- The Guardian
- Issue #2086
YEMEN: According to a joint statement from Australia, Bahrein, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, strikes were conducted against 36 targets across 13 locations in Yemen. British and American forces used more than 24 aircraft in the strikes directed against the Ansar Allah (the Houthis official name) military installations and launch sites. While the US and the UK conducted the strikes, Australia, Bahrein, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand provided support. The strikes had limited effect as they did not undermine the Houthis’ resolve to continue their support for Palestinian people by attacking their enemies. Millions of people in Yemen gather every Friday in public places to express solidarity with the Palestinians. The Houthis also threatened to sabotage a network of underwater cables in the Red Sea which are critical for the Internet functioning and the transmission of military and financial data.
USA: The US Senate released the $118 billion proposed deal on border security, including money for Israel and Ukraine. The draft text of the bill proposes 60 billion in additional aid for Ukraine and 14 billion for Israel. Ukraine will be provided with military training, intelligence sharing, increased US presence in the European Command area of responsibility and other US support activities till December 2024. Joe Biden urged Congress to swiftly pass the bill.
EUROPE: Eurostat data shows that European Union countries had to pay some 165 billion euros extra for natural gas over the past 20 months. Cutting themselves off from cheap, dependable Russian pipeline gas meant that they had to spend over four times more than before they had imposed sanctions on Russia. The countries which profited most by taking advantage of the situation were the US, Britain, and Norway. Despite reduced supply, Russia earned 14 billion US due to price increases.
EL SALVADOR: El Salvador’s leader Bukele claimed victory in Presidential elections. “According to our figures, we won the presidential election with over 85 per cent of the vote and won at least 58 of the 60 seats in the Legislative Assembly,” Bukele wrote on X/Twitter. This will be his second term.
ECUADOR: The Russian food safety regulator has partially banned imports of bananas from Ecuador. The ban targets five exporters and came into effect on 5 February. In a separate move, the regulator also banned imports of Ecuadorian carnations, which are brought into Russia via the Netherlands, Germany, Latvia, and Lithuania. In both cases either pests or plant disease were the stated reason for the bans. However, the bans came days after Ecuador’s president Danial Noboa announced plans to send Soviet/Russian-made military equipment to the United States to be exchanged for new US-made weapons, violating existing agreements which do not allow Ecuador to transfer Russian-made and supplied equipment to a third party without permission from Russia. The US interest in getting the old Russian stock was simple – it will be sent to Ukraine. President Noboa claimed that the military equipment was “scrap” metal. As a result, Ecuador seems to have lost lucrative banana sales which used to bring in $698 million a year.