The war that has been waged against the sovereign country of Yemen since March 2015 is a war of plunder, domination and genocide. It is being primarily waged by the corrupt feudal rulers of Saudi Arabia and the UAE (United Arab Emirates), in turn armed and directed by US imperialism and its British and French sidekicks.
By blockading Yemen’s ports, the Saudis have plunged the country into the worst famine in over a century. The UN says that 22.2 million Yemenis face food shortages, 8.4 million of whom are already threatened with severe hunger.
Civilian casualties are catastrophic, with the August school bus massacre of 40 kids on a day out just one out of many continuing atrocities too numerous to mention.
Suffice it to recall the slaughter of a father and his five children reported on 8 November, civilian victims of Saudi airstrikes against a residential area in the western province of Al Hudaydah. An estimated 56,000 Yemeni lives have been lost to the war already, and the death toll continues to rise.
No less murderous in its consequences have been the effects upon Yemenis of the systematic destruction of their country’s infrastructure, with hospitals, schools and factories all suffering bombardment.
Most cynical of all has been the targeting of the country’s water treatment facilities, thereby accelerating the spread of deadly cholera.
The US government in Washington relies upon Saudi Arabia, side by side with Israel, to stand as a joint bulwark against the development of any strong, independent nations in the middle east that might dare to break their neocolonial bonds and threaten imperialist hegemony in the region. To this end, Saudi Arabia and the other corrupt feudal relics grouped in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have given their fullest support to imperialism’s jihadi proxies in the war of subversion against the independent, progressive and secular state of Syria.
Similarly, since March 2015 the Saudi government in Riyadh has, on behalf of US imperialism, been directly engaged in a criminal war to punish the Yemeni people for daring to strike out on a path not sanctioned by imperialism.
When the Arab spring of 2011 toppled the Yemeni president of over three decades, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the US was not overly bothered, and was subsequently able to wangle a provisional government headed by its own pliant candidate, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
However when Hadi made the mistake of slashing subsidies on fuel in July 2014, under pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), driving thousands into even more dire poverty, people took to the streets and made an unscripted second edition of the Arab spring of their own. The popular protests that ensued, stiffened by support from the resistance group Ansarullah (members of which are informally known as Houthis, after the name of their founder), sent Hadi scuttling off to his sponsors in Riyadh.
In March 2015 the Saudis embarked on their criminal war aimed at restoring their puppet to the presidency and returning Yemen to its vassal status. For a while the erstwhile president, Saleh, joined forces with Ansarullah, before turning his coat once more and offering his services to Riyadh. This proved an apostasy too far, for which Saleh paid with his life.
Yemen fights back
With both Hadi and Saleh exposed as tools of imperialism, the task of leading the national resistance against the fascistic Saudi onslaught fell to Ansarullah, assisted by some elements in the army and what Press TV terms “allied fighters from the popular committees”. (Yemeni forces shoot down Saudi-led reconnaissance drone over Sa’ada, Press TV, 6 November 2018)
Since then, despite the much greater firepower and logistical back-up supplied to the Saudi army by the US and Britain, and in the teeth of the most vicious and indiscriminate horrors unleashed upon the Yemeni people with full support from imperialism, the resistance forces have held their own, with some of their missiles even penetrating Saudi and UAE airspace.
Houthi forces are currently engaged in a bitter struggle to hang on to the Red Sea port of Al-Hudaydah, the chief point of entry for the aid that is so desperately needed by the population.
On 4 November Press TV reported: “Yemen’s armed forces have decisively countered an all-out Saudi offensive, which was in the works for days to seize the country’s strategic Red Sea port. Yemeni armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree said the army thwarted ‘all attempts by the enemy to penetrate and infiltrate the defences’ in the port city of Hudaydah. The counterattacks killed 113 of the enemy forces and injured 156 others.” (Yemeni forces foil Saudi-led push to seize port before talks, Press TV, 4 November 2018)
At the end of October, as the political fallout from the August bus massacre and countless other atrocities put pressure on Washington, US defence secretary James Mattis called for a ceasefire in Yemen and called on all parties to come to the negotiating table within the next month. Saudi Arabia apparently took this as a green light to intensify its efforts to seize Hudaydah in advance of any talks.
Now, with the effective ruler of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), facing international outrage over his role in the torture and murder of the journalist (and sometime confidant of the Saudi royal family) Jamal Khashoggi, the US is burdened with two conflicting imperatives: to make some shift to distance itself from Riyadh’s ‘excesses’ in Yemen and the Turkish city of Istanbul; and yet to ensure that the Riyadh regime continues to enrich the US arms industry by its limitless purchase of weaponry, continues to invest heavily in US businesses, and does not slacken or lose focus in its efforts to further the hegemonic interests of its imperialist master, particularly in countering Iran.
And whilst Washington scratches its head over how on earth to square this circle, the instability of the Saudi regime grows apace. Letting women drive cars or visit a cinema will not remove the pressure of internal dissent, or lay the ghost of Jamal Khashoggi to rest.
A war of plunder and domination
This is a war of plunder and domination. Yemen is sitting on over 4bn barrels of crude oil, and oil accounts for about 90 percent of its exports.
Some observers suggest that on current performance these reserves may be exhausted in nine years; nonetheless control of those reserves would be to Riyadh’s advantage.
More to the point, however, is the key position Yemen occupies in the maritime transport of oil. The port of Aden in the country’s south once flourished as a coaling station for British ships en route for India, and now some 3 million barrels of oil pass through the Gulf of Aden every day.
Then there is the maritime choke point of the Bab el-Mandeb strait, which commands access to the Suez canal.
Further, at the strait’s narrowest point Yemen is separated by just 12 miles from Djibouti, a key outpost of US imperialism’s Africom base at Camp Lemonnier, whence the US launches its drones across the region.
Both in economic and military terms, therefore, Yemen is of enormous strategic importance.
Saudi Arabia has sought to justify its exercise in mass murder by claiming that Iran is assisting the Houthis and its influence must be curbed. Yet back in 2015 Washington’s own National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan admitted: “It remains our assessment that Iran does not exert command and control over the Houthis in Yemen.” (Saudi puppets launch US bomb that kills 40 school children in Yemen, Lalkar, September 2018)
Certainly, the world can hardly fail to take note that it is Saudi jets, not Iranian ones, that are raining death and destruction on the long-suffering Yemeni population. However, of one thing Washington can be certain: the surest way for imperialism to strengthen the anti-imperialist unity of the axis of resistance, of which Iran is a key link, would indeed be to continue on its present warmongering course.
Perhaps this explains the sudden belated eagerness with which US defence secretary James Mattis now preaches peace – whilst the seven members of the Saudi coalition continue to practise war.
Victory to the national resistance forces of Yemen!