Libya, Syria, Yemen: Sectarian conflict threatens entire Middle East

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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.

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.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia bombs Yemen, launches coalition op against Houthi rebels

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

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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).

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“This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the frontlines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years,” said Obama as recently as September 10, 2014.

This longstanding fruitful cooperation between Sanaa and Washington has had a bitter ending, as Houthi fighters captured Yemen’s major cities and are offering a reward for US-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, while the US were forced to evacuate its embassy from Yemen along with diplomatic missions of other western countries in early February.

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Yemen’s territory has become increasingly fragmented, with Sunni militant groups operating in the south of the country and AQAP becoming active again.

The base with deployed US killer drones remained operable until last week, when it was abandoned like all other US installations in the country.

READ MORE: US evacuates ‘special forces’ in Yemen as rebels seize third largest city

https://youtu.be/q__BkL6bBtU

The developments in Yemen have drawn attention to Obama’s policy of dealing with terrorism hot-beds around the world from Republican Senators John Mc Cain and Lindsey Graham.

They rebuked the Obama administration over Yemen’s descent into a regional proxy war threatening to engulf the Middle East, calling it “another tragic case of leading from behind.”

READ MORE: Yemen rebels gained access to secret US files – report

Yemen now in many ways resembles Libya, disintegrating after foreign intervention, or Syria, devastated by years of civil war, as fighter jets of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition are pouncing Yemeni military installations and infrastructure facilities.

The meltdown in Yemen is causing embarrassment in Washington, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, Abayomi Azikiwe, told RT.

“It is a very dangerous situation. What it represents is a total collapse of the US foreign policy in Yemen,” Azikiwe said, stressing that it was “clearly miscalculation” on the part of the Obama administration, which underestimated power of Houthi groups.

“It is clearly a failure of the US foreign policy in Yemen,” he said.

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The US withdrawal from Yemen has revealed a massive property lost, as the US government is believed to have lost track of about $500 million worth of military aid provided to Yemen in recent years, beginning in 2007.

Officials acknowledge that they’re unable to account for more than a million rounds of ammunition, 160 Humvees (HMMWV) vehicles, 200 M-4 assault rifles and 250 body armor suits – and this is far from being the full inventory of lost property.

The US has no intention of stabilizing other nations, retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski told RT.

“What the US government is focused on is putting arms out there and creating bias for those arms. The US taxpayer subsidizes foreign weapon sales. So we’re always out there, our government is always out there looking for places to market our weapons,” Kwiatkowski said. US foreign policy is aimed at creating markets for the US weaponry and is good at it, not at solving crises, promoting good governments etc.

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“That’s not our expertise. We don’t spend time and money on that. We spend time and money on creating consumers for our weapons,” she said.

Meantime Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Pakistan, Morocco, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain are bombing Yemeni territory using mostly US-made weapons and hardware, with a proclaimed objective to prevent President Hadi from losing power.

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“We will do whatever it takes in order to protect the legitimate government of Yemen from falling,” Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, told a news conference while announcing the operation.

After the Iran’s advances in Iraq – which borders Saudi Arabia to the north – the kingdom is worried that Yemen, on its southern frontier, is going to become a proxy for Iran as well.

“In the absence of the Americans, who have temporarily quit the field, the Saudi’s will think they have no choice but to go in pretty hard. We are going to see redesign of the region,” President of the Australia Institute of International Affairs John McCarthy told Reuters.

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The key to the unwinding military conflict is going to be reaction of Iran, which has its finger in many ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

If Tehran decides to play big, oil exports from the region – crucial to the world economy – could fall victim to the regional conflict. That in turn will threaten energy supplies of many countries, particularly China, Japan and South Korea.

READ MORE: Oil surges 6% on Saudi airstrikes in Yemen

US proposes to let Iran operate fortified nuclear site – reports *(ONCE AGAIN, OBAMA HELPING HIS MUSLIM BROTHERS.)*

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Washington is considering letting Iran operate hundreds of centrifuges at a formerly secret bunker, in exchange for limiting research at other sites, US officials taking part in the nuclear talks in Geneva told AP.

