Concealed by war lies and propaganda, the Yemeni people are massacred visibly for all to see.
The war in Yemen is not a conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran – even if the leading media suggest it time and again. Rannie Amiri explains that it is rather a one-sided offensive of the Saudis and their allies against the Huthi after they had ousted the Saudi-backed President Mansur Hadi in 2015. There can be no question of “rebels led by Iran” either. Because the Huthi are generally closer to the Sunni Saudis than the Shiite Iranians. The population of Yemen has to serve as a substitute for the “real enemy”.
There is no proxy war in Yemen!
Those in the Western media who are too busy trying to understand the complexities, subtleties and nuances of the Middle East often use the conclusion that all conflicts in this region are a kind of “proxy war” between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
This is usually due to ignorance. Conflicts are reduced to the lowest common denominator of “Sunnis versus Shiites”, or between the states that function as the most important patron saints for the two. But often it is deliberately concealed; it must be justified that a US ally causes regional chaos on the pretext of enclosing an enemy.
The most obvious and welcome scapegoat is Iran. The aspirations of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and, of course, Israel to curb Iran’s alleged expansionism are being watched idly. One of the most devastating and tragic episodes in the Middle East is currently taking place in Yemen. This is not, however, a de facto proxy war about which, according to the war financiers, we do not want to investigate any further because we are tired of the news.
Saudi Arabia against the Huthi
Despite constant statements to the contrary by the lazy media, there is no proxy war in Yemen. The war that has devastated the poorest country in the Arab world since March 2015 is a one-sided attack led by Saudi Arabia that has destroyed the state, its economy, its infrastructure and its social services to such an extent that malnutrition is widespread and a cholera epidemic is rampant. Allegedly, the military campaign carried out by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates served to expel Huthi-led rebels who, in January 2015, ousted the highly unpopular President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi, a Saudis-backed puppet, from power. He had been elected in a vote in which he was the only candidate. He remained in power even after the expiry of a one-year mandate that had extended his term. The Huthi, a politico-religious group officially known as Ansar Allah and named after its founder Hussein Badreddin al-Huthi, had originally formed in opposition to Hadi’s predecessor, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
No Iranian rebels
The Huthi belong mainly to the Zaidites, who form a branch of the larger Shiite group within Islam. Branding the Huthi as “Iranian-backed Shiite rebels”, as is now common practice, allows a simple and useful categorization to identify “the bad guys” in the media of the West and the Gulf states. But that is a lie. The inconvenient fact is that the Zaidites are generally closer to Sunni Islam than Shiite Islam – and the Saudis-backed long-term military dictator Saleh was Zaidit. More importantly, apart from his declaration of solidarity with the Huthi, there is no conclusive evidence of military intervention by Iran or its allies in Yemen. On the contrary, and very clearly, the Saudi and Emirati inhumane bombings are the most blatant example of foreign interference in the internal affairs of another state.
When a school bus was hit in an air raid and 40 children were killed, the Saudi coalition initially justified this as a “legitimate military target” before an international outcry finally led to the conclusion that it had been different.
On the other hand, the Huthi’s irregular rocket attacks on Saudi military installations, which are cited as evidence of foreign military equipment, erroneously suggest that the Huthi are legitimate, capable, combat-tested forces. Apparently, the regime cannot understand that, despite daily attacks, they had the strength to strike back and demonstrate offensive rather than purely defensive capabilities.
Cruel and one-sided
In Yemen, there is no conflict between religious currents or representatives, but a war resulting from the aftermath of the fall of another Saudi-controlled ruler. At least 10,000 Yemenis have been killed since 2015. With a total population of 29 million, 22 million need some form of assistance, and eight million suffer from malnutrition. These numbers are expected to increase now that there is evidence that Saudi Arabia is attacking food supplies.
The war waged in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its allies and their shameless use of US and British weapons borders on a veritable invasion. It is a unilateral, vicious military adventure that has driven millions of people into poverty and has so far proved totally unsuccessful in achieving its goals.
The only representatives in this conflict are the victims of its war crimes; innocent men, women and children who have starved to death or been killed. They are placeholders for a nebulous power that has yet to be determined.
Rannie Amiri is an independent commentator on political events in the Middle East.
translate from German to English by Alfonso