Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 04 Shawaal 1436/21 July 2015
Economically-depressed Yemen has, for almost four months, been stormed under heavy fire from Saudi Arabia, its super-rich but politically-suppressed neighbour. With a coalition of Middle East countries behind it, the monarchy claims to be assaulting its neighbour in order to help liberate the people of Yemen from Houthi rebels. Yet, Saudi’s firepower is killing thousands of ordinary Yemenis – the very people it claims to protect. The similarities between what Riyadh is doing and how that other kingdom, or the United States of America, operates, are striking. The irony is not lost. Again, it’s Middle East states that are enabling the onslaught on their own.
“This operation in Yemen seems to me, at least, about what the US likes to call ‘regime change’. In a lot of the instances, it’s about having a government that is friendly towards you, towards your policies, and that’s supports of your involvement in other countries as well,” said Suraya Dadoo, an analyst at the Media Review Network (MRN). In an interview with Cii, she blamed the kingdom for bringing or worsening strife in Yemen, next door, and outlined the poor country’s state of affairs in the wake of this year’s overthrow of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The analyst and author reminded Cii listeners that the kingdom’s argument is that its interest, as a neighbour and regional player, is legitimate rule. Hadi came to power in 2011, on the back of Yemen’s revolution, and, four years later, was forced into exile by the rebels. Dadoo described the ensuing Riyadh’s episode of violence unleashed on civilians in Yemen, as saddening. This episode took off in March in the wake of the coup d’état that saw Hadi fleeing Sana’a then his hometown, where he had been confined, in a boat. With the coup in the background, the oil-rich kingdom found an excuse to manufacture and import terrorism in the form of airstrikes, bombing of schools as well as civilian homes. Hospitals are not spared from the liberating kingdom’s firepower. Who is the target?
Saudi Arabia’s terrorism, the MRN analyst and author noted, is no different from what the Zionist regime, under Binyamin Netanyahu, did in the Middle East this time last year. More than two thousands Palestinians were killed. A quarter of these were children (some murdered in cold blood while playing). Pregnant mothers and the elderly were also killed by the Israeli. Thousands more Palestinians were injured, and tens of thousands displaced as Israel’s terror while infrastructure was shelled. With Washington and other superpowers behind Netanyahu, Israel was not taken to task. Riyadh, whose ruthlessness continues unabated in Ramadaan, could also get away with its terror. The death toll in Yemen exceeds a high 3,000 in the name of regime change. A further 15,000 people are displaced.
“The question that we need to ask is: if Saudi Arabia is so concerned about restoring legitimate governments, about the effects that illegitimate governments and military coups could have on the region then, perhaps, they should have been in Egypt two years ago when Mohamed Morsi – who was the elected leader of Egypt, was overthrown by a military coup led by General El-Sisi,” said Dadoo.
This observation is embarrassing but direct enough to make even those who behind the onslaught, be they in the Middle East or anywhere else, to face the facts. Firstly, who’s the target? The same question was asked when Israel pounded just about any building and playground, supposedly in pursuit of Hamas and Palestine’s other liberation fighters. Why do the people of Yemen deserve to be killed and why is they country being turned, like Gaza, into rubble? Surely there were no Houthi fighters, but civilians (including women, some expecting, and children and the elderly), in the houses, hospitals and schools bombed by the Riyadh regime.
“Unfortunately, there weren’t any attempts to restore the legitimate government there. So, I don’t really buy Saudi Arabia’s argument that this is about democracy. This is about restoring legitimate government,” Dadoo said before urging responsibility and warning onlookers and critics to keep their eyes on the big picture. “I think at the same time, when we speak about Yemen we mustn’t get lost in the political rhetoric of it all because at the end of the day, it is about people, it is about an entire population that is being collectively punished for whatever reason it is – whether they support a particular government, whether they support a particular group, whether they oppose certain external forces as well.”
In addition to Washington, whose support for Riyadh, and Netanyahu, is known, regional players like Egypt, still in the throes of foreign-sponsored coup, supports the culling of Yemenis. Being a puppet of Tel Aviv and Washington, El-Sisi is diligent. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar also feature among accomplices. So do African countries like Morocco, and the Sudan. In search of Houthi, these countries are abating Riyadh’s mission to target health care facilities and refugee camps, destruct roads and interrupt electricity and water supply.
