Sunday 17th of December 2017

roasting rat...

with love from the saudis

On Wednesday, the coalition announced it had carried out a review of the UN's inspection and verification procedures of aid shipments aimed at preventing the alleged smuggling of weapons.

As a result, the coalition said it had decided to reopen the Red Sea port of Hudaydah "to receive urgent humanitarian and relief materials" and reopen Sanaa airport to "UN aircraft, designated for humanitarian and relief efforts".

The decisions would take effect from 12:00 (09:00 GMT) on Thursday, it added.

The coalition also said it would soon announce a "comprehensive humanitarian operations plan that aims to provide assistance and relief to the Yemeni people, and to facilitate the delivery of food to all the governorates of Yemen".

 

Ian Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council and a former UN aid chief, wrote on Twitter that it was "a glimmer of hope after [a] countdown toward famine".

But he warned: "We need all ports to open & access for commercial food & supplies to large civilian population. Humanitarian aid alone cannot avert hunger."

Last Thursday, the World Health Programme, World Food Programme and Unicef urged the coalition to lift the blockade. Unless the delivery of life-saving supplies to all rebel-held ports was permitted, they warned, "untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die".

Read more:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42086735

Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir: "No country has provided more aid to Yemen than Saudi Arabia"

Of course, the SFAM-AaJ is correct — considering that NO country has been allowed to deliver aid to Yemen...

 

squeezed in the middle

SANN’A, YEMEN—Yemen has been upside down for three years. Hunger, epidemics, and a blockade are all getting tighter. But the misery has escalated following the ballistic missile which was fired from Yemen at the King Khalid International Airport in the Saudi capital on Nov. 4. Overnight, Yemen became completely isolated from the entire globe.

This development has ushered in a new wave of civilian suffering. It feels like the war has just opened a new chapter of violence in a country beset by crises since the eruption of the 2011 uprising.   

Dramatic events continue unabated here. The latest missile fired by the Houthis at the Saudi capital is a case in point. It constituted an unprecedented blow to the entire Kingdom, and a further justification for Saudi Arabia to consider a military or political victory in Yemen a matter of life or death.  

The bloody war has been dragging on for 32 months. Unfortunately, it shows no sign of ceasing thanks to the regional arch-rivals, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Iran, which have displayed no cooperation, understanding, or interest in terminating the worsening quagmire in the most impoverished Arab country. Saudi Arabia said the latest ballistic missile fired from Yemen was “Iranian,” describing it as an act of war and aggression. Iran says the accusation is “unfounded.” They trade accusations as Yemen sheds blood daily. Yemen remains squeezed in the middle.

read more:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/dispatch-from-yemen-were...

you can blame the USA for much of the trouble...

The trouble in the Middle-East is due to the USA trying to "contain" the influence of Iran in the Middle--East. All the deaths, trauma, pain, exile of many people in the region comes from this US ideal, to satisfy their "friends" the Saudis. It's clear like a nose in the middle of a face, but the Western media is reluctant (totally blind) to mention this. The problem faced by Qatar and the other Gulf States is that Qatar wants a "rapprochement" with Iran. This is a no-no for the USA, the Saudis and Israel, so they point the finger at Qatar for having supported "terrorism", which it did — ALONG THE SAUDIS AND THE OTHER GULF STATES — by helping Daesh... As Syria is nearly "pacified" by the intervention of Russia that has made a pact with Syria, Turkey and Iran to manage this solution in Syria, the USA has been increasing it troop numbers in all the Gulf States by a whopping 33 per cent....

 

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In an interview to Radio Sputnik, Tim Anderson, an academic expert in economics and international politics from the University of Sydney, pondered on the US’ role in the standoff in Syria, saying that America misinterprets the Russian arms’ presence in the country.

Tim Anderson: In the beginning [the goal of the US] was to weaken or to destroy Syria as part of the regional plan to destroy all the independent countries in the region. There were very many fabulous stories about why they were there. The first one was that they were performing a humanitarian intervention; then there was a pretext of protective intervention. But this is very common for the US: it has always looked for new pretexts and accepted that it has to abide by international law.

