Saudis Attacking Yemen in support of Al-Qaeda against the Yemeni People ~ Yemen Updates: 3 May 2015

Dr. Saeb Shaath: Saudis Are Fighting in Yemen Alongside Al-Qaeda


Ausschnitt aus der Stadtansicht der Altstadt von Sanaa

TEHRAN (FNA)– The Saudi war on Yemen, which has so far left over 3,100 civilians dead, seems to have no clear ending, and even the Israeli paper Yediot Ahronot has called it “[a] war for the survival of the Saudi monarchy.”

The Al Saud monarchy decided to launch aerial attacks on Yemen on March 19 in response to the rise of the Houthi revolutionaries in the crisis-hit country, fearing that a new popular government at the doorstep of Arabian Peninsula would further undermine its plans for cementing its regional hegemony.

However, the attacks have yielded no significant result, simply causing death and destruction in a country already grappling with poverty, corruption and foreign meddling.

The United Nations has confirmed that as of April 26, 693 civilians have lost their lives in the war, to which four members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC), Sudan, Morocco and Egypt have contributed troops. The United States and Israel also backing Saudi Arabia militarily and financially.

A former Palestinian diplomat and political analyst believes that the Saudi war of aggression against Yemen is a war for dominance and hegemony. He says the Saudis are resorting to the tactics that the Israeli army has used in its frequent incursions into the besieged Gaza Strip.

“The Saudi air force resorted to intensify its attacks and targeting of civilian infrastructure, hospitals, schools, residential areas, etc. to cause and inflect pain, hardship and suffering on Yemeni people,” said Dr. Saeb Shaath in an interview with Fars News Agency. “The Saudis turned to using the Israelis’ military tactics of collectively punishing the civilian population, hoping to steer their anger against the revolutionaries and accuse them as the instigators of their suffering, as they did in the last war of aggression on Gaza.”

Saeb Shaath is a former diplomat and Palestinian representative in Ireland. He is a renowned Middle East political expert and author. Dr. Shaath shared his viewpoints about the ongoing war on Yemen, its background and global repercussions in an in-depth interview with FNA. The following is the text of the interview.

Q: Why do you think the United States is supporting the invasion of Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its crackdown on the Houthis in the south? The war has claimed thousands of innocent lives and is contributing to further instability and chaos in the Middle East. What’s your take?

A: The revolutionary wave in Yemen, in which the Houthi movement Ansarullah is playing a leading role, came about to achieve and fulfill the Yemeni revolution’s strategic goals, such as equal citizenship, social justice, reclaim the country’s sovereignty and put an end to foreign intervention in Yemen, mainly by the USA and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia all along considered Yemen as its own backyard that falls within its sphere of influence. The revolutionaries ousted President Hadi, precisely because he took his decisions according to instructions and directions from the Saudi and US embassies in Sana’a.

President Hadi backtracked on the power-sharing agreements he had agreed upon with all political parties and movements in Yemen. The power-sharing agreements represented the will of the Yemeni people. It took the political parties several months of negations to reach that accommodating formula. [But] Hadi backtracked and took back Yemen to authoritarianism and corruption according to Saudi and US directions.

When the revolutionaries did march on Sana’a in September 2014 and captured the presidential palace, they were more interested in combating the government corruption and protecting the Yemeni revolution from the counter-revolutionary forces who were sponsored by the USA and Saudi regime.

It became evident, to the people of Yemen, that Hadi’s government turned to be an integral part of that counter-revolution. As an immediate result of the government corruption and the foreign meddling in the Yemeni affairs, the daily lives of the ordinary people became a lot harder, prices rocketed, fuel and goods subsidies were removed in accordance with the neo-liberal policies that the US promoted in Yemen. Then the second phase of the revolution was triggered and the people marched on Sana’a to protect the country and their revolution.

