Saturday, December 02, 2017

Yemen - Saudis Throw The Towel - Saleh is Baaack - Russia Wins by Moon of Al

Yemen - Saudis Throw The Towel - Saleh is Baaack - Russia Wins

The war on Yemen has finally taken a turn towards an end. Former President Saleh is back in his leading position. They Saudis accepted their defeat. The Houthis will be thrown out of the capital Sanaa and return to their northern areas. Yemen is devastated and will need to rebuild. Everyone who participated in this war has lost. The only winner is Russia.
A recap:
During the "Arab spring" (U.S.) induced Yemeni revolution President Saleh was kicked out after ruling the country for 34 years. In 2012 the former Vice-President Hadi was "elected" as the new president on a one choice ballot. With U.S. support the system prevailed.

As I noted at that time:
The U.S. missed the chance to use the movement against Saleh for some real transition in Yemen. This will come back to bite.
Hadi was a Saudi puppet unable to rule the country. He tried to form a unity government under the National Dialogue Conference sponsored by the Gulf Cooperation Council. But two major constituencies were left out of the effort: the northern Yemeni Houthis of Zaidi belief, who for years had fought against Saudi-Wahhabi indoctrination in Yemen, and the followers of the ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Houthis and Saleh had fought each other for over a decade. Now they had a common enemy and united their efforts.
In 2015 the Houthi and Yemeni army troops loyal to Saleh took over the capital Sanaa. Hadi resigned (twice), fled to Aden in the south and later onto Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis were afraid to lose influence over their dirt poor but self-confident neighbor. They falsely alleged that the Houthis were supported by their perceived arch-enemy Iran. They declared war on the country and tried to invade it. The U.S. and the UK supported and still support the Saudi war with intelligence, refueling flights for Saudi bombers and massive weapon supplies.
The Saudis sent their troops to invade the country, their neighboring United Arab Emirates sent its forces and additional mercenaries were hired from Sudan, south America and where ever they could be found. All to no avail. While the Saudis dropped more than 100 bombs per day onto Yemen their forces were defeated every time they tried to enter the mountainous heartland. The Houthi counterattacked within Saudi Arabia. They had no shoes but huge balls. Hundreds of Saudi border posts and military checkpoints were destroyed by them.
The Saudis tried to starve the Houthis of weapons, food and other supplies. They blockaded the country and bombed weapon depots, factories and all infrastructure. They completely destroyed Houthi cities in the north and tried to assassinate the leaders of the rebellion. Tens of thousands of Yemenis died in the often indiscriminate attacks. But the Houthi held out. For decades Yemen had been filled up with weapons. During his decades long rule former president Saleh had stashed ten-thousands of tons of ammunition and equipment. Additional supplies were captured or bought from the Saudi mercenaries.
The former Yemeni army units loyal to Saleh, as well as Saleh himself, stayed in the background. Their most visible contribution to the war was the launch of short range ballistic missiles (SRBM) against Saudi cities and military positions. These weapons had been bought earlier and were modified to have extended reach (see the excursion below).
The Saudi were stuck in a stalemate that cost them over $800 million per month. Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State were flourishing in the south which the Saudis and their allies nominally controlled. Saudi proxies were infighting with troops from the UAE. Missiles were falling down on Saudi cities. While only few missiles hit their targets each of them demonstrated the impotence of the Saudi rulers.
The Saudis finally send out peace feelers to former president Saleh. The Russians, who had kept their embassy in Sanaa open throughout the war, acted as the middleman. In mid October the first results of the diplomatic efforts became visible:
A Russian medical team flew into Sanaa on Oct. 11 with the approval of the Saudis, who control Yemeni airspace. The Russian surgeons then performed a life-saving procedure on the 75-year-old Saleh. Some reports say the surgery took place at the Russian Embassy in the capital. Saleh's exact health issue is unclear, but it apparently is a result of the severe burns and other injuries he suffered during an assassination attempt in 2011.
Most likely the Saudis are hoping to break the rebel alliance between Saleh and the Houthis, which has been fraying this year.
Both King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have their prestige heavily invested in this war. They rushed into it precipitously 2½ years ago.
Salman was in Moscow earlier this month for an unprecedented state visit to Russia. ... It is reasonable to assume that the king and Putin discussed the Yemeni imbroglio. Russia has been openly critical of the UN's approach to the conflict, which Moscow rightly says is too friendly to the Saudi argument and insufficiently even-handed.
