So long as the US believed that a warmongering alliance led by Saudi Arabia would swiftly prevail against the popular uprising in Yemen, simultaneously shoring up US regional hegemony and boosting the profits of the US war industry, it was happy to support Riyadh’s reign of terror. There were no horrors unleashed upon the Yemeni people from the skies above their heads that the US and its sidekick Britain would not actively support with arms and strategic guidance.
What imperialism did not bargain for however was the courage and ingenuity displayed by the Yemeni people in their resistance to imperial diktat, despite the massively greater odds in favour of Riyadh, armed to the hilt by America and Britain. It is this steadfast resistance which is finally opening the eyes of the world to the shameful holocaust that has been imposed upon the Yemeni people, forcing Riyadh to start talking about peace and forcing US President Joe Biden to put restrictions on the export of arms to the Saudi butchers.
If such wars could be won by the simple expedient of killing as many civilians as possible, Riyadh and Washington would have long since won their laurels. As great as the toll taken by aerial bombardment is that taken by blockade and disease. The human cost of the war beggars description. Suffice it to glance at the recent report from the Save the Children charity revealing that between 2018 and 2020 at least a quarter of all civilian casualties were children, with at least 2,341 child deaths and injuries. Children are being starved to death whilst Saudi-led forces continue to blockade Hudaydah port, stopping fuel, medicine and food shipments. 1.8 million under-fives are reported to be suffering from “moderate acute malnutrition”, whilst nearly 400,000 under-fives are enduring “severe acute malnutrition” (‘Nearly $76bn of Yemen’s oil, gas revenues looted in six years of Saudi-led war: Yemeni minister’, PressTV, 3 April 2021).
As well as blockading Hudaydah, the Saudi pirates are also persisting in their interference with Yemen’s shipping and industry, inflicting economic damage totalling many billions of dollars. Seizure of Yemeni ships has become commonplace, costing the Yemen Petroleum Company as much as $34.5 million. In total, over $76 billion of the country’s oil and gas earnings has been stolen in the course of the war, including about $5 billion of Ma’rib’s oil refinery’s earnings and a similar amount of earnings from natural gas. Disruption of Yemen’s liquefied gas production has hit earnings by almost £11 billion. This is larceny on a grand scale.
But this attempt to bomb and starve the Yemeni people into submission has failed to cow them. Instead they are fighting back, giving inspiration to anti-imperialists all over the world.
Riyadh is learning the hard way that wars cannot be won merely by superiority in the air (though even on that score Ansarullah has had some stunning success in retaliatory drone strikes on Saudi targets), but must also be waged on the ground and in the thick of it. Such conditions favour those who fight for their homeland and disfavour those who fight for pay.
Yemen’s armed forces, buttressed by fighters from allied Popular Committees, are engaged in the fight against mercenaries and militants professing loyalty to Yemen’s ex-president Mansur Hadi, the tool of Riyadh and Washington overthrown by popular revolt. The struggle is being waged on multiple fronts, including the central provinces of Ma’rib and al-Bayda, the southern provinces of Ta’izz and Dhale, the northern province of al-Jawf and the western province of Hudaydah.
So desperate are the counterrevolutionary forces becoming that they have now started shipping in al-Qaeda terrorists from Syria to help out in the fighting in Ma’rib province. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants are waiting for terrorists from Syria to arrive in Yemen’s southern province of Abyan. The Saudi command centre in Aden has reportedly told the al-Qaeda warlord in Abyan to smooth the passage for terrorists arriving from Syria and other countries. Already local sources are reporting sightings of al-Qaeda jihadis out on the street and liaising with Saudi top brass (‘Terrorists in Syria transferred to Yemen to aid Saudi-led forces in Ma’rib’, PressTV, 4 April 2021).
This rent-a-jihadi policy speaks volumes about the demoralisation of the Saudis and their sidekicks. By way of contrast the National Salvation Government’s defence minister, Major General Muhammad Nasser al-Atifi, radiates confidence, noting that “Whenever Yemeni armed forces score a field victory, there is a hue and cry among world states… Whilst the [military] options of the coalition of aggression are narrowing, ours are expanding. We have a strategy dubbed ‘Immense Pain’ and are ready to implement it at any time.” He is exultant about the proven capacity of the Yemenis to manufacture their own sophisticated weaponry, giving the lie to assertions that they are reliant on supply from Iran. Their arsenal includes missiles, drones and air and sea defence systems (‘Saudi aggressors looking for escape from Yemen quagmire: Minister’, PressTV, 3 April 2021).
But as always, the most telling praise comes out of the mouths of our enemies. The most eloquent testimony to the achievements of the resistance forces led by Ansarullah comes from a conservative defence think tank, the Jamestown Foundation, which wearily concedes that “Saudi Arabia’s intervention has achieved none of its aims. The Houthis (aka Ansarullah) and their allies are now, more than ever, the preeminent military power in Yemen. At the same time, Ansarullah fighters who absorbed many of the Yemeni Army’s most capable officers and engineers have further developed their ability to build and launch a range of missiles, rockets, and drones. Thus, the Houthis’ influence and grip on northwest Yemen must be dealt with politically, if it is to be dealt with at all. Saudi Arabia’s slow realization that it must end its direct involvement in the war along with unfavorable shifts in US foreign policy are driving it to taper support to its proxies in Yemen” (‘Saudi aggressors looking for escape from Yemen quagmire: Minister’, PressTV, 3 April 2021).
The Jamestown Foundation concludes from this that “Saudi Arabia is keener than ever to extricate itself from its costly involvement in Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen has cost the Kingdom several hundred billion dollars (at one point the Saudis were spending five billion dollars per month on their war in Yemen).” Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Victory to the patriotic liberation forces of Yemen!