Sana’a (GPA) – In March of 2015, Saudi Arabia and their allies launched an airstrike campaign along with a full-scale military intervention and occupation of Yemen with the goal of propping up the Saudi-backed puppet government of President Hadi after revolutionary forces took control of Yemen’s capital.
The World’s War Against Yemen
In the past 900 plus days, tens of thousands have died from air strikes alone which typically target civilian infrastructure including schools, farms, ports, cars, and plenty of homes on a daily basis. On any given day, Yemenis are subjected to dozens of airstrikes sometimes totalling over 60 or more.
Tens of thousands more have lost their lives due to the Saudi-imposed siege which has effectively turned Yemen into an open-air prison.
The land air and sea blockade makes it nearly impossible to import anything. Since Yemen imports almost 80 percent of food, this has put over seven million people on the brink of famine and some 17 million more are currently food insecure. Nearly 700,000 have been infected with cholera with around 3,000 have died from this preventable and treatable disease.
The Saudi coalition has also forced the closure of Sana’a’s airport. This means no one can enter or leave resistance held territory, including journalists, without Saudi permission.
The media doesn’t really cover Yemen at all due to the west’s support for the Saudi coalition. When they do cover it, they do a terrible job.
It’s not a civil war, it’s not a Shia Sunni conflict. It’s also important to stress that this is not a proxy war. Ansarullah, known only by western media as “the Houthis,” are not an Iranian militia and do not act on behalf of Iran. The idea that Iran supplies Yemen’s resistance with any substantial weapons is absolutely ludicrous considering the blockade. This would be a logistical nightmare. Not to mention, no evidence exists to prove that this is the case.
What the media doesn’t tell you is that Yemen’s resistance to Saudi Arabia includes Ansarullah, the General People’s Congress along with the former president Saleh, as well as most of the Yemeni military including the Republican Guard. This resistance simply becomes “the rebels” with no further explanation other than somehow blaming Iran.
The Saudi-coalition, on the other hand, includes foreign mercenaries from the UAE, Sudan, and the private contract killers from Blackwater.
U.S. Hegemony in the Gulf and their Imperial Lap Dogs
Where does the United States fit into this? We know that the U.S., UK, and other junior imperialist western nations support the Saudi-led coalition.
Before discussing the United States imperial interests in Yemen, it would be much easier to start with the Gulf states. Within the Saudi-led coalition sits a hierarchy as each nation competes to see who can most efficiently capitalize on the conflict in Yemen to dominate the Red Sea, Horn of Africa, and the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula.
While Saudi Arabia rightfully earns condemnation for their airstrike campaign, the United Arab Emirates don’t get enough credit for their full-scale military occupation of Yemen and direct coordination with United States troops within the country.
The UAE, after all, bears the responsibility for helping the US establish nearly two dozen black site torture centers throughout Yemen.
This is because both the UAE and Saudi Arabia are competing to see who can be the best lap dog for US and western interests in the region. And the UAE is winning.
Within Yemen, the Saudis and UAE are competing for influence. And again, the UAE is winning. First of all, there is frequent infighting among different factions of the anti-Yemen coalition on the front lines. One one side, Saudi-backed mercenaries, and on the other: UAE troops.
One big problem within the coalition is that the Saudis continue to support Yemen’s faction of the Muslim brotherhood despite publicly denouncing the group and pinning this blame on Qatar. The UAE is not happy about this.
This infighting also takes place in the political arena. In southern provinces under so-called Saudi-coalition control, they have also rejected the Saudi puppet Hadi who currently resides in Riyadh. In fact, the UAE has banned Hadi from entering Aden– where the coalition has set up their fake capital. Rejection of Saudi-supported political candidates throughout the south is also common as they have been replaced with UAE friendly options instead.
The Saudis and UAE might try to maintain their cohesion and composure publicly, but it is impossible to ignore the growing UAE dominance throughout the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Horn of Africa.
The Emiratis have big plans for military bases along the east African coast in Eritrea, Somaliland, and likely elsewhere. They also control the crucial Bab al Mandeb strait. Nearly 4.7 million barrels of oil pass through this chokepoint every single day on their way to the Suez canal and eventually onto Europe.