Instead of uranium, any centrifuges permitted at the Fordo facility would work on isotopes used in medicine, science or industry, the officials said. In return, Iran would scale back the number of centrifuges it currently operates at the Natanz facility, and accept inspections and other restrictions

According to AP, the total number of centrifuges currently operating at Natanz is 10,000. If the leaked proposal is accepted, the combined number of centrifuges at both sites would be under 6,500. The formerly secret site at Fordo, which Iran revealed in 2009, is controversial because it is dug into a mountainside and fortified against air attacks.

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Officials, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity, said the goal since the beginning of the talks was to have the Fordo facility converted “so it’s not being used to enrich uranium.”

All of the proposed options are designed to keep Iran at least a year away from producing a nuclear weapon for the 10-year duration of the agreement, the officials said.

Meanwhile, the White House has said that the US expects “tangible commitments” from Iran, but refused to confirm the agreement would be in writing.

Led by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, the negotiators are trying to reach a preliminary agreement before the end of March. Deadline for the final agreement is June 30.

Tehran disclosed the existence of the Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant, unfinished at the time, to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in September 2009. Iran said the purpose of the facility was the production of uranium enriched up to five percent of U-235, the isotope capable of sustaining a fission reaction. According to the Iranian disclosure, the facility was being built to operate approximately 3,000 centrifuges in 16 cascades. It is dug into the mountainside near the Shia holy city of Qom, 78 miles (125 km) southwest of Tehran.

The extensive facility at Natanz, whose existence was revealed in 2002, is in the Isfahan province, 204 miles (328 km) southeast of Tehran. It is reportedly eight meters (approx. 26 feet) underground and extends over 100,000 square meters, with a capacity of 19,000 centrifuges.

We will continue 20 percent enrichment at Fordo and Natanz to meet our needs,” Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Fereydoun Abbasi told the Tehran Times in January 2013, a year after one of the Natanz scientists was killed in a car bombing that Iran blamed on Israel.

The US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – known as the “P5+1” – are trying to reach an agreement with Iran to restrict the country’s nuclear program in return for lifting the economic blockade imposed by the UN.

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The Obama administration has come under criticism by the Republican-led Congress over the Iran talks. Earlier this month, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was invited to address Congress without White House approval, and blasted the talks in his speech. Days later, 47 Republican senators sent a letter informing Iran that any deal would be invalid without their approval. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has likewise come under criticism by political opponents who do not trust the US to honor any agreement.

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Blair aide: ‘We screwed up on immigration – 13,000 migrants became ONE MILLION’ *(JUST LIKE WE DID IN THE UNITED STATES AND NOW WE HAVE MEXICO LIVING HERE.)*

 

ONE of the biggest mass immigrations in the history of the British Isles was solely down to a Blair government cock-up, a senior aide to the former prime minister has conceded.

Tony Blair

Tony Blair has defended the immigration policies he pursued during his ten years in office

Tony Blair simply failed to comprehend the significance of new EU rules which dramatically expanded the number of people who could settle in the UK, his ex-advisor claimed.

The former Prime Minister presided over some of the biggest influxes of immigrants in British history after the EU was expanded to include a further eight eastern European countries in 2004.

The Blair government assured voters the number of new arrivals from eastern Europe would be around 13,000.

However, the figure rapidly topped ONE MILLION as Poles and other workers from eastern Europe were wooed by higher wages and improved job prospects.

Sir Stephen Wall, the former-PM’s chief adviser on Europe, has spoken out, claiming the last administration followed poor advice.

Singling out ‘Polish plumbers’, he accused Mr Blair of playing “politics” with the immigration system.

More than one million eastern European migrants have travelled to the UK since 2004

We simply didn’t take account properly of the pull factor of England for people with skills

Sir Stephen Wall, a former chief adviser on Europe

Britain’s ambassador to the European Union in the 1990s claimed the last Labour government was focused on maintaining influence in eastern Europe rather than protecting the UK’s borders.

The top diplomat said: “We simply didn’t take account properly of the pull factor of England for people with skills who could probably find a bigger market [in the UK] for their skills – you know, the Polish plumber.

“The primary argument was the political one – this was the right thing to do, we attached a lot of importance to them as democratic countries and keeping our position as the number one friend of eastern and central Europeans.”

Speaking last week, Mr Blair defended the immigration policies he pursued during his ten years in office.

He said: “I don’t agree it was a mistake.

“All we did was bring forward what would have happened anyway.

“In 2004 the economy was booming and we had a requirement for skilled workers from abroad.

“Supposing you put all those people from Eastern Europe back out of Britain again, would we be a stronger, better country?

