Archive for ‘Middle East’

26/03/2015

Iran Condemns Saudi Strikes in Yemen as a ‘Dangerous Step’, Denounces ‘US-backed Aggression’

Human Wrongs Watch

26 March 2015 (Middle East Eye)* — Saudi Arabia and a coalition of regional allies launched a series of airstrikes in Yemen on Wednesday night against the Houthi militia, which the movement’s spokesman has called a “declaration of war”.
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Middle East Eye

Middle East Eye

At least 17 civilians have been killed in the capital Sanaa during the overnight offensive, although local medical sources have said that this number could yet rise.

The airstrikes also targeted al-Daylami airbase and the adjacent international airport in north Sanaa, as well as the presidential complex seized by the rebels in January, military sources told AFP.

Witnesses said residents were helping civil defense officials to search for any more victims under the rubble of the houses damaged in the raids.

The homes are located in a neighbourhood adjacent to the international airport and an air base targeted in the raids, said local residents.

26/03/2015

Libya, Syria, Yemen: Sectarian Conflict Threatens Entire Middle East

Human Wrongs Watch

26 March 2015 (RT)* — A coalition of 10 Sunni Arab states is on a military offensive against Shiite Houthi militants in Yemen, recently proclaimed by America’s president as a brilliant example of war on terror, but now catapulting the Middle East into the inferno of battle.
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Source: RT

Source: RT

Saudi Arabia has initiated an international military operation in Yemen that many experts are already calling a proxy war against Iran, since Houthi fighters are believed to have strategic backup from Tehran.

The internal Yemeni conflict has the potential to transform into a military standoff based on religious background between the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf on one side and Shiites of the region supported by Iran on the other.

US President Barack Obama has authorized “logistical and intelligence support.”

The coalition is bombing a country that used to have heavy American presence for years, since Washington used to station a fleet of assault UAVs in Yemen, waging drone warfare against militants of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

26/03/2015

SHERLOC against Organized Crime

Human Wrongs Watch

25 March 2015 – With criminal groups transforming into ever more sophisticated networks, and their ability to operate across borders increasing, the need for greater information sharing and cooperation is urgent.*

Photo: UNODC

Source: UNODC

To meet this need, UNODC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime) has developed SHERLOC: an online knowledge management portal for Sharing Electronic Resources and Laws on Crime and disseminating information on how States implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).

SHERLOC aims to promote communication between States, police enforcement agencies, civil society and other organizations, and has been developed to easily provide access to legal cases related to countries’ implementation of the Convention.

Since its creation a year ago, SHERLOC has grown to include information on over 1,800 individual cases and 2,100 instances of legislation concerning national laws.

SHERLOC has been developed with a wide user base in mind: Governments, judicial agencies, law enforcement officials, legal practitioners, academics and more.

It includes information on a range of criminal activities such as cybercrime, human trafficking, money laundering, piracy, and wildlife and forest crime.

26/03/2015

Nuclear Weapons Abolition – “NATO” Is Not an Excuse

Human Wrongs Watch

By Arielle Denis and Daniela Varano*

25 March 2015 – Media outlets in Japan and Norway report that the United States has become more assertive in its opposition to the humanitarian initiative, issuing “demarcates” to its allies to refrain from backing a Pledge announced by the Austrian government at the conclusion of the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons.

Source: ICAN

Source: ICAN

Prompted by the comprehensive evidence generated by the Vienna Conference and its two predecessors, the Pledge is a call to action to “fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons”.

Amidst calls for a nuclear weapons free world the US has decided to show its hand and reveal that it intends to do everything it can to control the debate on nuclear disarmament and isn’t interested in anyone else pushing it out of its comfort zone.

The five nuclear weapons states of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) have been quite suspicious of the so-called “humanitarian initiative”.

26/03/2015

Photo Feature: Bulgaria Repels Asylum Seekers

The pattern of systematic pushbacks and beatings was highlighted by a Human Rights Watch report in 2014, but evidence that they have continued came to light this month with the deaths of two Yazidi Iraqis who attempted to cross the border.

Click here to see IRIN’s photo feature on how they died and evidence that a Bulgarian government policy introduced in 2013 may be behind the numerous documented cases of pushbacks and abuse of asylum seekers at the Turkish border.

25/03/2015

Saudi Arabia Moves Heavy Arms to Border with Chaos-stricken Yemen

Human Wrongs Watch

25 March 2015 (RT)* — Saudi Arabia is deploying a significant task force to the border with neighboring Yemen, where Houthi Shiite rebels allegedly forced the president to leave the country. President Hadi has been asking the UN to approve the use of foreign forces in Yemen.

Royal Saudi Land Force displays a 155 mm (6 in) GCT self-propelled gun (L) and AMX-10P infantry combat vehicles (Image from wikipedia.org)

Royal Saudi Land Force displays a 155 mm (6 in) GCT self-propelled gun (L) and AMX-10P infantry combat vehicles (Image from wikipedia.org) | Source: RT

The situation in Yemen remains murky, with Houthi militants claiming capture of in the southern seaport of Aden, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s stronghold. The rebels claim Hadi has fled the country, while two of his aides say he remains in Aden and has no intention of leaving the country.