While Saleh was sick, the Houthis became uppity. They arrested and killed Saleh followers in Sanaa, occupied bases of his troops and raided homes of his officers. They may have gotten wind of the ongoing negotiations between Saleh and the Saudis. Over the last months their behavior towards their compatriots in Sanaa became unendurable.
Meanwhile negotiations between Saleh and the Saudis were ongoing in the backrooms and on the battle field. On November 4 the Yemeni troops launched a missile against the airport of the Saudi capital Riyadh. U.S. provided missile defense systems destroyed the missile before it hit, but the public damage was done. A serious hit on the airport would likely close it for civilian traffic. The economic and political consequences for the Saudi tyrants would be huge.
The Saudis responded with a total blockade of Yemen. Neither food nor medicine was allowed to pass. This led to a famine, hundreds of death per day and finally to a public outcry from the otherwise slavish UN. Not even the hundreds of millions the Saudis spend to manipulate the global media could prevent the backlash.
Another missile was fired on Thursday to increase the pressure. It targeting the southern Saudi city of Khamis Mushait. The Saudis finally folded. They agreed to Saleh's conditions.
We do not yet know what these conditions are but Saleh publicly announced that a deal had been made and immediately went to work. His first target were the no-longer-allied Houthi:
ADEN (Reuters) - Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Saturday he was ready for a "new page" in relations with the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen if it stopped attacks on his country.The call came as his supporters battled Houthi fighters for a fourth day in the capital Sanaa while both sides traded blame for a widening rift between allies that could affect the course of the civil war.
"I call upon the brothers in neighboring states and the alliance to stop their aggression, lift the siege, open the airports and allow food aid and the saving of the wounded and we will turn a new page by virtue of our neighborliness," Saleh said in a televised speech.
The Saudis likewise publicly announced their agreement:
The Arab coalition has made a statement on Saturday amidst the ongoing fierce clashes in Sanaa.
The coalition also said that it recognizes the noble members of the the Yemeni General People’s Congress (GPC), the GPC’s leadership and the Yemeni people who were forced to remain under Houthi-Iranian control. Also, the coalition recognizes that these noble individuals have endured numerous murder threats, torture, bombings and seizure of public and private property.
The Yemeni General People’s Congress (GPC) is Saleh's party. He is still the GPC chairperson. Saleh is now again the Saudi accepted ruler of Yemen. The "legitimate" president Hadi will be buried in Riyadh.
Saleh called on all his followers to oust the Houthi from their positions. His nephew and potential successor Colonel Tariq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh will lead a new military council and run that side of the business. Houthi posters in Sanaa have been teared down. There is some fierce fighting ongoing in the city. Sanaa is Saleh territory. His troops are prepared and he is very likely to win the fight.
It is now left to Saleh and his family and followers to clean up the utter mess the U.S. induced "revolution" and the Saudi war on Yemen have caused. The Saudis will have to pay billions in reparations. Saleh's family will plunder a huge share of these. Despite the money Saleh is, like always, no ones puppet but the snake that bites everyone who stands in his way. That is how and why he could rule for so long.
The Houthis, who bravely fought against the Saudis, became too sure of themselves and too obnoxious towards their own people to be able to rule. They will be ousted from Sanaa and pushed back into their devastated northern homelands.
Everyone in Yemen lost in this war. Many, many have died for no good reason. It will take decades to rebuild all that was destroyed. The Saudis and the U.S. behind them have lost face and standing throughout the Arab world. They tried to fuck Yemen but Yemen fucked them.
The only real winners of the war are the Russians. They again demonstrated that they are able to create peace where the U.S. only creates war and chaos.
The Saudis have alleged all along that the Houthi are an Iranian proxy force. That is not true. The Houthis are not Shia and not follower of Iranian state doctrines. They don't take orders. The military support they receive from Iran is minimal. The Saudis especially allege that the missiles fired under the Houthi label by the former Yemen troops under Saleh's command are of Iranian origin. But that is unlikely. Yemen has been under Saudi blockade for more than two years and ballistic  missiles can not be smuggled under a coat. Yesterday Reuters released a short piece in supports of the Saudi allegations. But a closer reading shows that these are false.
In mid November a confidential report by a UN panel found no evidence that the missiles launched against the Saudis are of QIAM-1 type from Iran:
