Don’t Be Fooled by Saudi ‘Aid’ Efforts in Yemen

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

The International Rescue Committee dismisses the Saudi-led coalition’s “aid” plan for Yemen:

“The name in itself is misleading: it is neither comprehensive, nor particularly humanitarian,” said Amanda Catanzano, senior policy and advocacy director at the International Rescue Committee. “The Saudi-led coalition is offering to fund a response to address the impact of a crisis it helped to create. The acute crisis in Yemen needs more than what appears to be a logistical operations plan, with token gestures of humanitarian aid.”

As the IRC press release notes, the “aid” plan fails to do many of the things necessary for relieving the suffering of Yemen’s civilian population. First and most important, it fails to end the blockade that has done so much to create the disaster engulfing the country:

The severity of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen demands that all ports – including and especially Hodeidah and Saleef – remain permanently open. YCHO only extends the current 30-day window allowing access to Hodeidah for another 30 days, which makes little to no difference on the ground. If the Saudis were serious about addressing the humanitarian crisis, the most valuable step they could take would be to lift the blockade, permanently, which they and the international community should do without delay.

Of course, the Saudis and their allies are not serious about addressing the humanitarian crisis, because they caused it and have no interest in ending it. However, they want the rest of the world to think otherwise. Their “aid” plan was created to give the impression that they are doing something to remedy the catastrophe they have caused, but it simply isn’t true. This is why credulous reporting about Saudi “aid” efforts is so harmful to the cause of responding effectively to the humanitarian crisis.

The IRC press release concludes:

“A meaningful response to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis requires more access – not less. At best, this plan would shrink access and introduce new inefficiencies that would slow the response and keep aid from the neediest Yemenis, including the over 8 million on the brink of starvation,” said Catanzano. “At worst, it would dangerously politicize humanitarian aid by placing far too much control over the response in the hands of an active party to the conflict.”

The Saudi-led coalition continues its effort to starve Yemen into submission. It needs to be called out and condemned for that, and the U.S. and their other Western patrons need to pressure the Saudis and their allies to lift the blockade fully and permanently.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted fromThe American Conservativewith permission.

Ray McGovern’s First Day as CIA Director

Now that I have been nominated again – this time by author Paul Craig Roberts – to be CIA director, I am preparing to hit the ground running.

Last time my name was offered in nomination for the position – by The Nation publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel – I did not hold my breath waiting for a call from the White House. Her nomination came in the afterglow of my fortuitous, four-minute debate with then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when I confronted him on his lies about the attack on Iraq, on May 4, 2006 on national TV. Since it was abundantly clear that Rumsfeld and I would not get along, I felt confident I had royally disqualified myself.

This time around, on the off-chance I do get the nod, I have taken the time to prepare the agenda for my first few days as CIA director. Here’s how Day One looks so far:

Get former National Security Agency Technical Director William Binney back to CIA to join me and the “handpicked” CIA analysts who, with other “handpicked” analysts (as described by former National Intelligence Director James Clapper on May 8, 2017) from the FBI and NSA, prepared the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017. That evidence-impoverished assessment argued the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his minions “to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton.”

When my predecessor, CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited Binney to his office on Oct. 24, 2017 to discuss cyber-attacks, he told Pompeo that he had been fed a pack of lies on “Russian hacking” and that he could prove it. Why Pompeo left that hanging is puzzling, but I believe this is the kind of low-hanging fruit we should pick pronto.

Continue reading “Ray McGovern’s First Day as CIA Director”

Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction Are ‘Mentally Deranged’

After Trump’s Sept. 23 bombast at the United Nations where he claimed the US might "have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea," the propagandists in Pyongyang responded quickly, calling him a "mentally deranged dotard." During Trump’s 2017 visit to South Korea, an editorial in the Minju Joson, a state-run newspaper published in Pyongyang, said the president’s speech to the South’s parliament was a "load of rubbish spouted by the old lunatic Trump" and "was all nonsense."

"Far from making remarks of any persuasive power that can be viewed to be helpful to defusing tension, he made unprecedented rude nonsense one has never heard from any of his predecessors," the North’s President Kim Jong-un said after Trump’s UN bomb threat.

Of course the imbecility of Trump’s speech was unprecedented rude nonsense, but his predecessors have been nearly as bloodthirsty in their overt threats against North Korea. While the White House oaf certainly speaks like a mentally deranged dotard, his threat to totally destroy a country of 25 million people is only as deranged as his predecessors in the White Houses.

Continue reading “Maybe All Threats of Mass Destruction Are ‘Mentally Deranged’”

Ron Paul on the UN’s Syria Propaganda Stunt

What’s going on in East Ghouta? One of the last jihadist-held parts of Syria are being liberated, but you wouldn’t know it from US and UN reporting. Why is the UN taking sides, issuing provocative statements blaming the Syrian government while ignoring the other side? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Ron Paul on Carving Up Syria: Anything Left for the Syrians?

Turkey has launched an attack on Syrian government-affiliated forces as they approach Kurdish areas of northern Syria. The Turks are occupying increasing parts of Syrian territory. Earlier this month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson bragged that the US controls 30 percent of Syria. Israel also has designs on occupying even more Syrian territory. With ISIS all but defeated, will outside plans to carve up Syria succeed? Will Russia stand by? More in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Tillerson’s Blinkered Understanding of North Korea

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

The ‘60 Minutes’ interview with Rex Tillerson makes for depressing reading:

Margaret Brennan: What is the carrot that you’re dangling for North Korea to convince them to talk?

Rex Tillerson: We’re not using a carrot to convince them to talk. We’re using large sticks [bold mine-DL]. And that is what they need to understand. This pressure campaign is putting – is having its bite on North Korea, its revenue streams. It’s having a bite on its military programs.

Margaret Brennan: But to say full denuclearization, why would they agree to give up something they’ve already got that they think is an insurance policy?

Rex Tillerson: Because it buys them nothing [bold mine-DL]. It buys them more of being the hermit kingdom, isolated, isolated from the world diplomatically, isolated from the world economically.

Each of these answers is troubling, and taken together they show how hopeless the administration’s policy towards North Korea is. The U.S. is expecting North Korea to give up something that is clearly extremely important to them, but it is offering them absolutely nothing in exchange. There is something about dealing with “rogue” states that causes people in our government to shut off their ability to reason. If our positions were reversed and we were the ones being put under “maximum pressure” to force us to give up our nuclear deterrent, would we respond to increasing pressure by caving or by doing whatever we could to keep building up the thing that our adversary wants to eliminate? It would obviously be the latter. If North Korea is given no incentives to do something, and faces only more and more pressure unless it capitulates, it is a virtual certainty that their government will dig in its heels and concede nothing.

As if that weren’t bad enough, our officials can’t or won’t even acknowledge that North Korea gets something out of refusing to give up their nuclear weapons and missile programs. They get to keep what they have already built, and they retain an ability to use these weapons that they didn’t possess a little over a decade ago. If they consider having such a deterrent to be essential to their regime’s survival (and we have good reason to believe that this is what they think), refusing to denuclearize has almost inestimable worth to them. If our top government officials don’t understand that or can’t admit it publicly, we’re in much bigger trouble than I thought.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted fromThe American Conservativewith permission.