Will US become embroiled in Houthis genocidal war?
As the Israel-Gaza conflict enters the fourth month, the war is spreading to the Red Sea. Even as the bombings continue in Gaza in the aftermath of the ICJ ruling, due to the adamance of the Netanyahu government, limited aid passes through the border crossings. They have organized resistance to cross-border aid through a combination of air strikes, Israeli sit-ins, and formal withdrawal of aid for UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), the UN organization which provides vital support for the millions of Palestinians inside Gaza or in the West Bank.
Since late November, however, a new antagonist has inserted itself into the war-drama. The Houthis or Ansar Allah movement is a Zaidi-Shia Islamic group which has long occupied northwest Yemen. This is a strategic region overlooking the Red Sea, and bordering Arabia to the north. Since the 2000s, the Houthis have been involved in a revolutionary struggle that has triangulated the country and drawn many from the Arab League, as well as Britain and the US including furnishing advanced fighter jets, weapons, munitions, military specialists, and various mercenary contractors.
Now the Houthis are sending small drones from their fishing boats to attack cargo-carriers bound for Israel. They want an end to the Gaza blockades and an end to attacks on Gaza. The Houthis know all about naval blockades, no fly-zones, and Saudi-Arabian air strikes. The Saudis and the UAE, part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), launched numerous direct and indirect incursions into Yemen since 2012. Yemen’s former presidents, Ali Abdullah Saleh and Mansur Hadi, even hid out for years inside of Saudi Arabia, plotting their return to power with the GCC.
However backed by the Iranian government, with arms from separatist groups such as Al Qaeda, the Houthis have fought back fiercely from their ancient mountainous strongholds. The Arabs could not gain ground within Yemen, while in the South, separatist groups continue to carve out territories in Southeast Yemen. So far the civil war has cost over 400,000 lives. Since 2021, the United Nations stopped sending war monitors due to pressure from the Saudis and the West. One goal had been for the country to fall into such chaos that the U.N. could take control under Chapter VII; however, an equally effective form for crushing the country is by severely restricting food aid by bombings, embargos, sanctions, and numerous checkpoints.
According to the World Food Programme’s latest figures, at least 21.6 million out of 34.5 million population are in need of humanitarian assistance. At least 17 million (about half the population) are food insecure. And at least 5 million people are internally displaced. As in Gaza, few live to the age sixty, and the demographics are heavily skewed towards youths which comprise at least fifty percent of the population. Acccording to Wikipedia: “The United Nations reported in 2019 that Yemen had the highest number of people in need of humanitarian aid, amounting to about 24 million individuals, which is nearly 75% of its population.”
In fact, investigative journalists and observers and Middle-East experts report on a variety of concerns covering daily quality of life, safety and security, and health. Among the atrocities include the use of cluster bombs by the Saudis and landmines by both sides. These munitions are banned by UN Conventions such as the Ottowa Treaty, and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The former Princess of Wales, Lady Diana, brought world attention for support against anti-personnel landmines in the 1990s; yet meanwhile, since the 1960s, Britain has sought secret lucrative arms contracts with Saudi Arabia. To this day, its huge trade surplus helps keep Western aerospace and defense industry designers busy.
Saudis Like a Weak, Fractured Yemen
While overlooking Saudi Arabia’s autocratic clan-based rule, its human rights record, and ultra-conservative Wahhabism, the British sold the Saudis the largest global arms deal ever negotiated in the mid-1980s, including the latest Tornado fighter jets, training aircraft, and a range of missile, radar, and defense systems. Naturally such contracts entail expertise for training and servicing, logistical support, spare parts, but especially the bombs and missile components needed on an ongoing basis. According to War Stories, “by the early 2000s, the al-Yamana Agreement had earned Britain over 40 billion pounds with billions more to come.”
These types of jets were what were used in air strikes against Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq, and in the future, Iran. The first 40 billion dollar arms trade agreement was called “Al-Yamana” meaning “The Dove” in Arabic, in 1985, but additional multi-billion dollar contracts have followed in its wake. In 2015, after the Yemen President Hadi fled the country to Riyadh, he encouraged the Gulf Cooperation Council and Western nations to become involved militarily and logistically. Rather than address the unhappiness of the people and allow “The Truth Party” (original name of Hussein al-Houthi’s political party in Parliament) legitimacy, President Abdrabbuh Mansur al-Hadi (2012-2022) acted more like a “puppet” governing from a distance, backing foreign-based special operations in the prelude to Operation Decisive Storm.
