The Houthis Are Fighting Their Own Battle

Tensions between the US and Iran are ratcheting up as the War in Yemen rages on. National Security Advisor John Bolton warned the Iranians "we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces". The danger of this open-ended warning is the inclusion of the word "proxy".

Many consider the Houthis in Yemen to be a proxy of Iran, including President Trump himself. His November 2018 statement, in response to the criticism of US-Saudi relations after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, said "the country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East."

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Where Is the Antiwar Movement in the US?

As the media focuses on the Mueller report and Attorney General William Barr, the Trump administration has been especially hawkish in their foreign policy. National Security Advisor John Bolton said the US is sending an aircraft carrier and a bomber taskforce to the Persian Gulf to be prepared for new threats from Iran. There are currently no US troops in Venezuela but since Juan Guaido, with a blessing from Mike Pence, declared himself president of Venezuela on January 23rd there have been several failed attempts to get Maduro out of power. Last month Trump vetoed a bill to end our involvement in the war in Yemen and the Senate failed to override it.

The Iran Deal was one of President Obama’s notable foreign policy achievements, so naturally Trump had to pull out of the deal after speaking out about it so much on the campaign trail. Since then Trump has put sanctions on the country with the intention of bringing the economy to its knees. Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday putting sanctions on Iran’s steel, aluminum, copper and iron sectors. This move came after Tehran announced it would be quitting portions of the 2015 nuclear deal, which the US withdrew from a year ago.

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Doctors Without Borders Reports on Deaths in Child Hospitals in Yemen

The international humanitarian relief NGO Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres(MSF) released a report on the alarming number of Yemeni mothers and children dying from a lack of proper healthcare. They focused on two facilities where they provide free health services. The Saudi led coalition has targeted civilian infrastructure in their bombing campaign, according to the Yemen Data Project 33 airstrikes have directly hit hospitals from April of 2015 through January 2019.

The public health infrastructure has collapsed in Yemen since the war started in 2015, but MSF has increased its presence. MSF runs 20 health facilities, supports many more and employs 2,200 people in the country. One facility they focus on in the report is the Taiz Houban Mother and Child hospital in the Taiz governate, which was converted into a hospital from a hotel in 2015.

The Taiz Houban hospital alone has seen 860 deaths between 2016 and 2018. 17 mothers, 242 children and 601 newborns. 227 of these deaths were children or newborns who were dead on arrival. The other facility in the report, the Abs hospital in the Hajjah governorate, supported by MSF since 2015, recorded the deaths of 705 people. 19 mothers, 269 children and 417 newborns.

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CODEPINK Activist Ariel Gold on Defending Venezuela’s Embassy

Far from Caracas a group of American activists have been defending the sovereignty of Venezuela from inside its embassy in Washington. The state department ordered all Maduro loyal staff to leave the building by April 24th to make way for Guaido’s diplomats. Juan Guaido declared himself president of Venezuela on January 23rd with full support from the United States but most Venezuelan diplomats and military officials have remained loyal to Maduro. According to Ariel Gold, National Co-Director of the antiwar activist group CODEPINK they have been maintaining a 24/7 presence at the embassy since April 14th to prevent Guaido’s appointed diplomats from taking over the embassy.

"We’ve been working with the embassy staff ever since the coup began. As they started to reduce the staff we’ve had some educational events here then we finally made a decision that we should be there. And they said to us you are welcome, you are there with our permission." Gold told me over the phone Monday night from the embassy.

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No Mention of Assange During Speech About Jailed Journalists at White House Correspondents Dinner

The president of the White House Correspondence Association Olivier Knox toasted to the first amendment in his opening speech at the correspondence dinner Saturday night. He then spoke about the threat he feels from Donald Trump:

"I still separate my career into the period before February 2017 and what came after. That’s because February 2017 is when the President of the United States called us the ‘enemies of the people.’ A few days later I was driving my then-11-year-old son somewhere, probably soccer practice, when he burst into tears and asked me, ‘Is Donald Trump going to put you in prison?’ At the end of a family trip to Mexico he mused if the president tried to keep me out of the country, at ‘least Uncle Josh is a good lawyer and will get you home.’"

It is troubling to hear a president refer to the media as "Enemies of the people", but when Trump is referring to corporate mainstream news outlets like CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times he is not far from the truth. CNN and MSNBC have both been shoving the Trump Russia collusion story down Americans throats so much that it’s hard to blame an average working American who believes Trump is "Putin’s Puppet". So, while these media outlets push a false narrative, ignoring or promoting Trump’s hawkish foreign policy that in itself should prove he’s not working on the behalf of Putin they become the "enemy of the people".

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Saudis Execute 37 in the Kingdom’s Largest Mass Execution Since 2016

On Tuesday April 23rd, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia put to death 37 men on charges of terrorism, in their largest mass execution since 2016. One of the prisoners was crucified after being beheaded. Most of the prisoners were of the Shia minority, and according to Amnesty International the trials were shams that relied on information gained through torture and forced confessions.

One of the men executed was arrested for a crime he committed when he was only 16 years old. Abdulkareem al-Hawaj was arrested January 16th 2014 at a checkpoint in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, for his involvement in anti-government protests in 2012. He was allegedly tortured and forced to sign a confession that would seal his fate of capital punishment.

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