Sputnik: What do you think about the US plans to establish local governance, which is separate from Assad’s government in SDF-held areas. Are there a lot of those areas?

Tim Anderson: Any attempt to set up some sort of alternative governance is precisely about destroying the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of that nation. The US has been involved in these maneuvers, which have always been illegal.

Sputnik: Is this not a declaration of war on some level?

Tim Anderson: In some ways it is. The US has tried to make a moral equivalence out of the presence of Iranian and Russian forces in Syria ignoring the fact that they were invited forces to defend the country. The US doesn’t seem to understand, or doesn’t want to understand that there is that difference.

Sputnik: Is there a possibility that this counter-Daesh campaign could result in something bigger, geared more to the East, for example?

Tim Anderson: The creation of Daesh in Iraq, that was precisely to weaken Baghdad and to prevent the government from getting closer to Iran. That’s where Daesh came from. Daesh had that intention, with the Saudi creation backed by the US precisely to weaken Iraq and then later on Syria. That’s the idea of trying to prevent the extension of Iranian influence in the region. That has always been on the forefront of the US strategies’ mind. A lot of military interventions in the Middle East have been in fear of Israel’s influence on Iran, and Israel expresses that quite clearly. And the Saudis express that, and Washington expresses it. If the US adventures the wars in the Middle East, destabilizing wars and interventions … they had the idea that if the US withdraws, there’s going to be a strong alliance created between Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. And that’s what Israel fears, what Washington fears. So Iran is at large a state which has the capacity to lead any independent coalition there. I think, that’s always at the back of the mind of Washington. 

Sputnik: How’s Israel tied to all of this?

Tim Anderson: Israel, of course, would like to terminate the destabilizing factor in the region. It’s had many incursions into Palestine, taking over land, and Lebanon. It’s an agency which is resented and resisted by many of the Aryan Muslim states in the region. And Iran is the most powerful of all. Israel recognizes it, likewise the Saudis and Washington. That’s why there is so much obsession about the future role of Iran in the region.

Sputnik: Why is Israel not afraid of Saudi Arabia as badly as they’re afraid of Iran?

Tim Anderson: Saudi Arabia gave lip service to supporting the Palestinians in the past as all the Arab states had to. But in recent times we’ve seen quite a close alliance building between Israel and Saudi Arabia, not precisely because they both fear the influence of Iran in the region. 

Sputnik: Do you think there’s going to be some sort of compromise in terms of the leadership in the country after the war comes to an end?

Tim Anderson: There’ve always been talks in the Syrian administration over what they expectedly have been running for the last five years, which is a government of national unity, which will include various elements of the opposition. Remember, most of the opposition in Syria sided with the state and the army, if not with the government back in 2011. There was more of a civil opposition within Syria. Inclusion of some of the external forces is always a possibility, the possibility of having early parliamentary elections, or an early referendum on changes to the Constitution. They are not going to do that by simply overthrowing President Assad. There’s too much of a strong support within the country for the president, the army. The Syrian state hasn’t been crushed the way the Iraqi state was, so no outside forces could simply come along and impose a new constitution on Syria. Having said that there is still room for some negotiation in terms of changes some Syrian parties would want to see in a new constitution.

Read more:

https://sputniknews.com/world/201711231059382027-syria-us-politics-stand...

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Note: Dr Tim Anderson has been a lifetime political activist, and an enduring interest for Australia's security intelligence agencies… which means he must be a good activist.

Anderson was jailed over the 1978 bombing of the Hilton Hotel, only to be acquitted almost a decade later when it emerged the Crown's case was, to put it plainly, complete and utter crap.

https://newmatilda.com/2015/03/31/20-question-challenge-tim-anderson-academic-and-activist/

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33 per cent Increase of US troops in the Middle East

The numbers do not include a sharp increase in US troops — from some 11,000 to 15,000 according to military.com — deployed to hotspots in Afghanistan, where Washington has been at war for over 16 years.

The publicized troop increases in one of the most unstable parts of the world are thought to herald further escalations, as observed by the largest US troop deployment to the region in five years.