Local residents informed Reuters that Houthi fighters have overrun Al-Anad airbase and entered Aden, arresting the defense minister.

The objective of the Saudi Arabian troops remains uncertain and even the US, Riyadh’s major ally, is not sure what the House of Saud has on its mind regarding the long-lasting political turmoil of its southern neighbor.

25/03/2015

As Yemen Crumbles, Civilians Brace for the Worst

Human Wrongs Watch

By Almigdad Mojalli*
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SANA’A, 25 March 2015 (IRIN)* - Abdu Hasan Dabwan is not willing to let it happen again. Twice before, the 54 year-old says, he waited too long, refusing to flee in the hope that the tensions in his home country would not tip over into chaos. Twice he was wrong.
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The first time was 1994. Four short years after North and South Yemen had unified, the initial optimism had faded and a civil war broke out in which president Ali Abdullah Saleh brutally crushed the southern leadership.

Trapped in their houses, the Dabwans were forced to watch the three-months of carnage play out around them.

The second time was in 2011 when a wave of popular protests against Saleh began. While he eventually stepped down to be replaced by his deputy Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, it was not before months of intermittent clashes.

“We had terrible experiences [before] when we waited until the war broke out [and] were besieged for many days. Some of our neighbors were killed, and we [had to abandon] much of our furniture and properties.”

25/03/2015

Letter to Palestinian Women

Human Wrongs Watch

By Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate* – TRANSCEND Media Service

‘Spirit of Resilience’ Empowering Palestinian Women, Ramallah March 19th, 2015

Mairead Maguire

Mairead Maguire

Dear Sisters,

I write to send you my love and greetings.

I am sorry I cannot be with you all to attend your very important Women’s’ Conference, as I am banned, by the Israeli Government from entering Israel/Palestine, due to my peaceful ‘Free Gaza’ activities.

However, I am with you in a spirit of love, friendship, admiration, and an abiding hope and belief in each one of you and all you do for women’s freedom, and Human Rights including the civil rights of Health Care, Development, etc.,

As Women living in the midst of an Israeli occupation, built on an Apartheid System, you know the high cost emotionally/psychologically/physically and financially of the Israeli military occupation.

Your solutions, including working for an end to the repression and occupation, the right to self-determination and a Palestine built on human rights and international law, has the support of millions of people around the world who recognize the injustice of the Israeli Military occupation of Palestine.

In meeting your responsibility to resist such injustice being perpetrated upon your entire civilian population, we applaud and totally support your ‘spirit of resistance’ and nonviolent, peaceful civil resistance.

You rightly, start your work for peace and justice within your own lives, in your communities, and in Palestine, and you courageously recognize the need to make peace with your Israeli brothers and sisters.

25/03/2015

Vykom: Strategic Nonviolent Action Against Untouchability

Human Wrongs Watch

By Robert J. Burrowes*

25 March 2014 — Why does nonviolent action work? And how good was Mohandas K. Gandhi as a nonviolent strategist?

**Memorial at the former en:Birla House, en:New Delhi, en:India where en:Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated at 5:17 PM on 30 January 1948 on his way to a prayer meeting. Stylized footsteps are shown leading to the memorial. | Author: Fowler&fowler | Wikimedia Commons

**Memorial at the former en:Birla House, en:New Delhi, en:India where en:Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated at 5:17 PM on 30 January 1948 on his way to a prayer meeting. Stylized footsteps are shown leading to the memorial. | Author: Fowler&fowler | Wikimedia Commons

If you want high quality evidence in your search for answers to these two questions then I encourage you to read Professor Mary E. King’s latest book on the struggle against untouchability, unapproachability and unseeability in the south Indian village of Vykom during the 1920s.

See ‘Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India: The 1924–25 Vykom Satyagraha and the Mechanisms of Change‘.

History is not always considered instructive and yet the major achievements, and failures, of nonviolent activists throughout the twentieth and now twenty-first centuries can be better understood if we understand what happened at Vykom.

23/03/2015

Outsourcing Asylum!

Human Wrongs Watch

As the European Union considers outsourcing asylum screening to North Africa, IRIN‘s Migration Editor looks at what lessons can be learned from Australia’s use of offshore processing for asylum seekers.

**Photo: DIBP | Australia’s offshore processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island | Source: IRIN

**Photo: DIBP | Australia’s offshore processing centre for asylum seekers on Manus Island | Source: IRIN

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London, March 2015 (IRIN)* – As Europe braces for a summer of record maritime migrant arrivals, the EU has revived plans to establish processing centers beyond the borders of the Union.

All indications are that the onset of calmer waters on the Mediterranean will lead even more people to attempt the crossing this year than did in 2014, when over 170,000 reached Italy’s shores alone.

As conflicts in Syria, Libya and elsewhere rage on, over 8,000 migrants and asylum seekers arrived by sea in the first two months of 2015 compared to 5,500 during the same period last year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

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