Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 10, 2015

Yemen: UN Gives Cover For U.S. Spies - Endangers Its Employees

On October 26 UN reporter Mathew Lee of InnerCity Press scooped all other media with this nugget on Yemen:

Inner City Press' sources exclusively tell it of a new low, that the UN brought into Sana'a what the Houthis call two members of US intelligence, with the cover identification that they work for the company running the former hotel now occupied by the UN. But, the sources say, security in Sana'a recognized the two and they are now detained.

The "contractors" flew to Sanaa from Djibouti where the U.S. has a large military and intelligence base. The plane the "contractors" came on was rented by the UN.

The Houthis surely wondered why at that time, with Sanaa being under intense Saudi-U.S. air attacks, "hotel contractors" would arrive in Sanaa.

Now one of the "contractors" died, allegedly by suicide, while imprisoned by the Houthis. USAToday reports that his name is John Hamen from Chesapeake, Va. and that his body is currently repatriated to be buried at Arlington Cemetery. For a "hotel contractor" Hamen has a rather interesting resumé:

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told CBS that she could not confirm the contractors' nationality but said they arrived on a U.N. aircraft from Djibouti on Oct. 20 and were detained by "the authorities at the airport in Sanaa."

He said the two "are not U.N. contractors" but work for the company that manages the facilities that the U.N. is using in Sanaa, CBS reported.

Hamen's LinkedIn professional page lists his occupation as "Diplomatic Support" and described his previous employers as the U.S. Special Operations Command, the U.S. Army, and the Joint Communications Support Element.

Is that the qualification one needs to run a former hotel for the UN?

The Joint Communications Support Element is an interesting shop:

JCSE [..] is composed of joint active duty, Guard and Reserve personnel who can globally deploy within hours of notification to provide communications packages tailored to the specific needs of a full joint task force headquarters and to a joint special operations task force.

These two "contractors" and "former" U.S. special forces were anything but regular civilian staff. The were probably preparing to set up a new U.S. military or intelligence communications hub in Sanaa.

The UN has bungled the Yemen issue since the moment that former president Saleh left his office. It was tasked with setting up a new governance structure that would administrate Yemen and organize elections to replace the interim president Hadi. But the UN driven National Dialog Conference left out the interests of the most important forces on the ground which had helped to push for Saleh's ouster, the Houthis. Left without representation in the UN advised structures the Houthis took over Sanaa and the government. Under Saudi pressure the UN envoy to Yemen resigned.

Now the Saudis and the U.S. wage war on Yemen to kick out the Houthis and to reinstall Hadi who no Yemeni wants back in power. While the Saudis are committing war crimes in Yemen they now also occupy an important seat at the UN Human Rights Council. The UN also bungled the current ceasefire negotiations between the Houthi and the Saudi-U.S. alliance:

Inner City Press previously reported on and published the Houthis' letter denouncing UN envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed as little more than a Saudi tool. Now it's gotten worse: even Kenny Gluck who works for the envoy and went to Muscat trying to meet the Houthis was unable. He waited then returned to Riyadh.
...
The Saudis, asserting control, have told Ould Cheikh Ahmed to try to cut Oman out, sources tell Inner City Press, hence the idea the talks will be in Geneva. But what talks, if the Houthis won't talk to Ould Cheikh Ahmed or his Kenny Gluck.

The Houthis accused the new UN envoy of falsely asserting that they agreed to all Saudi conditions while ignoring the spread of al-Qaeda in southern Yemen. The Russians, also haggling with the Saudis, seem to be the only other party concerned over the spread of al-Qaeda and terrorism in Yemen under the Saudi war cover.

The UN has completely abdicated any neutrality on Yemen. It serves as a mere mouthpiece and servant of misguided U.S.-Saudi policies. The now confirmed, though not admitted, transporting of "former" U.S. special forces under UN cover is an inexcusable breach of its independence and a danger to all its employees.

Any UN envoy or contractor all over the world will now be under suspicion of being a U.S. military or intelligence agent. This will endanger the lives of thousands of UN employees working under difficult circumstances in various conflict areas.

Meanwhile the Saudis and the UAE are pulling all ground forces out of Yemen and are outsourcing their war to soldiers from Sudan, Mauritania, Senegal and Eritrea as well as to mercenaries from Columbia. After the UAE pullback the Houthis have recovered several southern Yemeni cities and are planing to re-capturing the Al-Anad airbase near Aden.

Posted by b on November 10, 2015 at 06:33 AM | Permalink

Comments

That's grim but unsurprising. Numerous NGOs serve the same purpose for Mordor.

Posted by: Jesrad | Nov 10, 2015 6:43:25 AM | 1

The MSM will not report these important details of the story. The story will go unnoticed in the US MSM. BUT as indicated, others around the world WILL take note of it and UN underlings will face potentially grave circumstances.

The Big Shots will simply blame any future repercussions on catchall Terrorism (because they hate us for our freedom).

Only Lesson Learned: Official Memo: "Discontinue posting credentials on LinkedIn" and "Take Down All Your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Etc."

Posted by: fast freddy | Nov 10, 2015 7:06:46 AM | 2

Not surprising. Only the UNSC has any neutrality, and only because of veto system. Even that didn't work out well for Libya. It seems to me like an outdated tool not worthy of its much flaunted "peacekeeping" reputation. Here in Africa they often act very much in favour of US interests, and have been investigated on numerous counts of rape and murder in North and West Africa. They are, generally, not to be trusted. An KSA chairing the human rights council? Somebody is taking the piss...

Posted by: Dan | Nov 10, 2015 7:10:30 AM | 3

It was predictable that Iran and Russia would do all possible to weaken Saudi Arabia even more when they realized that Saudi had not stopped arming the 'rebels' in Syria and that the USA was reluctant to antagonize its Saudi ally by pressuring it to stop that and to bow to have Bahsar al Assad in power in Syria.

