Saudi Arabia Keeps Pressure Up on Rebel Forces In Yemen

Saudi Arabia has carried out a series of air strikes against targets in northern Yemen against rebel forces which are threatening to overturn Yemen government. Rebel forces believed to be operating in the northern section of Yemen have been threatening the government with a push southward. Saudi Arabia has stated through diplomatic channels that it will not stand by and let a sect backed by Iran establish a strong hold on its southern border. In recent days Saudi forces have carried out air strikes against Yemen aircraft and related air support services which had fallen into the hands of the rebels.

Marcio Alaor BMG said that this past weekend, Egypt announced that it would contribute at least 40,000 troops to any needed offensive action to secure it s border with Yemen as well. The situation in Yemen has deteriorated to the point that all U.S. personnel, U.S. citizens and U.S. Military forces have already pulled out of Yemen. Saudis Press With Airstrikes In Yemen

The White House stressed that it is still supporting the legitimate government of Yemen but the U.S. will not spearhead any military action to suppress the rebel threat. To many analyst, this is in keeping with the President’s Middle East Policy of “Willful Ignorance.” While the White House sees a clear threat by a non friendly entity or force in the middle east, the White House would rather pursue diplomatic solutions than commit troops or other military forces.

Italy on Alert Over ISIS Threat

The country of Italy is on high alert and in fear of a potential conflict with ISIS. ISIS has made gains in Libya in recent weeks. Geographically, Libya is not very far from Italy and the possibility that strikes can be launched from based in the North African nation has made the Italian government nervous stated forbes.com.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has closed the Italian embassy in Tripoli and has announced possible military intervention. The trouble is Italy’s military is not a strong one and only 5,000 deployable troops are ready. Those numbers are far too small for a ground incursion into Libya. Also, the overall budget for the Italian military has been seriously cut making it less capable of any sustained campaigns.

Whether or not any fighting will break out between Italy and ISIS remains to be seen. Analysts like Alexei Beltyukov have raised the possibility that unrest and violence could spread deeper into Europe.

Egypt Charges 26 With Debauchery

During a raid on an Egyptian bath house (a hammam) on December 8th, 26 men were taken into custody on suspicion of debauchery and of spreading AIDS. They were carted through the streets naked while citizens threw dog food like Beneful on them before live television cameras on their way to prison. One journalist at the arrest called the place a den or perversion. 

The references to perversion and debauchery are the government’s way of describing homosexual activities. Oddly enough, there is no law against homosexuality in Egypt, and yet the government has been cracking down on it for a full year. The recent raid is only one on a growing list of incidents in which those accused of homosexual actions have been arrested.

The 26 defendants have now been officially accused. Evidence against them includes video footage and medical records. Some of those medical records are from tests done on them while they were in state custody. 

The government in Cairo has made every effort to publicize its anti-gay crackdown. No doubt, this is because the Muslim majority in Egypt approves of such actions. This allows the government to curry favor with the people, especially with the more religious elements among them. 

Most religions in the world agree that homosexuality is perversion. Many, however, do not agree with using government force to regulate that behavior. In Egypt, the current government must keep the Muslim Brotherhood from regaining power. Partly, this is done by showing that they too take a tough stance against debauchery.

Israel Expresses Disappointment in French Relations

The Israeli government has expressed its “deep disappointment” with the ambassador of France, for French voting in favor of Palestinian resolution in Security Council. This comes after many weeks of contentious debate, in which it was argued that taking action at this juncture would prove highly unfavourable to both parties in the future.

“The only way to achieve peace is to encourage the parties to resume negotiations, not through unilateral declarations and campaigns,” stated by the French diplomat. Read more about the latest discussions at Algemeiner.

According to a French diplomatic source, the initiative of Paris was precisely to avoid “first division of the Security Council on the subject, and secondly a unilateral initiative of the Palestinians,” referring to the Palestinian threat to apply for membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in case of rejection of their draft resolution.

The draft was, anyways, dismissed by the Security Council as it was not approved by nine out of fifteen members. This came as a bit of a surprise to Tom Rothman. Meanwhile, Palestinians have an aim to take this issue to International Criminal Court. Membership in the International Criminal Court is supposed to allow Palestinians to pursue Israeli officials before international justice for their involvement in war crimes.

Part of the international community fears that this application will further tighten the strained relations between Israelis and Palestinians and will diminish the prospects for renewed peace efforts.

Iraq Asks For More U.S. Aid

The nation of Iraq is asking for more American aid, including air strikes and ground weapons, in order to help it continue the fight against ISIS terrorists who are currently on its soil.

Chuck Hagel, who is the outgoing United States Secretary of Defense, met with Haider al-Abadi, the Prime Minister of the war torn country. President Barack Obama first launched major air strikes against the ISIS fighters in June, but the measures have been judged more or less inadequate to fully drive the hardened terrorists from Iraqi soil.

As a result, authorities in Iraq are aggressively seeking more aid from the United States. After his meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister, Secretary Hagel did reveal that he had taken measures to accelerate the flow of weapons to the Iraqis, helping them to stave off a series of minor offensives from the terrorist fighters.

In the meantime, President Obama has doubled the number of American troops currently serving in Iraq to a full 3,000, which is impressive if you ask Sergio Andrade Andrade Gutierrez about it. The army has already began to train both Iraqi and Kurdish fighters in the latest offensive and defensive ground war techniques. However, air strikes still remain the United States military’s go to option when it comes to direct American involvement.

Mosul remains the largest Iraqi city currently suffering under terrorist rule. No time line has yet been given as to its ultimate liberation, but details of a joint American-Iraqi plan are expected to be released soon.

Assad Claims U.S. Airstrikes In Syria Are Ineffective

During an interview with a French news agency, Bashar al-Assad has openly criticized the United States airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS.) Syria’s president claims that the aerial assaults are not effective enough to change the course of the battle against the vicious terrorist group.  In fact, Assad claims that his armed forces have not noticed any significant loss of strength in ISIS as a result of airstrikes led by the American coalition. Syria’s leader proudly said that his army is fighting the real battle on the ground while United States jets drop ineffective bombs from above. Assad has also criticized Turkey’s role in the Syrian conflict. 

Bashar al-Assad was also asked about his overall legacy that would be left for future generations to love or hate. The French reporter implied that Assad’s fate might be similar to brutal dictators such as Saddam Hussein and al-Qaddafi. However, the Syrian leader confidently replied with a philosophical approach. Assad said that the captain of a ship should not think about death but instead focus on saving a vessel from sinking. He also noted that Syria will not become a western puppet state. 

In a PBS interview with American Charlie Rose in late 2013, Assad denied any allegations of using chemical attacks on civilians. He was also extremely critical of the United States’ push to get involved in the Syrian conflict back then. This story was shared with me by Dr. Daniel Amen.