Yemen

Yemen: demand Houthis release detained UN staff

Amnesty International called Juy 5 for Houthi authorities in Yemen to immediately release detained staff from the UN and civil society organizations. Amnesty's call comes one month after the workers' arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances following raids on homes and offices.

According to Amnesty, Houthi authorities have detained 13 UN staff and at least 14 staff from Yemeni and international aid organizations. Between May 31 and June 9, Houthi authorities conducted a series of nighttime raids on the detainees' homes and the offices of UN agencies and other local and international organizations in the cities of Sana'a, Hodiedah and Hajjah.

Ecological disaster looms after Houthi ship attack

The internationally recognized Yemeni government on Feb. 24 issued an urgent plea to the international community following a Houthi attack on the Rubymar, a British-owned, Belize-flagged cargo ship carrying hazardous materials through the Red Sea six days earlier. The attack has raised fears of an imminent environmental disaster due to the potential leakage of ammonia fertilizer and oil from the abandoned and damaged vessel.

Neither US imperialism nor Islamic Republic

In Episode 211 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the potential for escalation to world war as Joe Biden retaliates for a deadly drone strike on US forces by an Iran-backed militia with air raids on 85 targets in Iraq and Syria. The same militias that have been attacking US forces in Iraq and Syria have also brutally repressed protesters in Iraq, and fought for the genocidal Bashar Assad regime in Syria. Tehran's paramilitary network has also carried out deadly repression of protests within Iran itself. The Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, now also coming under US bombardment, are responsible for war crimes against the Yemeni people and repression of their popular movements. It is necessary to oppose Biden's widening of air-strikes against Iran's paramilitaries, but also to oppose the Islamic Republic, equally a force of regional reaction.

Podcast: Gaza, Guernica and the Great Game

In Episode 209 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the frightening international escalation set off by the Gaza cataclysm, with Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan all coming under aerial bombardment over the past week, in a cascading regional crisis. The 1937 aerial bombardment of the Spanish town of Guernica by Nazi warplanes shocked the world. Today, what happened there is a near-daily occurrence in countries around the world. And the media ("mainstream," "alternative" and "social") are more concerned with how the various actors line up in the Great Power game than the horrific realities on the ground. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon

Gaza: flashpoint for regional war? (redux)

The Iraqi government condemned air-strikes by the US military on its territory as "hostile acts" after the Pentagon said it hit sites used by Iran-backed forces. The strikes killed one member of the Iraqi security forces and wounded 18 people, including civilians, Baghdad said Dec. 26, calling the raids an "unacceptable attack on Iraqi sovereignty." Washington said the strikes targeted three sites used by Kataib Hezbollah, part of the network of Shi'ite militias in Iraq, in retaliation for a drone attack the day before on Erbil airbase that wounded three US service members, one of them critically,. (Al Jazeera)

Yemen: Houthis 'weaponize water' in siege of Taizz

In a report issued Dec. 11, Human Rights Watch (HRW) charged that both the Houthis and government forces have violated residents' right to water in the ongoing siege of Taizz, Yemen. For the past eight years, the besieging Houthi forces have cut off the flow from watersheds under their control to the Taizz Local Water & Sanitation Corporation (TLWSC), which manages and maintains the city's water supply and sewage treatment system. These watersheds previously provided 77% of the city's supply. The government troops that control the city have meanwhile sold the public water from wells within the urban area for their own profit. HRW called upon both parties to "allow Taizz's local water agency to access, repair, and operate water infrastructure on the front lines and in Houthi-controlled territory." (Jurist)

Houthis vow to continue attacks on Red Sea shipping

Senior Houthi official Mohammed Al-Bukaiti issued a statement Dec. 19 saying the Yemeni armed movement would not stop its military operations in the Red Sea unless Israel stops what he referred to as "genocide crimes" in Gaza and allows humanitarian aid to enter the Strip. The move comes despite the US announcement of a new naval coalition to counter the attacks.

Gaza & Yarmouk: forbidden symmetry

As Israel crosses the genocidal threshold in Gaza, a regional summit in Riyadh protests, and issues an urgent call for a ceasefire. Yet the regional powers at that summit are guilty of equivalent crimes—Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and Iran and the Basar Assad regime in Syria. Assad's propaganda chief Bouthaina Shaaban especially decried Israel's targeting of hospitals in Gaza. Yet as recently as last month, the Assad regime bombed hospitals in Syria's rebel-held north. Indeed, the Assad regime also savagely bombed and besieged Palestinians for months, at Yarmouk refugee camp outside Damascus. In Episode 200 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg notes with chagrin that key organizers of this month's National March on Washington for Palestine included pseudo-left "tankie" formations that actively support the genocidal Assad regime. They also now abet Russia's genocidal campaign in Ukraine, in which hospitals have been repeatedly targeted. This moral contradiction undercuts our effectiveness in advancing the urgent demand for a ceasefire in Gaza.

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