The story of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed proudly bringing his homemade clock to school, only to be punished and arrested by paranoid, possibly bigoted school and police authorities, has captured the hearts of many Americans.
Much can be said about the attitude of police and the xenophobia in Texas, but the invitation by President Obama for Ahmed to visit the White House provides many layers of interest. It will undoubtedly fire up the political class that feeds on hatred of foreigners and the illusion of American exceptionalism. It will score Obama and Democrats points with the Muslim community.
It will also provide mainstream media with an emotional, divisive issue to drive up ratings and perpetuate their mission of keeping the masses distracted. This strategy of distraction can help explain why Obama is giving attention to Ahmed.
Broadcasting sympathy for a Muslim teen who was victimized by authority figures is an excellent way to distract us from the death and destruction America continues to inflict in the Middle East. U.S. imperialism never waned under Obama’s presidency. It has expanded with interventions in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
The Authorization for Use of Military Force, granted to the executive branch days after 9/11, is still being used today to justify indiscriminate killing and the dismantling of civil rights, under the guise of a nebulous war on terror.
Hardly mentioned by the MSM is the plight of civilians in Yemen, which has taken a severe downturn since a Saudi-led coalition began bombing the country, under the arming and training of the U.S. military.
2,000 civilians have been killed and 4,000 wounded since the bombing campaign began in March, according to the official UN tally. The stated goal is to drive out the Houthi rebels, which have taken over the capitol Sana’a, and to reinstate the government of President Abdrabuh Monsour Hadi, who is now taking refuge in Saudi Arabia.
“Now in its sixth month, the war has plunged the country into the depths of a humanitarian disaster. Human rights organizations estimate that 21 million people, approximately 80 percent of the country’s population, are in need of some form of humanitarian aid.
Shortages of food, medical supplies and clean drinking water have placed the lives of millions at risk. Dire warnings from humanitarian aid organizations that the country is on the verge of famine, with half a million children at risk of severe malnutrition, have done nothing to ease the assault.”
This situation has prompted the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, to call for an investigation into allegations of human rights violations by “all parties.” To be sure, this includes Houthi fighters which have carried out their own brutality. However, they are no match for the killing capabilities of U.S. bombs and fighter jets.
Any investigation into war crimes would have to include the Saudi puppets and the current puppeteer, Barack Obama.
“The Obama administration has not only provided Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners with bombs, military intelligence and other logistical support in its air campaign. American refueling planes have been flying daily missions to ensure that coalition warplanes can keep pounding targets throughout the country around the clock. American advisers are vetting targets and working alongside Saudi officers in an operations center in Riyadh, which is overseeing military operations in Yemen.
Saudi warplanes have carried out a continuous barrage of airstrikes against civilian and military targets alike. Residential neighborhoods, workers barracks, factories, market places, schools, hospitals and commercial ports have all been targeted for destruction. Thousand-year-old mosques and other historic archeological sites have been destroyed by coalition bombs.”
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The Pentagon and their cronies in the military-industrial complex will be selling Saudi Arabia one billion dollars’ worth of bombs, adding to the 20-year, $60 billion weapons deal from 2010.
One disturbing fact is that cluster bombs, which are banned by 116 countries, have been used in Yemen near civilian areas. Not signatory to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions are the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, who is also getting in on the lucrative game of bombing Yemen.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented the use of three types of cluster munitions, two made in the U.S.
A Saudi spokesman has acknowledged that one type was used in Yemen, and insisted it was only used against armored vehicles. However, reports from northern Yemen show that cluster bombs have been used in areas inhabited by civilians, and that civilians have been injured by the bomblets.
Pentagon and Textron company spokesmen say their cluster bomb is “smart” and has safeguards to prevent civilians from being harmed by unexploded ordnance. But independent investigators have documented a variety of ways in which the CBU-105 SW cluster bomb failed to work as designed.
Cluster bombs are only part of the machine that is bringing death and humanitarian disaster to Yemen.
“On August 30, at least 36 workers were killed when Saudi jet fighters dropped bombs on a water bottling factory in the Abs District of Haajah province. Access to clean drinking water was severely limited prior to the onslaught, which has severely exacerbated the problem and put millions at risk of contracting water-borne diseases. Fuel shortages have also contributed to water shortages in the country.
On August 18, coalition jet fighters dropped bombs on the port of Hodeidad, destroying four cranes used to offload ships and also demolishing nearby warehouses. The port had been the main site for getting humanitarian aid into areas of the country controlled by Houthi forces. A blockade of Yemen enforced by Saudi Arabia and Egypt with the aid of US Navy warships has contributed to a shortage of food, fuel and desperately needed medical supplies. Aid shipments had already been severely limited prior to the bombing of the port.
On July 24, coalition bombs ripped through dormitories housing power plant workers and their families in the southwestern city of Mokah. 63 people were killed and another 50 were injured in the attack. A reporting team from Amnesty International visited the attack site and found no indications that the housing units had ever been used for military purposes by the Houthis or their allies.
On July 6, a devastating airstrike on a busy livestock market in the town of Fayush, north of Aden, killed 45 people and wounded another 50. Livestock and food markets throughout the country have repeatedly been targeted for airstrikes.”
Prince Zeid’s call for investigations into human rights violations will most likely fall on deaf ears. Yemen does not matter to the movers and shakers of global politics.
Saudi Arabia is unabashedly dismissive of non-combatant deaths, with Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri saying, “Why would we acknowledge something that doesn’t exist?”
For President Obama, the death and humanitarian crisis in Yemen are just another front in the never-ending war on terror. Americans are still sold on the false idea that you can kill all the bad guys and end the specter of terrorism, and so ignore what happens in places like Yemen.
In Middle Eastern countries, merely displaying suspicious behavior is enough to get men and children assassinated by the U.S. under “signature” drone strikes. If Ahmed were making his clock in Yemen or Sudan, his country of descent, he more than likely would have fallen prey to Obama’s trigger finger instead of being invited to the White House.