While Yemen is witnessing the fourth Arab Spring anniversary, Western backed Saudi Arabia is launching devastating military attacks on several cities. Although the coalition claims to be targeting Houthi military bases, civilians are the victims.
Saudi Arabia is escalating the conflict in Yemen by calling on other Arab states to join the Decisive Storm coalition. Until now, governments supporting and participating in the coalition are: Saudi Arabia (leader), United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan. Egypt is participating by sending warships to aid Saudi Arabia in its violations against Yemeni people.
The Western backed National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces expressed its “full support for the military operation” that they named as the “Storm of Resolve.” While they condemn Assad’s attacks, they hypocritically support Saudi attacks on Yemen. Saudi Arabia is known for its counter-revolutionary intervention in Syria that has resulted in the rise of extremist groups such as Jabhat Al Nusra, its allies and ISIS. The Saudi intervention in Yemen comes after a request from the ousted Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour without paying attention to the opinions of the majority of people who demand negotiations with Houthis and several other groups in order to end the conflict.
Not surprisingly, this attack and violation of the right to Yemeni self-determination is backed by the US and other imperialist Western powers. According to several reports, the Saudi-led military operation has relied on US intelligence. “In support of GCC actions to defend against Houthi violence, President Obama has authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to GCC-led military operations,” said the White House National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan in a statement on March 25. Although US forces haven’t participated in direct military actions, their support is an intervention that further destabilizes the region and escalates violence. Britain has also confirmed its non-combat support to Saudi Arabia and its allies in the coalition.
Although the coalition and its supporters claim that the Decisive Storm operation targets Houthi rebels, hundreds of civilians, including children, were killed in several parts of Yemen. The numbers of the deaths are prone to go higher as casualties increase. For instance, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured in Saudi airstrikes on their homes in Sana’a. “The high toll of civilian deaths and injuries in these attacks raises concerns about compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law,” told Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program. According to eyewitnesses, in Sa’ada, airstrikes targeted a market leaving at least 60 civilians dead.
The situation in Yemen is complex. While the Saudi version of the story told in several mainstream Arab media, funded by the royal family members, suggest that Houthi rebels are pro-Iranian militias that aim to control Yemen and the region, what’s on ground is different. The Yemeni army along with the rebels is now in the frontlines defending their land regardless of sectarian, religious and political affiliations. The intervention united people in Yemen who are protesting daily in the streets under the Saudi airstrikes. They demand peace. It is evident that Saudi Arabia is raging the war against Yemen in order to instigate a war against Iran and its allies. Innocent Yemenis who have been suffering from poverty and violence for decades are paying the price. Hundreds of innocent Yeminis were killed in series of bomb attacks that targeted worshippers during Friday prayers around one week before the Saudi-led attack. The so-called Islamic State announced its responsibility for the attacks. Increasing violence in Yemen spreading sectarian civil war across the region. This will give a chance for more imperialist control.
While it is not possible for activists around the world to take a side with one Yemeni group or the other, it is essential to demand an end to the brutal Western-backed Saudi intervention and bloodshed.