The results are clear. The whole 'Yemen government' is back to Ryadh after a brief appearance in supposedly liberated Aden. Al Qaeda is now threatening Aden and the UAE and Saudis are hiring just any fighters from poor countries to serve as cannon fodder. The Houthis are showing a renewed strength, they are trying to re-enter Aden and have already invaded Saudi villages. Panic is noticeable in the Saudi and UAE media, despite the heavy propaganda about the UAE and Saudi "heroes" coming back home.
I suspect that the USA is also privately happy to see Saudi falling into a deep trap that is giving them a good lesson of humility after their 'revolt' against the "ungrateful" USA flirting with Iran. Ultimately the Saudis will not get a face saving exit. This will probably create an internal crisis within the Saudi family and someone will become the scapegoat. If the Houthis continue to become victorious, it won't take long to see the collapse of the Saudi-UAE coalition and its consequences on the internal politics of these two countries

Houthi Rebels Make Gains in Yemen
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/11/09/houthi-rebels-make-gains-in-yemen/

Posted by: virgile | Nov 10, 2015 7:28:51 AM | 4

Hope you are right virgile, here is an excellent piece on the situation in the middle east and Obama's alliance with the GCC.https://consortiumnews.com/2015/11/06/obamas-risky-mission-creep-in-syria/

Posted by: harry law | Nov 10, 2015 7:41:48 AM | 5

@4 Virgile

Yeah, that may well happen. The Saudis and UAE 'lose interest' and go home. But al-CIAda/Da'esh will not 'go home', they are in Yemen to stay ... back 'home' to them there're Russian airplanes dropping bombs. Who knows, with the Saudis and UAE back home with their tails between their legs, there might be Russain airplanes dropping bombs on al-CIAda/Da'esh in Yemen, too. The only ones in the workd crying over that would be the hardcore terrorists : USA/KSA/Israel.

Speaking of US operatives in Yemen, see Sun Tzu's | Nov 9, 2015 8:52:33 PM | 89 report over at 'WaPo Peddles Crackpot Idea - Fears Russia Will Steal It'. Might be off the wall - or, where there's smoke there may be fire.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 10, 2015 7:48:31 AM | 6

UN... a bunch of contractors... see the guy in this film "We come as friends" explaining that his daughter plans to invest in south Sudan
Not sure it came out yet in the US, but here is a review
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/14/movies/review-we-come-as-friends-explores-potential-exploitation-of-south-sudan.html?_r=0

Posted by: Mina | Nov 10, 2015 7:57:10 AM | 7

I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

Posted by: blues | Nov 10, 2015 8:22:31 AM | 8

Thanks b, for yet another insightful report on Yemen.

The war on Yemen and the Yemeni people brings back memories of another side-war, Cambodia, with Syria being the main war, as VN was at that time. Yemen is being sidelined by the MSM on purpose, as Cambodia was, to hide the war crimes committed by the US in its vain attempt to shut down the Ho Chi Minh trail. In the case of Yemen, Syria gets all the attention, while the Saudis and their partners in crime massacre the Yemeni people with impunity, aided and abetted by the US/UK/NATO powers. The war on Yemen is a lèse-majesté crime, an insult to our humanity, and I certainly hope Iran and Russia will help the Yemeni people to defeat the Saudi scourge, the main promoters/financiers of the war against the Syrian/Iraqi/Yemeni/Libyan peoples.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 10, 2015 8:40:08 AM | 9

"Not surprising... Here in Africa they often act very much in favour of US interests, and have been investigated on numerous counts of rape and murder in North and West Africa. They are, generally, not to be trusted. An KSA chairing the human rights council? Somebody is taking the piss..."
Posted by: Dan | Nov 10, 2015 7:10:30 AM | 3

Yep. The UN is one of the 3 unfunniest jokes on the planet.
It's right up there with AmeriKKKa and "Israel" whose friends jointly conspire to prevent the UN from growing a spine and/or some balls.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 10, 2015 8:41:29 AM | 10

b,

After the UAE pullback the Houthis have recovered several southern Yemeni cities and are planing to re-capturing the Al-Anad airbase near Aden.
I'm not convinced that the Houthis will make a lot of progress a second time around in South Yemen. It's solidly Sunni, and the Houthis aren't. S. Yemen is more al-Qa'ida territory. Disruption, and a post overlooking al-Anad airbase is possible, but not a reconquest of South Yemen.

On the other hand, in the North, there are Shi'a sympathisers in Saudi Asir and Najran. That's what your link to the fighting in al-Rubu'a showed. Or the War Nerd's story of the revolt in Najran in 2000.

According to the history books, Isma'ili Makarima were powerefil in Najran, and there were Shi'a in Asir too. The point being that Ibn Saud conquered those areas from Yemen in 1935 or so, but couldn't remove the Shi'a.

I don't know how far such an advance would go. But like with ISIS, Houthis can only really survive, like guerillas, in an environment basically sympathetic to them.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 10, 2015 8:55:06 AM | 11

Might be, but Aden has also a large span of its population who was more secular than you seem to believe. Secularism has been somehow upheld by Saleh, and most of the Yemeni Shiites -Ismailis and Zaydis- consider girls' education a necessity. Saleh supported the role of women in diplomacy and the academy. So probably, the intellectual elite in Aden could accomodate the Houthis (weren't there demos at some stage of the Houthis and the Southern independentists against Saleh because of his concessions to the Islamists parties?)
The problem, just as in Egypt, is that this secular elite makes far fewer kids than the bigots.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 10, 2015 9:10:10 AM | 12

re Mina 12.

I would have thought that the problem with the current ME wars, that destroy whole societies and reduce people to the minimum necessary to stay alive, is that the old allegiances of tribe and people (including religious allegiance), are much stronger and deeper than the more westernised notions of society. You need peace to advance society, not 24/24 hr bombing guided by American controllers, which usually does reduce people back to the stone age.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 10, 2015 10:39:47 AM | 14

@14 The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Posted by: dh | Nov 10, 2015 10:53:11 AM | 15

@jfl 6

Putin targets Libya and Yemen next 'to protect Russian interests'

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/617664/Vladimir-Putin-Russia-war-Libya-Yemen

In Syria after the Russians intervened,the USA became more serious about fighting al Qaeda for fear of appearing weak. The Saudis and the UAE will take such a beating from Al Qaeda in Aden that they will beg the USA and even the Russians to help. The whole thing sounds as a black comedy where the fools are the Saudis.

