November 13th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Op-ed by Naseh Shaker – edited by J. Flores for FRN –
King Salman of Saudi Arabia’s decision to wage war on Yemen on March 26, 2015, is the same as the Bush decision when he invaded Iraq in the same month of March 2003.
It was not a blunder. It was a crime. The ‘collateral’ damage caused by the Saudi intervention was not a peripheral consequence, but one of the primary goals. It is nothing more than collective punishment.
The Saudis made a case for intervention, on several grounds for operations against Houthis and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh . The initial phase of combat was touted by Saudi media as highly successful that is, to restore the internationally recognized government and president Hadi to Sanaa after Houthis ‘expelled them’, over controlling Sana’a on Sept 21,2014.
In reality, this was about the maintenance of Saudi controls on Yemen. Yet there are some who still argue that the Saudi investment was worth the cost of toppling Houthis forces, but nothing positive has happened.
Saudi Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman was promoted to crown prince as much because of as despite his war on Yemen. The main premise for the Saudi war on Yemen was to restore legitimacy to Hadi’s government, which was a similar inversion of reality as the premise of Bush’s invasion on Iraq – that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and that these were at risk of falling into the hands of terrorists. In the end, however, there was no truth to such claims.
Regarding Yemen, the Associated Press has reported just last week that Yemeni President Hadi is under house arrest in Riyadh as Saudi officials prohibited him along with his sons and ministers to travel back to Aden. Moreover, bin Salman made an assertion in an official statement carried by Saudi news channel Al-Arabiya that “The war in Yemen will continue to prevent the Houthis from becoming another Hezbollah on our borders”.
Therefore this robbed the war of any pretense to legitimacy of fighting just to restore the Yemeni government to Sana’a, a claim always made by Saudi Arabia since the first day of the war.
There were so many warnings. It was just a day before KSA launch war on Yemen, I still remember what the Yemeni ambassador to Syria, Naif Al Qanes, said when he was commenting on the Arabic News Channel, Al Mayadeen, regarding the reports that President Hadi had fled Aden to the African Horn before he appeared in Saudi Arabia, following the Houthis taking over Aden.
The ambassador was saying if Saudi Arabia plans to wage war on Yemen, that it would only open the gates to hell. He also warned that Saudi Arabia is going to kick open a hornet’s nest, and it’s not prepared for such guerrilla war. Now, it is more than two and a half years and Houthis are still resisting, as their latest ballistic missile was just intercepted after it was able to travel almost 500km inside the kingdom before reaching an airport in Riyadh, which proves that what the ambassador had warned of has come true.
Those of you who keep silent on the Yemen calamity can feel no vindication, only misery that we failed to prevent a disaster that robbed hundreds of thousands of their lives, among which injured, traumatized and displaced millions of people: a disaster that bred famine , malnourishment, cholera and extremism, on a catastrophic scale. And the horror continues; last night the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrike on the Defense Ministry complex located in a residential neighborhood south of Old Sana’a City killed and injured tens of civilians. This is a devastating reminder of the chaos for which the Saudi crown prince must take responsibility. The Saudi war was not a blunder, nor an error, nor a mistake: whatever the law decides, this was – from any moral standpoint – one of the gravest crimes of our time. Those responsible will be for ever be damned. After today, we can single them out – and call them by name.
Naseh Shaker is a Yemeni journalist based in Sana’a. He is blogging on nasehshakerye.blogspot.com