The supporting evidence provided in these [Saudi] briefings is far below that required to attribute this attack to a Qiam-1 SRBM,” wrote the panel. “The Saudi-Arabia led coalition has not yet though attributed the attempted attack against KKIA” — King Khalid International Airport, in the Saudi capital Riyadh — “to any particular type of SRBM.”“The Panel has seen no evidence to support claims of SRBM having been transferred to the Houthi-Saleh alliance from external sources in violation of paragraph 14 of resolution 2216,” the brief went on.
Like the specialists of IHS Janes (see below) the UN panel assessed that the missiles were modifications of a type that Yemen had earlier bought from North Korea:
The Yemeni military, the panel added, retained existing stockpiles of SCUD-B and Hwasong-6 missiles that were not completely destroyed by earlier Saudi airstrikes. The panel cite a Houthi spokesperson who said missiles that had been damaged were subsequently repaired and modified. “The panel has not discounted though that Yemen based foreign missile specialists may be providing advice,” the brief cautioned. The panel raised the possibility that missiles may have been altered to extend their range to reach targets farther into Saudi Arabia.
Now Reuters is trying to revive the Saudi claim by reporting on a new assessment with a very deceiving headline. Exclusive: Yemen rebel missiles fired at Saudi Arabia appear Iranian - U.N.:
Remnants of four ballistic missiles fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthi rebels this year appear to have been designed and manufactured by Riyadh’s regional rival Iran, a confidential report by United Nations sanctions monitors said, bolstering a push by the United States to punish the Tehran government.
The Reuters claim in its opening paragraph is not what the panel really said. Deeper into the report:
The independent panel of U.N. monitors, in a Nov. 24 report to the Security Council seen by Reuters on Thursday, said it “as yet has no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier” of the missiles
Design characteristics and dimensions of the components inspected by the panel are consistent with those reported for the Iranian designed and manufactured Qiam-1 missile,” the monitors wrote.
I agree that the "design characteristics" and "dimensions of components" are consistent with the QIAM-1. The explanation for that is trivial. The Iranian QIAM-1 is:
a licensed copy of the North Korean Hwasong-6.
The Hwasong-6:
is a North Korean tactical ballistic missile. It is derived from the Hwasong-5, itself a derivative of the Soviet R-17 Elbrus. It carries the NATO reporting name Scud.
According to an IHS Janes report (pdf) the missiles the Saleh government of Yemen had bought from North Korea were of the Hwasong-5 and probably Hwasong-6 type:
Prior to the outbreak of the current conflict, Yemen was known to have acquired R-17 Elbrus (SS -1C 'Scud B') ... ballistic missile systems from the Soviet Union
Spanish naval vessels intercepted a ship carrying 15 Scud-type ballistic missiles to Yemen in December [2002]. That ship was later allowed to complete the delivery. The missiles found on board were 'Scud Bs' (a reference to North Korea's Hwasong-5 copy of the R-17), according to a June 2003 US diplomatic cable. ,,, [I]t is possible that it was one of several shipments that also included longer-range variants such as the Hwasong-6, which is also known as the 'Scud-C', and has a range of 500-550 km.
The Yemen army has over 30 years of experience with Scud-type missiles and knows how to modify these. They revealed "new Yemeni made" Burkan missiles before they fired on Riyadh. Janes notes:
The stated dimensions of the Burkan-1 suggest that it is a standard Scud that has been lengthened with additional sections welded into its fuselage and fuel tanks so that it can carry the additional propellant needed to extend its range. Iraq carried out similar modifications to produce Al Hussein missiles capable of reaching Tehran during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War.
The Burkan-2 appears to use a new type of warhead section that is locally fabricated. Both Iran and North Korea have displayed Scud derivatives with shuttlecock-shaped warheads, but none of these match the Yemeni version. The range of the Burkan missiles also appears to have been extended by a reduction in the weight of their warheads.
The Yemenis use locally modified Haewsong-5 and 6 missiles bought from North Korea. Iran builds a licensed copy of the Haewsong-6 under the name QIAM-1. These QIAM missiles will naturally have similar "design characteristics" and "dimensions of components" as the North Korean missiles the Yemenis use.
Reuters is pointing its readers into the false direction when it claims that the Yemeni missiles "appear Iranian". In reality both, the Yemeni Burkan as well as the Iranian QIAM, are variants of the same North Korean Haewsong-5 and 6 which are themselves copies of the Soviet R-17/Scud-B/Scud-C types. All of these were build from the same specification sheet and engineering drawings. That their dimensions and parts look alike, as the UN panel says, follows from that but proves absolutely nothing.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

