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Yemen - Massacres and Assassinations Trigger a New Phase of War

Published: May 4, 2018
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Source: Moon of Alabama

In mid April some 20+ of Sudanese soldiers were killed in an ambush in northern Yemen. Sudan, which sent up to 10,000 soldiers to Yemen in hope of Saudi money, is reconsidering its engagement. The Gulf states had promised investments in Sudan and the lifting of U.S. sanction in exchange for sending cannon fodder. Neither happened.

The war Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the powers behind them wage on Yemen aims to install a proxy-government that defers to them. The Yemeni people do not want that. They resist against the overwhelming forces of their rich neighbors. Especially the Zaidi people of north Yemen dislike their proselytizing Wahhabi neighbors. Their Houthi movement leads the fight. Yemeni in general regard them as 'monkeys with laptops'.  To overcome the resistance the Saudi launched a genocidal campaign of blockading, bombing and starving the people into submission.

The same week the Sudanese mercenaries were killed, airstrikes by Saudi jets slaughtered dozens of Yemeni civilians:

An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a wedding party in northern Yemen, killing at least 20 people including the bride, health officials said Monday, as harrowing images emerged on social media of the deadly bombing, the third to hit Yemeni civilians since the weekend....

An airstrike on Sunday night hit a house elsewhere in Hajja, killing an entire family of five, according to al-Nadhri.

On Saturday, at least 20 civilians were killed when coalition fighter jets bombed a bus carrying commuters in western Yemen, near the city of Taiz, which has been locked in fighting for three years.

After the bombing of the wedding one boy, 3 to 5 years old, clutched to his dead father all night(video) and rejected attempts to be taken away. A graphic video taken the next morning shows that the boy is still there and the terrible aftermath of the Saudi massacre. The Onion only slightly exaggerates when it writes that the Saudi clown prince visited the child to finish the job.

The standard agency reports from Yemen, like the above one, always repeat the UN estimate that more than 10,000 have died in the war. But that UN number is at least two years old, never changes and only hides the ongoing massacre:

Elisabeth Kendall @Dr_E_Kendall - 20:28 UTC - 11 Apr 2018

#Yemen war: Why does the much-quoted UN statistic of 10,000 deaths never seem to increase? @YemenData documents 16,847 air raids by the #Saudi-led coalition from 3/2015 to 3/2018 (with 423 this March) & @MSF received over 97,000 emergency patients in 1st 3 months of 2017 alone

At least 70,000 have been killed by bombing alone. That number does not include the probably one hundred thousand who starved or died from easily preventable diseases. When asked about the real numbers UN officials are evading any sensible response (vid).

The Saudi coalition strikes on civilians are not by accident. The Saudis target infrastructure, all food and people transport, health facilities and any gathering that is deemed suspicious. Other strikes are targeted assassinations.

One recent drone camera video from a United Arab Emirates owned drone, follows a car near Hodeidah port in north-west Yemen and shows a missile hitting it. The video cuts to a second drone camera, filmed from a screen in an operations room, which shows people coming to the rescue after the first strike. A second missile strike kills them all. The people in the operations room are elated.

That 'double tap' strike killed an important man and will prolong the war:

Saleh al-Samad, the president of the Houthis’ Supreme Political Council, was killed in the drone strike, delivering the deathblow to an already stagnant Yemeni peace process. Samad was regarded as a conciliatory figure within the Houthi rebellion and had sought to reach a negotiated settlement to Yemen’s civil war. He was scheduled to meet with Martin Griffiths, the U.N. special envoy for Yemen, on April 28.

A well bribed nephew of the deceased former president of Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh may help the UAE to kill his dead uncle's allies. I though suspect that U.S. intelligence, targeting mobile phones and alike, or even U.S. boots on the ground are heavily involved:

Tareq Saleh and his men were forced to seek refuge in the UAE, bringing with them a deep knowledge of the Houthis inner workings. ...

Samad’s death was not an isolated incident. A number of key Houthi figures, who shared close ties to former President Saleh, have been killed recently. Mansour al-Saidi, the commander of Houthi naval forces; Salah al-Sharqai, his deputy; Nasser al-Qaubari, the major general of Houthi missile forces; and Fares Manea, a notorious arms dealer and former governor of Saada, were all killed in airstrikes over the last week.

Killing the leaders of resistance movements is not a successful strategy. Such leaders usually get replaced with smarter or more brutal hardliners who care less about collateral damage:

Samad’s successor, Mahdi al-Mashat, who was appointed Monday, is a hard-liner with extensive links to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Ali al-Bukhaiti, a former senior Houthi figure now based in Amman, Jordan, claims that there is growing puritanism within the movement. “Mashat is the polar opposite of his predecessor: He is tactless, threatens, doesn’t compromise,” he says. “He does not build relationships — he damages them.”

