SHAFAQNA – Massive rallies have been held across Yemen to on the anniversary of the ongoing Saudi-led aggression against the poorest Arab country.
In Yemen’s capital Sana’a, demonstrators converged at Saba’een Square on Saturday to slam the Saudi military campaign that has left about 9,400 people dead, most of them civilians, since March 26, 2015.
Masses held Yemeni flags and pictures of Abdulmalik al-Houthi, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, as a show of unity with the group, which has been the main target of Saudi attacks.
The demonstrators also held a large banner reading, “Together against the tyrannical Saudi aggression,” while Saudi regime warplanes were flying over the areas breaking the sound barrier to scare the protesters.
Some demonstrators chanted “End the siege!” while others vowed to “fight the Saudi aggression and its agents until their last man.”
Deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was brought down by popular Arab Spring-style protests beginning in 2011, appeared at the rally surrounded by crowds of supporters.
During a brief speech, the first he has given publicly since the Saudi-led aggression began, Saleh reportedly called for direct negotiations with Saudi Arabia.
“We extend a hand of peace, the peace of the brave, for the direct talks with the Saudi regime without a return to the (UN) Security Council, which is incapable of resolving anything,” Saleh told flag-waving supporters who also held up large posters of the former president.
Addressing Yemeni people in a televised speech on Friday, the Ansarullah leader Abdul Malik al Houthi said the Saudi aggression has failed, adding that it has only led to killing of innocent civilians in Yemen.
“One year on, we look at the outcome of this aggression… It was said to be aimed at helping and serving the Yemeni people. (But) this help came in the form of criminal killings and genocide,” he said in the speech, adding, “The aggression and those criminal aggressors have only caused huge damage at all levels in our country and in the rest of the region.”
Addressing the anti-Saudi rally in Sana’a senior Ansarullah leader Ibrahim al Ubaidi said, “Today, all Yemenis, from all different sects, and regardless of their political affiliations, came out today in the masses to show the world that the Yemeni people can never be shaken nor defeated.”.
“We came out today to tell the world, that the Yemeni people remain steadfast, that we have endured a whole year despite the siege and the hunger and the airstrikes and the planes,” said one participant, named Kamel al-Khodani.
The United Nations says the war has displaced some 2.3 million people and precipitated a humanitarian disaster across large parts of the Arab world’s poorest country.
Many Yemenis expressed skepticism Saturday about the peace talks. Previous attempts to implement a cease-fire quickly failed, as the US-backed Saudi aggressors constantly violated the ceasefire.
Exactly one year ago, on this day, the Saudi regime spearheaded a coalition of nine other Arab regimes and began a prolonged brutal war against the Yemeni people.
The Saudi regime and its allies started the aggression against Yemen on March 26 2015 with the stated objective of destroying the popular Ansarullah movement and restoring to power fugitive former Yemeni president Abdu Rabuh Mansour Hadi.
Yemen is strategically important for Saudi Arabia and other world powers, because it controls the entrance to the Red Sea, a critical sea lane for the export of oil from the region. Saudi Arabia and its allies don’t want to lose control of that waterway. Months of the vicious Saudi-led aggression has taken its toll on Yemen’s besieged citizens, with civilians bearing the brunt of the conflict and the country being left in ruins. The Saudi regime has been stuck in the Yemen quagmire amid rising wars costs and hard economic times at home.
Saudis have basically lost the war from the perspective of their objectives, and now they are trying to find way out of the mess without losing face. The Riyadh regime is desperately looking for a way out of this mess through a ceasefire.
The temporary ceasefire is set to begin on April 10, a week ahead of peace talks scheduled to resume later in the month in Kuwait The United Nations brokered a temporary ceasefire agreement Monday that could finally safe the face of the Saudi regime and end the conflict.
Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the US, France, and the UK to suspend all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia until it ends its airstrikes and investigates bombings resulting in unlawful civilian deaths.
HRW says it has documented 36 illegal airstrikes conducted by the Saudi-led forces in Yemen, some of which may amount to war crimes.
sources – al-Waqt News