KSRelief calls for UN probe into ‘serious reports’ of Yemen aid agency corruption

Men deliver aid donations from donors, in Aslam, Hajjah, Yemen. (File/AP)
Updated 09 August 2019

KSRelief calls for UN probe into ‘serious reports’ of Yemen aid agency corruption

  • Senior KSRelief officials have demanded an urgent investigation following allegations of wrongdoing brought to their attention by a number of international news organizations
  • “While the center values its strong strategic partnerships with the UN and its agencies, there are clearly stated mechanisms in its contracts with humanitarian partners which prohibit the exploitation of aid,” a statement said

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has called for a full-scale probe into “serious reports” of corruption in UN agencies delivering vital aid to war-torn Yemen.
Senior KSRelief officials have demanded an urgent investigation following allegations of wrongdoing brought to their attention by a number of international news organizations.
A statement, issued by KSRelief’s media center, said: “The KSRelief called upon the United Nations aid agencies to review and enforce accurate, credible, neutral and transparent monitoring mechanisms for their humanitarian work in Yemen to prevent any abuse or exploitation of humanitarian aid.
“KSRelief officials were recently briefed on serious reports from some international news agencies alleging the existence of corruption in some UN agencies working in Yemen. KSRelief relies heavily on these agencies to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance to Yemenis in desperate need of help.”
It added: “While the center values its strong strategic partnerships with the UN and its agencies, there are clearly stated mechanisms in its contracts with humanitarian partners which prohibit the exploitation of aid by individuals or groups working or affiliated with the UN or international organizations for any individual or other interests.”
The KSRelief statement noted that aid contracts required the immediate disclosure of any incident of irregularity or corruption, and that KSRelief had the right to participate in any investigation into such incidents.
The center was also entitled to review all partner agreements to ensure compliance with transparent monitoring and implementation procedures.
“Therefore, the KSRelief calls upon the UN and its humanitarian agencies to immediately begin transparent investigations into these incidents, and to disclose any suspicion of the involvement of their staff members in corruption, abuses or complicity with any party with regards to the allocation of humanitarian grants and aid provided by Saudi Arabia,” said the statement.
“Moreover, the KSRelief emphasizes the importance of its valuable partnerships with the UN agencies in carrying out its mission to alleviate the suffering of all in need, and calls upon the UN and its humanitarian agencies to immediately review their monitoring, evaluation and reporting mechanisms to ensure impartiality and transparency in aid delivery.”


Ahlam Al-Nasr: Daesh poet of poison

Updated 15 December 2019

Ahlam Al-Nasr: Daesh poet of poison

  • Al-Nasr is thought to have been originally named Shaima Haddad, a young girl from Damascus who fled after the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011

LONDON: “There is no life but through jihad and its honor … jihad is our life and our victory It is what the soldiers of the enemy fear … and it is what created happiness in our lives.”

The above two stanzas are taken from a poem by the poet and writer Ahlam Al-Nasr encouraging women from around the world to join the terror group Daesh.

While little is known about Al-Nasr, her unconditional support for Daesh’s extremist, expansionist aim of imposing strict Shariah law on the world is obvious — and clearly evident through her writing.

“Ahlam Al-Nasr’s poetry was punchy and fresh, while still using mainly classical Arabic and the traditional monorhyme and focusing on the timeless tasks of praise, celebration, lament and lampoon,” Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, senior research fellow in Arabic and Islamic Studies at Pembroke College, Oxford University, told Arab News.

“Al-Nasr’s most powerful and enduring poems are simple clipped compositions that are ideal for conversion into nashids (anthems).

BIO

  • Nationality: Syrian
  • Place of residence: Unknown
  • Occupation: Poet,
  • Daesh propagandist
  • Medium: Poetry, book entitled ‘The Blaze of Truth’

“Set to non-instrumental music and sometimes with violent video footage, their catchy sing-along rhythms can appeal to aspiring Daesh fighters in the West even if their Arabic is weak.”

Al-Nasr, whose real name cannot be verified, is thought to have been originally named Shaima Haddad, a young girl from Damascus who fled after the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011. A report by the New Yorker magazine claimed that firsthand experience of the Syrian regime’s air raids had triggered her radicalization.

“Their bullets shattered our brains like an earthquake/Even strong bones cracked then broke. They drilled our throats and scattered/our limbs — it was like an anatomy lesson!/They hosed the streets as blood still/Ran/Like streams crashing down from the/Clouds,” reads one of her earlier poems on the bloody conflict.

Al-Nasr’s family fled to Kuwait shortly after fighting broke out, but the writer did not plan on staying in the small Gulf state for long.

She returned to Syria in June 2014 and, four months later, wed Vienna-born extremist Abu-Usama Al-Gharib in the terror group’s de-facto capital Raqqa, which capitalized on her recruitment into Daesh’s ranks.

Al-Nasr quickly rose to prominence among the extremists. Her poems covering death and destruction, of loyalty to the caliphate and the beheading of apostates, spread like wildfire among militants and commanders, spurring them even further through romanticized versions of their plight.

“Poetry is an incredibly powerful medium of communication in the Arab world, much loved among educated and illiterate alike,” Kendall said. “The Arab version of ‘Pop Idol’ features aspiring poets and has over 70 million viewers.

“More importantly, poetry endures. Militant jihadi Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and chat forums can be closed down, but the poetry remains lodged in the collective memory.”

Al-Nasr was a court poet in Raqqa and was used as an official propagandist for Daesh — an ironic move given the strict restrictions the terror group places on women.

Her book “The Blaze of Truth” is a collection of 107 poems praising the militants’ goals and supporting their “journey,” with the poetic, elegant prose designed to recruit even more extremists.

In one of her poems, she incites Muslims across the world to kill and burn the enemies of Islam, saying: “Our innocent children have been killed and our free women were horrified/Their only crime was being Muslim/They have no savior/Where are the heroes of Islam?/Kill them and burn them and do not worry about the consequences/follow your almighty sword, and you will make the best news.”

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Other poems include praise for Daesh’s self-proclaimed caliph and Preacher of Hate Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who committed suicide during a US raid in October, as well as a poem titled “Osama, You Have Left” in which she mourns Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden and refers to him as a “reformer.”

Al-Nasr not only writes poems, but has also delivered a 30-page essay detailing her support for Daesh’s decision to burn captured Jordanian pilot Muath Al- Kasasbeh.

Much is yet to be discovered about Al-Nasr and her place within Daesh as the organization crumbles in the face of international coalition raids, but one thing is certain — her poetry will continue to be sung by the militants.

“My own survey work in Yemen shows that 74 percent of the population consider poetry either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ in daily life,” Kendall said.

“No surprise, then, that extremists use it to spread their message,” she added.