Shoks Mnisi Mzolo – Cii News | 05 Shawaal 1436/22 July 2015
On the surface, the roots of the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Yemen as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to rain bombs on its southern neighbouring are hard to determine. The kingdom, whose military and their personnel are turning Yemen to a wreck, defends its involvement, in the violence and political strife gripping its neighbour, to its determination to stop an illegitimate government from taking over in Sana’a. Many have scoffed at not only the theory but also lamented Riyadh’s brutality that, in the name of pursuing rebels, has claimed thousands of civilian lives and displaced scores more while destroying infrastructure such as water tanks, schools and hospitals.
Without explaining the rationale behind the deaths directed at civilians, with the death toll now approaching 4,000, Riyadh claims its violence is meant to stop Houthi rebels, who staged a coup d’état earlier this year – that brought down then-President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government.
Scratching the surface, Prof Najib Ali Abdullah Alsoudi, an academic at the University of Ta’if, insists that it all boils down to money. In an interview with Cii, he dismissed the much-recycled pretext about ethnic or creed chasm or threat to the region’s security. Central to the political turmoil manifesting itself today is the rich kingdom’s thirst to economically subjugate the Middle East’s southern-most part, the professor said, going as far back as the 1960s.
King Faisal, a successor to deposed King Saud, was in charge of the oil-rich monarchy for the greater part of that decade. Imam Yahya, a king of Yemen, was succeeded by Imam Muhammad, also known as Sayf al-Islam al-Badr, in 1962. Their descendants’ struggle for control, by their countrymen or scions, revolved around Yemeni land and resources. Decades later, according to Alsoudi, Saudi Arabia is not keen to let go and is seizing Yemeni lands now.
The problem started when Imam Yahya’s impoverished then-monarch conceded to his neighbours, the professor said. “Imam Yayha was in a bad situation so he agreed to sign agreements, between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, that Najran and Aseer will be under Saudi as rental land for 20 years. When the 20 years finished, Ali Abdullah Saleh (then-president) he also re-signed the agreement between Yemen and Saudi,” Alsoudi added. That term came to an end last year, during Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi’s presidency. The then-incumbent turned down Saudi Arabia’s request to extend the land rental tenure. In a matter of months he was ousted and Yemen has been in the throes of the regional superpower’s bombs since then.
“After the revolution Yemeni people started talking about our land and the Saudi. So, the Saudi didn’t want the Yemeni people talking about that land. And, they want also, the Yemeni people to make Aden an international port. If Aden [were to become an] international port, that means Dubai and Jeddah will close already because all the ships will be coming to Aden because Aden is in the middle. So, if the ship is going to South Africa, it will stop in Aden,” the professor of in Arabic linguistics and Quranic studies pointed out.
The same goes for Australasia-bound ship and those headed for Asia, as far as Japan, among other destinations, Alsoudi explained. The UAE, which makes a fortune from the Dubai jackpot, would be one of the biggest losers if such a move passed and the kingdom the biggest winner given its landlord position. The two regional players, he added, have been at loggerhead over this with the impoverished Yemen finding itself in the middle.
With all of this in the background, Saleh, the former president, struck a relationship with Houthi. The latter was part of the 2011 revolution, among others. So, because of its role, Houthi is obviously no ally’s of the powerful kingdom. That said, its rise to power, not least after Hadi refused to extend the lease agreement, was bound to be solicit anger from Riyadh. Sadly, the Saudi military has since turned around and targeted civilians.
“[Saudi Arabia] don’t want to bring [our land] back,” as the academic summarised it, looking at some of the factors in the background. “They don’t want Yemeni people to take their oil from their land. We have a lot of oil… Saudi doesn’t want Yemeni people to take their oil and sell it to the world. They want us just to be poor people, a poor country. You know, in this [country] people eat leaves. Saudi has closed all the borders. We cannot receive any food [or aid]. I don’t know what’s wrong with that. I mean, we are Muslims, we are brothers. Why did the Saudi do that?”