Posted by: Virgile | Nov 10, 2015 11:01:57 AM | 16

Tribal system versus centralized governement and the patriarcal society factor are certainly the core problems, but the figures showing crowded poor countryside in comparison to cities that are actually smaller than these huge areas are scarry. Look on wiki for the results to any of the Egyptian elections in the last few years and you will see the number of registered voters in ... let's say, Alexandria, Malula, Cairo (industrialized, educated women) versus, anywere else in the country, especially in the obscurantist south...
When they were not doing war with metallic objects, the US make war on contraception with the little help of their preaching friends.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 10, 2015 11:34:26 AM | 17

The death of RT founder, Mikhail Lesin, in DC plus the refusal by Riyadh to grant take off permission to a Russian civilian aircraft flying off from Yemen are significant events whether connected or not to the downing of 9268 over the Sinai. Furthermore, the timing of the disclosure of the presence of Academi XI contractors acting in Yemen under the cover of the UN coincides with an escalation in the rhetoric emanating from DC and with muscle flexing c/w SLBM launches off the West Coast of continental US.

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Nov 10, 2015 11:45:06 AM | 18

thanks b.. excellent coverage.

when will the un represent what it is supposed to, as opposed to this kind of crap? when will the world say no to ''for hire'' mercenary armies invading others countries? what saudi arabia and the uae are doing here is worse then despicable..

mina/virgile/laguerre, thanks for having a conversation highlighting an important dynamic to all this.

Posted by: james | Nov 10, 2015 11:48:47 AM | 19

@ b

wrt outsourcing , another article about the rift between KSA and UAE :

“In
the past few days, the Reform Party’s media launched a campaign against the UAE and the parties supporting it mainly Bahah and figures affiliated to him. Differences erupted between the fleeing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is affiliated to Saudi Arabia, and Bahah, who is affiliated to the UAE to the extent that the former issued a decision to sack the latter (the decision was not officially voiced out). Meanwhile, the Reform Party’s media welcomed the decision. The newspapers described Bahah as “an agent who is secretly communicating with Ansarullah.” According to well-informed sources, the decision led to a severe clash between Bahah and Hadi, one that embodies the Saudi-Emirati conflict.

Posted by: Yul | Nov 10, 2015 12:05:04 PM | 20

When criticizing the UN it helps to distinguish the relevant parts.

The Secretariat has been systematically undermined by the NATO bloc
The UNSC is crippled by design with rule of law suspended for the P-5
The UNGA is harder to corrupt and pressures for reform eg

http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/10/the-blue-menace/

Posted by: JIU/REP/85/9 | Nov 10, 2015 12:17:21 PM | 21

@ Virgile | 16

The Saudis and the UAE will take such a beating from Al Qaeda in Aden that they will beg the USA and even the Russians to help.

Why would Saudis and UAE take beating from their own proxy forces? *confused* :)

Its nice however Houthis are pushing back in recent days, many liberated areas. In Syria SAA lifted Kuweries siege, in South Alepo strategic town was liberated yesterday. Good times.

Posted by: Harry | Nov 10, 2015 12:27:55 PM | 22

@Mina@7

Mina, you're a treasure trove of good info. Thanks for the link to "We Come as Friends," plus "Darwin's Nightmare." I am watching "D's Nightmare" while dwld'ng "We Come As Friends," and Sauper is a true "field poet."

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 10, 2015 12:36:53 PM | 23

@ #7 Mina

Where is their saviour , Mr Nespresso George Clooney?

Posted by: Yul | Nov 10, 2015 12:57:47 PM | 24

@Harry@22

In Syria SAA lifted Kuweries siege, in South Alepo strategic town was liberated yesterday. Good times.

If true about Kuweyres airbase, this are great news indeed, and we can rejoice that Russia/Syria/Hezbollah have just earned a new airport in Syria. Ground troops sacrifice in blood has not been in vain, and further proof Russian air support is working.

Unconfirmed, as this type of info is, Major General Qassem Soleimani allegedly took command of the SAA/NDF/Hezbollah in the last stages of the battle. It wouldn't surprise me, this was an important battle for many reasons beside the airport.

See further down at Pepe Escobar's "The Pentagon's Empire of Whining."

URGENT: Syrian Army, Hezbollah Lift ISIL's 2.5-Year-Long Siege of Kuweires Airbase in Aleppo

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army, popular forces and Hezbollah forces, backed up by Syrian and Russian air forces, lifted the two and half-year-long siege of Kuweires military airbase after killing hundreds of ISIL terrorists on Tuesday, as unconfirmed reports said the offensive was led by Iran's famous Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.

The Pentagon’s Empire of Whining

[...] And now, the 50 immortals

But first the Special Forces deployed to northern Syria — Obama’s 50 immortals — need to fulfill their mission. Say one name: Kuweyres. Everything depends on what happens in Kuweyres, a military airbase.

Here are the facts on the ground. The SAA, at least for now, has secured its all-important supply route to Aleppo. What they’re aiming for next – supported by Russian air strikes – is much more complicated; cut off for good the resupply routes from Turkey for the gaggle of Salafi-jihadis/”moderate rebels.”

Arguably the only local “capable” force for this mission is the Syrian Kurd YPG. But to solidify their position, the YPG need to build a strong link between Kobani and the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

And guess why they can’t do it; because the Pentagon is telling them to strike south instead, towards Raqqa, ISIS/ISIL/Daesh “capital.” And Turkish intelligence – which controls the resupply corridor – warned the YPG they will be bombed to oblivion if they try to expand their northern Syria base.

So the YPG needs protection to keep moving. It won’t come from Ash’s people. And the Russians are far away, with no boots on the northern Syrian ground.

The SAA though is only a few kilometers away from Kuweyres. It will be a nasty battle. But if they capture the military air base, they get the perfect hub for Russian and Syrian jets to protect the YPG as they close the gap between Kobani and Afrin.