According to “Yemen in Crisis” investigative historian Kim Sharif:
“I went to Sana’a [capital] in 2013, and it was tense, and there was so much fear, and the prices were extremely inflationary, which made people poor, and the election did not take place but rather [President Hadi] just keep extending his temporary mandate, so it was just another form of dictatorship. People were worse off than before the Revolution. In 2014 there was deep cuts in provisions of fuel and other commodities; he [Hadi] was not holding any election mandate; so the revolutionaries came from all over Yemen to protest in Sana’a whether communists, Houthis, salifis; they came and demanded compliance; Hadi then resigned to create a political vacuum intentionally so the U.N. could put into place Chapter 7…”
Gulf Cooperative Council member states are monarchies; their leadership is authoritarian and supported by family tribes and military regimes. It is this kind of authoritarianism that the Western elites have favored because royals and dictators are easily captured within its spheres of interests. The history of cooperation, in the case of America and Arabia goes back to 1945 when Chevron gained a foothold into the empire through their expert geologists. Aramco is named after the Arabian-American oil alliance, which to this day is Arab-state owned, with profits accruing for the royal house. It was Americans, however, who helped discover the oil fields and built their refineries, in exchange for location for U.S. naval stations.
Oil-rich Iran is not part of the GCC because it is viewed as a competitor. Shia-Moslem also align with the Houthis of Yemen so there is threat of surroundment. However due to the high costs in fighting the Houthis, a tentative agreement was reached in 2022. Nevertheless fighting has continued more or less because the country is still broken into three sections. The Houthis are not well-represented by the Leadership Council as its two top leaders are President al-Alimi, former adviser to Hadi, probably a Saudi “puppet”, and VP al-Zoubaidi, de-facto leader of the Southern Movement in Yemen. By design and even though the Houthis comprise 60% of the population, they have less than three seats at the Council which favors the formation of South Yemen or outright secession (STC).
The complicity of the West in the ongoing foreign-interventionist backed civil strife is a hidden secret, as unveiled by human rights lawyers and investigative journalists. Yet too few in the West even know where Yemen is or who the Houthis are except as hordes of crazed gun-toting sunburnt Islamic peasants as depicted on Hollywood sets.
Genocide spelled with a “G”
While linguists such as Noam Chomsky argue over the term of “genocide” as overused and politicized; the fact is that there is a bitterness and resentment built up by the Houthis because time-and-again, they have been shafted by their country’s leaders. Who has their president sitting in the lap of royalty in Riyadh for practically six years? Both presidents sought help in Arabia and even medical treatment, while they invested neither the time nor effort to improve the quality of their own nation’s hospitals. This is why commentators do not even believe much in the United Nations, merely the top layer of a Western elites-controlled directorate that has as its second layer the GCC member states (notably SA and UAE) and third layer the local foreign operatives: Al Qaeda, Blackwater, ISIS, Spear OG, and even Sudanese mercenaries. All have helped keep Yemen in mostly desperate need.
Meanwhile per usual, the corporate media cannot even begin to provide the full backdrop for why the Houthis are shooting missiles and disrupting maritime trade on the Red Sea. The Western audience is being goaded to believe that CENTCOM would be justified to use Operation Prosperity Guardian to wage a new (old) war on Yemen rather than wage peace. The truth about the fact that each drone or missile used by Yemen costs in the merely thousands, while each fighter jet and intercepting missile system costs tens of millions—and will add strain to the U.S. budget deficit if this keeps up—is not being broadcast.
Here is the critical question raised by Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos in his “The Full Story on Yemen” talk recently:
“Yemeni people have paid dearly for their freedom with their blood. A whole generation has been lost. Many are also traumatized for life. Millions of Yemenis are not receiving vital supplies, such as food and medicine, due to Saudi and Emirate naval blockades. The people die agonizing deaths. Is this not a form of genocide?”
Logic—and saving Palestinians and Yemenis—does not matter much to the World Bank crowd. It is one reason why more average Americans can grasp the meaning of genocide spelled with a “g” better than some gifted, well-heeled, thoroughbred intellectuals. They see the writing on the wall—that death will visit America someday—we are letting in so many fresh hordes of refugees into the country through the Southern backdoors every day.
