Who is Really Killing Yemen … and What the Hell For?
Justification for the Yemen War and U.S. support of Saudi Arabia’s assault on the Yemeni people is sold on many fronts, but what is the real truth?
Barely a state, even before its sovereignty was breached by Saudi Arabia’s military coalition, poverty-stricken Yemen has known but catastrophes and tragedies since late March 2015 – the onset of the Yemen War.
Of all the ink and decibels experts, officials and media have spent on Yemen few have ever addressed the core of the matter … the proverbial why?
A Yemen War … Why?
Why Yemen? Why would a country such as Saudi Arabia – arguably a financial powerhouse strong on its billions of dollars in natural resources would ever consider bleeding its arguably lesser neighbor to the tune of punishing air raids when it sat on the brink of a historical political and institutional transition?
More to the point still, why would the United States of America support Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy tainted by the fanaticism of Wahhabism/Salafism (an ascetic and brutally reactionary interpretation of Islam) against Yemen, a long-established Republic on the verge of a democratic makeover? Why, why, why?
In the three-plus years since the beginning of the Yemen war, Saudi Arabia and its partners have relied on support from both the Trump and Obama administrations, which have provided targeting intelligence, flown mid-air refueling missions for coalition aircraft, and resupplied them with tens of billions of dollars in weapons.
Why indeed … well as they say the devil is often in the details.
Before we get to the intricate niceties of politics, and in this particular case geopolitics I will ask readers to bear with me long enough for me to offer some much-needed context to this war on Yemen.
If anything I would like to impress on you one essential point: Saudi Arabia brought war to Yemen. Yemen did not wish to engage in any military conflict, and it certainly never asked to be put under a brutal humanitarian blockade, pushing over 22 millions of its people – 90 percent of the total population – towards famine.
For all intents and purposes, Yemen is a nation in resistance. For all its poverty, and its instability Yemen, like any given sovereign nation, has an inherent and inalienable right to self-defend, as per international law.
To deny Yemen such right would be to forfeit ours … and I would like to think that we are not as foolish as to contemplate such a ludicrous idea as the end of nations’ territorial integrity!
In truth, the Yemen war boils down to this very simple, and yet powerful principle: Resistance. Can nations expect to exercise and have recognized the right to their territoriality or can such rights be declared null and void by virtue of exceptionalism?
My question is in no way rhetorical. I’m in fact putting forward a very real legal issue, which, should we fail to adequately address, will eventually lead to the hyper militarisation of foreign relations. Our young century has witnessed too many wars already for anyone to contemplate such avenue. Violence and military posturing should be relegated to the dark pages of our history, and no longer pollute the public debate.
But back to Yemen!
Excusing Saudi Arabian Crimes, Enabling a Yemen War
Under Saudi Arabia’s fury the Republic of Yemen has had to contend with unprecedented levels of destruction. Perversely manic are the words I chose to describe Riyadh’s intense desire to see Yemen suffer.
Back in 2015, at the very beginning of the war Peter Maurer, the head of the International Red Cross spoke of the destruction he witnessed in the following terms: “The images I have from Sanaa and Aden remind of what I have seen in Syria … So Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years.”
There has been no end, no restraint, and no shame to the Kingdom’s savage hatred of Yemen and its people … and why not when all the international community has offered before the calculated engineering of genocide has been a whisper of disgust?
Worse still, Saudi Arabia has been time and again excused of its crimes on the premise that its intentions are politically sound, since aligned to Washington’s narrative. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his last visit to the Kingdom brushed the bombing of school-children in North Yemen this August by arguing the necessity of war! He also cheered Riyadh for being ever so committed to the protection of civilians.
I’m not quite sure how cholera, famine, and the many plagues Saudi Arabia unleashed onto Yemen qualifies as protective of the civilian population.
Scott Paul, Oxfam America’s humanitarian policy lead reacted to Pompeo’s remark with the following: “This administration is doubling down on its failed policy of literally fueling the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.”
But this is where I believe the straw breaks the camel’s back: the unpalatable counter-terrorism argument.
In his memo to Congress Pompeo writes: “Saudi Arabia and the UAE are strong counterterrorism partners,” citing the expulsion of Al Qaeda’s affiliate from the Yemeni port city of Mukalla in May 2016, cutting off “a significant source of revenue of the terrorist group.”
Only that’s not exactly true … I will go as far as to say that it is bordering the comical to brand Saudi Arabia a counter-terror anything when its state religion calls for the murders of Jews, Christians and Shia Muslims as a matter of religious duty.
In 2009 U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Stuart, then America’s top financial-counterterrorism official, made a crucial remark in an article for the Washington Post. He noted: “We must focus on educational reform in key locations to ensure that intolerance has no place in curricula and textbooks. Unless the next generation of children is taught to reject violent extremism, we will forever be faced with the challenge of disrupting the next group of terrorist facilitators and supporters. And Saudi Arabia is one such key location.”
Not convinced yet? Then what about this?
In the opening fatwa of a Saudi government booklet distributed to educate Muslim immigrants in 2005 by the Saudi embassy in the United States, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia asserted that any one cleric who would ever dispute that Jews, Christians and Shia Muslims were infidels worthy of the sword was himself an infidel.
He said: “He who casts doubts about their [Christians, Jews, and Shia Muslims] infidelity leaves no doubt about his own infidelity.”
There is more still …
AP Report Exposes Saudi Coalition’s Secret Deals at Onset of Yemen War
A report by the Associated Press this August (2018) revealed the underbelly of America and its allies’ War on Terror as far as Yemen goes. As it happens Saudi Arabia is not doing anything to resolve the very real threat of a Terror takeover – right on the world oil route.
Yemen you see sits on very key waterways – both militarily and economically speaking. An opening onto Asia, Africa and beyond Europe by way of Suez, Yemen is a treasure for any superpower to hold …
Following extensive research the AP’s report points to a rather difficult reality to come to terms with – that of a military coalition, under Riyadh’s guise, willing to leverage Terror to score political goals against Yemen’s Resistance Movement and bring to power a man of its choosing.
It reads: “The coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaeda fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash … Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.”
And: “These compromises and alliances have allowed al-Qaeda militants to survive to fight another day — and risk strengthening the most dangerous branch of the terror network that carried out the 9/11 attacks. Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes.”
Here goes the counter-terrorism argument …
What about those allegations that Iran is bent on bringing Yemen to its gravitational pull?
After all just how many times have we been told that the Houthis of Yemen are puppets in the hands of Tehran, ready to bring the world to an end? Too many times if you ask me.
Maybe just about the same amount of times the Bush administration told the world about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.
We are still looking I take it …
Iran, by virtue of Saudi Arabia’s blockade, is nowhere near Yemen’s war theater. To posit then that Tehran‘s influence is what forces Riyadh to discharge death onto Yemen civilians is preposterous.
Control is what motivates Riyadh. Control over Southern Arabia and its waterways. Control over the world oil route and the ever-enticing opening onto Europe.
The question we should ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to hand Arabia to the powers feeding Terror’s army?