The Pentagon well knows the Russians have made a deal with the Syrian Kurds; the SAA, with as much Russian support as possible, takes Kuweyres; the YPG advances towards Afrin; and the Russians keep the Turks in check. Without this chain of crucial events, it will be virtually impossible for the “4+1” – Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, plus Hezbollah – to cut off the Turkish-enabled resupply corridor for the myriad Salafi-jihadi/”moderate rebel” gaggle.

And here’s where Obama’s 50 immortals come in. They have been sent to the YPG command to “assist” them in not fulfilling the deal. What else is new? It makes more sense for Ash’s boys to work side-by-side with Ayman al-Zawahiri’s goons. The Pentagon and al-CIAaeda; what could possibly go wrong? Gotta keep the global war on terror (GWOT) as much an endless war (remember Rumsfeld?) as possible. Now that’s a good reason to stop whining.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 10, 2015 1:17:58 PM | 25

What is the world coming to that Sudan, Mauritania, Senegal, Eritrea, and Columbia can send their soldiers (or allow them to go) to war against Yemen while retaining security and immunity for themselves? To kill for MONEY, without the slightest pretext or appeal to any justification.

Haven't we seen enough of murder from the US? The world has been shown anew that the UN, too, serves only one master.

Thank you, b, for showing us the latest installment of brutality.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 10, 2015 1:32:28 PM | 26

Yul, hard to say. Maybe Baabaa/Daddy/Papa or the allmighty "Shaykh" of the tribe.
Where will hope come from? Women want more freedom but they want to preserve what the imagine as their "security". Except that this gets upside down every few decades in rapes and genocides. Patriarchate doesn't work that's the only certain thing.
Maybe what is needed is the same as in Western societies? Accountability? Participation?

Posted by: Mina | Nov 10, 2015 1:59:21 PM | 27

The evil empire has abused agencies "integrity" before, As well as risked the safety of individuals working for them, just like the fake vaccination campaign in Pakistan to get to Osama bin Ladin (Which still seems like BS to me). There is no lengths the US will not go to, because they have murderous and hateful contempt for anyone that gets in the way of their hegemony.
The only shocking thing for me, is how little some in these agencies protest their abuses of the US Empire. I guess they know their place.

The two agents of the Empire getting caught, is Just more evidence of how involved the US empire is in its genocide of Yemen, a genocide that we are only seeing the beginning of.

It's not only a case of logistics and direction of the Suadi bombing campaign, its also on the ground involvement by the US, although not specified in the piece, it still shows they are there on the ground.

Posted by: tom | Nov 10, 2015 2:26:59 PM | 28

re Mina 17. I would be the last to disagree with you over the position of women. I think I was saying that I'm a believer in the old saw - "civilisation was made for women". If civilisation is destroyed, it is very difficult to improve the situation of women, where there's no security.

The only doubt I have is whether Egypt is a good comparison, though I understand why you choose it. There's a very heavy concentration of the population in Cairo and Alexandria - that's unusual in the ME. How far has Sisi really succeeded in reconquering the country? Evidently not in Sinai.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 10, 2015 2:45:59 PM | 29

The Russian plane was shot down over Sinai on the 30th. On the 31st Israel resumed bombing in Syria:

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Report-Israeli-Air-Force-attacked-Hezbollah-targets-in-Syria-430616
"Israeli jets penetrated Syrian airspace and attacked numerous Hezbollah targets in the South of Syria, according to Syrian media Saturday. [Oct. 31]
Estimated targets included a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah fighters traveling through Syria. According to reports, up to a dozen Israeli war planes conducted the mission close to the Lebenon-Syria border in the Qalamoun Mountains region.
Defense officials declined to comment on the report.
This would be the first attack attributed to Israel since Russia began operating in the area."

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 10, 2015 2:51:07 PM | 30

P@30

Thanks for verifying my report on this attack a few days ago but I don't think it is the first just the most recent and largest since Russian bombing began.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Nov 10, 2015 5:08:21 PM | 31

@harry 22

The Saudi royal family has a ambivalence toward Al Qaeada. To keep its legitimacy, it needs the Wahhabi religious establishment. The religious establishment is deeply anti-Shia and pro-Al Qaeda. Many rich and religious Saudi religious businessmen are financing Al Qaeda and the royal family (and the USA) can't stop it. In the same time Al Qaeda has repeatedly threatened to remove the royal family that they consider as corrupted. Therefore the royal family is very wary of Al Qaeda but can't do much to prevent its growth.

When the Saudi troops in Yemen will inevitably face Al Qaeda in the south, it will be their moment of truth. Either they accept that South Yemen becomes an Al Qaeda haven and ultimately threatens the whole Peninsula or they fight against their own proxy.
The Houthis have been the shield against Al Qaeda. Without them the South of Yemen is exposed to a creeping al Qaeda presence. For the first time Saudis may be facing militarily the monster they have created.

Posted by: Virgile | Nov 10, 2015 5:10:19 PM | 32

A lot of Syria's military infrastructure, command centres, weapons stores etc would have been underground,in expectation of the next ME war. Cities would have been crisscrossed with tunnels so as to provide facility for mobility when your enemy has total air superiority. If I remember correctly in the hot run up to the gas false flag driven war attempt, a massive Israeli strike was made on a major command bunker in Damascus - I wonder if part of the destruction was the obliteration of the master data on these hidden facilities? Maybe someone had already obtained a copy?

Posted by: bridger | Nov 10, 2015 5:28:30 PM | 33

@32 Virgile

There are Saudi troops in Yemen? Other than al-CIAda, I mean.

Posted by: jfl | Nov 10, 2015 5:29:00 PM | 34

Thanks Lone Wolf for the good news about the Kuweires Military Airport near Aleppo.

Being close to the Turkish border was a real driving force of urgency for the Russians, seeing how the empire and it minions are talking up, as well as slowing acting on their "no-fly zone" plan. That cuts out that shit in that part of North West Syria at least.

Posted by: tom | Nov 10, 2015 5:34:34 PM | 35

Bullets are a means of communications. You might want to parse the JCSE description of its role with that in mind.

