The Middle East

The Middle East Is A Mess; We’re Right In The Middle Of It

Saudi Arabia is using cluster bombs in Yemen.

Amnesty International on Thursday accused the Saudi-led Arab coalition battling rebels in Yemen of using banned cluster munitions in raids on residential areas.

The Brazilian-manufactured munitions were fired in a 15 February attack on three residential districts and agricultural land in Saada province of northern Yemen, a stronghold of the Shia Houthi rebels, it said in a statement.

Two people were wounded in the attack, said Amnesty, which has also reported that the coalition used cluster munitions in October 2015 and May of last year.

US Marines are going to help “liberate” Raqqa

US Marines have arrived in northern Syria with artillery to support US-backed local forces fighting there, two US officials told CNN.

The US-backed fighters are preparing to move in the coming weeks to assault the city of Raqqa, ISIS’ self-declared capital, according to the officials.

Al Qaeda appeals for help to repel Houthis in central Yemen

Yemen’s local al Qaeda wing appealed for help on Thursday to fend off an offensive by the armed Houthi movement in central Yemen, and accused the United States of coordinating attacks with the Iran-aligned group, according to an online statement.

Residents say tribesmen in Ansar al-Sharia, the local wing of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and other Islamists known as salafists are the main force holding back the Houthis in Qifa in al-Bayda province, where President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s internationally-recognized government has little control.

Ansar al-Sharia referred in the statement on its Telegram channel to repeated air strikes by the United States in recent days. Washington has acknowledged it has stepped up operations against militants in Yemen in the past couple of weeks.

Report: More Citizens of Saudi Arabia Have Joined Islamic State Than Any Other Country

The Sunni Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has boasted that key U.S. Middle East ally Saudi Arabia is the top provider of terrorists for the jihadist group in Iraq, reports Fox News, citing Iraqi military sources.

Sunni Saudi Arabia shares an estimated 500-mile-long border with war-ravaged Iraq.

Nevertheless, Fox News reports that the Saudi jihadists crossed into Iraq over the border the country shares with both Turkey and Syria.

The news outlet learned from unnamed Iraqi intelligence sources that jihadist from the Saudi kingdom comprise nearly one-third (up to 30 percent) of all ISIS terrorists in Iraq, adding that “Saudis comprise the largest single contingent of ISIS fighters, with Russian Chechens making up the second-largest contingent.”

Speaking to the news outlet on condition of anonymity, a high-ranking Iraqi intelligence officer said, “The Saudi presence in ISIS is very large. What we have left are mainly Iraqis and Saudis.”

The Middle East

Israel Blocks BDS Movement Entry

Israel’s Parliament has struck back at the international boycott movement against the country and its settlements in the West Bank by passing a law barring entry to foreigners who have publicly supported the movement.The measure, passed on Monday night, received little notice in Israel, but by Tuesday it set off alarms in the United States, where Israel’s critics and some of its most loyal Jewish supporters alike warned that it would further isolate the country.

I might need this one explained to me.  If you hate Israel’s existence that much, why would you want to go there in the first place?

The Middle East, Warfare State

Trump Fueling Saudi-Yemen Fire

While other Western nations debate cutting Saudi Arabia off completely from their arms exports in an effort to mitigate wanton destruction, it seems that Washington is just happy they’re buying American.With an inexperienced hot-head at the Resolute Desk relying on an aide who believes we’re overdue for another global war, it’s hard to be optimistic about their commitment to diplomacy. We can only hope that somehow Trump’s love of a good deal will steer his administration towards more diplomatic action and less of a “shoot first, spin later” mentality.

Source: How Trump Is Empowering the Saudi Destruction of Yemen | Cato Institute

The Middle East

Israeli Soldier Gets 18 Months For Murder

Military court sentences Elor Azaria to 18 months’ jail for killing Abdul Fatah al-Sharif as he lay wounded in a Hebron

On one hand, I look at it as “18 months? That’s nothing.”

Then in context, I think that if it were a Palestinian who killed an Israeli, they’d go home to a parade, not a sentencing.

This is why the West needs to keep its nose out of this situation entirely.

Source: Palestinians: Israeli soldier’s sentence for killing is ‘green light’ for crimes | Middle East Eye