Pentagon numbers detailed in the November 17 quarterly report show that every country in the region that hosts a US military presence has seen a significant recent increase in DoD civilians and US troops.

The most recent DoD statistics reveal the current numbers by country: Egypt, 455; Israel, 41; Lebanon, 110; Syria, 1,723; Turkey, 2,265; Jordan, 2,730; Iraq, 9,122; Kuwait, 16,592; Saudi Arabia, 850; Yemen, 14; Oman, 32; United Arab Emirates, 4,240; Qatar, 6,671; Bahrain, 9,335, cited by Newsweek.

The US media outlet helpfully also detailed the previous June figures to reveal the expansion: Egypt, 392; Israel, 28; Lebanon, 99; Syria, 1,251; Turkey, 1,405; Jordan, 2,469; Iraq, 8,173; Kuwait, 14,790; Saudi Arabia, 730; Yemen, 13; Oman, 30; United Arab Emirates, 1,531; Qatar, 3,164; Bahrain, 6,541, according to Newsweek.com.

The moves are seen to be consistent with projected Pentagon policies.

"It now has more to do with long-standing preferences of [US DoD Secretary James Mattis] and senior military officials," detailed foreign policy expert Dr. Micah Zenko, with London-based Chatham House.

Mattis and an old-guard of retired generals and military advisors surrounding US President Donald Trump "contend [that] all America's enemies can be militarily defeated, by doing more of everything," Zenko added, cited by Newsweek.

read more:

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201711231059382105-us-military-rise-i...

 

no churchillian cigar in this criminal blockade...

 

Our aim is to “starve the whole population—men, women, and children, old and young, wounded and sound—into submission,” said First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill.

He was speaking of Germany at the outset of the Great War of 1914-1918. Americans denounced as inhumane this starvation blockade that would eventually take the lives of a million German civilians.

Yet when we went to war in 1917, a U.S. admiral told British Prime Minister Lloyd George, “You will find that it will take us only two months to become as great criminals as you are.”

After the Armistice of November 11, 1918, however, the starvation blockade was not lifted until Germany capitulated to all Allied demands in the Treaty of Versailles.

As late as March 1919, four months after the Germans laid down their arms, Churchill arose in Parliament to exult, “We are enforcing the blockade with rigor, and Germany is very near starvation.”

So grave were conditions in Germany that General Sir Herbert Plumer protested to Lloyd George in Paris that morale among his troops on the Rhine was sinking from seeing “hordes of skinny and bloated children pawing over the offal from British cantonments.”

The starvation blockade was a war crime and a crime against humanity. But the horrors of the Second World War made people forget this milestone on the Western road to barbarism.

Now today, a comparable crime is being committed against the poorest people in the Arab world—and with the complicity of the United States.

Saudi Arabia, which attacked and invaded Yemen in 2015 after Houthi rebels dumped over a pro-Saudi regime in Sanaa and overran much of the country, has imposed a land, sea, and air blockade, after the Houthis fired a missile at Riyadh this month that was shot down.

 

read more:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-u-s-saudi-starvation...

 

an empire in decline...

Decidedly, very little has changed since 11 September 2001. The United States continue to manipulate international public opinion and the tools of the United Nations, no doubt for different reasons, but still with the same contempt for the truth.

In 2001, the representatives of the United States and the United Kingdom, John Negroponte and Stewart Eldon, assured that their two countries had just attacked Afghanistan in legitimate defence after the attacks committed in New York and Washington [1]. The Secretary of State, Colin Powell, promised to hand the Security Council a complete dossier presenting proof of Afghan responsibility. 16 years later, this document has still not been seen.


In 2003, the same Colin Powell came to explain to the Security Council, during a speech which was relayed by the televisions of the whole world, that Iraq was also implicated in the attacks of 11 September, and that it was preparing new acts of aggression against the United States by means of weapons of mass destruction [2]. However, once he had retired from his functions in the US government, General Powell admitted on a TV channel in his own country that the many accusations in his speech were all false [3]. 14 years after this speech, we are still waiting for the United States to apologise to the Security Council.