Posted by: Bakerpete | Nov 10, 2015 5:39:01 PM | 36

re 32

The Saudi royal family has a ambivalence toward Al Qaeada. To keep its legitimacy, it needs the Wahhabi religious establishment. The religious establishment is deeply anti-Shia and pro-Al Qaeda. Many rich and religious Saudi religious businessmen are financing Al Qaeda and the royal family (and the USA) can't stop it.
You've got it right. The only thing I disagree with is -

Therefore the royal family is very wary of Al Qaeda but can't do much to prevent its growth.
The Saudi businessmen and the princes are the same people. They hand out money to ISIS with the left hand as businessmen, and with the right hand as princes, react officialy with horror at the thought. You can't make a business succeed in Saudi unless you have royal connections.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 10, 2015 5:53:57 PM | 37

@37 laguerre... i agree with your assessment at bottom or your post...

"The religious establishment is deeply anti-Shia and pro-Al Qaeda. Many rich and religious Saudi religious businessmen are financing Al Qaeda and the royal family (and the USA) can't stop it."

what kind of whacked out religion is that anyway? killing people has nothing to do with religion.. someone ought to tell them that.. it has nothing to do with islam either, except some whacked out fundamental form of the worst kind.. they give all of islam a very bad rap and deservedly so..

Posted by: james | Nov 10, 2015 6:47:22 PM | 38

@Penelope@30

"Israeli jets penetrated Syrian airspace and attacked numerous Hezbollah targets in the South of Syria, according to Syrian media Saturday. [Oct. 31]

I don't think that's believable. I did a search for other sources of info, and besides the right-wing zio-nazi rag you quoted, only zio-nazi rags have reproduced it. Not even Lebanon's "Daily Star," an anti-Hezbolla, Saudi-funded rag, has anything about it. I do not think the Russians would allow any bombing of Hezbollah forces within Syrian territory, that's not possible anymore. The zio-nazis are good at misinformation, and the kind that will make them appear as the usual bullies in the neighborhood, is the one they need more now there is a new, stronger guy on the block.

At least you made WoW happy for a bit, he relishes on any crime the zio-nazis do to their neighbors, and basks on the suffering of others, a head-chopper/cannibal advocate.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 10, 2015 7:09:46 PM | 39

@38 james ' killing people has nothing to do with religion.. someone ought to tell them that.. it has nothing to do with islam either, except some whacked out fundamental form of the worst kind.. they give all of islam a very bad rap and deservedly so '

Undeservedly so, no? Its the MSM that has made these whack jobs the image of 'normal' Muslims, isn't it?

Posted by: jfl | Nov 10, 2015 8:02:24 PM | 40

@Laguerre: "But like with ISIS, Houthis can only really survive, like guerillas, in an environment basically sympathetic to them."

In terms of ISIS, I'm not sure I agree with this at all.

I think that "fish in the sea" dynamic is more meant to apply to guerrilla armies that aren't heavily sponsored by Superpowers and major regional actors. I'm sure ISIS has some small segments of local support (criminal gangs, religious fanatics), but if we are to believe the many reports of resistance by locals in major cities in Anbar Province, people informing on them for US and Russian bombing and other evidence that they are generally hated for their repressive measure - I have to imagine they have more in common with malicious, foreign sponsored military gangs the like the Contras than with community integrated freedom fighters like the Viet Cong.

It seems to me they don't have much sympathy at all.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 10, 2015 8:21:50 PM | 41

Slavoj Zizek is a clown, but his line that goes something like: "you don't need religion to make bad people do good things, you need religion to make good people do bad things" seems pretty applicable here.

I have no doubt that these poor Birmingham shop workers that go off to kill in Syria do it for the fame and glory, but its the religion that gives them the excuse.

Nothing about Islam - it works the same for all of them. "Good" people can be made to murder, rape and rob just like anyone else. The only real difference is they require a decent cover story. Americans, for instance, know this as: "we're bombing them to save their lives".

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 10, 2015 8:28:54 PM | 42

Did people miss the story that the GCHQ picked up the "chatter" on the Russian plane downing, and *surprise of surprises* it was Jihadis with British accents?

Of course those of us in the know know that the Brits run their own Jihadis. These clowns have apparently been able to put bombs on airplanes any time they chose, considering it only took them a couple of weeks after the Russians started bombing. But they decided I guess that they could live without retaliating against anyone else - but just had to after the Russians showed up.

As far as I'm concerned, the "chatter" story is an outright admission that the Brits did the job.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 10, 2015 8:34:19 PM | 43

UN, NGO's, missionaries, etc.. The US has made all of these legitimate military targets through infiltration. I'm glad someone else noticed. Remember all this when some "enemy" hits one of those targets. They are all legitimate military targets, masquerading as humanitarian organizations, & I will be less than sympathetic when they get attacked.

Posted by: Beau | Nov 10, 2015 8:36:42 PM | 44

@39

I see you are still clueless and in denial about events in Syria. The JTimes article relied on Syrian media for their source because the Israeli military doesn't comment on these raids.

There was no comment from Russia also signaling that Putin accepts these attacks so long as the Israelis stay out of Syrian airspace.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Nov 10, 2015 8:52:32 PM | 45

james @ 38: "what kind of whacked out religion is that anyway?"

It's called Wahhabism, a really "whacked out" version of Islam, supported by SA.

http://atheism.about.com/od/islamicsects/a/wahhabi.htm

Posted by: ben | Nov 10, 2015 9:29:39 PM | 46

@Wayoutwest@45

[...] The JTimes article relied on Syrian media [...]

Laughing my ass off..."relied on Syrian media"...and WoW swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Ever read "By Way of Deception"? Mossad has something to teach you.

[...]There was no comment from Russia also signaling that Putin accepts these attacks so long as the Israelis stay out of Syrian airspace.

