in Yemen's energy-producing Shabwa and Marib regions.
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Three people were killed and six wounded when three fuel tanker trucks exploded in the industrial Musaffah area near storage facilities of oil firm ADNOC, state news agency WAM said. It said those killed were two Indians and a Pakistani.
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The Houthi's military spokesman said the group launched a military operation "deep in the UAE". Its chief negotiator, Mohammed Abdulsalam, whom Houthi-run media said was currently visiting Tehran, warned the UAE against "tampering in Yemen".

Life and business in the glitzy high-rises of Abu Dhabi will be become much less comfortable should the city come under sustained drone attacks.

The UAE's foreign ministry condemned the attack and said that "it will not pass without punishment."

But what can the UAE do that has not yet been done by the Saudi siege on Yemen and the permanent bombing attacks?

The UAE will have to pull back its proxy forces in Yemen or it will be hit at the core of its wealth.

Dubai, the UAE's central airport, is the world's busiest one by international passenger traffic. A few missile or drone hits on planes parked there would have immediate consequences on global passenger traffic as well as on the tourism profits the UAE gains from it.

Today's drones were a warning. If the UAE tries to ignore it it will be in for some serious hurt.

Posted by b at 18:00 UTC | Comments (39)

January 16, 2022

Please Support Moon of Alabama

Dear Reader,

your support is essential to keep Moon of Alabama going.

It is always delectable to see feedbacks like these to Saturday's Mysteries of Kazakhstan post.

Hedwig Kuijpers @Hedwigkuijpers2 - 8:29 UTC · Jan 9, 2022

I once again declare my love for B., who summarized all you need to know about the #Almaty rebellion, and its actors such as wild Arman, MI6's sweetie-pie Ablyazov, and of course the CSTO intervention. link to MoA
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Roderic Day @RodericDay - 16:41 UTC · Jan 9, 2022
Retweeting @MoonofA

I don't know exactly what @MoonofA's political orientation is, but their articles are always full of verifiable sources for claims, and you can form your own opinion based on what they report.

They also self-criticize well.

We all need to write more in this style. link to MoA

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Ana @Ana_Q_ - 18:41 UTC · Jan 9, 2022
Replying to @RodericDay and @MoonofA

He is very good, indeed! And he accepts diverse views!
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Paul Sanoian @PSanoian - 3:15 UTC · Jan 10, 2022
Replying to @RodericDay and @MoonofA

Also strange is that most of the comments are worth reading. I disagree with and object to some of them but almost none of them are outright crazy.

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prog_with_nusantara_characteristic @Tana_Bakumpay - 5:07 UTC · Jan 10, 2022
Replying to @PSanoian @RodericDay and @MoonofA

Yeah, I love reading at the discourse in some articles and I don't necessarily have to agree with everything. Wish we have this kind of healthy environment on here as well.

I love such feedback. But I also need to eat and pay rent.

This site is one person's full time effort and there is currently no other income I can rely on. While I live in somewhat better circumstances than Spitzweg's Poor Poet, I am neither rich nor can I (or want to) indulge in luxuries.

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Every donation to this Poor Poet - be it $5, $50, $500 or more - is welcome and needed. A recurring contribution or sponsorship would be great.

Transaction costs are the smallest when you send cash or make a bank-wire transfer. Send email to MoonofA @ aol.com (remove the blanks) for the necessary details. (They are the same as before.) You can use a credit card or other means when you donate through the PayPal button below even without having a PayPal account. (The Moon of Alabama account is in Euro with currently €1 ~ US $1.13 and US $1 ~ €0.88).

PayPal Link

Besides your money Moon of Alabama also needs promotion. Under pressure from the powers that be the big multiplier sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter have artificially decreased the ranking of independent media.

The loss of visibility has led to less than the natural traffic growth on this and other sites. You can help to counter this by mentioning and linking to Moon of Alabama pieces on whatever 'social media' you might be. You doing so consistently will surely overcome the latent censorship.

