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  1. Gezza

     /  November 30, 2018

    Lobbyists have paid five of the Senators who shot down Yemen bill
    Roy Blunt, who voted against limiting the US’s role in the Yemen war, received $19,200 from pro-Saudi lobbyists in 2017.

    At least five of the 37 Republican Senators who voted against advancing a resolution limiting the United States’s involvement in the war in Yemen have received campaign contributions from pro-Saudi lobbying groups.

    Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Richard Burr, Mike Crapo and Tim Scott all received financial contributions from firms representing Saudi interests between 2016 and 2017, according to a recent investigation by the Centre for International Policy (CIP). All five Republicans voted on Wednesday against advancing the resolution, which, if passed, would force the US to limit its support for the Saudi-UAE war in Yemen.

    The Trump administration has threatened to veto the resolution if it passes.

    Last year, the oil-rich kingdom spent at least $24m to influence US policy and public opinion, according to disclosures to the Department of Justice made available through the Center for Responsive Politics’ Foreign Lobby Watch tool. Around $18m of that was paid to foreign agents acting on behalf of Saudi interests in 2017 and another $6m in spending has already been reported this year.

    According to the CIP, it made Saudi Arabia one of the top 10 countries spending on influence and lobbying in the US. But on Wednesday, the political donations appeared to have little effect when the US Senate opted to move forward with the resolution in a bipartisan 63-37 vote.

    “We have already seen 85,000 children starved to death, the UN tells us that millions of people are facing starvation, 10,000 new cholera cases are developing each week because there is no clean drinking water in the country,” Bernie Sanders said following the briefing.

    “All of that was caused by the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen three years ago, led by a despotic, dishonest dictatorship.”

    [US support for the Saudi-led coalition began under Obama in 2015. That support has taken the form of providing arms, intelligence, targeting information (supposedly to avoid civilian casualties, although there has been a high toll of those) and aerial refuelling of Saudi warplanes – which has now been stopped as punishment for the regime’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi – although the Saudis have simply continued their air campaign without it. Gez]

    Pressure has been mounting for the US to end its support for the conflict. According to a recent YouGov poll, 89 percent of liberals Americans and 54 percent of conservatives expressed an opinion opposing continued arms sales to the Saudi-UAE alliance fighting in Yemen.

    Akbar Shahid Ahmed, a foreign affairs reporter with the Huffington Post, called Wednesday’s vote “unprecedented. “What this shows is that President Donald Trump hasn’t been able to keep his own party, and his allies like Senator Graham and Senator Corker in line,” he told Al Jazeera. “The Saudis, lobbyists, the Secretary of Defense, none of them have been able to stop this anger which is brewing.

    “Over the last three years we’ve seen the Senate get closer and closer [in pushing for a halt] to the sale of bombs, tanks etc to Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis have just continued in Yemen.
    “They haven’t stopped. They keep saying: Iran, Iran, Iran. But that isn’t enough for Capitol Hill anymore.”
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/pro-saudi-lobbyists-paid-5-senators-voted-yemen-bill-181129075933213.html

    Reply
    • The Consultant

       /  November 30, 2018

      On the very rare occasions I watch TV, I enjoy Al Jazeera because they cover stories a lot of Western MSM seem uninterested in, and they’re slickly packaged in appealing to the BBC, PBS crowd.

      But let’s not forget that they are a broadcaster owned and controlled by the government of Qatar, a government which regards both Saudi Arabia and Israel as its enemies.

      It’s rather like watching Russia Today to see the Kremlin’s view of the world. Interesting but….

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  November 30, 2018

        Well, exactly, and the thing is I NEVER forget that. And some of their female presenters are stunners. It all helps.

        Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  November 30, 2018

    Gaza hospitals overwhelmed by wounded in Israeli violence: Report
    An international medical aid group says the vast number of patients treated for gunshot wounds from months of border protests has overwhelmed Gaza’s already fragile healthcare system. Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, on Thursday said thousands of Palestinians injured by Israeli gunfire during the ongoing Great March of Return protests were at risk of infection and disability because Gaza could not treat them adequately.

    In all, some 6,000 Palestinians were shot by Israeli forces during the demonstrations along the separation fence since March, according to the besieged enclave’s health ministry. Around 1,000 of those have infections that could ultimately lead to amputations or even death.

    MSF, which has provided care for thousands of Palestinians since the protests began, said most of those hurt by live fire were shot in the legs, often resulting in open fractures prone to infection. “This many patients would overstretch the best healthcare systems in the world. In Gaza, it is a crushing blow,” Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, MSF’s chief for the Palestinian territories, said in a statement.

    The NGO called on Israel to allow those injured out of the blockaded strip for necessary treatment and for governments to offer their medical facilities for the wounded.

    “The alternative – that thousands of patients will be left to deal with terrible injuries, with many permanently disabled and dependent on their families – is unconscionable when adequate treatment is within the world’s grasp,” she said.

    Collective punishment
    Israel maintains a tight blockade of Gaza it says is necessary to isolate the strip’s rulers, Hamas, and keep the group from obtaining weapons or material that could be used to make them.

    Critics say it amounts to collective punishment of the two million residents. At least 235 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since March 30, mostly by Israeli fire during border clashes but also by air and tank attacks. Two Israeli soldiers were killed over the same period, one by a Palestinian sniper and another in a botched Israeli special forces’ operation inside the Gaza Strip.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/gaza-hospitals-overwhelmed-wounded-israeli-violence-report-181129114954693.html

    Reply
  3. Earlier Thursday, Trump told reporters that he would still “probably” meet with Putin, despite a recent incident in which Russian ships opened fire on and seized three Ukrainian vessels near Crimea.

    “I probably will be meeting with President Putin. We haven’t terminated that meeting. I was thinking about it, but we haven’t. They’d like to have it. I think it’s a very good time to have a meeting. I’m getting a full report on the plane as to what happened with respect to that,” he said ahead of his departure on Marine One.

    “Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting […] in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!” Trump tweeted en route to the summit.

    Looks like it will be another strained G20 summit. In France recently during WW1 commemorations Trump seemed to only look happy when Putin was around.

    Reply
  4. duperez

     /  November 30, 2018

    Is Trump the sort to cancel a meeting overseas with one of his bestest buddies simply to distract from something happening in Washington? 🤔

    Reply
  5. duperez

     /  November 30, 2018

    The State and free speech again!

    Reply

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