Just FYI, the Qalamoun mountains are in Syria, not in Lebanon, and the lies in that pestilent rag called JPost indicate the attack was in "the South of Syria." Instead of wasting your time as a hasbara troll, why not take some remedial reading classes back in elementary school? They might give you a discount if you add some Elementary Geography.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 10, 2015 9:37:22 PM | 47

@40 jfl. yes and no.. the western msm often appears to have an agenda in making muslim culture out to be 1 step above the barbaric ISIS branch.. the religious zealots that subscribe to wahabbism promoting suicide, headchopping 101, death and upheaval, etc. etc, aren't working with a full deck. they share traits with fundamental christianity, which has traditionally provided a more sanitized drone like version, murdering innocent people in faraway countries.. maybe it's more sanitized, but not any better and ironically the western msm never portrays these countless wars supported and cultivated by the west as anything other then doing good on the side of righteousness.. and here we are how many years after ww2, watching a speeding up towards something similar and worse? no.. there is nothing religious, moral or ethical about murdering innocent people and upending people's lives who are forced to leave as a consequence of these paid for whack job mercenaries, and the whack jobs who pay for them who need to come in for special ridicule, whether businessmen, royalty and all the rest of the rot..

@46 ben.. thanks - i was being factitious asking that question!

Posted by: james | Nov 10, 2015 9:53:55 PM | 48

@47

Again you show your persistent ignorance and minimal comprehension skills. The JTimes and the article I reported on stated clearly that the Israeli jets never entered Syrian airspace while the rockets they fired struck targets in the South of Syria from their launch points in Lebanon.

Perhaps you can find some reading comprehension tutorials on-line to help you with your confusion, it may help reduce your making a fool of yourself and tamp down your lying.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Nov 10, 2015 10:08:35 PM | 49

The report about Hezbollah being bombed on October 31st are a bit strange, because previously Al Manar, which seems to be THE Hezbollah web site in English, wrote about Israeli attacks. The gist of their political claims is that they are the Resistance, and the war in Syria is a part of a larger war against Occupiers of PTalestine and so on. So an attack by Israeli air force (or, "occupation military") is nothing to be ashamed, to the contrary. And yet there was no report.

The second strange aspect is that the attack was supposedly on a convoy supplying arms. Since there was a number of such attacks before Russians brought their planes to Syria, I would imagine that Hezbollah would change the supply route, namely from the northern Syria-Lebanon border crossings. Israel was told to stay away from the vicinity of Russian bases.

However, Al Manar is selective on what it reports, so right now they may wish to avoid putting Russian in bad light (they are supposed to defend the Syrian sky), in part because of a promise (my speculation) that southern Syria will have air defenses restored, or because of some other favors.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 10, 2015 11:00:53 PM | 50

@Wayoutwest@9

persistent ignorance and minimal comprehension skills. The JTimes [...] [...] reading comprehension tutorials on-line [...]

The stinky zionazi rag Penelope posted originally, in which you piggybacked (literally) to start yet another non-sense diatribe, is called "The Jerusalem Post," but you just invented, as you do with most of what you post, the "JTimes." Now, there is the "Times of Israel" another zionazi rag, but it is not the paper in question.

Talk about reading comprehension skills...and persistent ignorance...

I rest my case, no more evidence necessary.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 10, 2015 11:02:33 PM | 51

Reuters: U.S. Air Force General Charles Brown, commander of the U.S. Air Forces Central Command, said on Tuesday he was impressed with the work the Saudi-led coalition is doing in Yemen.

Brown said the U.S. Air Force has been working together with Saudi forces on training, and he was impressed with their air operations. "We're both of the same mindset," he said.

=====

Sometimes I think that all hope is lost (to those who live in the same county as the General).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 10, 2015 11:32:12 PM | 52

Sorry for the typo: to those who live in the same COUNTRY as General Charles Brown.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 10, 2015 11:33:50 PM | 53

@Piotr Berman@50

[...] However, Al Manar is selective on what it reports, so right now they may wish to avoid putting Russian in bad light (they are supposed to defend the Syrian sky), in part because of a promise (my speculation) that southern Syria will have air defenses restored, or because of some other favors.

No such a thing. This late into the game, an attack within Syria with a dozen planes coming from anywhere wouldn't go unanswered. I posted this quote a while ago, here it is again. First case in point, Russia's position re: Hezbollah vis-a-vis Israel.

Russian elite units in Zabadani, Homs, Hama and Aleppo

[...] The senior commander explained, “Israel and the United States are also concerned about the possibility that Hezbollah could benefit from the advanced Russian military equipment pouring into Syria. As far as it concerns us, Damascus and Hezbollah are strategically linked and share the same destiny. Any sophisticated weapon owned by Syria and Iran that an organized but irregular force, like Hezbollah, can use in case of war against Israel is already in our possession. Israel is raising the alarm by saying that its “national security” could be in jeopardy if Hezbollah has this or that technology or could benefit from Russia’s presence to transport more weapons into Lebanon. Russia’s answer is that its own national security is already in jeopardy due to terrorism expansion. Russia is not fighting a battle but a war on terror on Syrian soil and elsewhere and is present in a hostile environment. Russia will pursue and won’t give up upon in this war, in Syria, regardless any possible international pressure to persuade it otherwise”.

Second point, in mid October, Lebanese, Arab and Israeli media made public a warning to Israeli planes about to cross the Lebanon/Syria border. For obvious reasons, the Russians have closed the airspace around the port of Tartus and Latakia airport.

Report: Russia blocks Israeli jets over Lebanon

Russian forces warned Israel over IAF flights in Russian controlled airspace near the Syrian–Lebanese border area after Israeli jets were detected nearby, according to a report Friday in the Lebanese media outlet As Safir [...]

Third point, just recently the news surfaced Russia provided Syria with an air defense missile system. The reasons for its deployment, as explained by Russian Air Force chief Viktor Bondarev, were,

Russia deploys air defense systems in Syria

[...]"We have calculated all possible threats. We have supplied not only fighters, attack planes, bombers and helicopters to Syria, but also and anti-aircraft missile systems. Various types of force majeure circumstances may occur. For example, a military aircraft can be hijacked from the territory of a state that borders on Syria. We must also be prepared for a possible retaliation strike on our forces," the official said [...]

It doesn't make any sense that two weeks later, after a loud and clear warning to Israeli planes, the Russians will allow Israel to bomb a Hezbollah convoy with impunity. If they allow it the first time, when would that stop? Given the statement from chief Bondarev, how would the Russians know this is not a kidnapped plane or planes about to go kamikaze on the Russian base? As he said, they should be ready for any type of force majeure circumstances. Furthermore, I am sure the Syrians have itchy fingers on their new air defense system toys, waiting for some Israeli planes to come and try them. BTW, no one knows what kind of air defense system was deployed, but the Tank-Thinkers are up-in-arms talking S-300s. I for sure hope so.