Q: Can we interpret Saudi’s unprompted military intervention in Yemen as part of the new king’s plans for extending the umbrella of Saudi dominance in the Middle East, predicated on a rigid opposition to any kind of self-determination and independence for the Shiites in the region? Isn’t Saudi Arabia fanning the flames of sectarian and inter-religious conflict through its military expedition in Yemen?

A: In September 2014, the United States and its puppets in the region, mainly Saudi Arabia, became immensely edgy, when they witnessed the revolutionaries led by the Ansarullah movement imposing their control over Yemen’s capital, Sana’a.

The USA has been meddling in Yemen’s affairs under the cover of its War on Terror i.e. fighting al-Qaeda in Yemen. The irony today is that since the advancement of the revolutionary forces in Sana’a, the USA and its puppets are fighting alongside al-Qaeda in Yemen against the revolutionaries. That led us to one conclusion, that they were from the beginning furthering and championing the same goals, which are to keep Yemen dominated by USA and it Saudi agent, and to prevent the Yemeni revolution from succeeding or achieving its national goals of reclaiming Yemen’s sovereignty, eradicating poverty, eliminating USA and Saudi’s dominance over Yemen, and creating a fair republic for the people, governed by the people.

The revolutionaries’ fast advancements all over the country and their gaining control over Sanaa, the capital, shocked the USA and its puppets in the Arabian Peninsula. USA invested heavily in keeping such puppets in the Arabian Peninsula; that kind of investment in imposing tyrannical regimes who enforce their absolutists’ ruthless tribal rule over the people of Arabia. The system of Arabia’s tyrannical tribal regimes were designed by the inelegance officers of the British Empire to facilitate the British dominance and control of Arabia, as well as to use Arabia’s tribal regimes in the process of creating and securing the Zionist entity ‘Israel’.

Q: It seems like Yemen is appealing to the United States as a strategic asset that needs to be preserved at any cost. Why is Washington investing so heavily in the war against Yemen and supporting the Saudi invasion of the Arab country already ruined with poverty, corruption and drone attacks?

A: From the American empire prospective, this system became a very necessary tool, used well in dominating and subjecting Arabia and facilitating the looting of its strategic resources, oil and gas. The consumption of the wealth of this system of tribal regimes proved effective in destabilizing the region as whole, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.

The ruling tribal families of Arabia used their unchallenged control over the oil and gas resources to destabilize and stagnate the Russian and Iranian economies, through the mechanism of dumping oil and gas on the international market to reduce its prices globally, while there are millions of deprived and underprivileged Arab people in need of that wealth which al-Saud is wasting on harming other nations in service to the enemies of the Arab people.

I was not surprised at the recent Russian’s position on the UN Security Council regarding Yemen. The Russians as well as the Chinese did miscalculate and gambled with their own national security, by not vetoing the resolution on Yemen.

It became paramount to the western imperialist-Zionist actors to see the Yemeni revolutionary movement led by the Houthis defeated, or at least contained, so that  the people of Arabia, specifically of the eastern provinces of Arabia, who sympathize with Yeminis and those who have their own similar revolutionary movement smashed by the Saudi regime, are not going to adopt the Yamani’s model in fighting for social justice, political rights and becoming sovereign over their country and its wealth.

The success of the Yemini revolution shall influence the geopolitical dynamics not just for Arabia and its neighboring countries, but more importantly, it shall have a global geopolitical influence.

Q: Some analysts believe Saudi Arabia is fanning the flames of sectarian conflict in the region through its unanticipated military assault on Yemen. Do you agree with this standpoint?

A: Yes, indeed Saudi Arabia is fanning the flames of sectarian and inter-religious conflict through its military gamble in Yemen as it did in other countries. That’s precisely to halt the speedy advancement of the revolutionary forces in Yemen and undermine them through waging a war that kills the opportunity of establishing a fair and just political system in Yemen.

