Obama-Saudi Meeting: War and Sectarianism

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Obama-Saudi Meeting: War and Sectarianism

WASHINGTON - President Obama is scheduled to meet Saudi King Salman on Friday. See accuracy.org/calendar for upcoming events.

The Guardian reports today: “The International Committee of the Red Cross has suspended all movements in Yemen after two of its staff were killed in what the organisation says appears to have been a deliberate attack. Reuters reports: “An airstrike by warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition, which said it targeted a bomb-making factory, killed 36 civilians working at a bottling plant in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah on Sunday, residents said.”

MATTHIEU AIKINS, [in NYC] matt.aikins at gmail.com, @mattaikins
Just back from the Mideast, Aikins won the Overseas Press Club Award for best magazine reporting earlier this year. He has written several pieces on Yemen for Rolling Stone including “Yemen’s Hidden War: A journey into one of the most remote and dangerous countries in the world” and “Watch a Dispatch from Saudi Arabia’s Alleged War Crimes: A road trip to the border where the Saudi-led coalition is bombing civilian areas.”

JIM NAURECKAS, jnaureckas at fair.org, @JNaureckas
Naureckas is editor of FAIR’s magazine Extra! and just wrote the piece “Missing From Reports of Yemeni Carnage: Washington’s Responsibility.”

ROBERT NAIMAN, naiman at justforeignpolicy.org, @naiman
Policy director at Just Foreign Policy, Naiman wrote a chapter in the new book The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to U.S. Empire. He wrote: “By 2014, the sectarian Sunni-Shia character of the civil war in Syria was bemoaned in the United States as an unfortunate development. But in December 2006, the man heading the U.S. embassy in Syria advocated in a cable to the Secretary of State and the White House that the U.S. government collaborate with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to promote sectarian conflict in Syria between Sunni and Shia as a means of destabilizing the Syrian government. … No one working for the U.S. government on foreign policy at the time could have been unaware of the implications of promoting Sunni-Shia sectarianism.”

FAREA AL-MUSLIMI, falmuslimi at carnegie-mec.org, @almuslimi
Currently in Beirut, Al-Muslimi is a Yemeni writer and a visiting scholar with Carnegie Middle East. He is co-founder of Sana’a Center For Strategic Studies. He was recently profiled in Foreign Policy: “Departing Washington. Next Stop: Reality.”

He said today: “The humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate. The two Red Cross workers just killed shows how serious the situation is. The Red Cross was one of the few organizations continuing to operate in Yemen, even after the government shut down. This is an outgrowth of allowing the situation to continue to fester with war crimes committed by all sides. The number directly killed in the conflict — several thousand — is tragic, but it’s less than the number killed because of the conditions created by this awful war, like shutting down the ports. The U.S. needs to seriously push the Saudis to resolve the conflict as quickly as possible or things will continue to fall apart, causing further death and fanaticism.”

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