In plain English, and while there is no evidence other than zionazi rags, the Israelis are bullshitting. Again.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 11, 2015 12:20:09 AM | 54

If it wasn't obvious for months now, the US plans more troops on the ground in Syria.

https://www.rt.com/usa/321520-troops-ground-syria-isis/

Posted by: tom | Nov 11, 2015 3:08:03 AM | 55

Lone Wolf @ 39,

You're right. Israel did NOT bomb in Syria since the Russians arrived. I saw a confirming mention of the bombing with an al-monitor byline & I didn't bother to pull it up. I just now pulled it up, and what do you think-- altho the search listing says al-Monitor, when I pulled it up I got Israel Pulse.

And SUCH a ludicrous story about how the "lion" Irael was sharing the skies w Russia. Israel is delusional. The truth is not in them. Thanks for catching that.

Posted by: Penelope | Nov 11, 2015 3:13:59 AM | 56

Laguerre
Check the elections results. Sinai is where "Amr Moussa", definitely the candidate of the establishment, made more in terms of percentage. Most of Sinai Beduins regret Mubarak and the wealthy tourists. Most of the "terrorist" activity come from people who were in all sort of business with Gaza and the owner of Gaza, i.e. Israel. Then to have a village idiot here and there do this and that was not difficult. But South Sina? nothing. Look at the mayhem about tourists in the later days, it would have been easy for someone to explode himself in a crowd or put a bomb on the bus driving them to the airport. Nothing of that. Just the same usual suspects. It's amazing how Russia has been on the top page every day blamed for this and that.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 11, 2015 3:59:40 AM | 57

A Russian document circulating at the United Nations has proposed a constitutional reform process in Syria, lasting 18 months, to be followed by presidential elections.

The document does not say whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should remain in power during that time.

It says certain Syrian opposition groups should take part in key talks on the crisis in Vienna on Saturday.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34784276

Posted by: okie farmer | Nov 11, 2015 5:07:30 AM | 58

@25 Yes, I've been saying that ever since Obama announce that he was sending 50 Special Forces soldiers to Kurdish military HQ.

They were never intended to "help" the Kurdish YPG, or anyone else for that matter.

They certainly aren't being sent to act as forward air controllers.
They definitely aren't intended as (some have laughably claimed) some kind of "human shield" to deter the Turks from bombing YPG positions.

Nope.

They are being sent to YPG headquarters for one purpose only.

This purpose:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_commissar

The Pentagon wants the YPG to strike south towards Raqqa.
The YPG wants to strike west towards Afrin.
The Green Berets are being sent to tell the YPG is Do As It Is Damn Well Told.

Nothing more.
No less.


Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 11, 2015 5:12:08 AM | 59

@Penelope@56

Thanks for verifying that, Penelope, though I think our in-house hasbara troll will be deflated. He was already salivating at dozens of Hezbollah dead, weapons destroyed, and the zionazis pumping muscle at the Russians.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Nov 11, 2015 9:39:19 AM | 60

Lone Wolf @54:

I largely agree, I merely pointed out that the conclusion is not certain. One aspect is that anti-aircraft defense is not easy to restore everywhere, so Qalamoon area is perhaps not covered, even if the reports on installing the defenses in Syria are true. Second aspect is that Russians cannot easily challenge IAF while busy on several fronts, and the report was that Israel send a number of fighters -- rather strange to destroy a few trucks.

The IDF mentality is that they have to have the ability to overfly and bomb anywhere, or they just feel depressed and morose, so I imagine they they could jump at the last chance to it. Nevertheless, all of it is a speculation to show that the more probable conclusion, staging a media event to relieve the depressed and morose feelings, is not certain.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 11, 2015 10:03:54 AM | 61

Sorry to flog a dead horse. I read Jerusalem Post link:

"Israeli fighter jets penetrated Syrian airspace and attacked numerous Hezbollah targets in the South of Syria, according to Syrian media Saturday.

Estimated targets included a weapons convoy destined for Hezbollah fighters traveling through Syria. According to reports, up to a dozen Israeli war planes conducted the mission close to the Lebenon-Syria border in the Qalamoun Mountains region."

Then the article describes what IAF hit ON THE PREVIOUS OCCASIONS, but not on this one. Not a single description of something actually hit, only the "targets". Most strangely, it specifically mentions Samir Kantar organization, but unlike the previous time, Kantar was not reported to be killed. The article would be truthful even if the valiant dozen of Israeli war planes managed to cross the border, with a copious list of targets, detected radar locks and promptly returned. The true mission could be testing new anti-aircraft defenses.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 11, 2015 10:55:40 AM | 62

So what's the answer here? Why would the US go about their intelligence efforts this way? It seems designed precisely to destroy the good name of the UN. If it isn't that, its sheer laziness.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 11, 2015 8:15:38 PM | 63

guest77 @63:

I linked to this article at Open Thread 15/41, comment 104, which at least ventures some idea as to why the US might want to destroy the good name of the UN in such ways.

In different contexts the US similarly destroys the good name of other international efforts vs. disease, disaster, etc. The US exposes itself more and more as the world's insatiable, opportunistic, shortsighted super-villain (the "opportunistic, shortsighted" part might indeed qualify as lazy). The capital (as it were) should be moved to a remote, skull-shaped island.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Nov 11, 2015 9:21:33 PM | 64

@64 - interesting, thanks!

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 12, 2015 10:17:07 PM | 65

@64 - though, actually, that link goes to something about Stalin?

