SHAFAQNA – When Saudi Arabia declared war on Yemen back in March 2015, several of its officials proclaimed high and low that their intentions were merely to restore Yemen’s institutions and prevent the rise of the kingdom described as a Shia takeover by Iran.
Of course such claims were made to deflect from Riyadh’s real intentions vis a vis Yemen. Riyadh, itself a reactionary theocracy does not care much for democracy … especially south of its borders.
As for Iran’s influence, it was never there to begin with. Yemen’s resistance movement, as expressed under the leadership of the Houthis is a popular movement which sole agenda has been to reaffirm Yemen’s democratic tradition, and restore the people as the guardian of legitimacy.
This war waged against Yemen has been both a colonial war, and religious war. As for the Resistance it has had to fend alone as world powers blockaded its borders, making it virtually impossible for other countries to offer assistance. Iran’s hand is no where to be seen in Yemen … and if Tehran has carried an influence over the impoverished nation, it is its steadfastness against imperial powers which has served as an inspiration.
There is no Shia covert agenda … there is no desire to rise a religious empire. THAT would be Wahhabist Saudi Arabia’s dream. Shia Islam does not ambition for a dominion, it stands for justice and resistance against tyranny. For as long as there have been tyrants, Shia Islam has stood a pillar against it: defiant in its understanding that true victory lies in one’s opposition to injustice, regardless of the outcome.
Some victories it needs to be understood are not won in the battlefield.
Saudi Arabia today has carved itself an enclave in South Yemen. There, in the southern seaport city of Aden, the kingdom has established its military bases, directing its war against the north.
Under Riyadh rule, and most likely by its design South Yemen has been turned into a terrorist breeding ground, a new radical hub where religious minorities are being oppressed.
On Friday four gunmen attacked an old people’s home, killing 15 people including four Christian nuns. The establishment which was run by the nuns, was home to Muslims, Hindus and Muslims, a reflection of Yemen’s religious pluralism.
If Yemen is a majority Muslim country, it is also home to many other religious communities, whose traditions and heritage have enriched Yemen’s history and society. Today those communities stand to be destroyed by radicalism.
Churches and temples have already been flattened by the Saudi-coalition … those are the destruction media have kept under wrap for they speak of a disturbing agenda. It is Yemen’s rich religious make-up which stands under Saudi Arabia’s fire.
Earlier this February unknown assailants vandalized a Christian cemetery, torched a church and blew up an abandoned Catholic church … all this took place in those territories which fall under Saudi Arabia’s jurisdiction.
It is this reality the Resistance in Yemen is trying to defeat.
By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna