Whose Yemen? Yemen’s game of thrones
Yemen’s political history is a complicated one – one filled with tales of wannabe conquests, tribalism, and an insistent yearning for independence. If Yemen has yet to be set free from the yoke of imperial powers, that is not to say that its people lack the ambition. This war actually stands a brilliant testimony of Yemenis’ desire to self-govern, and reclaim control over not just their land but themselves.
For great many decades now Yemen has never ever been truly allowed to set its own political course. Instead, it has been coerced, co-opted and betrayed so that foreign powers could manifest their bidding – to hell with Yemenis and their sovereignty! In this game of thrones Saudi Arabia of course has played centre-stage – a corrosive political entity against the aspiring republic. But if Riyadh has stood a parasite to Yemen’s freedom and national sovereignty – together a malignant suffocating hand, and a deathly plague, the kingdom found much support in its Western allies.
You only have to take one good look at Saudi Arabia’s war room to understand which powers have engineered Yemen’s demise from the very beginning.
By King Salman’s own admission, both the United States and the United Kingdom have assisted the kingdom in its military aggression against Yemen – offering weapons, intelligence, and expertise to their ally. The real question here would be to serve whose agenda? And though many experts have attempted to weigh in in terms of an answer, I’m afraid is not that simple.
I remember how in an interview I conducted with George Galloway for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website earlier this year (2016), the veteran politician insisted that Western powers are playing Riyadh as a proxy – an imperial outpost of sort in their pursuit of global control.
While his comments make perfect sense in that they fit within a narrative of global imperialism … or as I like to call it hyper capitalism, I believe Saudi Arabia is actively working to outmatch its makers, to become THE one political master-puppet. Money after all speaks louder than military might those days. But I’ll get back to that later.
Allow me to stray away from Yemen for a second to delve into a concept which I believe is key to understanding most of the conflicts, and tensions playing out today: globalism. Well it’s actually more than that – globalism after all is merely the expression of capitalism gone wild, a degenerate form of imperialism … and vice versa.
It was actually Lenin who back in 1916 defined imperialism as the highest expression of capitalism. I would venture and say that Mr Lenin was right on the money. Yemen is of course a perfect example of capitalism gone wrong.
As Phil Gasper explained in his writings: “LENIN DID not claim that there was no imperialism before the late 19th century. As he explicitly noted, "Colonial policy and imperialism existed before the latest stage of capitalism, and even before capitalism. Rome, founded on slavery, pursued a colonial policy and practiced imperialism." But, Lenin added: "general" arguments about imperialism, which ignore, or put into the background the fundamental difference of social-economic systems, inevitably degenerate into absolutely empty banalities, or into grandiloquent comparisons like "Greater Rome and Greater Britain. "Even the colonial policy of capitalism in its previous stages is essentially different from the colonial policy of finance capital. What Lenin was attempting to explain was the extremely virulent form of imperialism that began to emerge in the late 19th century, resulting in the scramble for Africa from the 1880s, and the increasing tensions between the major powers that eventually led to world war. In calling it a stage of capitalism, Lenin was saying that the new imperialism was fundamentally an economic phenomenon.”
At its very core Yemen’s war is an imperial war, a neo-colonial conflict which seeks the enslavement of a nation for the sake of control. Of course there is a sinister, darker eugenics agenda to this war which experts have for far too long refused to admit to. I am not referring here to the infamous Sunni-Shia divide … this divide only exists in Riyadh’s mind, a fabrication it concocted to shield itself from the political, social and religious emancipation Shia Islam inherently offers, while rationalizing its own extremism: Wahhabism.
Let us remember that if the world has come to abhor and fear Islam it is because its expression has been tainted by the abomination which is Wahhabism – this ideology of Takfir which requires all infidels to die by the sword of its righteous crusaders. An apocalyptic dogma based on bloodshed, Wahhabism calls for the murder of all those who do not bow to its will, most of all Muslims.
One of the reason Saudi Arabia hates Yemen so much is that its Islam, is not that preached by Riyadh.
And while Riyadh’s ambitions in Yemen are anchored in capitalism, certain actors in the kingdom have pursued a very Wahhabist agenda, adding a sinister sectarian undertone to al-Saud military pursuits.
A report in January 2016 by the Campaign against Arms Trade (CAAT) found the UK has received £5.6 billion ($8.19 billion) for arms deals with Saudi Arabia, since Cameron became prime minister.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) warns that British weapons are central to the military campaign that has “killed thousands of people, destroyed vital infrastructure and inflamed tensions in the region.”
“The UK has been complicit in the destruction by continuing to support airstrikes and provide arms, despite strong and increasing evidence that war crimes are being committed,” he said.
“These arms sales should never have been approved in the first place. The Saudi regime has an appalling human rights record and always has done.”
In an interview with the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, David Mepham, Director of Human Rights Watch UK, noted: "Human Rights Watch has put out numerous reports about what the Saudis are up to in Yemen - that the British are working hand in glove with the Saudis, helping them, enhancing their capacity to prosecute this war that has led to the death of so many civilians. I think it's deeply regrettable and unacceptable.”
Regrettable is one way to put it! All horrors aside why would so many nations spent so much fire power and political efforts on one distant impoverished nation, if not to fulfil a predetermined agenda? Think about it for a second. Why would Saudi Arabia deploy such energy against Yemen if not in the pursuit of something bigger than political restoration? It would be foolish to believe that former President Hadi is worth billions of dollars in military expenditure.
No? Not convinced! Consider this then - back in 2012 Yemen called upon the international community to cauterize its financial haemorrhage with an injection of $9 - 10 billion. “Yemen needs a lot of money to rebuild, to achieve prosperity, to eliminate poverty, unemployment and thereby also terrorism. It needs billions of dollars, tens of billions of dollars,” former Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa told the press back in January 2012 ahead of a Friends of Yemen meeting.
Was Yemen helped out of poverty and instability? Was Yemen ever offered a real way out of the mess its rich oil neighbours plunged it while they basked in a false sense of security? The answer to that question is: of course not! With Yemen rendered impotent, all Persian Gulf monarchies could sleep soundly on their crowns.
The second however Yemen demonstrated any real desire to reclaim its land, reclaim its resources, and reclaim its free will, an entire coalition came charging against its borders. I don’t recall the same passion “to save Yemen” back in 2012, back when Yemen was allegedly transitioning to democracy.
Yemen was never transitioning to anything. Yemen was merely witnessing a change of the guards. Power was still safely holed up in Riyadh, subservient to the financial largesse the kingdom has always been so willing to extend in exchange for political servitude.
Just as the House of Saud played its part in bringing the Ottoman Empire down, thus allowing for Britain to manifest its dreams of control in the Middle East, so it worked to bring Arabia to heed the command of its powerful masters.
Yemen was never meant to be free … Yemen was always meant to yield to those powers which ambitioned to exploit its riches, and turn its land into a source of profit.
If 1962 marked a profound political and institutional shift in Yemen’s history, 1994 would come to seal its future with Saudi Arabia, in that former President Ali Abdullah Saleh allowed for religious colonialism to take place in exchange for a military victory against South Yemen, thus asserting his presidency on political feudalism.
Following is a brief history of Yemen - a visual aid which retraces some of the nation’s most traumatic and important political events. Yemen’s history so far has been one of betrayal and hidden agenda. It is interestingly the rise of the Houthis, and the Resistance movement they helped inspire which actually forced players to show their hands in a more direct light.