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An alleyway in Sana'a

An alleyway in Sana’a

This week on War News Radio, we’re taking a look at the conflict in Yemen as it stands today, a topic that has fallen out of the focus of mainstream media sources. In 2015, we reported at length about the escalating tensions and later violence between the Houthis, a Shi’ite rebel group, and the Yemeni president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. As the Houthis, backed by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh began to take over large parts of Yemen, a multi-nation coalition led by Saudi Arabia began airstrikes in support of Mansour Hadi. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a jihadist group with a strong presence in Yemen, also added to the conflict. Houthi takeover of large portions of the country forced President Mansour Hadi’s government into exile but returned in September of last year after retaking several key areas. The violence displaced many Yemeni citizens from their homes and resulted in over 8,119 casualties in 2015, according to the United Nations.

Today, the conflict continues much the same as it did last year. The Saudi-backed coalition began an aggressive airstrike campaign in March of last year, and despite peace talks that began at the end of 2015, the campaign has continued. The United Nations denounced the airstrike campaign, and the United States has been criticised for providing bombs and other weaponry to the coalition. On February 14, human rights organizations reported the use of U.S. made cluster munitions, a type of bomb that is banned by international treaty. The European Parliament passed a non-legally binding motion to place an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia on February 26 in response to a petition signed by citizens across Europe.

Despite the Saudi airstrike campaign, much of the fighting takes place on the ground as well. The city of Taiz has made headlines as the center of a siege by the Houthi rebels. The fighting in and around the city has made humanitarian aid access difficult and many citizens are suffering famine-like conditions. Furthermore, the Islamic State recently claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near the presidential palace in the port city of Aden. Amid updates about the heavy violence are reports and stories from Yemeni citizens and humanitarian aid workers. Individuals displaced by the conflict are often victims of bombs released by Saudi Arabian forces, and doctors are overtaxed by the amount of people seeking treatment. However, humanitarian aid groups continue to send resources and volunteers to alleviate the crisis’s impact on Yemeni citizens.

This piece was written by Amber Sheth and Eriko Shrestha

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Image by El Faro

This week on War News Radio, we hear from El Wanaco, a young Salvadoran rapper, and mine music for new ways to understand El Salvador’s history of violence, outside influence, resistance, and survival. Take a listen.

Y aquí, la versión en español:

This is the third and last piece in our series of interviews with Central American migrants, all of which are available on our website in English and Spanish.

#1: By Force/A la fuerza
#2: Too Close/Cerquita

BONUS: Featured tracks
Gracias madresita – El Wanaco
Inmigrante – El Wanaco
El Emigrante – Los Tigres del Norte
Prepárame la cena – Calle 13
Que vayas con dios – Big Boy
There is Something in my Heart – Ghetto Brothers
Don´t Believe the Hype – Public Enemy
Fuck tha Police – N.W.A.
Instrumental con guitarra – Marvin Palacios
Mix Mega Loco – DJ Emerson, El Mago Melódico, System Music
5 de julio – Sin Rivales
Milonga del fusilado – Yolocamba Ita
Cielo gris – Pescozada
Cuánto cuesta – Reyes del Bajo Mundo
Reflexión – Gangster Fury

(No copyright infringement was intended!)

Photos for this post by El Wanaco and El Faro.

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Aquí lanzamos la segunda crónica de nuestra serie sobre la crisis migratoria en México. Esta semana, les presentamos el testimonio de Alex, un migrante hondureño que creció en Canadá. Hace ocho años fue deportado, y las consecuencias de su exilio han sido muy graves.

Más enlaces:
La primera crónica, “A la fuerza”
La tercera, “Rap salvadoreño: una manera de escuchar la historia”


This week on War News Radio, we bring you two stories from different sides of the globe. First, we check the progress of the protest movement in Hong Kong, which began last year in response to proposed changes to the electoral system. Next, “Too Close”, the story of Alex, a Honduran man who was raised in Canada, but deported, and survived kidnapping and torture this summer while attempting to return. Take a listen.

Alex’s is the second in a series of interviews we’re producing with Central American migrants crossing Mexico. You can listen to the first, “By Force,” on our website in English and Spanish. We’ve also produced a Spanish version of this story.

More stories from our series on Central American migrants:
#1: By Force/A la fuerza
#3: WNR Mixtape: Rap in El Salvador/Rap salvadoreño: una manera de escuchar la historia

Note: We believe we have resolved the technical difficulties that led to the lateness of this post. Our apologies for the delay.


This week on War News Radio, “By Force.” Reporter Liliana Frankel spent summer 2015 living and working at a migrant shelter in Oaxaca, Mexico. While she was there, she collected interviews with people passing through. This week, we hear the story of Lisandro Lopez, a Honduran veteran of the Iraq War. Lisandro’s is the first in a series of stories we’re producing from Liliana’s interviews. Take a listen.

We also recorded a version of this show in Spanish. Listen here:

More links:
#2 Too Close/Cerquita
#3 WNR Mixtape: Rap in El Salvador/Rap salvadoreño: una manera de escuchar la historia

GovernmentZA via Flickr

GovernmentZA via Flickr


This week on War News Radio, a Textcast!

