Sana’a (GPA) – Most outlets do not cover the war in Yemen and the few that do cover it do a pretty bad job. So let’s peel away the western propaganda. Here’s what’s happening in Yemen. Why it’s happening. And why the United States is so invested in this war.
For over 2 years, Saudi Arabia has been doing just about everything they can to squash a revolution taking place in Yemen. This means everything from indiscriminate air strikes to putting foreign troops on the ground to spreading disinformation and propaganda.
So who are these revolutionary forces? Well, if you get your information on Yemen from mainstream media, you’ll probably see these forces referred to simply as “the Houthis” or “Iranian-backed rebels” This is a misnomer and it’s done on purpose to discredit the movement as though it’s only a small group of rebels.
But the truth is, many anti-imperialist and progressive forces have formed broad a coalition called Ansarullah to fight back against Saudi aggression, reactionary forces like al-Qaeda, United States imperialism, and Zionism. This does include the Houthis, but it also includes most of the Yemeni military and other anti-imperialist groups.
So on September 21st 2014, resistance forces seized government buildings in the capital city of Sana’a demanding the resignation of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Who is essentially considered a Saudi Arabian puppet. Ironically enough, after getting thrown out of office he fled to Saudi Arabia. And there he has stayed.
Saudi Arabia And The Revolution
As a result of the revolution, Saudi Arabia started bombing Yemen and hasn’t stopped since. They target everything from schools to shipyards to factories to hospitals and even funerals. The United States of course supports the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen. Which also includes countries like Qatar, the UAE, Sudan, Morocco, Jordan, Turkey, Bahrain. And then there’s the European countries like France and the UK.
So in addition to bombs, Saudi Arabia also has troops on the ground. Now once again, if you’re getting your news on Yemen from the mainstream media, you’ll likely hear these troops referred to as “forces loyal to President Hadi.” This is another misnomer and once again it’s done on purpose. In fact, most of the forces fighting on the ground are not Yemeni soldiers at all, but soldiers from neighboring countries like Sudan and the UAE. There are even some privately-hired mercenaries from a US contracting company. And of course, al-Qaeda is also a de facto US ally in Yemen. The terrorist group can be seen in photos fighting right alongside Saudi-backed forces.
War Continues, US Profits
So why does Saudi Arabia care? And why does the United States supply the weapons for their fight? Resistance control of Yemen could potentially threaten US-Saudi dominance in the Gulf and ultimately the Middle East. Resistance control of Yemen would set a dangerous precedent as far as the imperialists are concerned.
Yemen is also the only republic on the Arabian Peninsula. Every other state is some form of monarchy or sultanate. This in-itself must be a sore spot for the Saudis and other kingdoms. A puppet-state in Yemen loyal to the Saudis and their allies keeps things stable both on the peninsula and domestically– at least as far as the kingdoms are concerned.
This war is also very lucrative for the imperialist powers. Arms sales to the Saudis typically total over a billion dollars– and this is just from the United States. Saudi Arabia is a major US customer. United States intelligence likely knows the Yemen-Iran relationship isn’t what they’re portraying it to be. But without the propaganda– which essentially depicts Iran invading Yemen and Saudi Arabia– how would they sell weapons to the Saudis?
On the other hand, US intelligence might honestly believe Iran is providing support to the resistance in Yemen. If this is the case, the US goal would be to wear down Iran’s resources in Yemen. Creating a money-pit in Yemen would help deplete Iranian resources that could be used other places such as Syria.
Either way, both of these scenarios involve arming Saudi Arabia to the teeth. Powers like the United States profit off the Saudi destruction in Yemen. Ending the war in Yemen would mean losing a hefty and consistent arms sale.
Famine Isn’t a Side-Effect, It’s Part of the Strategy
This brings us to the upcoming offensive and current dilemma. Washington is on the fence right now about a $390 million dollar arms sale to the Saudis. James Mattis visited Riyadh last week to discuss security cooperation and he actually briefly expressed concern over Saudi Arabia’s disgusting behavior in Yemen. But he didn’t do this on his own accord. A small group of US lawmakers have been putting pressure on the Trump administration to halt both material and logistic support to Saudi Arabia. This isn’t a new or recent effort, but it appears to be accelerated by Trump’s recent impulsive actions in Syria and Afghanistan. They’re actually urging Trump to seek congressional approval before making any more decisions on military actions.
If this arms deal passes, the next Saudi-led offensive will focus on re-taking port cities from resistance control. Local Yemenis and international human rights experts are warning that this will be a humanitarian disaster. The people of Yemen rely on these cities to import essential goods like food. Bombing these cities will put millions under siege without food or water or medical supplies. Those who are injured can’t even leave the country to seek medical attention because Saudi Arabia has imposed an air blockade. Most of Yemen is on the brink of famine. This seems to be a very intentional and strategic move on Saudi Arabia’s behalf to beat Yemen into submission.
Obama was no friend to Yemen, and things have only gotten worse under Trump. Shortly after taking office, Trump authorized a disastrous raid that resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians. Trump actually dropped more bombs in Yemen in one week than Obama did in the entire year last year. Short of a drastic foreign policy shift, Trump and his buddies will remain keen on defeating the revolution in Yemen at all costs. Or at least keeping Yemen a quagmire so the money for weapons sales keep flowing.
Ansarullah is really the only genuine revolutionary movement to come out of the Arab Spring that hasn’t been manipulated, repressed, or tainted by imperialist interests. And no one even really knows it exists. We hear a lot of talk about Saudi Arabia’s war crimes, but we never hear about the resistance forces fighting back and winning.
Also published on Medium.