By PAT LYONS
“Once your clients have a quasi-independent military capacity, you lose some control over them,” said Gregory Gause III, a military specialist at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A and M University. Gause was referring to the saturation bombing campaign of Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its “coalition of the willing” Gulf-state monarchies.
United Nations reports document that more than 1600 Yemenis have been killed since late March and another 300,000 displaced, in what all on-the-scene relief workers, at least those who have not been evacuated, describe as yet another humanitarian catastrophe. This one is backed to the hilt by the United States—as are virtually all of the similar assaults in the Middle East.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, the Saudis are using U.S.-manufactured cluster bombs in Yemen. “Saudi-led cluster munition air strikes have been hitting areas near villages, putting local people in danger,” Steve Goose, director of the arms division of Human Rights Watch, stated in the May 4 Guardian newspaper. “These weapons should never be used under any circumstances. Saudi Arabia and other coalition members—and the supplier, the U.S.—are flouting the global standard that rejects cluster munitions because of their long-term threat to civilians.”
On May 19, at the end of a so-called truce, Saudi jets struck hard at the presidential palace and other buildings in the capital, Sana’a. Witnesses said that the targets included a missile brigade base south of the city, where previous air strikes on April 20 set off a chain of explosions that killed 38 civilians.
The Saudi intervention began on March 25 against the tribal-based Houthi rebels, a Shiite-based grouping who deposed their Saudi-imposed dictator, Abdu Rabbu Monsour Hadi, and proceeded to take over close to the entire country.
The Saudi oil dynasty initially projected sending 150,000 Arab oil-monarch troops to re-impose Hadi rule, but after three weeks of widely condemned horror, including the bombing of civilian refugee camps, public buildings, schools, and the like, the Houthis essentially remained in control of the entire nation, minus small areas now occupied by al-Qaeda terrorists.
Al-Qaeda proclaims, along with the Saudis, that the Houthis received major military aid from Iran. Yet not a single source to date has confirmed any Iranian military support. The Houthis received arms that were turned over to them by the defecting Yemeni army, whose ranks almost totally abandoned the Hadi dictatorship—although many troops are loyal to the previous dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Yemen has been subjected to a total naval embargo, enforced by the armadas of its Gulf Cooperation Council (oil monarchies) allies along with the war ships of the Egyptian dictatorship, who the Saudis previously supported when General Abdel Sisi ousted the elected Mohammed Mori government in the 2013 U.S.-backed military coup.
The Obama administration has sent its own armada to enforce the blockade of Yemen, lest the Iranians seek to deliver food and other non-military aid to the now-starving Yemeni people. Iranian ships carrying food and medical supplies have been prevented from doing so.
White House communications director Jen Psaki, aping the Saudi monarch’s line that their objective is to defend their own “national security” interests, stated on April 22, “They [the Saudis] are worried about their own security. And of course, we’ve supported them with their actions.” In fact, the U.S. has provided virtually all the intelligence and logistical support for the Saudi bombing.
Both the U.S. and Saudi Arabian military chiefs initially believed that bombing the Houthi rebels to smithereens, reducing the nation to near-starvation and threatening a massive ground invasion would bring the Houthi rebels, long alienated from the political process and victims of the massive corruption of the Hadi government, to the bargaining table. But the U.S. ruling class has once again miscalculated their capacity to impose “regime change” by mere force of terror bombing and military intervention.
Thus, Psaki felt compelled to add to her proclamation of support to the Saudi bombing, “But, again, we’re trying to redirect this to a political discussion here.” The Houthis, in turn, have agreed to UN-sponsored negotiations on the condition that all bombing raids and the naval blockade are halted.
Once again, U.S. imperialism and its clients, in this instance, the Saudi oil-monarch government, have sought to undertake whatever is required to advance their economic and political interests. For both, the alliance, overt or covert, with terrorist forces, whether they be ISIS or al-Qaeda, is subordinate to imperialism’s greater objective—to dominate the world economy in the interest of the elite ruling class in power, no matter the cost in human lives and environmental destruction.
For U.S. antiwar and social justice activists, the fight to end imperialist intervention in the Middle East and everywhere else is a moral and political imperative. The right of oppressed nations to self-determination, free from all colonial and neo-colonial domination, is central to an effective antiwar strategy.
No imperialist power or their clients, or the imperialist-dominated United Nations, has any right to negotiate the future of an oppressed people. The demand “U.S. Out Now!” must be primary to any movement that fights for the right of the poor people of the world to decide their own destiny.
Photo: Explosions from fighting in the city of Aden between Houthis and supporters of exiled Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Masour Hadi. By Saleh AL-Obeidi / AFP / Getty Images