Dec 11, 2017
Ali Abdallah Saleh, Yemen’s ex-dictator, was killed on December 4, shortly after severing his alliance with the Houthi militias, with whom he had been allied against Saudi Arabia since 2015. That alliance reuniting two old enemies was more than fragile.
For as long as he was in power, during the 2000's, Saleh had carried out several wars against the Houthis, causing tens of thousands of deaths and displacing 200,000. On Saturday December 2, Saleh had decided to call on the population of Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, to rise up against the Houthis, offering, by this reversal, his services to Saudi Arabia. Saleh’s death risks closing this exit door to the war the country has been stuck in since March 2015.
Saudi Arabia’s War
After the mobilizations of the “Arab Spring” in 2011, Saudi Arabia and the United States tried to replace the dictator Saleh in order to try to put out the fire, installing behind the scenes the number two of the previous regime, Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi. In 2011, president Saleh agreed to step down in favor of his vice-president, Hadi, who was elected in February 2012. But the new power was immediately destabilized by the rebellion of the Houthis. The militias reached the edge of the capital, Sanaa, joining with part of the army tied to the old president Saleh, and forced Hadi to take refuge in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi regime then formed a coalition with Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait, and launched “Operation Decisive Storm” to try to reestablish Hadi’s power and drive Houthi militias out of the cities.
...Supported by the Imperialist Countries
This project received the blessing of the international community through a UN Security Council vote. Great Britain, France and the U.S. then provided the coalition with weapons, material support, and military intelligence.
Each week, these imperialist powers help bomb both military positions and public infrastructure, hospitals and schools, not hesitating to resort to fragmentation bombs.
To justify his policy, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has for months been using the same rhetoric, accusing the Houthi of being on the payroll of its big rival, Iran. At the beginning of November, Saudi Arabia thus imposed a blockade on Yemen after the interception of a missile launched from Houthi zones, asserting without proof that the missile was Iranian-made.
The Saudi power would like to impose its supremacy on the region, including the Yemeni population. It is comforted by the support displayed by Trump. The dragging-out of the conflict, the dissolution of the Yemeni State, the destruction of its public infrastructure render the situation more and more catastrophic. The war economy, the black market linked to shortages, the growing weight of war lords and their militias, the enormous material destruction, all create terrible suffering for the population.
There have been 10,000 civilian deaths since the beginning of this war, not to mention military deaths and injuries. Over 2.8 million people have been displaced. On December 4, the UN raised to 8.4 million the number of Yemenis on the edge of famine, out of a population of 28 million. Add to this an epidemic of cholera. Children are the most affected. “We estimate that every ten minutes a child dies in Yemen from preventable diseases,” said UNICEF’s Director-General for the Middle East and North Africa.
The UN again called on December 5 for a humanitarian truce. But we are much more likely to witness an intensification of bombings and the blockade that Saudi Arabia imposes on the population in so-called rebel areas.
In Yemen, after Iraq and Syria, imperialism and its Saudi cop are destroying one more country.