“The answer is no.”

Last night, a leading migration watchdog questioned the lack of forward-thinking during the Blair years.

“It is astonishing that nobody properly considered the impact of the wage differential between Britain and a huge country like Poland,” Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of the Migration Watch campaign group, told the Mail.

“We said at the time the forecast of 13,000-a-year was almost worthless. In fact, it was completely worthless.”

It also emerged that former Cabinet minister John Denham, who served under Mr Blair, wrote to chancellor Gordon Brown and home secretary Charles Clarke to warn the influx of new workers was having a significant impact on wages and the health service.

However, research by UCL published last year found European immigrants to the UK had paid more in taxes than they received in benefits.

Economists at the London university claimed European immigrants who arrived in the UK since 2000 have contributed more than £20bn to UK public finances between 2001 and 2011.

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Obama-backed rebels in Yemen loot secret U.S. files about spy operations

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Why is the Obama administration deliberately leaking our most sensitive documents to our worst enemies? Where were the burn bags, etc.? This isn’t incompetence. It’s treason. How many spies and key people will be targeted for assassination with this treasure trove of US intel in the hands of the enemy?

The only safe secrets are Benghazi, his treacherous nuke deal, his perfidy in the Israeli elections, the IRS scandals, spying on Americans  ….

Over the weekend, US Special Forces, “the world’s most talented, capable and toughest special operations forces got the heck out of Dodge” — on orders from above, of course.

According to WaPo, the Pentagon is unable to account for more than $500 million in U.S. military aid given to Yemen. It’s in the hands of the enemy

Not a few months ago, Obama touted Yemen as his “success story.”

“Iran-backed rebels in Yemen loot secret U.S. files about spy operations,” The LA Times,  March 25, 2015 (thanks to Todd)

Houthis in Sana, Yemen

Houthi fighters chant slogans during the funeral procession for people killed last week in suicide bombings in Sana, Yemen. (Hani Mohammed / Associated Press)

By Brian Bennett and Zaid al-Alayaa contact the reporter

Iran-backed rebels seize secret files about U.S. counter-terrorism operations in Yemen

An intelligence loss hampers U.S. efforts to target Al Qaeda’s most powerful franchise in Yemen

Secret files held by Yemeni security forces that contain details of American intelligence operations in the country have been looted by Iran-backed militia leaders, exposing names of confidential informants and plans for U.S.-backed counter-terrorism strikes, U.S. officials say.

U.S. intelligence officials believe additional files were handed directly to Iranian advisors by Yemeni officials who have sided with the Houthi militias that seized control of Sana, the capital, in September, which led the U.S.-backed president to flee to Aden.

For American intelligence networks in Yemen, the damage has been severe. Until recently, U.S. forces deployed in Yemen had worked closely with President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s government to track and kill Al Qaeda operatives, and President Obama had hailed Yemen last fall as a model for counter-terrorism operations elsewhere.

But the identities of local agents were considered compromised after Houthi leaders in Sana took over the offices of Yemen’s National Security Bureau, which had worked closely with the CIA and other intelligence agencies, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive operations.

Yemeni intelligence officers still loyal to Hadi’s besieged government burned some secret files, one official said. But they couldn’t destroy all of them before the Houthi fighters, whose leaders have received some weapons and training from Iran, moved in.

The loss of the intelligence networks, in addition to the escalating conflict, contributed to the Obama administration’s decision to halt drone strikes in Yemen for two months, to vacate the U.S. Embassy in Sana last month and to evacuate U.S. special operations and intelligence teams from a Yemeni air base over the weekend.

The Houthis claimed Wednesday that they had captured that air base, Al Anad, as new fighting broke out in and around the southern seaport of Aden, the country’s financial hub, where Hadi had taken refuge. Over the weekend, the Houthis seized the central city of Taizz.

A Houthi-controlled TV channel announced a $20-million bounty for Hadi’s capture, and his Aden compound was hit by airstrikes.

Foreign Minister Riad Yassin said Hadi was overseeing the city’s defense from an undisclosed safe location. The Associated Press reported that he had fled the country on a boat.

Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said that U.S. diplomats “were in touch” with Hadi early Wednesday and that he later “voluntarily” left his residence. She said she could not confirm whether he was still in the country, calling conditions there “incredibly volatile.”