Thank you very much!

Bernhard aka b.

Posted by b at 14:29 UTC | Comments (84)

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2022-005

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Best zinger quote:

> Speaking about the possibility of holding a separate dialogue with the EU independently from the United States and NATO, one should ask the United States and NATO whether they will allow the EU to take any independent action. <

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Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2022-005

Posted by b at 14:25 UTC | Comments (214)

January 15, 2022

How Moon of Alabama Feeds Chinese Counter-Propaganda

During my daily round of skimming various global news site I stumble upon this Global Times report:

FM uses slideshow to expose anti-China forces’ lies on Xinjiang

Fabricating reports with numerous loopholes, hiring "actresses" to play as "victims," covering malicious purposes of disturbing China's Xinjiang region with excuses on human rights… Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Friday used more than 20 slides to refute disinformation and rumors made by anti-China "scholars," the US and Western media, and the terrorist organization "World Uyghur Congress."

I checked the website of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see if the slideshow is publicly available. Unfortunately that does not seem to be the case. But there is an English language transcript of yesterday's press conference with foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin.


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Prompted by a planted question from a CGTN journalist Wang Wenbin made a prepared presentation on baseless Xinjiang allegations the U.S. likes to make.

This part made me smile (emph. add.):

First of all, those who fabricate lies on Xinjiang always camouflage themselves with three cloaks. 
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The second is the cloak of victims. They concoct lies by playing the victim or witness. Such fake witnesses abound. We once exposed how Zumrat Dawut and Tursunay Ziawudun lied. Today, I want to give you another example named Sayragul Sauytbay. She sometimes calls herself a teacher at a vocational training center, and sometimes a “victim” of the “detention center”. She claims to have witnessed “torture” and “violence” at vocational training centers on one occasion, but insisted that she has never seen any acts of violence on the other. She says the “detainees” were forced to have pork, but asserts that there was no meat at all in another context. In fact, this person has never learned or worked in vocational training centers, but is wanted by the public security authorities for suspected crimes of illegal border-crossing and loan fraud. The so-called “testimonies” of these individuals contradict themselves and cannot justify anything, only to reveal that the people are not victims or witnesses, but third-stringer actors that give themselves away while changing their playbooks.

To my best knowledge the first piece ever that took apart the diverging claims Sayragul Sauytbay made in various interviews was published by Moon of Alabama on December 5 2020.

"Uighurs forced to eat pork" - Horror Stories Told By Chinese Defector Seem To Evolve

The lies by Tursunay Ziawudun were subject of a follow on piece on this site posted on February 4 2021:

Cont. reading: How Moon of Alabama Feeds Chinese Counter-Propaganda

Posted by b at 13:15 UTC | Comments (46)

January 14, 2022

What Might A Lame Duck Biden Aim For?

These are a pretty bad days for U.S. President Joe Biden.

Wednesday: Quinnipiac poll shows Biden with 33 percent approval rating

The poll found 57 percent disapproved of Biden's handling of the economy, 54 percent disapproved of his handling of foreign policy and 55 percent disapproved of his handling of the pandemic, which was once a consistent bright spot for Biden.
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Thursday: Kyrsten Sinema Backs Senate Filibuster in Blow to Joe Biden Amid Voting Rights Showdown

Senator Kyrsten Sinema has delivered a major blow to President Joe Biden as she reiterated her support for the chamber's 60-vote filibuster—the biggest obstacle for Democrats in passing voting rights legislation.
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Thursday: Biden all but concedes defeat on voting, election bills

All but conceding defeat, President Joe Biden said Thursday he’s now unsure the Democrats' major elections and voting rights legislation can pass Congress this year. He spoke at the Capitol after a key fellow Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, dramatically announced her refusal to go along with changing Senate rules to muscle the bill past a Republican filibuster.
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Thursday: Supreme Court blocks vaccine rule for companies, allows health care worker mandate