Everyone has forgotten the US accusations concerning the responsibility of President Saddam Hussein in the attacks of 9/11 - since then, Washington has attributed these same attacks to Saudi Arabia, and again, today, to Iran, but without ever providing the proof for any of these four cases). However, we do remember the debate, which lasted for months, about weapons of mass destruction. At the time, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) was unable to find the slightest trace of these weapons. A conflict developed between Hans Blix, the Swedish director of UNMOVIC and, first, the United States, then the UNO, and finally, the whole of the Western world. Washington claimed that Mr. Blix had not found the weapons because he was a negligent worker, while Blix himself assured that Iraq had never possessed the capacity to build such weapons. But whatever, the United States bombed Baghdad, invaded Iraq, overthrew President Saddam Hussein and hanged him, occupied his country and plundered it.

US methods after 2001 were totally different from any that had preceded them. In 1991, President Bush the Father had made certain that he had international law on his side before he attacked Iraq, having pushed President Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait and to dig in. He had thus obtained the support of almost all the nations in the world. On the contrary, in 2003, Bush the Son settled for lying and then lying some more. Many States distanced themselves from Washington, and we saw the greatest pacifist demonstrations in History, from Paris to Sydney, from Beijing to Mexico.

In 2012, the UN Department of Political Affairs drew up a project for the total and unconditional surrender of Syria [4]. Its director, US citizen Jeffrey Feltman, ex-Under-Secretary of State for Hillary Clinton, used all the means at his disposal to create the greatest coalition in History and accuse Syria of all manner of crimes, none of which were ever proven.

If the States which possess the Feltman document have decided not to publish it, their intention is simply to preserve the United Nations. It is indeed inacceptable that the might and means of the UNO were used to promote war, when the institution was created in order to preserve peace. Since I am not held to the same obligations as a State, I have published a detailed study of this ignoble document in “Right Before Our Eyes” [5].

In 2017, the UNO-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism, created at the request of Syria in order to investigate the use of chemical weapons on its territory, became the object of the same struggle which had earlier opposed Hans Blix to Washington. Except that this time, the fronts were reversed. In 2003, the UNO was defending peace. This is no longer the case, since Jeffrey Feltman was reappointed and is still the number 2 of the UNO. This time it’s Russia which is opposing the pro-US international civil servants in the name of the Charter.

Although the work of the Joint Investigative Mechanism was debated in normal fashion during its first period – from September 2015 to May 2017 – the discussions risked dichotomy when Guatemalan Edmond Mulet nominated the Argentine Virginia Gamba as its director; a nomination which may be imputed to the new Secretary General of the UNO, Portuguese António Guterres.

The Joint Investigative Mechanism mobilises international civil servants from the UNO and the OPCW. This prestigious international organisation received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, in particular for its work of supervision on the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons by the United States and Russia. However, its director, Turkish citizen Ahmet Üzümcü, has since moved on. In June 2015, he was invited to Telfs Buchen (Austria) for the meeting of the Bilderberg Group, the NATO club.


The question was all the more serious in that in 2003, the dispute opposed, on one hand Hans Blix, and on the other, the United States, who were threatening to intervene against Iraq if the UNO could prove the existence of weapons of mass destruction. In 2017, however, the dispute was between Russia and Edmond Mulet, who may be have been able, a posteriori, to validate US intervention against Syria. Indeed, Washington had already made their minds up, considering Syria as being responsible for a sarin gas attack in Khan Shaykhun, and had already bombed the old air base at Cheyrat [6].

In the event that the Joint Investigative Mechanism should depart in whatever way from Washington’s script, the United States would be obliged to apologise to and indemnify Syria. The pro-US international civil servants therefore considered that their mission was to arrive at the conclusion that Syria had bombed its own population with sarin gas which it had hidden illegally on the air base at Cheyrat.

As from the month of October, the rhetoric began to escalate between certain UNO and Russian civil servants. Contrary to what the Western Press alleged, the disagreement had nothing to do with the conclusions of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, but exclusively with its methods - Moscow refused in advance any conclusion obtained by methods which did not conform with the international principles established in the framework of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the OPCW [7].

