SHAFAQNA – Saudi Arabia has been engaged in a deadly campaign against Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall the former Yemeni government. The offensive has so far killed 11,400 amid countless reports suggesting deliberate and indiscriminate targeting of civilian infrastructure by Saudi jets and mercenaries. Yemen is also grappling with the scarcity of food supplies and an outbreak of diseases amid the Saudi war.
Multiple international rights groups have urged the United States to halt weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, regarding it to be complicit in the large number of civilian deaths in Yemen if it fails to do so.
Press TV has talked to Catherine Shakdam, director of Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, as well as Lawrence J. Korb, US foreign policy and national security analyst, to discuss Saudi Arabia’s military aggression against Yemen.
Shakdam believes Saudi Arabia is trying to recreate a “grand Wahhabi Empire” in Yemen, adding that the real issue in this war is about sectarianism and the kind of hatred that is coming out of Riyadh.
She also stated that Saudi Arabia has been allowed to conduct“genocide” south of its borders just because it does not feel safe to have a Shia government there who wants to step outside the realm of Riyadh and declare itself free.
The analyst further noted Saudi Arabia “unilaterally” attacked Yemen because the Yemeni people decided to speak against the corrupt regime of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi who was elected in a one-man election in 2012 and was working alongside al-Qaeda.
“We have to remember that al-Qaeda speaks the ideology of Wahhabism which is coming out of Riyadh and again former president Hadi has worked actively alongside al-Qaeda, very well-known officials and militants, he has promoted them to state officials because he is working to recreate some kind of a Caliphate in the south of Yemen,” she said.
Shakdam further asserted that the United States seeks to split up countries along sectarian and ethnic lines in order to justify its military interventionism in the Middle East.
She also opined that Washington wants to have a military position in Socotra which still belongs to Yemen, arguing that it is trying to divide up the country and obliterate the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
The analyst went on to say that Washington is trying to paint Yemen’s resistance movement as being some kind of a “rebel” force bound to destroy the country’s democracy.
Elsewhere in her remarks, Shakdam noted the United States will never discuss the humanitarian catastrophe it has helped create in Yemen because that would be admitting to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
She also mentioned the humanitarian disaster in Yemen is much more “grave” and “horrible” than the media are covering, asserting that the death toll has been distorted and redacted.
Commenting on Yemen’s peace talks in Kuwait, the analyst said the Houthis decided to withdraw from the talks because of Saudi Arabia’s unacceptable points.
Saudi Arabia wanted to force Yemen to give up its sovereignty, its land and its right to political self-determination, she stated.
The analyst concluded by saying that Yemenis will not bow to tyranny and the only thing they need is for the United States and Saudi Arabia to back off.
Meanwhile, the other panelist on Press TV’s program, Lawrence J. Korb, opined that the Saudis have acted in “self-defense” because they were concerned that the Houthis might come into Saudi Arabia after they overthrew the legitimate government of Hadi.
He also stated that Saudi Arabia’s military aggression against Yemen has prevented the Houthis from taking over the country. However, he said, all wars are horrible, wishing the Houthis had not backed out from last summer’s peace talks in Kuwait.
“I wish they had come to some sort of an agreement last summer. No one is winning but the fact of the matter is everybody has to give something and if the Houthis are willing to step aside, let there be a transitional government that the Yemeni people choose, then we can get on or maybe they can divide it up into north and south where we had this division throughout their history,” he said.
According to the analyst, when this war is over, the international community will come in and provide the aid and assistance that is needed there.