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test rule for businesses with at least 100 workers, but granted a separate request from the Biden administration to allow its vaccine mandate for health care workers to take effect.
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Thursday: Producer price index increased by 0.2%, up more than 6% for 2021

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Friday: U.S. Retail Sales Slide Most in 10 Months on Inflation, Omicron

The value of overall purchases decreased 1.9%, after a revised 0.2% gain a month earlier, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation, suggesting price-adjusted receipts were even weaker than the headline number.
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Friday: U.S. Consumer Sentiment Drops More Than Expected Due To Inflation Worries

Noting inflation's regressive impact, Curtin said consumer sentiment among households with total incomes below $100,000 slumped by 9.4 percent in early January, while sentiment among households with incomes over that amount increased by 5.7 percent.
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Losses on all fronts. The midterms will likely be devastating for the Democrats. Afterwards Biden will be a lame duck.

The only field where he will still be able to show political initiative, and maybe have some successes, will be in foreign policy.

What could he aim for?

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This week Moon of Alabama is asking you, dear reader, to support this site. Please do so as well as you can.

Posted by b at 17:57 UTC | Comments (141)

January 13, 2022

The Failure Of This Week's US-NATO-Russia Meetings Make War More Likely

In the late 1990s the U.S. military-industrial-media complex lobbied the Clinton administration to extend NATO. The sole purpose was to win more customers for U.S. weapons. Russia protested. It had offered to integrate itself into a new European security architecture but on equal terms with the U.S. The U.S. rejected that. It wanted Russia to subordinate itself to U.S. whims.

Since then NATO has been extended five times and moved closer and closer to Russia's border. Leaving Russia, a large country with many resources, outside of Europe's security structure guaranteed that Russia would try to come back from the miserable 1990s and regain its former power.

In 2014 the U.S. sponsored a coup against the democratically elected government of the Ukraine, Russia's neighbor and relative, and installed its proxies. To prevent an eventual integration of the Ukraine into NATO Russia arranged for an uprising against the coup in the eastern Ukraine. As long as the Ukraine has an internal conflict it can not join NATO.

In 2018 the Trump administration withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty which had been created under the Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan to eliminate nuclear missiles in Europe. Now the U.S. made plans to station new nuclear missiles in Europe which would threaten Russia. These required a Russian response.

Meanwhile the U.S. and other NATO states have deployed significant 'training' units to the Ukraine and continue to send weapons to it. This is a sneaking integration of the Ukraine into NATO structures without the formal guarantees.

In late 2021 the U.S. started to make noise about alleged Russian military concentrations at its western border. There were groundless allegations that Russia was threatening to invade the Ukraine which was begging to enter NATO. The purpose was to justify a further extension of NATO and more NATO deployments near Russia.

Russia has had enough of such nonsense. It moved to press the U.S. for a new security architecture in Europe that would not threaten Russia. The rumors about Russian action in the Ukraine helped to press President Joe Biden into agreeing to talks.

After Russia had detailed its security demands towards the U.S. and NATO a series of talks were held.

I had warned that these would likely not be successful as the U.S. had shown no signs to move on core Russian demands. As expected the talks with the U.S. on Monday failed. The U.S. made some remarks that it would like to negotiate some side issues but not on the core of Russia's request to end the extension of NATO and to stop new missile deployments.

Wednesday's talks with NATO had similar results as had today's talks with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

As Russia had previously announced it will not consider further talks as there is nothing to expect from them:

Cont. reading: The Failure Of This Week's US-NATO-Russia Meetings Make War More Likely

Posted by b at 17:30 UTC | Comments (146)

Open Thread 2022-04

News & views ...

Posted by b at 13:16 UTC | Comments (200)

January 12, 2022

With No Progress In Talks Russia Will Have To React

Monday's negotiations over Russian security demands between the U.S. and Russia were, as predicted, a failure.

