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UAE Deploys French Tanks To Fuel Deadly War On Yemen

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UAE french tanks in Yemen

Whistleblowing entity Wikileaks has, recently, published covert documents that expose corruption involving the sale of French tanks to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). These tanks are currently being used in the ongoing Yemen war, which has caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. In the last few months, civilian death toll has increased by 164 per cent, and over 50,000 people have been forced out of Yemen.

The French tanks in question were deployed in August 2015 to help government-backed troops fight back the Houthi rebels. According to the leaked documents, UAE outlaid $3 billion for buying 436 Leclerc tanks and other bulletproof vehicles.

Germany-based Motoren und Turbinen Union (MTU) manufactured the motors, and the transmissions were made through Renk AG, a company in Augsburg. Later, the tanks were assembled by Giat, a state-owned entity in France, which now comes under the umbrella of a French-German joint venture Nexter.

How the French tanks reached the Arabian Peninsula

UAE is one of the warring parties in Yemen’s civil war. WikiLeaks’ international arms deal document unveiled that the commission amount of $235 million was doled out for Arab businessman Abbas Ibrahim Yousef Al Yousef.

Yousef belongs to the same village as Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of UAE. So, he has close contacts within the Al Nahyan family. In the past, Yousef piloted fighter jets manufactured by the French company Dassault. It was then he became a mediator between French weapons manufacturers and the UAE. Yousef introduced Giat to the UAE in 1989.

Did UAE bribe German officials?

Now, the question arises that whether UAE bribed anyone in Germany to ensure smooth transmissions of the motors? In 2009, Yousef commented: “I undertook the lobbying of the German authorities and was instrumental in ensuring that the necessary approval or waiver was obtained.”

When the international arms deal was closed, Giat and Yousef affirmed a commission of 6.5 per cent, which equals to $235 million. Yousef also passed on the partial commission amount to some Arab officials.

Until March 2000, the French state-owned entity disbursed regular payments to Yousef through a letterbox company in the British Virgin Islands. However, they paused after paying $195 million. This irked the Emirati businessman and he approached the International Chamber of Commerce’s arbitration courts, demanding the payment of remaining $40 million. While petitioning his case, Yousef enclosed some highly secretive details about the deal, which was covertly leaked to WikiLeaks.

The Yemen offensive has triggered aberrant international outcry during the four years of deadly conflict. The troops, backed by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, continue to combat in the country, despite recent peace-progress made by the United States.

People living in Yemen are falling into life-threatening, extreme starvation due to the heavy bombardment and road-blockades that obstruct them from reaching hospitals to seek help. Majority of the population is too poor to flee, as they cant even afford transport expenses. They are stuck, afraid, and waiting for the war to end.

Football

What’s Magnetizing Saudi to Bid for Manchester United Time and Again?

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Saudi Arabia bids to buy Manchester United, premier league

Rumours about Saudi’s bid of taking over the Premier League Club, Manchester United, keep coming out in the media. Recently, it was reported that Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) offered £3.8bn takeover bid of the club.

However, in a statement on Monday the nation dismissed its plans of taking over the club. The news is “completely untrue,” Saudi information minister Turki Alshabanah wrote on Twitter.

According to the sources, “The club held a meeting with the Public Investment Fund to discuss an advertising sponsorship project, and the Fund listened to the proposals as any investment and did not produce any results,” Turki Alshabanah said.

Despite that it cannot be said for how long can Saudi stick by its guns. Even back in October last year, the Kingdom made an offer to acquire the club, but could not capitalize on the opportunity following the claims of murdering Saudi Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The Need of the Hour

Managing image in the West has been the Kingdom’s topmost priority for a very long time. Even as recently as last week the Journal reported that the nation’s collaboration with the Western media was exposed hoaxing MbS’ reform.

The Crown Prince had reportedly signed a deal with Vice Media, under which the media house was directed to produce documentaries and influence the Western nations.

Manchester United has bagged the coveted Premier League Trophy 13 times, more than any other club in the history, and maybe this is what brings the Saudis to the table. The club is currently owned by Glazer family, who purchased it in 2005 for £790million.

Besides, Saudi’s close aide and long-time ally, UAE, has successfully been spreading their message of positivity all over the world using football as a tool.

This is especially the case because the City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, belongs to the royal family of Abu Dhabi. Together with Khaldoon al-Mubark, his youthful executive and advisor to royal family, he holds the key to delegate how the management works.

In fact, UAE doesn’t stop here, the Emirate has found its own City Football Group (CFG) and it owns or co-owns six clubs across four continents. The group, as reported by the Guardian, has contracted more than 240 male professionals, and two dozen women.

The UAE’s bridge to the West is exactly what the Kingdom aims at replicating by trying to reach Manchester United. Therefore, the probability of owning the club to promote the national image is still on the cards for them.

