The poorest country in Southern Arabia, Yemen has sustained a military aggression of such violence, and furious rage that not even its landscape could escape the ravage of war. Before Riyadh imperious need to bring Yemen to heel, mountains were exploded, and hills were levelled. Before Riyadh’s theocratic wrath, Yemen’s history was obliterated, and its most sacred monuments crumbled into dust.
Before one kingdom’s hunger for absolute control, a people was denied not just sovereignty, but life. Infants have been starved to death, millions have been made to face famine in the face, and international law was exploited as a genocidal tool to secure Riyadh’s pound of flesh.
While few will argue the sheer devastation which was brought upon this land since March 2015, it is the events which led up to the war and the wills which continue to fuel it which remain matters of strong contentious.
Back in August 2015, only five months into the war, Peter Maurer, Head of the International Red Cross admitted to reporters how deeply distressing his visit to Yemen had been. “Five months of war in Yemen has wrought destruction similar to that seen in Syria after five years, he said.
Bearing in mind how intensely abject Syria’s war has been on both the country and its people under the injustice of Daesh, Yemen stands a nameless shame – a testimony to the cruelty, and rapacious greed so characteristic of the House of Saud.
That was seven months ago … Yemen today stands unrecognizable to its own people. Words actually fail when it comes to describing the despair which was brought upon Yemen … words simply cannot translate the unbearable injustice of a life spent under the suffocating shadow of a power whose crimes have been excused, and even legitimized for its coffers withhold many great riches.
Make no mistake: if Yemen stands today a bleeding scar onto the region it is because its territories hold the key to regional control – politics and religion have nothing to do with anything. Politics and religion have only ever been used to distract from Saudi Arabia’s real goals: the pursuit of an oil monopoly through control of the world oil route.
With Yemen within its grasp, Riyadh would manifest a grand energy empire which could rival the reach of the mightiest of all superpowers, securing both its political and financial future for many decades to come. For a kingdom which solely relies on violence and coercion to sustain itself, control is absolutely essential.
If you actually look closely, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a devolution onto itself – a decomposing institutional corpse whose subsistence has been extended through its alliance to the odious intolerance of Wahhabism. Raised from the sand of Nejd at the turn of the 18th century, the formerly unknown House of Saud built itself a kingdom through Takfirism, the very ideology which allowed for the creation of Terror. An expression hate, Takfirism expressly dictates that all infidels – meaning all non-Wahhabis – be put to death, absolutely, without mercy, or exception.
Takfirism claims that the Muslim ummah (the community of believers) has been weakened by deviation in the practice of Islam, and that a cleanse is required against those weaklings in order for the collective to reclaim the word of God. Takfirism requires of its followers to cut themselves off from society, and to fight all infidels to the death. You only have to look at Daesh’s penchant for bloodletting to understand exactly what such ideology entails.
Still, Saudi Arabia has been absolved of all guilt! Still, no Western governments have dared openly denounce the kingdom for its crimes against humanity … and they have been many.
How ironic for Western capitals to denounce radicalism, when they, have attached themselves to the very source which has sustained it, and breathed life into it. How devious have Western governments been, as they worked to pass Riyadh as a viable ally so that oil could flow unhindered towards, while millions cowered under the violence of its rule.
But if deceit still runs deep, Yemen has eroded its walls and drilled holes in its foundations.
Stubbornly steadfast in their resistance Yemenis have managed to punch so many holes in Riyadh’s narrative that the lies the kingdom sold for truths are quickly dissolving. How can any power claim political restoration, and democracy-building when its targets are systematically civilians? Worse still how could the most reactionary and bloodthirsty autocracy in existence ever pretend to fly democracy’s colours?
How many men and women have died inside Saudi Arabia’s borders for daring to ambition such a feat? Have we forgotten the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr this January? Have we forgotten the fate endure by Raif Badawi as he suggested social reforms?
How can any power still present itself as a worthy ally against terror when those territories which fall under its control have been ravaged by extremism? Need I remind readers that Aden, the only city under absolute Saudi occupation has seen more terror activities in the past 6 months than Yemen as a whole in the past decade? It was under Saudi Arabia’s watch that churches and Christian missions were raided. It was under Riyadh’s authority that nuns were brutally murdered and religious hit list drawn up.
For all its political posing and lip service to counter-terrorism Saudi Arabia remains the terror state par excellence – yet it is hailed a valuable ally by Western powers.
Impossible you say? World leaders would never dream aligning themselves with such criminals? I fear you underestimate the pull of money? I fear you thoroughly misunderstood power’s siren song.
Consider this by way of a demonstration: Saudi Arabia a posteriori anchored the legality of its military campaign in Yemen by exploiting, twisting and warping UN Resolution 2216.
A Resolution which provisioned for an embargo on 5 people, was used as an excuse to blockade, starve and punish 27 million Yemenis.
As Vanessa Beeley, an independent researcher and human rights defender noted on social media: “The UN is allied with Saudi terrorism. US and UK facilitate war crimes.”
But for all its lead and the abominations it has rained on Yemen, Yemenis have withstood, and even overcome. Yes, you read overcome!
While such news seldom gets reported on, it remains nevertheless true that Yemen’s Resistance movement, fronted by AnsarAllah has taken its fight to the kingdom itself, rallying to its cause those tribes which not too long ago called themselves Yemenis.
Three of Saudi Arabia most southern provinces – rich provinces one needs to add – actually belong to Yemen. They were stolen in 1934 to be later on auctioned off by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In its desire to expand its dominion further al-Saud Royals failed to understand how fiercely independent Yemenis are, and how absolutely loyal they are to their land, and their tradition.
Today Saudi Arabia is running out of steam, running out of media cover for its crimes, and running out of political friendships.
Through resistance the poorest country of Southern Arabia broke the world’s richest. How is that for a lesson in imperialism?
This article was written by Catherine Shakdam for American Herald Tribune on Mar. 31, 2016. Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen.