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UAE signs $1.3bn in deals as arms fair opens amid criticism | Yemen News

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The United Arab Emirates‘ years long war in Yemen alongside Saudi Arabia has bled into the start of a biennial Abu Dhabi arms fair, which saw the Emirates sign $1.3bn in weapons deals.

One manufacturer on Sunday displayed a model of a machine gun on sale that’s now in the hands of Emirati-backed armed groups in Yemen, while the armoured personnel carriers and tanks used in the war in the Arab world’s poorest country also could be seen at the show.

Even the military show which launched the fair included troops raiding a rebel hideout equipped with both mobile and land-based ballistic missiles, just like those in the possession of Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

While Emirati officials avoided discussing Yemen, allied US officials linked arms smuggling there to what they described as the wider malign activities of Iran across the greater Middle East.

“My assumption is there are still things going into Yemen that I need to stop. There is nothing good happening by arms being illegally shipped into Yemen,” said James Malloy, the head of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet command that oversees the region.

“It is destabilising. It delays peace there. It exacerbates the disastrous humanitarian crisis that we’re facing in Yemen and delays humanitarian efforts coming in,” Malloy said.






Saudi Arabia, UAE gave US arms to al-Qaeda-linked groups: Report

“We see the world trying to end this thing and one group doing nothing to end it – probably the opposite.”

The UAE entered Yemen’s war in March 2015 alongside Saudi Arabia to back Yemen’s internationally recognised government, which the Houthis had pushed out of the capital, Sanaa.

The UAE largely has handled ground operations in the conflict while the Saudis have bombed from the air.

The war has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine and killed more than 60,000 people since 2016, according to the US-based Armed Conflict Location Event Data Project, or ACLED, which tracks the conflict.

Atrocities

Saudi air raids have hit markets and hospitals, killing civilians. Associated Press investigations have shown how the UAE negotiated secret deals with al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen and that coalition forces tortured and sexually abused detainees.

Meanwhile, the Houthis have indiscriminately laid land mines, employed child soldiers and tortured political opponents.

The US had backed the Saudi-led coalition with midair refueling and targeting information. American legislator, angered by the assassination and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2 at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, have been pushing to withdraw US support.

The Houthis also have fired over 150 ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia, some even reaching as far as its capital, Riyadh.

The West, UN experts and the Saudi-led coalition say Iran has helped supply the Shia rebels with the missiles, something Iran denies.

That preoccupation with ballistic missiles fuelled the opening ceremony of the International Defense Exhibition and Conference.

The armed forces threatened to launch ballistic missiles, leading to an all-out assault by troops in armoured vehicles, tanks, helicopters and jets.

The demonstration’s climax saw a fake ballistic missile slowly emerge from an underground silo, only to be destroyed by an air raid.





Members of the UAE Armed Forces demonstrate skills during the opening of the International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi [Christopher Pike/Reuters]

The Emirates also signed a $355m deal Sunday with Raytheon Co. of Waltham, Massachusetts, for surface-to-air Patriot missiles to protect against such launches.

Drones and other weaponry have been recovered from the Houthis and appear to be Iranian, experts say.

Meanwhile, Western-made arms like those on display on Sunday have ended up in the hands of armed groups in Yemen.

Rights group Amnesty International criticised Belgium‘s FN Herstal for displaying its 5.56 mm Minimi machine gun at the arms fair as it has been seen in the hands of Emirati-aligned armed groups.

FN Herstal officials at the fair declined to comment. Meanwhile, China also displayed weapons for sale ranging from missile launchers to drones. Already, China has sold armed drones to Iraq, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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Ottawa announces new funding to combat online child abuse

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Ottawa has announced $22 million in funding to fight online child abuse.

Noting that police-reported incidents of child pornography in Canada increased by 288 per cent between 2010 and 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale made the announcement Tuesday.

It follows a London meeting last week that focused on the exploitation of children between Goodale and his counterparts from the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, collectively known as the Five Eyes intelligence group.