Genocide is a process whether committed directly or via indirect measures which harm people. And according to Jeff Bachman, the Director of the Ethics, Peace, and Human Rights program at the American University School of International Studies, complicity in genocide is also a crime, regardless if the intention by the US and UK is shared or not:
“In the case of Bosnia v. Serbia, the International Court of Justice established that shared intent is only relevant when considering whether a state conspired with another to commit genocide. For complicity, a state only needs to be aware that the aid it is providing to another state facilitates the crime being committed. In other words, if the US and UK shared the Saudi-led coalition’s genocidal intent, the aid they are providing would make them conspirators in the commission of genocide. Without shared intent, they are still complicit in the crime based on their continued material support, which has aided in the commission of genocide.”
Way out of New War
The current crisis is a juggernaut in the Arabian Peninsula and headed towards an ultimate confrontation with Iran. If nothing fruitful has come from nine years of war in Yemen except a very tenuous ceasefire, all hell will break out loose there in a short while. And despite the fact that the PRC has cared to negotiate a tender peace deal between Arabia and Iran, that will also come to nought, simply because the U.S. needs to blow off more weapons and ensure that the defense industry stays healthy. They may even decide to send in some of those tough robot-soldiers to chase down some hapless Houthis, in the process, per usual, targeting the women and children. Like Gaza, it is a testing ground for fielding technologies.
The idealists at RealLifeLore believe there are four available paths for the U.S. to contemplate at this point on how to solve the crisis with the Houthis in the Red Sea. One, “American could choose to simply do nothing” ; Two, “the United States can begin applying tougher pressures on Israel to begin winding down its war on Gaza and hope that ends the Houthis’ attacks on the merchant-shipping diplomatically”; “Three, America can increase the number of warships that has deployed to the Red Sea as a part of the Operation Prosperity Guardian in order to cover a larger area and escort more merchant-vessels”; “Four, order a direct US air campaign to bomb the Houthi bases in Yemen to try and destroy or deter their ability to continue launching attacks on merchant-shipping in the future.”
From the recent media reports under CENTCOM, Operation Prosperity Guardian is ramping up by way of air strikes and missile strikes. Most likely the West, with its pro-militarist policies for control of the region, will try to invest in options three and four, rather than number two, which is the method of least interference and what the Houthis state is their ultimatum: an end to attacks on Gaza. It seems counter-intuitive that despite the ICJ case ruling that there are genocidal operations taking place, the West continues to ply Israel with weapons and stoke the ethnic cleansing, unless one considers that there are deeper capitalist-colonialist urges underway.
With regard to the Middle East, Fourth International believes that the imperialistic ambitions of the U.S. cannot be underestimated, and this is why funding for UNRWA is being cut, even though it’s entire budget is not even a billion dollars, far below the $900 billion for the U.S. defense spending budget. This is the cruelest punishment for the poorest of the poor and demonstrates to what extreme lengths the elite can go to pauperize the poor, frequently just so they can show off their glorious lifestyle.
With regard to Yemen in particular, however, the only real solution for its now endemic civil war, fraught with interference from imperialist Saudi Arabia, is for unified home rule. Can this be achieved amid the colonialist push for greater war in the Middle East? Political analysts think that the ultimate aim is conquest of Iran so that the Shi’a empire will shatter; however as already witnessed in South Yemen, the mayhem results in all-out extremisms, with everyone killing everyone.
“The Biden administration has given Israel a green light to devastate Gaza in order to secure Israeli assistance to wage war in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and, ultimately, Iran. Israel’s ‘final solution’ of the ‘Palestinian problem,’ through the massacre and expulsion of the population of Gaza, is a critical component of the US drive to reorganize the Middle East under its domination.” — WSWS.org, Middle East
The push for a diplomatic political solution is only being used as a pretense just like in Ukraine, where tens of millions of people have been displaced, died, or disappeared. Transnational corporations want to farm the rich dark chernozem; NATO envisions cozening up to Russian borders for the eventual ‘conquest of the heartland.’ Conquest of Iran is a stepping stone for control of oil to China. All of the above is seen as part of fulfilling America’s ambition for global conquest.
Image from “BBC documentary on Western Death Squads in Yemen” by Nawal al-Maghafi