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 12, 2015 10:17:37 PM | 66

guest77 @65, 66:

Here is a reprise of most of my post @Open Thread 15/41, comment 104--the author links the West's obsession with eradicating the legacy of Stalin with the current form of the UN and in particular its Security Council:

Author Albert Naryshkin quotes Aleksey Fenenko in summation:

All the legitimacy of the modern world order is tied to the outcome of the Second World War. If the countries of the West pursue a policy of eliminating the UN Security Council in its current composition (and there are signs of this), then it is necessary to do ideological groundwork. Why is the topic of Stalinism, although Stalin died in the middle of the last century, so popular in the West? Because it is the foundation for transforming the UN. If for a moment we admit that “Stalin and Hitler were equally responsible for the war,” then the question is immediately raised: what exactly is Russia doing in the UN Security Council? In Germany and Japan, I think, another question arises, the question of whether or not the borders arranged by Stalin are just….

Something quite similar already happened in history. In the 19th century, no less a schism was caused by the figure of Napoleon Bonaparte. The destroyed emperor was adored and strongly romanticized in France, the country which wanted to revise the results of the Congress of Vienna in 1815. National movements idolized Bonaparte, including Italian, Polish, Hungarian, and Irish ones which wouldn’t have had the chance to create their own states without new turmoil in Europe. And, conversely, the victorious powers - Russia, Great Britain, and Austria - didn’t like Bonaparte. The point wasn’t even Napoleon, but rather disputes about the necessity of revising the results of the Congress of Vienna. Today we feel a similar danger emanating from disputes over Stalinism and the beginning of the Second World War: we are not talking about Stalin as such, but about the transformation of the UN Security Council into an objective disadvantage for Russia.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Nov 13, 2015 12:37:57 AM | 67

Ah! Excellent, thanks very much for rewriting this. This is a very, very interesting perspective. I feel a bit vindicated in my constant posting about the subject - it isn't just a historical debate, its touches how, even today, policy is formed at the international level.

So again, these attacks on Stalin are very important to the ideology backing US hegemony (which is certainly why discussion of the topic leads to very vigorous reaction from the troll here). Its interesting that Aleksey Fenenko understands what's at stake, but meanwhile at RT even the Russian hosts are clueless - witness Oksana Boyco on a recent World's Apart describe two of the most ideologically committed anti-Russian American intellectuals - Anne Applebaum and Timothy Snyder - as "good historians" though their research is seriously flawed. You can see this in her discussion with Steven Cohen, a usually reasonable man when it comes to issues regarding Russia. He talks of "East-West Accord" but then himself repeats all of the same wildly inflated numbers invented - we must admit - by the Gehlen Organizaion and the Nazis. Even when discussing the meaningful and important the work of the Memorial NGO is, he at the same time denigrating their research as he adds several millions to the numbers of executions that NGO itself has come up with.

I think people should read this article on one of the most referenced evens used to attack Stalin, the famine of 1933. This author of this paper is University of West Virginia Professor Mark Tauger. He's no leftist - he's an expert on agricultural and agrarian history, including Eastern European famines. And in this brief paper he calls into question the US Cold Warrior and Ukrainian ultra-nationalist interpretation of the 1933 Soviet famine as one of "Genocide".

As stated, this professor is a very serious researcher of famines. And no, he's not a communist for those who'd want to jump on that. He's not a leftist. He's got no ideological horse in the race, so to speak. And as those who questioned Grover Furr's ability to remain totally unbiased (because of his left activism) - this doesn't come in as an issue here. Though I would point out to TovioS, who questioned Grover Furr's ability to remain an unbiased scholar. This serious stuff is the kind of scholarship he references in his works like Blood Lies, books which pointing out - point by point - the lies and distortions that "historians" like Timothy Snyder fill us with today.

On another related note, I was watching author Stephen Kotkin discuss his newest bio of Stalin ("Stalin"). There was so much interesting about it - so much.

Kotkin is a Hoover Institute fellow: We shouldn't forget that Herbert Hoover was one of the major figures in the US efforts to overthrow the Bolshevik Revolution by invading Russia in 1919. Now, why did Hoover want to do this? After all, Bolshevism barely had a grasp on power at that point - the civil war was raging. The answer is surely in the fact that he personally had over $1 Billion worth of interests in Russian oil companies. In fact, these interests were worth so much, that Hoover would have been the richest man in America - richer than Rockefeller. And the Bolshevik Revolution snatched that all away from him.The US invasion of Russia in 1919 wasn't a crusade for freedom or something so high minded as that - in fact, the ideological attacks on Bolshevism where barely worked out at that point so this excuse wasn't in play. This was Hoover's personal monetary interests at stake - fantastic sums.

Kotkin discussed how General Kornilov actually lived on the grounds of the Hoover Institute after fleeing Russia: I won't go into the history of who the General is, but he was the last best hope of defeating the Bolsheviks and reestablishing Czarist rule (and saving Hoover's Billion). When he lost his campaign during the Russian Civil War, he escaped to the US where he lived for an extended period at the Hoover Institute and wrote his memoirs there! So think about this - its an uninterrupted line of supporting the anti-Communist line, all right there in Stanford. 95 years ago, you had Kornilov supported to write his anti-Communist memoirs, and practically in the same room, we have Kotkin doing his work - an anti-Communist biography of Stalin.

Killing people is never necessary: Kotkin has a few ridiculous statements. He describes collectivization as Stalin "enslaving 100 million people" which is a bizarre way of putting it. He accused Stalin of "killing 10 million people", numbers even Timothy Snyder won't use. But he has one line he uses in his talks about Stalin which is very, very important and revealing. He says: "It's never necessary to kill millions of people". In a couple of talks I watched of him, he used this line to take on the idea that collectivization was a required reform in a country where agriculture was continuously under-performing. Notice that phrase "never necessary". I found it interesting because later in his talk, under the questioning of the moderator, he stated flatly that "The Cold War was necessary". Now, the link is clear - he even uses that same word, so there's no confusion - "Kiling millions of people is never neccessary" but "the Cold War was neccessary"? With that single sentence, Kotkin lays his hypocrisy - and the hypocrisy we see all the time from anti-Communists - out bare. After all, what was the Wold War except for US helping to kill millions of people? Vietnam, Indonesia, Latin America - these were episodes of wholesale murder on par with even the inflated numbers Kotkin writes about. But it was "neccessary" because it was killing communists.

That's what you get from the long history of Hoover institute: Greed and hypocrisy bookended by intellectual excuses for both.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 13, 2015 1:49:08 AM | 68

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