Major internet companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, were also at the meeting and agreed to a set of rules the members of the group proposed to remove child pornography from the internet quicker.

On Tuesday, Goodale warned internet companies they had to be better, faster and more open when in comes to fighting child abuse on line.

In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 photo, detectives use the Cellebrite system to extract information from cellphones at the State Police facility in Hamilton Township, N.J. “Operation Safety Net,” the results of which were announced in December, netted 79 people suspected of exploiting children. (Thomas P. Costello/Asbury Park Press/Canadian Press)

“If human harm is done, if a child is terrorized for the rest of their life because of what happened to them on the internet, if there are other damages and costs, then maybe the platform that made that possible should bear the financial consequences,” Goodale said.

The government plan includes $2.1 million to intensify engagement with digital industry to develop new tools online and support effective operating principles, $4.9 million for research, public engagement, awareness and collaboration with non-governmental organizations and $15.25 million to internet child exploitation units in provincial and municipal police forces across the country.

Goodale said the strategy recognizes that technology is “increasingly facilitating the easy borderless access to vast volumes of abhorrent images.”

That, he said, makes investigations increasingly complex,

“This is a race where the course is always getting longer and more complicated and advancing into brand new areas that hadn’t been anticipated five years ago or a year ago or even a week ago,” Goodale said.

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Gas prices expected to dip in Ottawa

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If you can wait an extra day to fill up the gas tank, your bank account might thank you.

Roger McKnight of Enpro is predicting a five cent dip in gas prices Wednesday night at midnight.

This comes after a four cent drop this past Friday, just ahead of the August long weekend.

McKnight said the reason for the drop, both last week and this week, is due to comments made by US President Donald Trump. 

He says after the drop, the price will be, on average, 118.9 cents/litre in the Ottawa region.

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Oka asks Ottawa to freeze Mohawk land deal, send RCMP to Kanesatake

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The town of Oka is asking the federal and provincial governments to slap a moratorium on a proposed land grant to the local Mohawk community in Kanesatake and to establish an RCMP detachment on the First Nations territory to deal with illegal cannabis sales outlets.

The requests were contained in two resolutions adopted Tuesday night by the Oka town council.

The administration of Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon held its first public meeting since the start of the controversy that pitted the town council against the Kanesatake band council over a decision by a local promoter to give local lands to the Mohawk community.

The three resolutions are addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, Quebec Premier François Legault’s government and the Kanesatake band council led by Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon.

As each resolution was read into the record, Quevillon stressed that the town of Oka was only looking to live in peaceful cohabitation with the Mohawk community.

The town also called upon Ottawa to establish a consultation process that would take into account the concerns of residents in Oka and  Kanesatake.

Quevillon’s administration also wants access to the plans detailing what lands are at the centre of negotiations between the federal government and the Mohawk community for purchase, suggesting the talks are simply a disguised form of expropriation.

“They’re giving money to (the Mohawks) to buy our land and annex it to their territory,” Quevillon said.

Despite its demands, the Oka council adopted an official statement addressed to the Kanesatake band council saying the town’s population wanted dialogue and peaceful cohabitation, with Quevillon citing the 300 years of close links between the two communities.

During the council meeting’s question period, some residents suggested that the council deal with other groups that say they are speaking for Kanesatake, including Mohawk traditionalists. Mayor Quevillon replied that the town would only deal with the band council and did so out of respect for Grand Chief Simon.

The mayor also argued that the RCMP, a federal police force, was best suited to be deployed in Kanesatake, where it would ensure the law would be respected, particularly on the issue of illegal cannabis shops.

Quevillon contended such a deployment was the only way for both communities to work together toward their mutual economic development.

Meanwhile, the apology Grand Chief Simon has said he is expecting from Quevillon for remarks he made earlier this summer about the Mohawk community in Kanesatake does not appear to be coming any time soon.

Asked by a resident if he would apologize, Quevillon left the answer to those citizens who attended the meeting, the vast majority of whom replied, “no.”

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