As the turmoil deepened, Yemen appeared to be descending into a civil war that could ignite a wider regional struggle.

Yemen port city of Aden seethes with separatist fervor

Yemen port city of Aden seethes with separatist fervor

Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Iran-backed militias in Yemen to bolster the positions of the Yemeni government against the rapid advance of the Shiite militias, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. said Wednesday.

The objective of the airstrikes is to “defend the legitimate government” of Yemen and prevent the takeover of Yemen by Houthi militias, Ambassador Adel al Jubeir told reporters at the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

Saudi Arabia reportedly moved troops, armored vehicles and artillery to secure its border with Yemen, which sits alongside key shipping routes.

After suicide bombers killed 137 worshipers at two Shiite mosques in Sana on Friday, a previously unknown group that said it was allied with Islamic State claimed responsibility. That stirred fear that the extremist group had expanded to Yemen, adding a new threat to the quickly fragmenting country.

- See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2015/03/backed-rebels-in-yemen-loot-secret-u-s-files-about-spy-operations.html/#sthash.KRt0Md6p.dpuf

Australia says it stopped 200 jihadists from leaving country *(WHY STOP THE SAVAGES FROM LEAVING? LET THEM GO AND MAKE SURE THEY NEVER COME BACK!)*

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Why stop them? Let them go, let them fight, let them die — just don’t let them back in the country.

What is wrong with everyone? This is not complicated. This is war. What does Australia need with these savages?

“Australia says it stopped 200 suspected jihadists from leaving country,” By AP, March  2015

Counterterror squads have prevented 200 citizens from flying on suspicion that they were headed for the battlefields of Iraq and Syria

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Counterterrorism squads have prevented 200 suspected jihadists from departing Australian airports for the Middle East including at least three teenage boys this month.

Officials had previously announced that two Sydney-born brothers, aged 16 and 17, had been intercepted at Sydney International Airport on March 8 attempting to board a flight for Turkey without their parents’ knowledge. The siblings were returned to their families and were to be charged.

Within a week, a 17-year-old boy was intercepted at the same airport on suspicion that he was headed for a Middle Eastern battle, Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said Wednesday.

The boy had also been returned to his family, but remained under investigation, Dutton said.

Since counterterrorism units were attached to eight Australian airports in August, 85,000 travellers had been questioned and 200 people had been prevented from flying on suspicion that they were headed for the battlefields of Iraq and Syria to fight with groups including Islamic State, Dutton said.

Experts disagree about why Islamic State had been so effective recruiting in Australia, which is widely regarded as a multicultural success story, with an economy in an enviable 24th year of continuous growth.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his government was investing more on border security and on countering extremism.

“It is absolutely critical that the people of Australia appreciate that the death cult is reaching out to vulnerable and impressionable young people,” he said, referring the Islamic State movement.” The death cult is reaching out, seeking effectively to brainwash people online.”

- See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2015/03/australia-says-it-stopped-200-jihadists-from-leaving-country.html/#sthash.0rnyv3Ev.dpuf

State Dept’s Psaki: Trading 5 Taliban for deserter Bergdahl “absolutely” worth it

Three of the Taliban Five swapped for the deserter and traitor Bergdahl have already returned to the jihad. So for the Obama administration, yes, the swap was “absolutely” worth it. Watch here how Psaki pretends that this desertion charge comes after a year of investigation, as if Obama had no way of knowing that Bergdahl was a deserter when he brought him home and praised him at the White House.

She is lying. AP reported: “A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2010 that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his unit, and after an initial flurry of searching the military decided not to exert extraordinary efforts to rescue him, according to a former senior defense official who was involved in the matter.” This official said that the evidence that Bergdahl had deserted was “incontrovertible.”

- See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2015/03/state-depts-psaki-trading-5-taliban-for-deserter-bergdahl-absolutely-worth-it.html/#sthash.Q0OoBft2.dpuf

Norway: Unwelcome Extremist | Focus on Europe *(ARE THESE PEOPLE STUPID? SEND THE SAVAGE BACK!)*

Published on Mar 26, 2015

In Norway, an Iraqi Islamist is keeping the entire country on tenterhooks. The man, who calls himself Mullah Krekar, was granted asylum in Norway in 1991, but in the meantime has been held responsible for terrorist attacks by an Islamist group in northern Iraq. Now he’s about to be confined to a small village in northern Norway.