The conflict the Saudis created in Yemen was never about religion; it was all about dominance and control, while religion, money and other means are used to achieve such goals. For example, the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh is a Zaydi, like the Houthis, but he fought the Houthis before and allied with them today. Before his removal from power, he was in alliance with the Saudi regime; so religion is used in this war of aggression to assist and serve the Saudi and American agenda in the region. Both actors are experts in deploying religion as a tool to instigate a sectarian and inter-religious conflict.

So Yemenis have to suffer the fate of Iraqis, Syrians and Libyans, to stay engaged into perpetual wars imposed on them and sectarian wars designed for plunging them in their mayhem, to keep the status quo, to stop any revolutionary change that might disturb the existing balance of power, whether it’s regional or global.

Q: How do you see Turkey’s role in the Saudi invasion of Yemen, given the fact that they have shrugged off joining the Saudi-led coalition forces against Yemen?

A: Arabs viewed Turkey as the NATO’s military base guarding Europe’s southern borders and assuring Europe of Israel’s existence within historical Palestine. It was Ahmet Davutoglu himself, who introduced the Turkish “zero problems with the neighbors” policy, but since then the region witnessed totally the opposite, and Turkey played a major role in creating the problems for the neighboring countries. That was in part, to achieve what Davutoglu called Turkey’s ‘historical legacy’, i.e. the ideological driving force behind Turkey’s AKP leadership to establish a major regional power. Within that political vision, the Arab world falls under Turkey’s ‘sphere of influence’.

The Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan pursuance of a greater regional and global influence and his desires to re-establish the ‘Ottoman empire’ is behind a large part of the turmoil that wrecked havoc in many Arabic countries. Erdogan and his party AKP considered the Arabs as part of the Turkish ‘historical legacy’ or the ‘Ottoman empire’, using false anti-Israeli sentiments to gain popularity among Arabs searching for a leader. He believed such false sentiments would position him as the leading and the only popular figure, and that alone would justify the Turkish policies that are actively seeking to fill the political and power vacuum, which was created in the Arab world, since the American invasion of Iraq.

From this prospective, Turkey is conducting pragmatic and opportunistic policies in supporting Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. On the other hand, Turkey cannot gamble with the huge benefits it gets from trading with Iran – nearly 30 billion a year, which shall be doubled after the lifting of the western sanctions imposed on Iran.

 Turkey, as a NATO member and an ally of the US and Israel, is of course supporting the Saudis war of aggression on Yemen, and of course it does not want to see the revolutionaries succeed in Yemen, but for sure it will not gamble the commercial ties with Iran and will try to help in the political resolution of the crisis to find a face-saving formula for the Saudi regime.

Q: So, why Egypt has supported the invasion and bombardment of Yemen by Saudi Arabia? Does Egypt, under President El-Sisi, have any interests in fighting Yemen, at least politically?

A: Regarding Egypt’s position, Egypt voiced it support to this war. I think part of this support is due to the financial support that Saudi Arabia is providing Egypt with, as well as the financing of Egypt’s military contracts with Russia that might be one of the pressuring points used by the Saudis to convince the Russians, whose economy needs the cash, not to veto the UN Security Council resolution on Yemen.

Egypt’s army has its own bad experience with interfering in Yemen in 1962 and fighting against the Saudis and the northern Yemeni tribes, who were against establishing the revolutionary Republic of Yemen and supporting the monarchists.

Egypt has its own problems, in Sinai and on its western borders with Libya. Egypt’s support for the Arab task-force which Saudi wages its war on Yemen under its banner, originated in Egypt’s plans to use the same banner to attack ISIL and Takfiri groups in Libya, and to get financial and political support in fighting them in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Egypt found itself in the same strange alliance, with its own archenemies, Turkey, Qatar and al-Qaeda, who are in a way or another fighting the revolutionaries in Yemen, adding to that a considerable and growing Egyptian public opinion which is against the war waged on Yemen. Protesters against the war took to the streets of Cairo, since Egypt’s contributions to the war on Yemen consists of only issuing political statement of support and displaying navy muscles at the Red Sea, to demonstrate its will to protect the route to the Suez Canal.

