Yemen v Ukraine: What makes a war newsworthy?

Why are the crocodile tears of our leaders and their presstitutes reserved for some victims of war and denied to others?

Proletarian writers

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The victims of the Yemen war number many millions and their condition is appalling, yet their plight is largely ignored by western news media, as is the criminality of the war being waged against them and the ultimate culpability of US and British imperialism for their suffering.

Proletarian writers

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With the Saudi/UAE war of aggression against Yemen now having reached its seventh year, it has been revealed that the Saudi/UAE coalition air force has dropped at least three million cluster bombs during the course of the war.

The cluster bomb is a weapon, supposedly banned under international law, designed to break up in mid-air into hundreds of mini-bombs, which rain down over a wide area. Many fragments fail to explode and effectively become landmines, ready to kill any child or hapless passer-by who happens to pick them up or tread on them.

That such an inherently indiscriminate weapon would be used so frequently proves that this is not an operation against isolated ‘Houthi rebels’, as corporate media outlets repeat in their typically unanimous identikit manner. Rather, it is a Nazi-style mass terror campaign, fully backed by US and British imperialism, aimed at cowing the entire population of Yemen into submission.

According to Unicef, more than 10,000 children have been killed since the start of the Saudi coalition’s Luftwaffe-style campaign. The northern part of the country, controlled by the popular resistance forces (or ‘Houthi rebels’ if you please), is under siege conditions not seen since the battle of Leningrad in WW2, and which have forced more than 17 million people to the brink of starvation.

Even western intelligence-front outfits like Bellingcat have admitted that the Saudis have deliberately targeted water treatment facilities, leading to a mass cholera outbreak that has killed thousands of people and effectively amounts to biowarfare against the civilian population.

Hospitals, wedding parties and school buses filled with children have all been likewise targeted, in a campaign of carnage that makes even the brutality of the Israeli army in Gaza or the US army in Iraq look humane in comparison.

A campaign, incidentally, that is largely ignored by a press corps that is falling over itself with indignation at the ‘atrocities’ it spuriously claims are being committed by Russia in Ukraine.

It cannot fail to escape any objective observer that the plight of Yemenis is, relatively speaking, much more dire than that of the average Ukrainian, despite the horrors that inevitably accompany any war. This much can be seen just from the images of fleeing Ukrainian civilians that flood our TV screens; naturally frightened by the conflict, tearfully emotional (often to the point of obvious theatrics) but generally healthy and unharmed.

Compare this with the horrific images of Yemeni children we see on charity adverts (never in the news headlines), who are visibly starving, skeletal and barely alive.

When one strips away all the hysterical reporting and propaganda spin, it is obvious that Russia demonstrates far more concern for the lives of civilians in war than the USA and its allies do.

There are multiple reasons why Ukrainians garner so much more sympathy in the west than Yemenis. One is, of course, that Yemenis are not white, blonde Europeans, not photogenic enough for our liberal intelligentsia, saturated in centuries of racism and chauvinism.

This is even acknowledged by many respectable liberals, who openly wring their hands in outrage at the discrepancy in coverage, such is the barbaric cruelty of the Saudi-led coalition. Invariably, however, this outrage only extends to the tactics of the coalition. The idea that the coalition, however brutal it may be, is ultimately justified in wanting to restore a supposedly democratic government overthrown by a ‘rebel coup’, is never challenged by anyone in the corporate media.

This brings us to the second, much more important reason why Yemen is treated with such brutality: because this is a US imperialist war. It is not, as many bourgeois pacifists and Trotskyists pretend, a purely Saudi/UAE adventure that western imperialist states are taking advantage of in order to sell weapons but are otherwise indifferent to.

Yemen occupies a crucial geostrategic location at the corner of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, one of the world’s principal shipping lanes. US imperialism will not allow such a country to break from its chains and chart an independent path (again) without an extremely bloody fight.

The reality ignored by most so-called ‘socialists’ is that the Ansarullah (Houthi) islamist movement that seized power in the 2014 popular uprising is the most progressive and revolutionary force in Yemen. A Houthi-run Yemen would be solidly anti-imperialist and unshakeably committed to the Palestinian cause; a living nightmare for the imperialists.

On the other hand, the ‘internationally-recognised’ government, anointed as it is with United Nations holy water, is a disparate group of comprador Saudi stooges and cronies from the hated dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh, ranging from ‘feminist’ Nobel peace prize winners to al-Qaeda-supporting wahhabi zealots, united by nothing other than their joint desire to see Yemen subjugated once more to the west.

As for the self-styled ‘Southern Transitional Council’, it is merely a UAE mercenary force that takes advantage of widespread nostalgia for the glory days of the socialist Yemeni PDR for recruitment purposes.

In the face of all these disparate enemies, the Houthi-led National Salvation Government and popular committees tirelessly continue their fight for liberation.

Victory to the Yemeni resistance!