Russia's core demand, to end the NATO drive to its borders by excluding membership for the Ukraine and Georgia, was rejected. A for once realistic NYT piece did not even try to hide the disaster:

In Talks on Ukraine, U.S. and Russia Deadlock Over NATO Expansion

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei A. Ryabkov, Russia’s lead negotiator, insisted after the meeting that it was “absolutely mandatory” that Ukraine “never, never, ever” become a NATO member.

His American counterpart, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, reiterated that the United States could never make such a pledge because “we will not allow anyone to slam closed NATO’s open door policy,” and she said that the United States and its allies would not stand by if Russia sought to change international borders “by force."

Today's talk between all NATO members and Russia in Brussels had similar results. Russia's core requests were rejected and a bunch of stuff with which NATO would like to restrict Russian advantages was thrown up to divert the attention from the core issues.

As NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg summarized it:

Cont. reading: With No Progress In Talks Russia Will Have To React

Posted by b at 17:52 UTC | Comments (240)

January 11, 2022

The Danger Of Subjective Reading Of Covid News

This site has linked and quoted pieces by Alastair Crooke, a 'former' MI6 agent and diplomat. Crooke writes a weekly comment for the allegedly Russian financed Strategic Culture Foundation website.

(Sidenote: Independent writers for the SCF, like Russia expert Patrick Armstrong, have come under undue pressure from the U.S. government to quit. Patrick had reason to fear serious consequences and did so.)

Alastair Crooke is an expert on Middle East issues and an outside of the box thinker. But he also, at times, gets things wrong. In several recent pieces he has combined measures against the Covid-19 pandemic and big money lobbying into some global conspiracy theory in which the Bill Gates' of this world want to enslave all other people.

In his latest piece, The Double Helix of Entwined Pandemic and Economic Strategy, Crooke goes off to even greater nonsense. He writes (emphasis added):

[T]hough ‘following the science’ is the mantra, these measures make no sense: the Omicron variant predominantly infects the double vaxxed, not the unvaxxed. This is never admitted.

That, dear friends, is 'never admitted' because it is utter nonsense.

Cont. reading: The Danger Of Subjective Reading Of Covid News

Posted by b at 10:33 UTC | Comments (255)

January 10, 2022

The Russia-U.S. Talks In Geneva Are Likely To Fail

Like Scott Ritter I am deeply skeptical that today's talks between the U.S. and Russia in Geneva will have any results:

If ever a critical diplomatic negotiation was doomed to fail from the start, the discussions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine and Russian security guarantees is it.

The two sides can’t even agree on an agenda.

From the Russian perspective, the situation is clear: “The Russian side came here [to Geneva] with a clear position that contains a number of elements that, to my mind, are understandable and have been so clearly formulated—including at a high level—that deviating from our approaches simply is not possible,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the press after a pre-meeting dinner on Sunday hosted by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who is leading the U.S. delegation.
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All the U.S. has been willing to do, it seems, is to remind Russia of so-called “serious consequences” should Russia invade Ukraine, something the U.S. and NATO fear is imminent, given the scope and scale of recent Russian military exercises in the region involving tens of thousands of troops. This threat was made by Biden to Putin on several occasions, including a phone call initiated by Putin last week to help frame the upcoming talks.

The U.S. continues with its false claim that Russia is ready to invade the Ukraine:

In a move that has aggravated already tense relations between Washington and the Kremlin, Russia has mobilized more than 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine. The United States has disclosed intelligence showing that Russia has a war plan envisioning an invasion force of 175,000 troops that Ukraine’s military, despite U.S.-provided equipment and training, would have little ability to stop.

On Friday, the NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, warned that “the risk of conflict is real.”

There are no 100,000 Russian troops near its border with Ukraine. In early December U.S. intelligence claimed only 70,000 troops:

Cont. reading: The Russia-U.S. Talks In Geneva Are Likely To Fail

Posted by b at 14:17 UTC | Comments (198)