Q: Have the Saudis achieved their goals in invading Yemen? It sounds like their military assault on Yemen had no clear strategy at the outset, and was a hasty reaction to the rise of Ansarullah (the political party of the Houthi revolutionaries) in the southern areas of the country. Now, they find the region in chaos, and have no plan for ending the conflict. Why is it so?

A: I believe the Saudi war of aggression on Yemen has failed in its major goal to stop the advancement of the revolutionaries led by Ansaruallah movement. It failed in halting them from bringing in large territories of Yemen under their control.

Since the refusal of the Pakistani and Egyptian armies to send in troops to form the bulk of the forces that will invade Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s military planners panicked. They know that they do not have the manpower or the military capabilities to send in troops who are capable of launching and conducting a ground invasion into Yemen.

The Saudi forces do not have the expertise of conducting military operations in urban areas, or to face guerrilla fighters in asymmetric warfare settings.

The Saudi air force resorted to intensify its attacks and targeting of civilian infrastructure, hospitals, schools, residential areas, etc. to cause and inflect pain, hardship and suffering on Yemeni people. The Saudis turned to using the Israelis’ military tactics of collectively punishing the civilian population, hoping to steer their anger against the revolutionaries and accuse them as the instigators of their suffering, as they did in the last war of aggression on Gaza.

The ‘Israelis’ military tactics of collectively punishing the civilian population in Gaza failed in driving a wedge between the Palestinian people and their resistance, but it succeeded in destroying cities, towns, villages and killing thousands of civilian and vanishing entire families. That is exactly what the Saudi war of aggression on Yemen is doing today to Yemenis, manufacturing a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, as the only way to mount enormous pressure on the revolutionaries and inflict defeat upon them.

Indeed, the Saudi airstrikes, have aided the Yemen-based “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” by limiting Houthi attacks on their terrorists and enabling AQAP to overrun prisons and free scores of its militants, as well as rearming and resupplying them by airdrops made by the Saudi Air Force over areas controlled by AQAP. So more supplies and support is arriving into the AQAP, meanwhile they have seized new territories in recent weeks, after the defeats inflicted on them by the revolutionaries.

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari

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 39 Days of Aggression: Saudi Airstrikes Continue in Yemen, Hudaydah’s Air Base Pounded

39 Days of Aggression: Saudi Airstrikes Continue in Yemen, Hudaydah's Air Base Pounded

TEHRAN (FNA)– Saudi warplanes resumed their bombing raids on Sunday and launched several airstrikes on an air defense base in Yemen’s Hudaydah, leaving large groups of people dead and injured in neighboring areas.

The kingdom’s bombers pummeled Hudaydah’s air defense base with six strikes and killed scores of people in the nearby areas.

Also in the last 24 hours, the Saudi troops fired artillery shells against al-Malaheedh and Dhahir districts in Sa’ada, killing dozens of people.

In their 39th day of aggression against Yemen, the Saudi bombers hit Shabwah province and killed a large number of people.

Also, the kingdom’s fighter jets pounded Dhahir district in Yemen’s Sa’ada province, and claimed the lives of scores of people.

The Saudi military aircraft launched several strikes against residential buildings in Wadi Lieh district in Sa’ada and left large groups of civilians dead.

The Saudi-led fighter jets also bombed Aden international airport and Crater district on Sunday despite its declared truce.

The Yemeni capital city of Sana’a was also heavily targeted on Sunday.

Additionally, two trucks carrying food and medical supplies were heavily pounded by Saudi attacks in Sa’ada province on Sunday.

Later in the day, the Saudi warplanes pounded mountainous areas in Sa’ada and wounded three people.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 39 days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 3,163 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.

Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.

On April 21, the monarchy declared end to Yemen airstrikes after five weeks of bombings, but airstrikes are still underway.

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