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    Yemenis stand at the site of a Saudi air strike against Huthi rebels near Sanaa Airport on March 26, 2015, which killed at least 13 people

    Yemen: Now State Terrorists Can Join US Bombing Coalitions?

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    By entering a coalition which includes Sudan, Washington has - under its own definition - teamed up with an official terror state in the latest military strikes on Yemen.

    US bombing coalitions on foreign countries took yet another dizzying turn this week with the air strikes on Yemen.

    We have already seen the US join forces with despotic Saudi Arabia to bomb Al Qaeda networks in Iraq and Syria, even though these networks have been funded and trained in the recent past by Washington and its Saudi clients.

    Now, however, with the spectacle of foreign air strikes on Yemen, we see Washington in open alliance with one of its own designated sponsors of state terrorism — North Sudan.

    The White House confirmed that it was "coordinating logistics and intelligence" with the Saudi-led coalition of 10 states reportedly involved in the strikes. In other words, the US is very much part of the bombing coalition hitting Yemen.

    Yemen's upheaval is a matter of its own internal affairs involving a popular rebellion led by Shia Houthi militias against a discredited regime that has been backed by Washington and Saudi Arabia. The allegation of Shia Iran supporting the Houthis, and thus foreign subversion, is but a tenuous claim put forward by Saudi Arabia (for obvious self-serving reasons). Iran's alleged, but unproven, involvement in Yemen therefore only amounts to Saudi hearsay, which even the hawkish American media, such as the Washington Post, cast doubt on. Iran and the Houthi movement also deny any military or material collusion. Yet Yemen is being bombed by a US-Saudi coalition on the back of this hearsay.

    One of those coalition members is the Republic of Sudan, otherwise known as North Sudan. Western media seemed to play down that awkward fact by obliquely referring to this coalition member simply as "Sudan" — perhaps in an attempt to obfuscate a distinction with South Sudan.

    The significance is that the Republic of Sudan, or North Sudan, is officially on the US list of "state sponsors of terrorism". Currently, there are four countries on the US State Department's terror list.

    They are Cuba, Iran, Syria and North Sudan. We may debate the legitimacy of this list. But the fact is that, according to Washington, they are state terrorists.

    So here we have a curious contradiction. Washington has — under its own definition — teamed up with an official terror state in the latest military strikes on Yemen.

    While Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab despots are widely suspected, with good evidence, of sponsoring Al Qaeda terrorism across the region, those states have not made it on to Washington's official list of state sponsors of terrorism. They should be on the list if facts were pertinent. But that's Washington's duplicitous politics for you, just as it tries to conceal its own murky relationship with the same terror groups, stemming from Afghanistan in the 1980s, and through to its recent covert wars in Syria and Libya.

    However, North Sudan is rather different. Because it, at least officially, is a terror state, according to Washington's definition.

    Yet, Washington is now openly participating in a military alliance with this "rogue state" in the bombing of Yemen.

    North Sudan led by Omar Bashir has been on the US blacklist for more than 20 years, incurring a raft of American economic, financial and diplomatic sanctions. Washington accuses the mainly Muslim north African country — as opposed to the mainly Christian South Sudan — of serial human rights violations and supporting Al Qaeda extremists. At various times, its leader Omar Bashir is suspected of harbouring jihadist terror groups and commanders, including the late Osama bin Laden. The US alleged that the country played a key role in the 1998 American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, and in the same year launched cruise missile attacks in retribution. In 2007, George Bush tightened sanctions on North Sudan, and in 2011 the Obama administration renewed the country's state terror designation.

    On Thursday morning this week, Saudi Arabia launched hundreds of air strikes on Yemen along with a coalition of nine other countries.

    Reportedly the strikes were carried out by 100 warplanes, mainly from Saudi Arabia. Other countries to have despatched fighter jets, according to Saudi media, included the United Arab Emirates (30), Bahrain (15), Qatar (10), Morocco (6), Jordan (6) — and North Sudan (3). (Egypt, Kuwait and Pakistan have also offered to send warplanes to join the bombing campaign.)

    As noted, the US is providing logistics and intelligence to facilitate Operation Decisive Storm. The White House, in a statement, has fully endorsed the military intervention, even though the intervention raises serious concerns about legality and breach of Yemen's sovereignty. The aerial bombardment was launched without receiving a mandate from the United Nations Security Council.

    Initial reports of the first wave of strikes on the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, say that up to 20 civilians, including young children, were killed. Dozens of others were reportedly injured after warplanes hit residential areas, in addition to the international airport, a hospital and military bases under the control of the Houthi rebels.

    The Houthis have taken over at least half of the country and have forced the deposed Western, Saudi-backed president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi into exile. Hadi is reported to have fled to Oman and later Saudi Arabia. Both countries share a border with northern Yemen.

    Announcing the air strikes, the Saudi ambassador in Washington, Adel al Jubeir, said that they were in response to appeals from the "legitimate government of Yemen". He added that the strikes would be "limited to restoring the government". The legitimacy of deposed president Mansour Hadi is moot given that he resigned earlier this year in January after the Houthi rebels took over the capital. The rebels accuse the US, Saudi-backed president of being a puppet for those foreign interests, having reneged on promised transition to democracy over the last three years.

    Also, the appeals from the deposed president for foreign intervention were made earlier this week, on Tuesday, from his last redoubt in the southern port city of Aden. Within 48 hours, the US and its Arab allies, including "state terror sponsor" North Sudan, had launched a major bombing campaign. That military intervention was evidently not simply "in response" to Hadi's appeals, as claimed, but rather must have been weeks in the planning. A premeditated bombing campaign on Yemen involving 10 countries, with the US coordinating, is therefore an illegal act of aggression on a sovereign state.

    Lastly, if the Saudi ambassador was genuine in his claims that the latest air strikes are "limited" and aimed at "saving the Yemeni government" — then why were hundreds of bombing raids carried out in the capital Sanaa more than 400 kilometres north of Aden and involving strikes on civilian residential areas? If the bombing raids were carried out to stop the advance of Houthi rebels on Aden then why were they not "limited" to the nearest rebel stronghold of Taiz, which is some 150 kilometres north of Aden?

    This US-Saudi bombing of Yemen is a flagrant manifestation of international relations now being conducted according to the law of the jungle. Sovereignty is blasted, the UN Security Council is trashed, civilians are slaughtered, and it's all done because Saudi Arabia makes wild claims that Iran is "guilty of aggression".

    But perhaps the real sign of descent into insanity is that Washington is openly bombing a country with the help of a state that is officially a terrorist enemy. Duplicity reigns supreme.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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