Sana’a (GPA) – About two and a half years ago, Saudi Arabia started bombing Yemen and began an occupation to prop up the puppet government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Saudi’s air strikes deliberately target homes. Tens of thousands have died. Millions are at risk of famine. The siege has triggered a globally-unprecedented cholera epidemic. People can’t even flee the country because the airport is closed at the behest of Saudi Arabia.
Corporate media barely covers Yemen at all. Not only do they leave many critical pieces of information out, they blatantly lie to reinforce their imperialist narrative. Here, Geopolitics Alert will attempt to debunk many of the most common myths and explain the truth.
1. The war in Yemen is not a civil war
A civil war would indicate that Yemenis are fighting other Yemenis for control. This in itself is wrong.
Yemen’s resistance (which includes Ansarullah, the Republican Guard, and others) is currently fighting Saudi-backed mercenaries on the ground. This includes many Sudanese and U.A.E. soldiers as well as privately-hired Blackwater mercenaries.
It can’t be a civil war because Saudi Arabia and their allies are an invading force occupying Yemen shipping in foreign fighters.
2. …or a proxy war
Well, on the one hand, it is a proxy war, but the only proxies are the ones backed by Saudi Arabia and their allies.
Yemen’s resistance does not receive outside support and is not fighting for any foreign power– they simply want to self-determine and control Yemen free of foreign interference.
For the conflict in Yemen to be a proxy war, another foreign power would have to be manipulating Yemen’s resistance and this simply isn’t the case. (More on that later.)
3. …or a Sunni-Shia conflict.
If any news outlet boils the war in Yemen (or any war, really) down to a mere Sunni-Shia conflict, you should immediately stop reading that outlet.
This argument, first of all, ignores all other factors and power structures boiling a conflict down to mere religious differences. It’s just plain ignorant.
Yes, Yemen’s Ansarullah movement was founded by Zaydi Shia Muslims. But it includes fighters and politicians from several sects and religions who simply don’t want foreign powers controlling their country. Plus, calling Saudi Arabia Sunni while ignoring their intolerant and violent Wahhabi ideology is a disgrace to all peaceful Sunni Muslims.
4. Saudi Arabia has always wanted political and economic control of Yemen.
A look back at the last century of Arabian history tells you all you need to know about the Saudi’s intentions in Yemen.
During Yemen’s 1962 revolution, Saudi Arabia supported the Royalists fighting to keep Yemen an Imamate. They knew that an independent Yemen would turn into a strong country– just south of their border– which would become a competitor.
Even back then, a Shia-led Imamate was preferable to a Yemeni republic from the Saudi’s perspective. Yemen is still the only republic on the Arabian peninsula.
Such is still the case today: Saudi Arabia cannot stand to see a pluralist, economically-viable, independent republic on the Arabian Peninsula.
5. “The Houthis” (Ansarullah) are not an Iranian militia.
The Saudi’s behavior in Yemen is genuinely gruesome and repulsive. How can the United States and their friends in Europe possibly justify militarily supporting this war of terror?
Ah yes, Iran, of course. Unfortunately for the imperialists, there isn’t evidence to back this accusation.
Not only do Ansarullah, Yemen’s resistance, and Iran all deny a relationship, but there isn’t evidence to suggest they have one.
Yemen’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee based in the capital Sana’a has the equipment to manufacture and develop their own weapons. The former President Saleh was a previous U.S. ally who received significant military aid during the early “War on Terror” years.
So there’s no shortage of weapons in Yemen. And has the media forgotten the Saudi-imposed land, sea, and air blockade?
6. al-Qaeda is a de-facto U.S. ally in Yemen.
Why is Saudi Arabia bombing civilians in the resistance-held territory while al-Qaeda continues to flourish in other areas?
Al-Qaeda is a de-facto ally and pawn of Saudi Arabia and the United States. That is until they get a little too strong and the U.S. steps-in to carry out some messy, high-profile, special operations.
In portions of southern Yemen, al-Qaeda members fight alongside Saudi-backed troops. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. employ local mercenaries to fight on their behalf. Who’s to say there aren’t al-Qaeda members on this payroll?
No one, because this is never discussed.
Regardless, al-Qaeda and the Saudi coalition both fight a common enemy: Ansarullah. The Saudi’s main objective in this war is to destroy Yemen’s resistance movement– not fight al-Qaeda.
Any attack on al-Qaeda from the United States is done so in a way to exert pressure on Ansarullah forces– not to obliterate the group entirely– just like they use Daesh (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq.
7. Ansarullah and their allies fight ISIS and al-Qaeda.
The only force capable of fighting al-Qaeda and Daesh in Yemen is Ansarullah along with their allies. They are the only genuine enemy of these terror groups in the country.
As a revolutionary movement, they have a significant stake in keeping communities safe from violence and reactionary, intolerant forces like al-Qaeda.
Ansarullah and their allies are the only entities in Yemen taking substantial steps to eradicate terrorist groups from their territory. Security forces set up multiple checkpoints and frequently bust would-be terror attacks. This fact, of course, is conveniently ignored by mainstream media.
On the other hand, suicide attacks from groups like Daesh or al-Qaeda are relatively frequent in Saudi or U.A.E.-held territory.
8. The blockade kills people faster than the bombs do.
Official estimates track the Yemen war death toll at about 12,000. Local sources report the number as much, much higher. And still, this number only reflects deaths from air strikes and military operations.
Yes, the Saudi’s air strike campaign kills civilians on a near-daily basis. But just since April, over 2,000 people have died from a globally-unprecedented cholera outbreak. And once again, this is only the official number.
The Saudi-imposed land, air, and sea blockade is directly responsible for triggering this outbreak. This is clearly intentional and strategic. Not only do the Saudis frequently deny aid entry to Yemen, but they do not allow civilians to leave for medical treatment and they’ve destroyed infrastructure at key Yemeni ports.
Not to mention, due to the blockade, millions of Yemenis are on the brink of famine at any given point.
9. The UN and international community have done literally nothing to help.
Since the world powers ally with Saudi Arabia and their friends in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Yemenis’ cries for help fall on deaf ears.
Other than a few scoldings, the United Nations has done absolutely nothing to slow down the war. They have not pressured Saudi Arabia to open the Sana’a airport. They rarely encourage peace talks. And they have not urged the United States or the United Kingdom to stop arming Saudi Arabia.
In fact, under pressure from Saudi Arabia, the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon actually removed them from a list of countries violating children’s human rights.
What else can you expect from an organization that elected the world’s gravest human rights violator (Saudi Arabia) to their Human Rights Council and Women’s Rights Panel?
Western media whitewash war crimes while condemning “violence on many sides”
Until the war in Yemen ends, western media will continue to play both sides of the fence. In the iconic words of Donald Trump, they will continue to condemn “violence on all sides.” (Not related, but seems to apply well.)
And of course, they will completely ignore that one side has an air force and the backing of the world’s most powerful military while the other side is defending themselves from invaders and terrorists.
Western media will continue to condemn the wrong groups while whitewashing the terrorist behavior of Saudi Arabia’s and their allies.
Owner and editor of Geopolitics Alert, Randi Nord is a US-based geopolitical analyst and content strategist. She covers US imperialism with a special focus on Yemen, Iran, and Lebanon. She has participated in the UNHRC as a guest of NGOs and speaks at anti-war events.