Saturday, October 1, 2016

On Yemen, Iran Replies to Saudi, Hadi's Stagger at UN Photo Op, Ban's Insiders

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS,  September 23 -- The UN Secretariat of Ban Ki-moon's bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Press, see below.
On September 23, Inner City Press went up to document Ban Ki-moon's meeting with Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The latter walked slowly in to the room for the ceremonial handshake and book signing. Ban Ki-moon appeared to position Hadi (more than one reader called Hadi puppet). Hadi in turn in term spread out his hands. Photos here andhere.  Beyond the Vine video here.  
Now on September 28, Iran has replied to Saudi Arabia's letter, we publish the reply here:
"Upon instructions from my Government, and with reference to the letter dated 16 September 2016 from the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2016/786), I wish to bring the following to your attention:

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran firmly rejects the pure fabrications and unsubstantiated allegations, contained in the afore-mentioned letter concerning the alleged transfer of weapons to Yemeni Ansarullah fighters and the violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

This letter and the claims contained therein are at the same time quite astounding as the claimant is the representative of a government that has invaded Yemen and used, for about a year and half, a full variety of lethal weapons against Yemen's civilians and civilian infrastructure. Numerous reports, by the United Nations and other authoritative institutions, have so far documented the crimes committed by the Saudi-led coalition against Yemeni civilians, specially children and women, as well as Coalition's engagement in violating international law and international humanitarian law, including Security Council Resolution 2286.

According to the latest survey conducted by human rights activists and academics, Saudi Arabia has targeted 3,158 non-military sites in Yemen between March 2015 and the end of August 2016. The findings further reveals that there were 942 air raids on residential areas, 114 on markets, 34 on mosques, 147 on schools, 26 on universities and 378 on transport sites during the same period. [1]

The air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition, yesterday, 26 September 2016, on a Yemeni hospital, supported by Doctors without Borders, during which at least 11 people were killed and 19 injured are the latest in a series of ceaseless attacks on civilian targets in Yemen. The bombing of a school in northern Yemen, on 13 August 2016, is another example during which 10 children died and 28 were injured.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has always reiterated that there could be no military solution to this war and has urged for an end to hostilities and a peaceful resolution of this conflict through negotiations and the utilization of peaceful mechanisms.

I  should  be  grateful  if  you  would  have  the  present  letter  circulated  as  a document of the Security Council.

Gholamali Khoshroo
Permanent Representative "
  On September 23 it was quickly over but to way to the elevator down, Inner City Press ran into and greeted UN envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed on his way to the meeting and two representatives of Human Rights Watch, on the UN's 27th floor. What were they doing there? Both were formerly journalists covering or channeling Ban Ki-moon, now with insider access. Does it make Ban Ki-moon feel better, to have them around while he sells out Yemen's children?
 Earlier on September 23, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN Transcript here: 
Inner City Press: Given that the Secretary-General himself decided to remove the Saudi-led Coalition from the Children and Armed Conflict regarding Yemen, given that this airstrike has killed children and women, what's the status of putting them back on?
Spokesman:  Well, they were… as I said, they were not removed.  It was a temporary suspension, as you can look on the document.  I think we are constantly looking at and reviewing the situation in Yemen, and when we have something to share with you, we will.
  We're waiting. It seems clear Ban gave Hadi a copy of hisvanity press book. Birds of a feather.
On September 22, Inner City Press asked the European Union's Federica Mogherini if the EU has any role in Yemen. She said she had just met Hadi. And?
The EU's envoy to Yemen Bettina Muscheidt, viewed as a possible replacement for Ban's Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has moved on to Libya. At the UN on September 23, Hadi will deposit... Yemen's / his Paris Accord document. Hot air. Now the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid, through Cecile Pouilly, has issued a statement which makes sure to equate Saudi-led Coalition airstrikes with Taizz and does not mention Hadi's move to starve Yemen's by moving the Central Bank:
"We note with deep concern the sharp increase in civilian casualties since the suspension of peace talks, with 180 people killed and 268 injured in August. This represents a 40 per cent increase compared to the civilian casualties the previous month, with 60 killed and 123 injured.
There has been an increased number of attacks against protected civilian objects, with at least 41 incidents affecting educational and health facilities, markets, places of worship, airports and civilian homes in August.

The most recent incident took place two days ago, on Wednesday, 21 September, when an airstrike hit a residential area in the town of Hudaydah, killing 26 civilians, including seven children, and injuring 24 others, among them two children. The death toll could be much higher, as our team continues to collect information.

We are particularly concerned at the situation in the city of Taizz, where a blockade imposed by the Houthis-affiliated Popular Committees has caused serious food, water and fuel shortages, and a near collapse of the health system.

In the light of the high civilian casualty numbers and the terrible suffering of the civilian population, we urge all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, including their obligation to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. We reiterate our call for the setting up of an international and independent investigative body.

