The rebranding of Saudi Arabia's blood-stained image using sports has been spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, palace coup plotter and figure behind the butchering of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, writes Binoy Kampmark.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a warm welcome in Riyadh on October 23 during his surprise visit to the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference.
The conference has yielded investment deals worth an estimated US$50 billion, despite calls for a boycott by activists and some countries over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. However, Saudi Arabia is proving to be too tempting an investment opportunity for many businesses despite the large public outcry.
As Yemeni journalists reported that at least 15 civilians were killed in Saudi airstrikes in the port city of Hodeidah on September 12, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially certified that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose three-year assault on the country has been made possible by US support, are doing all they can to avoid civilian casualties.
Two years of the U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen has caused a disastrous humanitarian situation in the poorest Arab country. The conflict is increasingly stoking anti-American sentiment among Yemenis, many of whom see the U.S. government as a killer using Saudi hands.
The conflict began in 2015, when President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi resigned and went into exile, and Saudi Arabia led an armed coalition allegedly to restore Hadi’s legitimacy. Hadi now leads a government-in-exile while the rebel Houthi movement surges in Yemen.
The world media’s attention has focused on the very real humanitarian crisis gripping hurricane-ravaged nations in the Caribbean and regions of the United States, but the “world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe” (in the words of The New York Times in August) is in Yemen.
The unfolding disaster in Yemen is entirely human-made, is worsening and is the result of policies pursued by the United States and Britain.
The United Nations High commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reported on July 19 that an airstrike carried out by the US-backed Saudi-led coalition in Yemen killed 20 civilians — including women and children — who were fleeing violence in their home province.
The agency said in statement: “Most of those killed are believed to be from the same family.”
The US Senate voted on June 13 to approve a widely criticised $500 million sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, narrowly beating back a bipartisan effort to block the deal.
The final tally was 53-47 in favour of the sale, which is just part of a massive $100 billion arms package.
The US is looking to increase support for the Saudi Arabia-led war on Yemen, officials said on April 19 — a move some see as another signal that President Donald Trump is itching to take the US to a new war.
Trump doubles US air strikes on Yemen
The United States administration of Donald Trump has so far carried out at least 70 air strikes in Yemen, TeleSUR English said on April 4, more than twice as many as those carried out last year under the Barck Obama administration, according to data provided by the Pentagon.
This month marks two years since the start of the Saudi-led, US-supported war on Yemen. Involving a blockade of Yemen and the consequent collapse of the nation’s economy, the war has made the prospect of famine very real.
This interview by John Pilger with Jullian Assange was filmed in the Embassy of Ecuador in London – where Assange is a political refugee – and broadcast on November 5. ***
What’s the significance of the FBI's intervention in these last days of the U.S. election campaign, in the case against Hillary Clinton?
An air raid by the Saudi-led coalition killed at least 60 people in Yemen, most of them inmates of a prison near the city of Hodeidah on October 30, TeleSUR English said that day.
The prison was struck three times on October 30 by coalition fighter jets in the latest attack on civilian facilities, including hospitals, by Saudi Arabia and its allies over the past year-and-a-half.
A Reuters witness at the security complex said the building was destroyed and medics pulled about 17 bodies away, many of them missing limbs. Others remained trapped under the rubble.
In a rare move, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called out Saudi Arabia on September 22 for airstrikes in Yemen that killed dozens of civilians, including children.
The US-backed Saudi coalition, which has been bombing Yemen since last year, struck a house in a residential area in western Yemen on September 21, killing 26 people, according to medics and residents.
Israeli white phosphorus attack on Gaza, 2009.
Saudi Arabia is using white phosphorus, a flesh-melting chemical, in its conflict with Yemen, according to social media reports. The US acknowledges that it has supplied the kingdom with the chemical.