Protests turn deadly in Burundi over the coming presidential elections, Shots are fired at a Mohammad Cartoon contest in Texas, Netanyahu manages to create a coalition government, Houthis in Yemen expand control of port city of Aden, and a xenophobic right wing organization is uncovered in Germany.


War News Radio


Central and Sub-Saharan Africa 

Tensions in Burundi Escalate as Nkurunziza Announces Third Bid for Presidency

At least twelve people have died in Burundi during protests sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement that he will run for a third term. Nkurunziza, a former Hutu rebel leader, began his first term in 2005 just two years after the end of the country’s decade long civil war. While the Burundian constitution only allows for two-term presidencies, the country’s constitutional court ruled that Nkurunziza’s first term does not count because he was chosen by parliament. The Vice-President of the constitutional court, Sylvere Nimpagaritse, said that the court’s decision was made under pressure from the government, a claim that Nkurunziza’s camp strongly denies. On Wednesday, opposition leader Audifax Ndabitoreye was arrested under a warrant for insurrection after attending a meeting with foreign leaders from the East African Community who were looking to solve the unrest. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that almost 40,000 Burundians have left the country in the past month.

Middle East and North Africa

Netanyahu Forges Fragile Coalition in the Nick of Time

With just hours to spare before the deadline expired, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a new coalition government to command a majority in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. Netanyahu had struggled to form a government after Yisrael Beitenu, a nationalist party headed by former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, refused to join the coalition. After lengthy negotiations, the far-right The Jewish Home party agreed to join, supplying Netanyahu with the necessary eight seats to form a government. Netanyahu’s new coalition, however, is far from stable, commanding a mere 61 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. In addition to Netanyahu’s Likud Party and The Jewish Home political party, this coalition consists of two Ultra-Orthodox parties, United Torah Judaism and Shas, as well as the new centrist party, Kulanu. Balancing the ideologies of so many parties will prove to be a challenge, both domestically and in foreign policy. The Jewish Home, whose support has been rewarded with Education and Justice ministry positions, as well as Deputy Defense Minister, has opposed a Palestinian State and has supported Israeli settlement expansion and annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Houthi Fighters in Yemen Advance Control over Aden

Houthi fighters took the Tawahi district of the southern city of Aden on Wednesday, according to Reuters. The Houthi’s advance comes despite the Saudi-led coalition’s continuing airstrikes across the country. With this victory, the Houthis have gained near-full control over Aden, one of the last outposts of the Saudi-backed president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Aden has been a center of the conflict between the Houthis, supporters of Hadi, and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

During Wednesday’s fighting 32 civilians were killed when shell-fire hit and sunk a barge carrying those fleeing the conflict off the shore of Aden. Witnesses identified the shell-fire as belonging to Houthi forces, claimed the BBC. Meanwhile, Houthi sources reported that at least 43 civilians were killed and more than a hundred wounded under the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes on Yemen’s northwestern provinces Tuesday and Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir announced plans to offer a five-day humanitarian ceasefire in Yemen. The cease fire would depend on whether the Houthis agree to halting all operations in the country. On Wednesday, 22 aid organizations working in Yemen released a statement saying that a temporary ceasefire would not ameliorate the humanitarian crisis on the ground. They instead asked for a permanent end to the fighting and the opening of land, air and sea routes to allow for humanitarian intervention. The conflict has taken at least 1,400 lives and injured more than 6,000 since Saudi airstrikes began six weeks ago.


Shots Fired at Texas Mohammad Cartoon Contest

Earlier this week, two gunmen fired shots at a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. The shooters, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, opened fire on two security guards at the event using legally purchased firearms. The shooters were then killed by a police officer. Although the ISIS radio news bulletin states that “two soldiers of the caliphate” carried out the attack, U.S. officials are skeptical as to whether ISIS actually organized the shooting. One former FBI agent quoted by CNN believes that the gunmen were trying to join ISIS by committing an act of terror, citing Simpson’s contact with a known British ISIS recruiter. Officials are now investigating other contacts the shooters may have had within the U.S. Meanwhile, the State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program has offered a new $20 million reward for information about the location of four ISIS leaders. The four men, named Abdul Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili and Tariq bin al-Tahar bin al-Falih al-Awni al-Harzi, are now featured on a poster along with ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdad that is being circulated online and in Iraq and Syria.


Four Arrested in Germany for Anti-Muslim Plot

German police forces have arrested four people on terrorism charges. The four are suspected of plotting to bomb German Muslims and refugees. Authorities report that those arrested are founding members of an underground right-wing group called the “Old School Society”. These arrests occur as anti-immigrant sentiment has grown more prevalent in Germany and other European countries. In 2011, German authorities uncovered another previously unknown right-wing group called the National Socialist Underground. The NSU has since been tied to the murders of nine immigrants and a police officer, two bombings, and fourteen bank robberies. Last year, anti-Muslim group PEGIDA began demonstrations in Dresden protesting immigration and “Islamization”. Meanwhile, asylum applicants in Germany rose around 60% to 200,000 in 2014. As conflict continues in Libya, Nigeria, and Syria, German officials expect that number to climb to 400,000 this year.

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