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  #61  
Old 09-11-2017, 01:43 PM
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Looking beyond all the personal insults on here, it is pretty interesting to see how new alliances are being formed in the region:
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Al Jazeera tends to cover the goings on in the region much better than the BBC although, as has been said on here before, the English language part of their news service is much more West-friendly than the Arabic version which Saudi and its allies are trying to shut down.
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  #62  
Old 09-11-2017, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by McpfcS View Post
I’m not disputing that the Saudis actions in Yemen are controversial. I was making the point that the US/UK’s direct interest in Yemen is against AQ not Houthis.
'Controversial' is appropriate when discussing some slightly near the knuckle joke or comment by someone. I don't think it is adequate for actions causing the slaughter of thousands and the displacement of millions.

As to our interest. I believe you quoted the Attorney General as evidence for why we are involved. I can't quite put my finger on it, but where have I heard that line trotted out before?
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:08 PM
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'Controversial' is appropriate when discussing some slightly near the knuckle joke or comment by someone. I don't think it is adequate for actions causing the slaughter of thousands and the displacement of millions.



As to our interest. I believe you quoted the Attorney General as evidence for why we are involved. I can't quite put my finger on it, but where have I heard that line trotted out before?

Two separate issues:

I) the West are attacking legitimate AQ targets in Yemen

Ii) the Saudis are attacking the Houthis - people will debate the legitimacy of their response. It of course a proxy war with the other side sponsored by the Iranians.
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  #64  
Old 09-11-2017, 02:16 PM
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I mean AQ terrorists in Yemen who are plotting each and every day to attack the West. I’m not talking about “sympathisers”.

Also Saudi suffers an acute threat from AQ and is dealing with active plots on a daily basis.
I said "sympathisers" because I find the notion that Al Qaeda is some multi-tentacled beast guided by a single intelligence and common aim to be a fiction that is convenient for all parties. back when Al Qaeda were the baddest dudes on the block it suited any malcontent in the Sunni world to claim an association with it; it gave them cred and got them more attention than their global significance perhaps merited. Since AQ have been eclipsed by ISIS you see the pattern repeat. It suits the US for this to happen because their armed forces, since the expansion of the AUMF last December, can engage anywhere they like without reference to Congress provided AQ or similar groups are involved. Although "anti-terrorism" is the fig-leaf employed by the US Government, the Houtis, who bear the brunt of the onslaught, are not regarded as terrorists by either the US or UK Governments (or the UN come to that).
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:23 PM
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I said "sympathisers" because I find the notion that Al Qaeda is some multi-tentacled beast guided by a single intelligence and common aim to be a fiction that is convenient for all parties. back when Al Qaeda were the baddest dudes on the block it suited any malcontent in the Sunni world to claim an association with it; it gave them cred and got them more attention than their global significance perhaps merited. Since AQ have been eclipsed by ISIS you see the pattern repeat. It suits the US for this to happen because their armed forces, since the expansion of the AUMF last December, can engage anywhere they like without reference to Congress provided AQ or similar groups are involved. Although "anti-terrorism" is the fig-leaf employed by the US Government, the Houtis, who bear the brunt of the onslaught, are not regarded as terrorists by either the US or UK Governments (or the UN come to that).

This is all fine but AQAP are plotting every day to attack the West from Yemen and are therefore legitimate targets of the West.
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  #66  
Old 09-11-2017, 02:24 PM
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Two separate issues:

I) the West are attacking legitimate AQ targets in Yemen

Ii) the Saudis are attacking the Houthis - people will debate the legitimacy of their response. It of course a proxy war with the other side sponsored by the Iranians.
The first statement, if you mean it as exclusively attacking AQ is false. Arguably the whole statement is false without qualification.

The Saudis are attacking the Houthis but the emboldened part is misleading to the point of mendacity. The Iranians had little or no part to play in the Houthi uprising and certainly didn't provoke or inspire it. This is not my opinion by the way but the accepted view of the previous US administration. The assertion has however, in the words of Congressman Ro Khanna, become a "self-fulfilling prophecy".
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  #67  
Old 09-11-2017, 02:31 PM
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This is not my opinion by the way but the accepted view of the previous US administration. The assertion has however, in the words of Congressman Ro Khanna, become a "self-fulfilling prophecy".
It was rather in the interests of the previous US administration though to deflect attention from Iranian interference in the region. It doesn't mean it was factually correct.
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  #68  
Old 09-11-2017, 02:35 PM
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This is all fine but AQAP are plotting every day to attack the West from Yemen and are therefore legitimate targets of the West.
If this were true, why has our Government consistently denied being party to operations in Yemen? David Cameron, in January 2016 “personnel are not involved in carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen or selecting targets and we’re not involved in the Saudi targeting decision-making process.” Why deny such a noble aim of ridding us of this clear and present terrorist threat?
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:37 PM
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It was rather in the interests of the previous US administration though to deflect attention from Iranian interference in the region. It doesn't mean it was factually correct.
Actually, you might be putting cart before the horse: the Saudis were discomfited by the Iran nuclear deal and assistance in Yemen was provided to placate them
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:01 PM
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If this were true, why has our Government consistently denied being party to operations in Yemen? David Cameron, in January 2016 “personnel are not involved in carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen or selecting targets and we’re not involved in the Saudi targeting decision-making process.” Why deny such a noble aim of ridding us of this clear and present terrorist threat?