Sarin gas is a neurotoxic agent which is extremely lethal for humans. There are variations of this product, chlorosarin and cyclosarin, and an even more dangerous version, VX gas. All these products are absorbed by the skin and pass directly into the blood. They degrade within a few weeks or a few months in the environment, but not without consequences for the animals which may enter into contact with them. When they penetrate the soil, in the absence of oxygen and light, they may be conserved for a long time.

It is enough to look at the photographs of the attack on Khan Shaykhun, which show people taking samples a few hours later without wearing protective suits to cover their skin – to understand immediately that if gas had in fact been used, it could not have been sarin gas or one of its derivatives. For more details, we may consult the study by Professor Theodore Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in which he debunks, one by one, the arguments of the so-called “experts” from the CIA [8].

In fact, contrary to the principles of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Investigative Mechanism did not visit the site to take samples, to analyse them, and identify the gas used, if indeed any gas had been used.

Questioned on this subject in May and June 2017 by Russia, the OPCW declared that they had studied the security conditions necessary for such a journey before concluding that it was unnecessary since, according to them, « The use of sarin is not in doubt ».

The Investigative Mechanism did, however, visit the air base in Shayrat where, according to Washington, the sarin gas had been illegally stored and loaded onto the bombers. But then, despite the insistence of Russia, they refused to take samples.

The Investigative Mechanism also refused to study the revelations by Syria concerning the supply of gas to the jihadists by US and British companies Federal Laboratories, NonLethal Technologies, and Chemring Defence UK [9].

The United States and their allies themselves wrote into their project for resolution, presented on 16 November, the requirement for international Civil servants to carry out their investigations in a « manner appropriate to the realisation of their mandate » [10].

Russia rejected the report by the Investigative Mechanism in view of its amateurism, and refused on three occasions to accept reappointment for its mandate. It [used] its veto on 24 October [11], and on 16 [12] and 17 November, as it had done on 12 April [13] when the United States and France [14] attempted to condemn Syria for this alleged sarin gas attack. These were the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th times that it used its veto on the Syrian question.

We do not know why Washington presented, or had presented by proxy, the same assertion to the Security Council on four different occasions from four different angles. These stammering attempts had already been seen at the start of the war against Syria, on 4 October 2011, 4 February and 19 July 2012, when France and the United States attempted to have Syria condemned by the Council for what they called the repression of the Syrian spring. At that time, Russia affirmed on the contrary that this was not a case of civil war, but of external aggression. Each time, the Westerners retorted that they would « convince » their Russian partner.

It is interesting to observe that the Western ‘doxa’ pretends that the war in Syria began with a democratic revolution which went wrong and was finally recuperated by jihadist forces. But, contrary to what was alleged, there is no proof of the slightest demonstration in favour of democracy in 2011-2012 in Syria. All the videos published at the time were either in favour of President el-Assad, or against the Syrian Arab Republic, never for democracy. Not one video shows pro-democracy slogans or posters. All the videos of the alleged « revolutionary demonstrations » from this period were shot on Friday evenings as the Sunni mosques emptied out, never on another day, and never at meeting places other than Sunni mosques.

It is true that in certain videos, we can hear phrases which contain the word « freedom ». If we listen carefully, we notice that the demonstrators are not calling for « Freedom » in the Western sense of the word, but for the « Freedom to apply charia law ». If you can find a traceable document of a demonstration of more than 50 people which contradicts my statement, please send it to me and I will not fail to print it.

We could interpret the stubborn US manipulation of facts as a sign that the Trump administration is aligning itself with the policies of the previous four mandates. But this hypothesis is countered by the signature of a secret Memorandum in Amman, on 8 November, between Jordan [15], Russia, and the United States, and by the Joint Declaration by Presidents Putin and Trump, on 11 November, in Đà Nẵng, on the sidelines of the APEC summit [16].

