As long as the lucrative arms business continues, human lives will always be the last variable to enter into the equation of capitalist geopolitics. The silent war that began three years ago represents an investment of more than 100 billion dollars whose only successes so far are hunger, cholera and destruction.
On March 25, the Saudi coalition, formed by the Gulf Cooperation Council, the US, France, the United Kingdom and Israel, declared a No Fly-Zone in Yemen. The Saudi king stated that the Saudi army had control of the territory and starts bombing several locations in the country. So begins what is nowadays seen as the total destruction of the country and all its basic infrastructures.
The invasion was called Operation Decisive Storm and brought together 9 countries led by Saudi Arabia, hundreds of thousands of troops, avowed support from the US and other Western powers, modern military equipment and millions of dollars. Despite the means at its disposal, the operation was a complete failure in military terms, with the fierce Yemeni resistance even carrying out attacks within Saudi territory.
Along with the military operation, Saudi Arabia has also initiated a murderous blockade that prevents the entry of any boat into the ports controlled by Houthi forces, including ships that carry food or medicine. With Yemen being 90% dependent on imports to meet the basic needs of its population, it is easy to see that the hunger and lack of medicine in the country is caused by the Saudi blockade. This blockade is only possible with American technical and logistical support, since it sells and maintains the military material used by Saudi Arabia.
According to the United Nations, at least 10.000 people have already died in Yemen – this is a ridiculous number, frozen in time since the conflict began. The UN argues that there are no means in the country to arrive at the real count, but this has not prevented anyone from extrapolating on the number of victims of the Syrian war. We know, however, that three quarters of the country need humanitarian aid. Eight million people are starving. Cholera – a disease which had been eradicated in Yemen – has infected at least one million people. The genocidal coalition has also perpetrated several war crimes such as the systematic bombing of hospitals and civilians – not even school buses are being spared the bombardments. Faced with this reality, it is easy to understand that the actual number of dead and crippled amounts to well over 10.000.
For the coalition, Yemen has also been a testing ground for drone attacks. Since 2014, at least 200 attacks have been carried out, killing hundreds of civilians. In one of the latest attacks, the coalition hit a bus carrying 10-year-old children going to school, killing 47 and injuring 77 others. Children are also the ones who will endure the most long-term consequences of famine in the country. Even if they survive, they will suffer severe physical and mental consequences of the malnutrition they lived through during their growing years.
Following the logic of “bomb for peace first and investigate later”, international institutions quickly demonstrated their support for the genocidal coalition and their bombing. Three weeks after constant bombing began, the UN stated in Security Council Resolution 2216 that popular forces must withdraw from the occupied territories while supporting the arms embargo placed against them. It was a demonstration of support for Saudi Arabia’s position and its indiscriminate bombardments.
It is also curious that the UN has welcomed some of the biggest Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorist leaders in its offices. In one of the first rounds of the Geneva talks to try and reach a peace agreement for Yemen, one of the representatives of the Saudi delegation was Abdul Wahhab al Humaiqani. He is one of the leaders of al-Qaeda in Yemen and head of a Salafist party. In October 2015, a resolution to launch an investigation into the war crimes committed against Yemen was to be voted at the UN. Thanks to a diplomatic campaign, Saudi Arabia was able to persuade its Western allies to withdraw the proposed investigation.
The big corporate media, here as in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, quickly rose up in defense of the empire’s narrative and did everything to silence and justify this war. Earlier this year, one of the strongholds of corporate capitalism, The Economist, published an article entitled “The drug that is starving Yemen”. In an exercise of parochial, racist, and neo-colonialist, condescension, they pointed to the fact that the population consumes a traditional plant – Qat – which has been used culturally for thousands of years in the region, as the cause of famine in Yemen. They do not dedicate a single line to the indiscriminate bombing or the genocide of thousands of civilians, nor to the naval blockade which is being imposed on Yemen and which is helping spread hunger and cholera.
Other examples include CBS, which produces the “60 Minutes” program. The 13 minutes they dedicated to Yemen didn’t even once mention US involvement, arms sales, or logistical support. One of the favorite news channels of American liberals didn’t talk about the war for a whole year (between July 2017 to 2018) and devoted less than four minutes to coverage dedicated to the war in Yemen. Most large corporate media prefer to ignore the story and thereby help clean the blood that several Western powers have shed in the ongoing genocide.
Although the media try to summarize the Yemen war very simplistically as a religious issue of Shiites against Sunnis or a war of Yemen’s “legitimate government” against the Houthis, the complexity in the terrain demonstrates once again that the doctrine of “war on terror” translates into nothing more than the destruction and genocide of thousands of people. Capitalist interests, in cooperation with the leading exporters of takfiri terrorism, have provoked the greatest war crimes and crimes against humanity of this century. We can also observe Yemen as a testing ground for one of the most recent and bloody forms of warfare – the drone war – to implement one of the oldest and most barbaric strategies – a medieval siege of the civilian population.
As long as the White House and its criminal partners continue to unconditionally support the architect of the Yemen war – Mohammad bin Salman – and enrich their pockets with the lucrative arms business, it will be difficult to end the conflict. The Yemeni population will continue to be left to cholera and hunger.
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