Conversely, Saudi-UAE have raged a war against humanity in Yemen, killing more than 10,000 people. Both nations have also continuously faced the heat over the detention of human right activists, and for barring people to express what’s right. However, big strides in the West aimed at fixing and building reputation is what the two gulf nations have continuously worked on.

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UK Outraged by Trump’s Threat of Releasing 800 ISIS Fighters

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The US forces fighting in Syria captured some 800 ISIS fighters that it wants the EU to take into custody, not doing which will result in their release. The threat came from US President Donald Trump who has been exceptionally vocal about his views, even though bizarre, especially on Twitter. The threat has left most of the European officials angered while others, a bit confused in disappointment. The said reaction was witnessed recently at the Munich Security Conference, held in Germany. The event saw European officials and security experts outraging over Trump’s statement on releasing 800 ISIS fighters on EU’s failure in taking them back.

While other countries of the likes of France, have come forward with the solution of taking back their ex-Jihadists, UK, on the other hand has shown resistance. The UK government has especially expressed the confusion, keeping in mind the wives and children of the fighters who pose challenge in the decision making. Therefore, the government is now uncertain about releasing a final verdict on the fighters, whether or not to prosecute them.

Another option considered is to ensure stopping the fighters from carrying out any sort of terrorist activity in their home country. Meanwhile, another condition put forth by the UK government for taking back fighters is for them to get consular help in Turkey.

The tweet in question that is said to have started the entire issue read, “The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 Isis fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them.”

Foreign Secretary of UK, Jeremy Hunt as said in one of his previous interviews to an Arab media that his government is not planning to send across anymore military forces to fight in Syria. However, Hunt also emphasized on the fact that he will entertain all of US’ request.

ISIS militants have been preventing 1000’s of civilians from leaving the region, according to a Syrian Defence Force spokesperson. Shamima Begum, 19, is the latest and amongst the three Briton schoolgirls who fled the UK in 2015, joining the ISIS. Shamima then reportedly fled the enclave and was found recently in the al-Hawl refugee camp. The remarks made by President Trump about releasing ISIS fighters came at the time of an enormous transatlantic squabble going on between the military and politicians about the withdrawal of 2,000 troops from the north-west Syrian region.

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UAE Police Detains UK War Veteran Andy Neal by Falsely Extracting Confession

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andrew-neal, UAE,

The police force in the United Arab Emirates do not care for human rights. They are arbitrary, overbearing and carry the State-licence to arrest and punish individuals without any evidence of wrongdoing.

A British war veteran has been languishing in Dubai Central Prison since October 4 on cooked-up charges of ‘drug dealing’. Andy Neal was picked up from the parking lot of his apartment complex by seven Criminal Investigation Department officers. He had just returned from work. He was then taken up to his apartment where, according to rights group Detained in Dubai, he was punched in the stomach. Neal was staying with his wife and two young children and the beating reportedly took place in front of the family.

The 44-year-old Briton pleaded innocence, but no one was listening. His fate had been sealed. The officers had come to arrest, not enquire and investigate.

At the police station, he was forced to sign a document prepared in Arabic. Later, it was discovered that the forced confession said Neal bought drugs from a man called Ray and sold them to a man called Ahmed. Ahmed, the alleged accuser, is said to have retracted his statement in January. Also, no drugs were found in Neal’s possession and his blood report came negative. But it didn’t matter.

His family is severely traumatized. Neal has lost his business that he built over a period of four years. Most people know about life in a Dubai jail. It’s torturous and inmates have been known to be pushed to the brink, contemplating suicide.
Like it always does, the UAE Government continues to be a silent spectator.

Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is back in the picture. His office is in touch with the UAE authorities. Hunt was recently seen negotiating with UAE for the release of British academic, Matthew Hedges. He was convicted of spying and given a life prison sentence.

David Haigh, a British Lawyer and campaigner for human rights, was convicted of fraud charges in Dubai and spent 22-months in prison, where he claims he was tortured and raped. According to Haigh, a prison guard told him, “Be careful, British prisoners die here.”

In 2011, British tourist, Lee Bradley Brown, was arrested by the Dubai police and died in prison after six days of custody in a controversial manner. Jamie Harron, Billy Barclay and Ellie Holman are other high-profile cases. There are reports of forced disappearances in the UAE, with many foreign nationals and Emirati citizens abducted by the UAE government and illegally detained and tortured in undisclosed locations. There is an unending list.

Yet, London says it is ‘good friends’ with the UAE. What it means is trade with Abu Dhabi takes precedence over the life and security of its own people.

It is not as if the UAE has any beef with Britain. It could be any other country. In fact, UAE is as brutal and cold-blooded with its own people. Sheikha Latifa II, the daughter of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, is a classic case in point. She had tried to flee from the clutches of her domineering family, but was caught just as she was about to make final escape.

If a royal member can be subjected to horrors, what chance do others have?

Anyone who goes to the UAE as a visitor must remember that there are no internationally accepted norms of justice in the country. Those who visit the Emirates must do so at their own peril.

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