Germany’s Merkel tells Saudis to stop war on Yemen as arms sales go on

Mon May 1, 2017 12:18AM – PressTV
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) is received by Saudi King Salman on her arrival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on April 30, 2017. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) is received by Saudi King Salman on her arrival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on April 30, 2017. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Riyadh to halt its military aggression against Yemen, despite Berlin continuing its arms sales to the kingdom.

“We believe in the UN-led process of diplomatic resolution…We do not think that there can be a military solution to this conflict,” said Merkel during a visit to the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Sunday.

She added that measures must be taken to reverse the “extremely bad humanitarian situation” in Yemen.

This as an agreement was signed for Saudi troops to receive training from German soldiers at unified armed forces facilities.

A separate deal was also made for German federal police to instruct and train Saudi border police and other security forces.

During the trip, Merkel met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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A Yemeni inspects the rubble of a destroyed building following Saudi airstrikes on the capital Sana’a on October 8, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to bring back to power the resigned president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh, and to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement. The Riyadh regime has, however, failed to reach its goals despite suffering great expense.

The military aggression has claimed the lives of more than 12,000 people, most of them civilians.

Germany, one of kingdom’s largest arms suppliers, sold Saudi Arabia around half a billion euros worth of armaments in 2016. Earlier this month, Berlin also approved millions of dollars worth of arms sales to the United Arab Emirates which is assisting Saudi Arabia in its onslaught against Yemen.

Sun Apr 30, 2017 9:41PM
The file photo shows Bahraini police at the notorious Jaw Prison in Manama, Bahrain.
The file photo shows Bahraini police at the notorious Jaw Prison in Manama, Bahrain.

A coalition of human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, has called on Bahrain to halt its “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment of political prisoners.

In a joint statement released on Sunday, a coalition of ten rights groups called on the Manama regime to make sure all prisoners were treated with humanity and in accordance with the United Nations standards which include being given access to adequate medical care and being allowed to have contact with their relatives.

The statement also noted that new regulations imposed by Bahrain included the shackling of human rights activists and opposition figures being held in Jaw Prison.

Security forces attacking inmates inside Bahrain’s Jaw Prison, March 10, 2015

“These new regulations degrade and humiliate prisoners who clearly pose no escape risk,” said the deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Joe Stork.

“Authorities can take reasonable measures to prevent escapes, but shackling infirm patients, many of them torture victims, clearly goes beyond any need for security,” he added.

In the statement, the executive director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, Husain Abdulla, noted that these imprisoned political and human rights activists were all suffering from deteriorating health due to their prolonged arbitrary detentions.

“Shackling these prisoners of conscience is not a legitimate prison security measure but is intended to degrade and humiliate them. The international community must not forget these long-term prisoners of conscience and should work to end their unjust and punitive detention,” he added.

Lynn Maalouf, the research director at Amnesty International’s Regional Office in Beirut, stressed that most of these prisoners should not even be in prison let alone be shackled.

“The authorities must immediately put an end to the collective and arbitrary punishment of the entire Jaw prison population,” she added.

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Thousands of anti-regime protesters have been holding numerous demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country on February 14, 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah ruling family relinquish power and a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

Manama has spared no effort in clamping down on dissent and rights activists. On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Manama government in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown on anti-regime activists.

Mon May 1, 2017 7:18AM
Japan’s Izumo helicopter carrier (file photo)
Japan’s Izumo helicopter carrier (file photo)

Japan has dispatched its biggest warship for the first time in history to escort an American strike force near the Korean Peninsula.

Following an order from Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, the helicopter carrier Izumo departed from its base in Yokosuka, south of of the capital, Tokyo, on Monday to join the US strike group, which includes the large USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier.

The 249-meter-long Japanese carrier can carry up to nine helicopters. Its primary mission, however, is anti-submarine warfare.

Japan passed a set of controversial laws to expand the role of its military in 2015. The laws allow Tokyo to potentially engage in conflicts overseas.

Tokyo is also allowed to protect the weapons and equipment of its allied armed forces defending it and to provide logistical support to its allies involved in situations with “important influence” on Japanese security. One of the laws, known as “collective self-defense,” also enables Japan to aid an ally under military attack.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has come under fire because the new laws could, according to their opponents, drag the country into unnecessary wars abroad.

This image is captured from video footage by Reuters showing the Japanese warship Izumo leaving the port of Yokosuka on May 1, 2017.

Tensions have been on the rise on the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks. Unsettled by North Korean missile and military nuclear programs, the United States has adopted a war-like posture, sending the strike force and conducting joint military drills with North Korea’s regional adversaries Japan and South Korea.

Japanese fighter jets joined the USS Carl Vinson in waters off the Japanese city of Okinawa on Saturday.

Annual massive military drills between the US and South Korea also wrapped up earlier.

North Korea says the annual drills are rehearsals for invasion. Pyongyang is also concerned by the permanent presence of American forces in the region.

The dispatching of the strike group has now specifically worked to mount tensions, raising fears of a potential military confrontation with North Korea.

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