Tens of thousands gathered in the Yemeni capital Sanaa for the funeral commemoration for Saleh al-Samad. Saudi jets flew over the crowd and bombed nearby. The crowd was not deterred. No one ran away but the people got up on their feet (vid) and chanted (vid) Houthi slogans. They are willing to fight and far from defeated.

The United Arab Emirates has its own design on Yemen. It is in for the money. The UAE occupies the Yemeni Sakrota island, the Unesco-protected 'Jewel of Arabia', and is stealing its natural resources.

Aden, in the south of Yemen is also under UAE occupation. The UAE company Dubai Port, now DP World, wants to control Aden's port. But mothers in Aden starve themselves to death to keep their children alive. There is no state, no security and no one gets paid for their work as doctor, teacher or street sweeper. Some food is available on the markets but the people can not longer afford it.

Professor Isa Blumi of Stockholm University argues (radio) that the war in Yemen is not a civil war and not even a war by the local powers Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It is  an imperial war by larger powers with a deep colonial history.

Neither the UAE nor Saudi Arabia could do anything in Yemen without direction and support from Britain (pdf) and the USA:

Thousands of UK and non-UK employees of UK companies work in Saudi Arabia to train, install, maintain and help operate UK-supplied aircraft and other military equipment, including the Tornado IDS fighter-bombers and Typhoon fighters that constitute just under 50% of the in-service combat aircraft of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF)....

[T]he UK has made a blanket commitment to provide RSAF with UK civilian and military personnel to support and arm UK-supplied aircraft used by RSAF in an armed conflict.

...

UK officials interviewed for this paper, and at least one of the government-to-government agreements governing the supply of UK weapons systems to RSAF, thus suggest that the UK MOD has detailed knowledge about the roles and activities of UK personnel both civilian and military, private and governmental, in Saudi Arabia; as well as about the use of UK-supplied aircraft and their munitions.

IHS Janes recently reported that the U.S. seeks a private company to rescue its soldiers in Yemen:

The US military is looking for contractors to provide personnel recovery, as well as airborne casualty and medical evacuation services, for special forces personnel operating in and around Yemen.

Why would the U.S. need those? And why in these weird places? (And why would the U.S. Special Operations Command ever outsource such a specialized, dangerous and important military task?) So far the U.S. had claimed that a very few of its soldiers are looking for al-Qaeda in south Yemen. These are supposed to be in-hit-out operations with direct U.S. air support.

The U.S. downplays its intelligence and aerial refueling support for the Saudi bombing of the various hospitals and weddings. In reality no Saudi plane would fly without direct U.S. and UK support. Now we learn that U.S. soldiers are also directly involved in the fighting on the ground:

[L]ate last year, a team of about a dozen Green Berets arrived on Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen, in a continuing escalation of America’s secret wars.

With virtually no public discussion or debate, the Army commandos are helping locate and destroy caches of ballistic missiles and launch sites that Houthi rebels in Yemen are using to attack Riyadh and other Saudi cities. ...Along the porous border, the Americans are working with surveillance planes that can gather electronic signals to track the Houthi weapons and their launch sites, .. ...

They also are working closely with American intelligence analysts in Najran, a city in southern Saudi Arabia that has been repeatedly attacked with rockets, to help locate Houthi missile sites within Yemen.

 

The U.S. media seem to support the U.S. war on Yemen. In a recent interview on CNN Senator Rand Paul argued to at least debate the war in the U.S. congress. CNN host Wolf Blitzer dismissed (vid) that as "moral issue". He says there are "a lot of jobs at stake" and selling less bombs to Saudi Arabia might cause a "significant loss of jobs and revenues". He wonders why that is "secondary question" to Paul.

I'll leave it to a Yemeni to respond:

Haykal Bafana @BaFana3 - 19:51 UTC- 14 Apr 2018

To whom it may concern: Which part is not sinking into your small-brained thick skull? Your half-fucked fuckery has been one long fuckin' orgy of disastrous self-fucking from start to now. End this humiliating porn. And stay the fuck out of Yemen. Dumb fucks.

The Sudanese seem to have understood. Others still have to learn. After the recent assassination of their leaders the Houthis promised to directly attack Saudi and UAE leaders. This will be a new phase of the ongoing war.  If the war continues for long the people of Yemen turn their eyes towards the imperial powers behind those figures.

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