Saudis Are Losing and Know it
Saudi Arabia is losing this war in every way shape and form. All they have going for them is military might and air power. They entered the war with the goal of dominating Yemen and removing resistance influence. They’ve failed.
Yemen’s resistance has only grown stronger and is now manufacturing their own long-range ballistic missiles and high-powered sniper rifles which are used to destroy high-value economic targets such as Saudi oil refineries as well as military targets.
The war has also spilled across the Saudi border in more ways than one. Yemen’s resistance has formed a specialized sniper division that operates solely behind enemy lines taking out hundreds of Saudi-backed mercenaries.
Farther east within Saudi Arabia, the kingdom has started bombing the Shia town of Awamiyah for the sin of requesting basic human rights.
The Saudi Regime’s PR Overhaul
The kingdom is in panic mode and has commenced a full-scale PR overhaul. Recently a young girl named Buthaina made mainstream headlines and became a social media sensation after she was found to be the only remaining victim of a Saudi air strike on her home.
Saudi authorities recently kidnapped her along with her uncle and ran a story on state media claiming Yemen’s resistance killed her family.
Just days later, Saudi Arabia announced that next year they would be allowing women the right to drive.
While a great achievement for these women, this act should not be applauded. In fact, it should only serve to highlight the kingdom’s human rights abuses at home and abroad.
The World Sits in Silence
These ongoing violations are met with virtually no opposition from the United Nations and the Saudi’s western allies. For the past two and a half years, the United Nations has done absolutely nothing to stop the war crimes taking place in Yemen.
Unfortunately, this is because key members of the UN directly facilitate these crimes. The Saudi-led devastation in Yemen would not be taking place right now if it were not for US and western support for the kingdom dating back decades.
To this day, the United States continues arming various members of the Saudi coalition to prop-up US-friendly regimes to ensure dominance throughout the Arabian peninsula and the Red Sea.
al-Qaeda as a Tool for Imperialism
Officially, the US is involved in the war against Yemen to support the Saudis and defeat al-Qaeda. Which is a joke considering al-Qaeda fights alongside Saudi-backed mercenaries against Yemen’s Army and Popular Committees.
Al-Qaeda is allowed to flourish in Yemen because their existence is a useful tool for imperialism. Over the summer, US and UAE troops launched an operation against al-Qaeda not with the purpose of eliminating the group, but rather to relocate al-Qaeda’s positions and place pressure on Yemen’s Army and Popular Committees.
UN Launches Sham Investigation
The war against Yemen now enters a turning point. After months of pressure from human rights groups and local Yemeni activists, the United Nations announced this week they will launch an investigation into human rights abuses. Hence, the Saudi PR campaign.
Echoing the words of Donald Trump after the horrific event in Charlottesville last month, the UN announced they would be investigating abuses “from all sides.” It appears they have forgotten that one side has an air force along with military support from the wealthiest country in the world while the other side is defending themselves from these actions.
Unfortunately, after a series of back-room deals involving the Saudis, France, UK, and others, along with economic threats from the Saudi regime, this investigation will not have any bite. Any crimes found during the investigation will not be tried in the international criminal court.
This is an expected win for the Saudis– who have a seat on the UN human rights council– as well as the United States. Because the bomb dropped on Buthaina’s home was manufactured in the US, this could have implicated the United States in these war crimes. I suppose selling the Saudi regime billions of dollars in weapons each year including internationally banned cluster bombs (which they’re still using) isn’t enough.
So what will come from this UN investigation? Don’t be surprised to see the overall narrative change a bit. Since the Saudi regime receives the most negative press, the U.S. could shift their military alliance closer to the UAE for this reason along with reasons already mentioned.
Beyond this, it’s hard to say what might happen next considering that even within the Saudi regime the power structure is shifting.
As the US and their allies face defeat in Syria, they’ll have to move on elsewhere, but it’s evident that unless the United States’ capital-driven foreign policy changes, these wars will not end.
Also published on Medium.