Yemen conflict; showcase of US West Asia policy confusion

Alwaght– The Saudi Arabian decision to wage a war against the neighboring Yemen under excuse of confronting the Yemeni Ansarullah movement came after Washington’s green light. Actually, the Arab world has no independent will to impose its demands on the White House, and the Arab states without coordination with Washington do not have the ability to change the political map of their vicinity. Therefore, amid fierce wars against terrorism in Syria and Iraq, Saudi Arabia’s anti-Yemen aggression comes in line with a more comprehensive Western plan in the West Asia region.

While Ansarullah before war on Yemen had little clout in the country’s political structure, Al Saud regime announced plans to curb the movement’s gain of power, a move that showed Riyadh had some behind-the-scene goals by its Yemen campaign. The war marred the political order in this small country, consequently leading to rise of Al-Qaeda terrorist group there. This emergence of the terrorists in Yemen itself provided an appropriate pretext for Washington to make military deployment to Yemen’s south.

The recent US efforts to build a permanent military base in the southern Yemeni province of Lahij means Washington seeks full control of Gulf of Aden and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. Bab-el-Mandeb Strait connects Oman Sea to the Red Sea, and by itself it is of high strategic significance. Once US forces are stationed in the Lahij base, in addition to dominating the marine activities and the commercial shipping routes they can boost the Israeli coasts’ security.

Additionally, it appears that Washington’s hand in destabilizing Yemen is driven by an American eye set on the rich Yemeni oil reserves. Although we hear news about the Yemen’s oil nearing its end, a new Sky News report suggests that Yemen, and particularly Al Jawf and Marib provinces, is home to richest oil reserves in the world. If Riyadh and Washington can control Yemen, they will be in control of an important part of the world’s oil artery.

So, Yemen began to secure a strategic place in Washington’s equations. But Ansarullah’s resistance, its alliance with the country’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the popular support for the movement set up hurdles ahead of Washington plans in Yemen, making things go against the US initial schemes.

Meanwhile, rising Yemen civilian deaths as a result of the Saudi-led Arab coalition’s fighter jets airstrikes have drawn criticism against Saudi Arabia and its allies on the international stage, a criticism that could also make its way to Washington as main arms supplier of the anti-Yemeni Arab alliance.

The developments of Yemen crisis over the past 20 months appear to indicate that Washington does not want to share the price of war with Saudi Arabia. This was clear when the Americans declined to pressure the UN to avoid blacklisting Saudi Arabia as children rights violator, trying, in a way, to keep away from the UN motion.

As Michael Maloof, a former Pentagon official, put it the US and the West as a whole took a hypocritical approach in dealing with Yemen’s events in comparison to other countries that witnessed popular uprisings. The White House, meanwhile, only thinks about interests it could gain from the Saudi Arabian assault on Yemen. So, in a time when Al Saud’s adventures in the region cost it $81 billion in budget deficit, Washington shows no will to stand by its Persian Gulf Arab allies, or at least Saudi Arabia, in their toughest times. This comes while Riyadh is Washington’s top Arab ally, and in case of full implementation of US strategy of shift to East Asia, Saudi Arabia can act as one of major US proxies in the region.

The US never takes a stable and even policy in Yemen. While weakening of Saudi Arabiawill result in weakened Israeli security wall, Pentagon makes no decision for direct military intervention in Yemen to change the course of war there. Furthermore, Washington put name of Mohammed al-Yadumi, the chairman of Yemeni Congregation for Reform or Al-Islah in Arabic, which is Riyadh’s ally, in its terror list. This is another indication of US uneven policy in Yemen.

All in all, Americans have chosen to remain silence against Saudis’ measures, and it seems that they no longer want to be present in the Persian Gulf Arab states. This could be more costly for the Saudis than their budget deficit or their being forced to accede to negotiations with Ansarullah.

In fact, although Yemen’s rich energy reserves and geopolitical position matter dearly for the Americans, embroilment in both Syria and Iraq conflicts by no means allows for another American military maneuvering in another country. So, currently, Washington’s stances on the Yemen war are volatile and dependent on the battleground developments.