North Korea: "The Missile Program Is Now Complete"

November 30, 2017

North Korea: "The Missile Program Is Now Complete"

Last night the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched another nuclear capable missile. It was a new type never shown before. Its name is Hwasong-15 and it is a beauty.

The new missile is huge. Note Kim Jong Il in his black coat on the left. He is 5'7 or 1.70 meters. The transporter-erector vehicle with the missile must be nearly 20' or 6 meters high and the missile must have a diameter of 2+ meters.

The vehicle is a modified copy of a Chinese WS51200. North Korea once bought 5 or 6 of these to "haul lumber from the mountains". All were of course used as missile transporters. A ninth axle has been added to the original design to carry the additional load of the huge missile and its firing table. The vehicle is not a TEL, a transporter, erector and launcher, but a TE. The missile is erected and set vertical on the firing table. The vehicle is removed for the launch.
The first guestimates for the total weight of the missile currently vary between 45 and 60 metric tons. I believe it is a bit more. My thumb-rule says that a heavy military truck can haul 10 metric tons of cargo per axle. Nine axles times 10 minus the weight of the firing table and the erector system could leave some 70 tons for the missile. They did not add the ninth axle for nothing.
The missile looks like a Titan II missile shrunken by 30%. The Titan II was U.S. intercontinental nuclear missile developed in the 1960s. It is not the most modern concept but solid.
The new missile has two engines of unknown type in the first stage. These are fed their fuel by one common turbo-pump. The missile steers by moving its nozzles. The reentry vehicle (RV) in the front which carries the payload is also huge. North Korea can surely fit one of its peanut shaped hydrogen bombs inside of it.

North Korea claims that the vehicle and missile were completely locally build. It is possible that this true. North Korea also claims a maximum reach for the missile of 13,000 kilometer. That is likely the absolute maximum with no payload. With a significant payload of about 600 kilogram for a hydrogen bomb the missile might be able to reach the mid-west of the U.S. but likely not the east coast. But these are guestimates. For risk evaluation one needs to look at the worst case. One has to anticipate that this type, with maybe slight modifications, will have enough reach to flatten Manhattan.
The launch happened on 3:00 am local time after the missile was transported from the factory hall seen above (March 16th Factory, Pyongsong 39°16'52.71"N 125°52'12.89"E) to its launch place. North Korea thus demonstrated the capability for surprise launches independent of the "weather". (In military doctrine nighttime darkness is a "weather" condition.) The U.S. has no means to preempt a launch of such a missile as place and time of the launch are not discernible.
Some pictures of the launch are below. A 14 minute video of the official TV announcement of the launch shows additional details of the preparations and flight.
One hopes that it will have finally sunk in with U.S. decision makers that North Korea is a nuclear power. The U.S. has claimed for some 75 years that it needs nukes for its security. It is constantly threatening North Korea. It does not stick to its deals (just ask Ghaddafi). There is no way the the DPRK will give up on its nukes or its intercontinental missile force.
In its government statement the DPRK said that its missile development is now "complete":
.. it is the most powerful ICBM which meets the goal of the completion of the rocket weaponry system development set by the DPRK.
Kim Jong Un declared with pride that now we have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power.
It has achieved its aim of holding the whole continental U.S. at risk of a nuclear attack should it try to attack (or decapitate) North Korea. This likely also means that it will not build any new types of missile. It will continue to develop the existing ones.
A good agreement between the U.S. and North Korea would stop such further development of missiles and nukes in exchange for the stop of U.S. maneuvers near the country. North Korea has made such a "double suspension" offer. It is for the U.S. to accept it. But with Tillerson leaving as Secretary of State and Pompeo taking over his job the chances for negotiations and any deal are currently next to zero.




Kushner linked to Madoff Ponzi scheme through Platinum Partners collapse By The Wayne Madsen Report

Kushner linked to Madoff Ponzi scheme through Platinum Partners collapseBy The Wayne Madsen Report

Donald Trump son-in-law and special adviser Jared Kushner is linked to two of the most fraudulent financial schemes in the financial history of Wall Street, the Bernie Madoff securities fraud Ponzi scheme and the financial collapse of the fraudulent hedge fund, Platinum Partners. Kushner's aunt and uncle, Richard and Marisa Stadtmauer were major investors in Platinum Partners, along with Madoff Investment Securities LLC, the company operated by the imprisoned-for-life financial manipulator Bernie Madoff. 

Madoff funds were transferred to Platinum Partners via the Jay Cohen Revocable Trust of New York. $9.271 billion of Madoff funds have already been recovered and distributed to victims of Madoff's fraud. Richard Stadtmauer, who was number two in the Kushner Companies when the firm was being run by Jared's father, Charles Kushner, served a 38-month prison sentence for fraudulent activities associated with Charles Kushner. Charles Kushner received a two-year prison sentence -- serving only 14 months of it -- for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. Charles Kushner's wife Seryl is the sister of Richard Stadtmauer. The Ponzi schemes and interlocking corporations involving the Kushners, Stadtmauers, Trumps, Manaforts, and others are notable for the involvement of entire families. This is especially the case with the Russian and Israeli oligarchs who have been involved in Trump and Kushner businesses.

