SHAFAQNA – If Saudi Arabia still enjoys immunity for the many, and grave war crimes it committed against Yemen, reports of the horrors its legions have willingly carried out against Yemenis have become much too grand for media to cover up anymore.
Not even the United Nations could bring itself to ignore the plight of Yemen. According to UN experts’ report Saudi Arabia’s attack of a funeral hall in Sana’a in October (2016) “resulted in disproportionately higher numbers of civilian casualties, when compared to military casualties, and that this could have been anticipated prior to the attack.” International law requires a party to assess the “proportionality” of an attack before carrying it out. The experts’ report shows no knowledge of any such assessment taking place. The expert panel said the second bombing “was clear indication that the US-backed Saudi coalition violated its international obligations.”
One might even argue that those friends and allies the kingdom has learnt to hide behind to claim exceptionalism, are in fact gathering political ammunitions against the cash depleted theocracy. For all its arrogance and hegemonic ambitions Saudi Arabia’s ability to exert power is limited to its cheque book. Without its billions of dollars al-Saud stands an empty shell of a monarchical house – no more than disposable monarchs to be fed to the lions.
As powers play chess games with each other Yemen has been left to burn, break, explode, starve and hurt. 26 million people – women, men and children are currently being held hostage by foreign powers’ whims. 26 million people have seen their collective future forfeited in the name of geopolitics and religious supremacism.; made to watch as their land becomes the proxy of all proxies.
Yemen is not as you were told a stand-off in between Saudi Arabia, and its regional nemesis: Iran. Yemen is not being torn apart by sectarianism, and Yemen is certainly not undergoing an identity crisis.
It is Yemen’s sovereign independence and that of its people which is at stake in this war of attrition. It is Yemen’s right to political self-determination, and the integrity of its national borders which are being challenged by both Saudi Arabia and Western powers, both for different ends, both to the same devastating results.
A growing threat to be contained so that it could be either tamed or destroyed, the West played Saudi Arabia for a fool when it sent Riyadh into a military confrontation with Sana’a. Yemen we must suspect was always meant to be the kingdom’s graveyard, the one misstep to bring the ever-ambitious and arrogant House of Saud back into the Western fold.
In that set-up officials cared very little for the fire their strategy would lit up in Southern Arabia; especially not when such plans would precipitate another: the balkanisation of Yemen. Yemen you see only serves Western imperialism if broken up into manageable regions. In this perpetual quest for control: control over natural resources, control over waterways, control over geopolitics, control over populations and control over nations’ future, division remains the rationale of choice.
All the while Yemen’s very national fabric has been put under unparalleled duress. Earlier this October attacks on Yemen have reached an all-time high as the kingdom has worked to accelerate its destruction rate, targeting together Yemen’s civilian infrastructures, and its fragile and suffocated economy.
In other words, Yemen was served a death sentence few nations have dared spoke against.
In a report for The Independent Robert Fisk writes: “Increasing evidence suggests Kingdom is not merely bombing civilians in neighbouring country, but systematically targeting infrastructure survivors will need to avoid starvation when the war is over.”
And: “Academics have been amassing data from Yemen which strongly suggests that the Saudis’ Yemen campaign contains a programme for the destruction of rural livelihood.”
Saudi Arabia is not just targeting funeral halls those days but cows and fields as well. Anything really which would make life absolutely insufferable for the population.
If ever a country was attempting to make another absolutely dependent on foreign aid, Saudi Arabia should serve as a perfect case study. Yemen it needs to be asserted is undergoing systematic and systemic annihilation: from its history, to its religious traditions and its once promising industrial prospects and military infrastructures, this one nation of Southern Arabia is being disappeared.
Beyond palpable destruction it is Yemen’s very financial heart Riyadh targeted when it commanded the relocation of Yemen Central Bank to Aden – a southern port-city under Saudi military occupation.
By alleging “institutional restoration” the kingdom has de facto committed economic murder, threatening the livelihood and future of tens of millions of people. Of that, barely a few lines were spared in mainstream media.
Surely if the world frown upon the targeting of any one people on account of their faith, ethnicity, or economic circumstances, we ought to find an appropriate term to define the annihilation of an entire nation – not a group, or a community, but a people bound by history, tradition and sovereignty.
Genocide today fails to fully encompass Saudi Arabia’s crimes in Yemen.
By Catherine Shakdam – Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies