“Saudi airstrikes target Houthi forces and their allies in Yemen.” That was the mainstream media version.
“Paris is on the side of the Saudi’s in their efforts to restore ‘stability’ in Yemen.” That’s the mainstream version.
Reality? The Saudi’s are bombing schools, dairy farms, farms, water plants, roadways – infrastructure. They are bombing the basics of structure that support living. And they are bombing civilians – including children. The Yemeni’s want the bombing to stop. The Yemeni’s want the Saudi’s to let them use dialogue and dignity to resolve their own internal issues. The Yemeni’s have become the casualty that Hillary defines as normal collateral to any war. And the US, Europe and many Sunni Arab states comply.
Hadi, the president that fled when the Houthis took control was considered one of the most corrupt governments ranking 164th out of 182. Hadi only came to power after Saleh, the former president, was dislodged as a result of a coup and became injured. Hadi gained his military acumen while living in Britain, Egypt and Russia. He became Minister of Defense for Saleh in 1994 and Vice President until 2012. He was elected president in 2012 – although the term ‘elected’ is loose given he was the sole candidate. Normally, that does not constitute an ‘election’. But he was Sunni and thus sympathetic toward Saudi Arabia. But Hadi was incompetent, corrupt and seemingly a puppet at best. He certainly did not represent the people, nor did he seem to have any compassion for his people. More a figurehead, he was sympathetic to the Saudis, and that was all anyone outside of Yemen wanted. And hence a schism in Yemen widened further as the people felt unrepresented.
How different is it than in many other countries wherein the president is not acting in the interest of the people, but in the interest of economics and businesses and – self. We hope, we have faith that maybe this time it will be different. But it isn’t, and we share this angst and sadness with much of Europe, Canada and even Australia.
We watched Syria reduced to rubble because the Saudis didn’t like Assad. We watched Ukraine reduced to rubble as the coup was allowed and praised. Thousands upon thousands killed because someone decided the existing government needed to go. The casualties – people.
There is a haunting hypocritical aspect that angers not just the people of Yemen, but the citizens of the US, Europe and Asia, wherein one government that is ousted via coup is legitimate while in other countries it is not.
Why do the Saudis want Yemen?
They have no use for the country itself, or the people, all they really want is the assurance that the Gulf of Aden remains a viable conduit for their oil through the Red Sea. If Yemen falls to the Houthis, they are not sympathetic to the Saudis, they are Shi’a. Revenue means everything. Without this access to this strait the Saudis are in trouble, as are the other Middle East countries reliant on the Red Sea for transport.
Most people don’t even know where Yemen is, or what part they have played in history. Yemen was home to the Queen of Sheba and can trace it’s history back to the Sabaeans of ancient time. In medieval times, it was a lucrative trade center. They have controlled the strait through the Gulf of Aden since as early as 700 BC. They were conquered by the Himyarites who practiced a monotheistic religion called Rahmanism. The Romans attempted to convert them to Chritianity around 354 AD, but the Jews rebelled. In 521 AD, a Jewish warlord of Yemen rose to power and had all the Christians slaughtered. The country ‘converted’ to Islam with the rise of Muhammad and his conquests in the mid 600’s AD. Life has been tumultuous to be sure.
Yemen was embroiled in conquests thereafter. It has been overthrown by the Mongols, the Turks, the Egyptians, and the Ottomans. After the fall of the Ottoman’s the British laid claim and ruled. The Port of Aden has always been one of the key sources of warring. The country split between northern and southern allegiances. It has been mired in civil conflict, treason, corruption and pilfering. The unification of the north and south was accomplished with the intervention of the Saudis who needed access to the strait connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It was the Saudis who helped lodge Saleh in office, but relations soured. The US and the Saudis agreed that Hadi would be a better ally, and helped stage a coup to oust Saleh. It has been stated that Saleh’s victory was fraudulent and that the only other candidate, Faisal Bin Shamlan, who was the son of the former president, was the actual winner with over 96% of the votes. Saleh claimed the victory was his, and the people were not happy.
Staging a coup, they sought a new government to represent them. Instead, Hadi was instituted. He was not elected, and the people are still without representation. But external interests are seemingly the only interest.
When the people rose against Hadi, the US attempted to intervene and use more drone strikes to gain ‘peace’. But the ‘collateral damage’ created even more anger among the people. Instead of squashing the dissidents, the US and Saudis increased the animosity and became the enemy. The Houthis gathered and rose in number.
Why would the US even consider involvement in this countries unrest? Because the Saudis demand it.
Because, al-Qaeda has a huge presence in Yemen, and because the Middle East countries want to maintain their oil transit route. And we still need that oil.
In 2009, the US started drone strikes in Yemen with the rise of al-Qaeda. The drones strikes were very controversial as they took out large swathes of civilians including children. The Yemeni’s felt they had become the target. In 2013, the strikes escalated. By 2014, the US was stating that a partnership had formed between the government of Hadi and the US. By 2015, the Houthis had taken control.
Who are the Houthis? They are considered to have come from a moderate group of people who sought to re-establish their Shi’a belief system of Zaidi. The Houthis gained radical status sometime after the 2003 invasion of Iraq at which point the chant ‘death to America’ became their slogan.
Twists again… and again: ISIS is fighting against the Houthis, which means we are fighting on the side of ISIS. In March 2015, ISIS bombed a Houthi mosque killing 142 and wounding 351 worshipers. The Houthis claim that Hadi is backed by al-Qaeda, which means if we back Hadi, we back al-Qaeda. Hadi claims that the Houthis are backed by Iran. The Israeli’s claim the Houthis are backed by Hezbollah. The Saudis have been preventing humanitarian aid to the people of Yemen. And of course, this is all flanked by Obama’s new bigger and better nuke deal with Iran. Since the overthrow of Saleh, who is Sunni, he has joined the Houthis. Al-Qaeda has put a ransom on the head of Saleh. Much of the weaponry confiscated by the Houthis was actually previously provided by the US and the Saudis to Yemen.
And if this was a movie on television, no one would believe it was remotely real.