In total, 3,980 civilians have been killed and 6,909 injured between 26 March 2015 and 22 September 2016."
 Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric at noon on Septmeber 22 about Yemen. He called the question "granular" and his office later said, too little too late, "The Secretary-General condemns the multiple airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition on 21 September in the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, Yemen, which killed and injured dozens of people, including children and women. The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General once again reminds all parties to the conflict that they must fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precaution. He reiterates his call for urgent measures to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.

The Secretary-General also urges all parties to recommit to the terms and conditions of the 10 April cessation of hostilities. Stressing that a negotiated political settlement that addresses the legitimate concerns of all parties remains the only viable solution to the conflict, he calls for a new round of peace negotiations facilitated by his Special Envoy for Yemen."

On the Central Bank, the IMF later on September 22 issued this: 
“IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde met on September 22 with Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Yemen is going through a difficult period, and the Managing Director expressed her concern for the adverse humanitarian and economic fallout from the conflict which keeps mounting.

“The Managing Director and President Hadi exchanged views on the current situation and prospects, including preserving the operational capacity of the central bank system so as to improve the financial stability and economic and social outcomes for the Yemeni people.”
On September 19, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Staphane Dujarric two questions on Yemen: "what is the Secretary General's or his Envoy's comment on Hadi firing the head of the central bank and moving the central bank's headquarters from Sanaa to Aden?" and on "reports that Saudi Arabia / the Saudi-led Coalition threatened to shoot down a UN aircraft... Please confirm or deny that."

Two days later, while leaving other questions unanswered, Ban's office sent this answer to Inner City Press:
Date: Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 10:52 AM
Subject: Your question on Yemen
To: matthew.lee [at]
Cc: Stephane Dujarric [at]

The Secretary General's Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, is extremely concerned by the recent inability of the Central Bank to pay salaries due to lack of revenue and shortage of liquidity. Millions of Yemenis families depend on civil service salaries and the stoppage in salary payments is expected to have a severely negative impact.

The Special Envoy is advocating that any changes in the Central Bank ensure a rapid resumption of salary payments and that these are provided to all civilian civil service in all parts of the country without discrimination."
  What about the firing, and proposed moving? What about the reported threat to UN plane? And see below.
On August 18, Inner City Press exclusively published the proposal that Ban's envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed made in Kuwait. This was the proposal described as blatantly one-sided that led to a collapse of the talks, the Saudi-led Coalition increased airstrikes and the death of more civilians.  
According to local media the Saudis threatened to shoot down UN aircraft - click here. Direct sources have told Inner City Press the UN envoy wanted the Sanaa delegation to sign a waiver, and to stop over in Saudi Arabia and be searched. Would the UN go public if this were true? No, under Ban Ki-moon. His spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to confirm or deny or comment for two days now.
Meanwhile early on September 21 there was a meeting on the humanitarian situation in Yemen held in UN basement Conference Room 12, sponsored by the UK
  In order to stake it out, Inner City Press was required by Ban Ki-moon's eviction order to seek a minder, which are first was withheld. By the time Inner City Press was escorted, all participants were inside the closed meeting.
   Inner City Press observed Grandi of UNHCR leave the meeting at 8:30, and WFP Cousins walk right by minutes later. What is the UN doing in Yemen, after Ban Ki-moon sold it out? We'll have more on this.
  On September 14 the Saudi ambassador to the UN wrote to the UN Security Council to complain - belatedly, in the case of events of August 31 - of attacks from Yemen, saying Saudi Arabia reaffirms “its right to take all appropriate measures.” Letter posted on Facebook, here. But they've already been engaged in airstrikes all over. Some have wondered what the response to Javad Zarif's op-ed in the New York Times would be.
Now there is a response to the Saudi letter, from the Iranian mission to the UN: 

"The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations categorically rejects the allegations, as contained in Saudi Arabia’s letter to the President of the Security Council, dated 14 September 2016, regarding arms transfers to Yemen and violations of Security Council Resolution  2216

This letter includes unsubstantiated claims that have not been verified by any independent entity. These   claims are raised against the numerous confirmed reports, documenting Saudi Arabia’s war crimes and violation of international law and international humanitarian law. Saudi Arabia has engaged in a year and a half long wide ranging, non proportionate and irrational war against the people of Yemen, where they have undeniably committed crimes against defenseless women and children. Saudi Arabia has also decimated much of Yemen’s civilian infrastructure and not hesitated to destroy schools and hospitals.

It is surprising that Saudi Arabia would complain to the United Nations about the use of weapons in Yemen even while Saudi Arabia itself has purchased tens of billions in arms that it is using against the Yemeni people.

The Islamic Republic of Iran does not believe in a military solution in Yemeni and has always urged for cessation of hostilities, dialogue and resort to legal and peaceful mechanisms to achieve a peaceful resolution to this conflict. "

Meanwhile, Inner City Press is told of a Yemen meeting in UNGA week, convened by the UK - at 7:30 pm. It's never too early when it gets this late. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.