The first document has not been published, but we know via certain indiscretions that it does not take into account the Israëli demand for the creation of a neutral zone on Syrian territory, not beyond the Israëli frontier, but 60 kilometres beyond the 1967 cease-fire line. Never missing an occasion to add fuel to the flames, the British government reacted by publishing, by the BBC, satellite photographs of the Iranian military base of El-Kiswah (45 kilometres beyond the cease-fire line) [17]. As expected, Israëli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately rejected the agreement between the major powers and announced that he reserved the right of Israël to engage in military intervention in Syria in order to preserve its security [18] - this comment constitutes a threat and as such, is a violation of the Charter of the United Nations. In fact, everyone is aware that for the last seven years, the pretext of weapons for Lebanon is still working. As an example, on 1 November, Tsahal illegally bombed an industrial zone in Hassiye, pretending that it was destroying weapons destined for Hezbollah. In reality, the target was a copper factory, indispensable for restoring the distribution of electricity in the country [19].

The Declaration of Đà Nẵng includes some notable advances. It establishes, for the first time, that all Syrians will be able to participate in the next Presidential election. In fact, until now, exiled Syrians have been forbidden to vote by the members of the international Coalition, in violation of the Vienna Convention. As for the « National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces », it has boycotted the elections because that instance was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, according to whom « The Coran is our Law », and there is no place for elections in an Islamist régime.

The contrast is startling between the progress of Russo-US negotiations concerning Syria on the one hand, and on the other, the bullheadedness of the same United States in denying the facts before the Security Council.

It is interesting to note the embarrassment of the European Press – faced with the work of Presidents Putin and Trump as well as the infantile mulishness of the US delegation at the Security Council. Almost no organ of the media mentions the Amman Memorandum, and they all commented the Joint Declaration before it was published, based on a simple note from the White House. As for Ambassador Nikki Haley’s tantrums at the Security Council, they unanimously noted that the two major powers had reached no agreement, and ignored the Russian arguments which had nonetheless been exhaustively explained by Moscow.

We are obliged to note that if President Trump is attempting to pay off the imperialist policies of his predecessors, the pro-US international civil servants from the UNO are incapable of adapting to the real world. After 16 years of systematic lies, they can no longer think in terms of fact, but only in thrall to their fantasies. They are no longer able to avoid taking their desires for realities. This behaviour is characteristic of Empires in decline.

Thierry Meyssan

 

 

http://www.voltairenet.org/article198896.html " target="_blank">http://www.voltairenet.org/article198896.html

deplorable blockade...

 

The document particularly says that the European lawmakers“deplore” the blockade of Yemen established by the Saudi-led coalition and specifically condemns “the indiscriminate coalition-led airstrikes leading to civilian casualties, including children, and destruction of civilian and medical infrastructure.” It adds that they equally condemn the actions of the Houthi rebels resulting in civilian casualties, including the missile attacks on the Saudi cities.

The MEPs then renewed their call on the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to launch “an initiative to impose an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia” in the view of the serious allegations of it committing war crimes in Yemen. The motion, which is, however, non-binding, was adopted by a vast majority as 539 MEPs supported it while only 13 of them voted against and 81 abstained.

 

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution, which calls for an EU-wide embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the alleged war crimes it has committed in Yemen. The resolution also criticizes EU members selling arms to the Gulf kingdom.

The EU parliament “condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing violence in Yemen and all attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, which constitute war crimes,” the resolution passed on Thursday says. It goes on to say that“dozens of Saudi-led airstrikes have been blamed for indiscriminately killing and wounding civilians in violation of the laws of war, including through the use of internationally banned cluster munitions.”

 

The resolution also calls on Mogherini to “urgently propose an integrated EU strategy for Yemen” as well as urged all parties to the conflict to “urgently agree on a cessation of hostilities” and to return to peace negotiations.It then goes on to slam the EU member states for selling arms to the Saudis in spite of numerous allegations of war crimes committed by the coalition.

“EU Member States have continued to authorize transfers of arms to Saudi Arabia since the escalation of the conflict, in a violation of Council Common Position … on arms export control,” the document says. It then goes on to say that an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia would “effectively promote compliance” of the member states with the relevant EU guidelines and eventually with the international humanitarian law.

read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/411678-eu-parliament-saudi-embargo/

 

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