SHAFAQNA – While the world remains transfix on Aleppo, arguing political agendas as civilians are caught in the crossfire, Yemen has almost completely fallen off the map – the forgotten war of a forgotten people, whose land has been ravage by wanton brutality.
Yemen you see stands a moral and political stumbling block Western powers have been unable to rationalise to their audience – how does one go about justifying genocide? And so silence has been offered where outrage should have reigned.
Yemen’s war has been muffled out … censored even, so that none would witness what horrors Saudi Arabia has committed against an entire people in the name of hegemonic imperialism. If it is adjectives you are after I would advise to look at the litany of images rights activists have posted on social media, featuring famine-ravaged children, injured civilians, and exploded civil infrastructures.
And although you may argue that wars are by definition destructive, and bloody, I would defend that even wars have rules. Wars should never become a rationale for cold-blooded murder.
And yes Yemen stands in a region of the world so remote from Western shores you may imagine yourself safe from all repercussions … But are you? Safe that is? Are you truly safe when your own governments allow for dangerous weapons of war to be sold to murderous regimes for their coffers hide dizzying wealth? Can you, in all honesty warrant political support to those regimes which advocate death on communities on account of their differences?
I doubt any sane person would … and yet the world has stood behind Saudi Arabia, offering not a whisper before its bloody persecution of Yemen. Yemen has been exploded, burnt, starved, defiled, and denied – still state officials have argued sectarian adjectives to deflect blame and deny responsibility.
I have seen Yemen Resistance fighters labelled as Shia rebels backed by Iran too many times to believe it was by accident. Why would a people’s creed matter? Why this sudden need to offer qualitative religious adjectives when discussing Yemen, when Yemen has acted in self-defence? Why allege political connections devoid of any factuality if not to engineer a pre-approved narrative?
I hate it to break it to you but Yemen is not another proxy in between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Yemen is very much alone in this deadly struggle … Yemenis are not taking their cues from Tehran when it comes to defending the integrity of their borders. Why would you assume they do? Why would anyone assume that faith automatically implies political allegiance? Talk about prejudiced bigotry, and Orientalism.
In all truth Yemen could have done with an Iranian alliance. At least then the war-torn nation would not have had to bear military interventionism on its own; at least then Yemen would have had a friend to stand in its corner, rather than face annihilation alone.
If Yemen is a proxy it is for Western powers covert imperialism. If Yemen should in fact be defined by great many adjectives, it is to condemn Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabist agenda – this expression of neo-theofascism Western capitals have enabled and essentially weaponised.
Let me tell you what your indifference bought Yemen.
In early October a funeral hall in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital was double-tapped by Saudi warplanes to make a point. What point would that be? That Yemen owns not its sovereignty, political future, or religious freedom.
Over 140 were killed and an excess of 525 severely injured to satisfy Riyadh’s political vindictiveness. Not even the United States could bury such a criminal act.
Here is how the Guardian covered the event: “The dead and wounded include senior military and security officials from the ranks of the Shia Houthi rebels fighting President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi.”
Here we are again with the Shia label … what about we gave Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi his own … it would be only polite. Here is what reports should read: twice-resigned, once runaway renegade Wahhabi-sympathiser former President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi? At least those adjectives we can back up with empirical evidences.
Before such unwarranted attack the world presented but timid condemnation. What is it that they say? “The customer is never wrong.”
Indeed, in our dystopian capitalist society one does not anger wealthy patrons, especially not when their military endeavours have allowed for billions to be made on the blood of the innocent.
Saudi Arabia has been given a licence to kill, its ruling elite is quite determined to make the most of it. According to the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies over 13,000 civilians have perished as a direct result of Riyadh’s aggression since March 2015; tens of thousands have been injured and over 3 million people have been displaced.
To such grim figures you need to add 2 million severely malnourished children, 7 million critically food insecure people and 26 million men, women and children in need of immediate humanitarian aid.
… Yemen stands still under a humanitarian blockade. In negation of every law under the Sun, Yemen has been condemned to a slow death so that the kingdom would claim victory.
Today this insane colonial campaign against Yemen could explode dramatically tensed geopolitical dynamics and turn one local conflict into a global military struggle. America’s attack on October 13, 2016 – however tactically limited it claimed to be – could lock competing powers into a deadly embrace. If Syria is anything to go by, Yemen is setting up to be the world’s next military flashpoint.
By Catherine Shakdam – Director of Programs for the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies. This oped was published first in the American Herald Tribune here.