Platinum Partners and its principals were the subject of a federal criminal indictment for fraud between 2011 and 2016. This included bilking the New York Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association (COBA) out of $20 million from its pension fund. Indicted in the fraud were Platinum's chief investment officer Mark Nordlicht, its founder Murray Huberfeld, Platinum marketing officer Uri Landesman, and COBA president Norman Seabrook. Many of those who invested in Platinum were the same wealthy New York and Florida Jews who were investors in Madoff's securities scheme.

Platinum maintained that it had $1.3 billion in assets but, in reality, had only $68,530 in cash. Some of the Eastern District of New York prosecutors in Brooklyn are now members of Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team that is investigating Kushner's and Trump's dubious business ties.

Platinum's insolvency and bankruptcy resulted in a major lender, Parris Investments Ltd. of New Zealand, petitioning a Cayman Islands court to roll up Platinum's Offshore Feeder Fund, which was incorporated in Grand Cayman. One of Platinum's principals, Murray Huberfeld, a friend of Richard Stadtmauer, paid a bribe to COBA's Seabrook, in return for the investment of the pension fund money in Platinum. Huberfeld was major investor in the Livingston, New Jersey-based bank NorCrown, which was owned by Charles Kushner.

WMR previously reported that Madoff would order his employees to "roll the accounts" in the Cayman Islands every business day at 3:00 pm. When it came to manipulating hundreds of millions of dollars using the bank and corporate secrecy laws of the Cayman Islands, the Madoffs, Kushners, and Stadtmauers were experts. And the patriarchs of all three families are serving or have served prison sentences for their fraud schemes. Rather than keep such individuals as far from his administration as possible, Donald Trump has appointed Jared Kushner to several key posts, including special Middle East envoy and China trade interlocutor, to name but a few.

Trump's real estate schemes have also relied heavily on offshore financial contrivances that rely on tax havens and their bank and corporate secrecy laws.

In the federal government's criminal complaint filed against seven Platinum principals on December 14, 2016, the government stated that Nordlicht and an unnamed co-conspirator planned to flee the United States. The indictment reads: "On or about December 13, 2015, Nordlicht, Landesman, and an unnamed coconspirator sent emails 'that contemplated Nordlicht and Co-Conspirator 1 fleeing from the United States and illustrated their knowledge and awareness of the fraudulent scheme perpetrated on Platinum's investors and prospective investors.'" The e-mail from Co-Conspirator 1 stated "Don't forget books. Assume we are not coming back to ny[.] Just to be safe. Depends on Miami[.] We can fly straiggt [sic] to europe from miami on Tuesday[.] Take passport." Nordlicht responded in an email to Co-Conspirator 1: "Am on my way to jfk with kids for their 6 pm flight to Israel. [Co-Conspirator 2] ducking my calls . . .[My wife] is literally making me get on Israel flight if we don't connect and agree what we are doing."

Landesman responded to Nordlicht's email to Co-Conspirator 1, which Nordlicht had forwarded to Landeman: "You should get on the flight if there is no bridge [loan], probably even if there is...We need to go through the mehalech of how we are going to share this with clients and employees, going to be very rough, big shame." Mehalech is a Hebrew word, which means "a way of operating." Some critics of unethical Jewish business practices define mehalech as committing fraud against others while carrying a clean conscience. In any case, Israel has welcomed with open arms Jews who are on the lam from law enforcement in countries as varied as the United States and Russia to Colombia and Romania.

Platinum Partners owned Black Elk Energy, a Houston firm that also declared bankruptcy. Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations' West Delta 32 oil platform, located 17 miles southeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana, suffered an explosion that killed three crewmen on November 16, 2012. [pictured, right]. Black Elk and its sub-contractors were named in 41 citations issued by the Interior Department's 
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) that later resulted in criminal charges being filed against the firm. A link to those citations, which appeared on BSEE's website, now results in a "404 -- page not found" message.

Black Elk Energy was affiliated with other Houston firms, including Iron Island Technologies, Inc., Iron Island Technologies I, Deepwater Solutions LLC, Freedom HHC Management LLC, and Elk Well Services LLC.

With Kushner-related businesses active in the Texas oil industry, Jared Kushner's recent all-night "strategizing" in Riyadh with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman becomes even more suspicious.