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Opinion

Saudis’ mass genocide signals end of independent Yemen

Catherine Shakdam

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The Saudi regime is guilty of mass genocide in Yemen, the poorest country in the region. It would be difficult to find this out from reading the West’s corporate-owned media.

If Saudi Arabia still enjoys immunity for the many war crimes it has committed in Yemen, reports of the horrors its legions have willingly carried out against Yemenis have become much too grand for the media to cover up anymore.

Not even the United Nations could bring itself to ignore the plight of the Yemeni people. According to the UN experts’ report, Saudi Arabia’s attack on a funeral hall in Sana‘a on October 8 “resulted in disproportionately higher numbers of civilian casualties, when compared to military casualties, and that this could have been anticipated prior to the attack.” International law requires a party to assess the “proportionality” of an attack before carrying it out. The experts’ report says they have no knowledge of any such assessment having taken place. The expert panel said the second bombing “was clear indication that the US-backed Saudi coalition violated its international obligations.”

One might even argue that those friends and allies the Kingdom has learnt to hide behind to claim exceptionalism, are in fact gathering political ammunition against the cash-depleted ignocracy. For all its arrogance and hegemonic ambitions, Saudi Arabia’s ability to exert power is limited to its chequebook. Without its billions of dollars, Bani Saud stand an empty shell of a monarchical house — no more than disposable monarchs to be thrown into the dustbin of history.

As other powers play chess games with each other, Yemen has been left to burn, break, explode, starve, and in ruin. Foreign powers hold its 26 million people — women, men, and children — hostage. The Yemeni people have seen their collective future forfeited for the sake of others’ geopolitical interests and fanatical supremacism; made to watch as their land becomes the proxy of all proxies.

Yemen is not a standoff between Saudi Arabia, and its regional nemesis, Iran, as is so frequently alleged. Yemen is not being torn apart by sectarianism, and Yemen is certainly not undergoing an identity crisis.

It is Yemen’s sovereign independence and that of its people that are at stake in this war of attrition. It is Yemen’s right to political self-determination, and the integrity of its national borders that are being challenged by Saudi Arabia and the Western powers, both for different ends but toward the same devastating result.

A growing threat to be contained so that it could be either tamed or destroyed, the West played Saudi Arabia for a fool when it sent Riyadh into a military confrontation with Sana‘a. Yemen, we suspect, was perhaps meant to be the Kingdom’s graveyard, the one misstep to bring the ever-ambitious and arrogant Bani Saud back into the Western fold.

In that set-up, officials cared very little for the fire their strategy would unleash in southern Arabia, especially not when such plans would precipitate another: the balkanisation of Yemen. The country would only serve Western imperial interests if broken up into manageable portions. In this perpetual quest for control over natural resources, waterways, geopolitics, population, and the country’s future, division remains the principal strategy.

All the while Yemen’s very national fabric has been put under unparallel duress. Earlier in October, attacks on Yemen reached an all-time high as the Kingdom worked to accelerate its destruction rate, targeting Yemen’s civilian infrastructure and its fragile and suffocated economy. Essentially, Yemen was served a death sentence that few countries have dared spoken against.

In a report for The Independent, Robert Fisk wrote, “Increasing evidence suggests the Kingdom is not merely bombing civilians in neighbouring country, but systematically targeting infrastructure; survivors will need to avoid starvation when the war is over.” And, “Academics have been amassing data from Yemen which strongly suggests that the Saudis’ Yemen campaign contains a programme for the destruction of rural livelihood.” Saudi Arabia is not just targeting funeral halls these days but cows and fields as well — anything, really, that would make life absolutely insufferable for the population.

If ever a country was attempting to make another absolutely dependent on foreign aid, Saudi Arabia should serve as a perfect case study. Yemen is undergoing systematic and systemic annihilation: from its history, to its religious traditions and its once promising industrial prospects and military infrastructures, this country in southern Arabia is being made to disappear.

Beyond physical destruction, it is Yemen’s very financial heart that Riyadh targeted when it commanded the relocation of the Yemen Central Bank to Aden — a southern port city under Saudi military occupation. By alleging “institutional restoration” the Kingdom has de facto committed economic murder, threatening the livelihood and future of tens of millions of people. Of that, barely a few lines were mentioned in mainstream media.

Surely, if the world frowns upon the targeting of any people on account of their faith, ethnicity, or economic circumstances, we ought to find an appropriate term to define the annihilation of an entire country — not a group, or a community, but a people bound by history, tradition, and sovereignty.

Genocide today fails to fully encompass Saudi Arabia’s crimes in Yemen.


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Article from

Crescent International Vol. 45, No. 9

Safar 01, 14382016-11-01


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