I think you’ll find the strikes are typically carried out by US assets. I also presume Cameron was referring to the targeting of Houthis - there are two, somewhat separate, wars being fought here.

If you really think AQ is not operating from Yemen then I’m afraid you are barmy.

Ah just read your comments re Iran not being involved in the Houthi military activity - you are barmy.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:03 PM
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Saudi's are paranoid about Iran and their influence in Arab affairs. This distrust has been stoked by both sides for both Sectarian and other national interests. However, it is without dispute that Iran is arming the Houthis (Yemen), arming Hezbollah (Lebanon), propping up Assad in Syria, has a controlling influence in Iraq and is actively supporting the Shia freedom movements in Bahrain and the Eastern Province of KSA. Look at the map and you'll see that the this strategy would effectively surround KSA with Tehran-friendly states. BTW the Houthi's see the SW of KSA as historically part of Yemen and have been reportedly making incursions into Saudi territory for some time. You can certainly argue about the Saudi's response to the Yemen crisis and the role of the West in supporting it, but it is IMO wrong to apportion all the blame on the Saudi's.

As to the purges, it will be interesting to see whether MBS can pull this off. He may be biting off more than he can chew by taking on both the religious clerics (women driving) as well as corrupt practices in the country at the same time. The country generates enormous wealth, the majority of which is siphoned off to the offshore accounts of a few. National initiatives are delayed / cancelled due to the self-centered interests of the Ministers involved. Whether he is "better than the others" is open to debate, but I believe that what he is trying to do is correct. KSA is facing huge internal (economic, employment, infrastructure) problems and having certain clerics and rogue Ministers undermining the push for change will only exacerbate the situation. They desperately need to have a strong and aligned Government to face the future challenges. At some point in time such a clean-up was going to be necessary. Whether MBS is the one to do it remains to be seen. For those who may think "good, let them destroy themselves", be careful what you wish for. The likely alternatives do not look any better (see Iraq).
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:08 PM
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^an excellent analysis, thanks, and one that some in the Labour party would do well to understand.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:09 PM
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I think you’ll find the strikes are typically carried out by US assets. I also presume Cameron was referring to the targeting of Houthis - there are two, somewhat separate, wars being fought here.

If you really think AQ is not operating from Yemen then I’m afraid you are barmy.

Ah just read your comments re Iran not being involved in the Houthi military activity - you are barmy.
I didn't say either of those things. I suspect being called barmy by you might be a badge of honour.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:10 PM
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I didn't say either of those things. I suspect being called barmy by you might be a badge of honour.

Fml that’s exactly what you said.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:13 PM
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Saudi's are paranoid about Iran and their influence in Arab affairs. This distrust has been stoked by both sides for both Sectarian and other national interests. However, it is without dispute that Iran is arming the Houthis (Yemen), arming Hezbollah (Lebanon), propping up Assad in Syria, has a controlling influence in Iraq and is actively supporting the Shia freedom movements in Bahrain and the Eastern Province of KSA. Look at the map and you'll see that the this strategy would effectively surround KSA with Tehran-friendly states. BTW the Houthi's see the SW of KSA as historically part of Yemen and have been reportedly making incursions into Saudi territory for some time. You can certainly argue about the Saudi's response to the Yemen crisis and the role of the West in supporting it, but it is IMO wrong to apportion all the blame on the Saudi's.
I don't dispute any of this. I was addressing the erroneous assertions that a) Iran started it and b)the west are supporting the Saudis to combat terrorism and are in no way abetting attacks on the Houthis.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:16 PM
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Fml that’s exactly what you said.
I won't hash over my explanation of what I think AQ means but I do wonder if you understand the term "self-fulfilling prophecy" and what that implies with respect to my view of Iranian involvement in Yemen when I used it above?
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:41 PM
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I don't dispute any of this. I was addressing the erroneous assertions that a) Iran started it and b)the west are supporting the Saudis to combat terrorism and are in no way abetting attacks on the Houthis.
No problem, I was not directly responding to your post, but as someone who recently spent considerable time in the KSA and has been following the events for a while, I wanted to provide my perspective.

I would agree that the Houthi insurgency was not orchestrated by the Iranians, but they have been arming and supporting the Houthis for a long time, so they do share some blame. Without backing from Tehran, I doubt the Houthis would have emerged as strong as they have.

Initially the West were indeed interested in taking out AQAP groups in Yemen. The then 3-way conflict: Houthis vs. Govt vs. AQAP eventually led to the Govt collapsing, AQAP going into hiding (?) and the Houthis assuming control, at least in north & west Yemen. To what extent the West are actively involved in the Saudi attacks on the Houthis is not clear to me, but I would again agree with you that AQAP is not of primary concern to anyone at present.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:43 PM
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To what extent the West are actively involved in the Saudi attacks on the Houthis is not clear to me
Is this aside from arming the Saudi's to carry out their attacks?
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:52 PM
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Is this aside from arming the Saudi's to carry out their attacks?
Point taken but I would call that passive support. Active to me means actual involvement in the hostilities (flying the planes, directing the attacks, providing reconnaissance etc.). Maybe splitting hairs, but to me there is a difference.
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:53 PM
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That's fair enough. I was seeking clarification and not looking for a row.

Although it wouldn't be a shock to me if british special forces were not on the ground. I have no proof of this, of course.
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