By Mohammad Ali Haqshenas

Yemeni forces have little reason to trust Saudi proclamations: Prof. Cavell

April 13, 2020 - 9:1

TEHRAN– The history of Saudi deception and dishonesty has led to Yemeni forces’ distrust towards their announcements, says professor of political science Colin S. Cavell.

“The Yemeni liberation forces have little reason to trust Saudi proclamations neither of a ceasefire nor that this may be a Saudi plan for peace, as Saudi pronouncements ring hollow to Yemeni ears due to Saudi deceit, deceptions, dishonesty, and disinformation over the years,” Cavell, a full professor of political science at Bluefield State College in Bluefield, West Virginia, told Mehr News Agency in an exclusive interview regarding the latest developments in Yemen.

Here is the full text of the interview:

The Saudi-led coalition has announced a ceasefire from Thursday. They claim that the move comes in support of UN efforts to end the devastating five-year war and to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Is Riyadh taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity for a face-saving exit from the Yemen war?

On April 8, 2020, the Saudi-led coalition announced a two-week ceasefire in their war on the Yemeni people on the Arabian Peninsula, where, since the Saudi invasion of the country in March 2015, the Saudi air force has relentlessly bombed the Yemeni people who had risen up in 2014 and ran the Saudi-installed President Abd Rabbuh Masur Hadi out of the country whereupon he took up refuge in Saudi Arabia.  The Saudi ceasefire was to commence today, April 9, 2020, and lasts till April 23, 2020, though the Saudi coalition grouping, the so-called “Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen” said that the ceasefire period is subject to “extension”.  Ostensibly, the Saudi coalition states that their unilateral announcement of a ceasefire is to aid in the suppression of the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic, though some of the Yemeni liberation forces believe the Saudi move may be an attempt to utilize the deadly virus as cover to extricate themselves from their five-year losing war to reassert their hegemonic control over Yemen while not admitting defeat.  Others, however, suspect the Saudis are only attempting to regroup their forces, rearm, and continue to pursue their brutal killing spree across the Yemeni landscape by attempting to lull the Yemeni fighters into a disengagement from defending their people and territory.

Distrust between the Yemeni people and the Saudi aggressors is palpable, as the Saudi monarchical kingdom has exercised de facto dictatorship over Yemen for decades with the assistance of first British and then American imperial rule over the Middle East in the twentieth century.  Since the invasion of the country in March 2015, Saudi destruction has wrought havoc on the 30 million population of  Yemen, including the displacement of over two and one-half million people who have been internally displaced by the war, more than a million who have fled elsewhere in the Arab world, produced a famine that affects the daily lives of over 17 million Yemenis, facilitated the largest outbreak of the deadly disease cholera in the world, and has resulted so far in over 100,000 deaths.

This is not the first time that a ceasefire is being announced. The Saudi-led coalition has a long history of violating previous ones. Do you think they would violate the most recent ceasefire if required?

The Yemeni liberation forces have little reason to trust Saudi proclamations neither of a ceasefire nor that this may be a Saudi plan for peace, as Saudi pronouncements ring hollow to Yemeni ears due to Saudi deceit, deceptions, dishonesty, and disinformation over the years.  Indeed, the Yemeni revolutionary government pushes its own demands for peace including an end to the Saudi blockade of Yemeni ports, the reopening of Yemeni airports, the cessation of the continuous Saudi bombardments of the country (aided and abetted by U.S. and U.K. bombs and satellite intelligence), commitments by Saudi Arabia for the rebuilding of schools, hospitals, and infrastructure in the country, and direct political talks between the Saudi monarchy and Yemeni liberation representatives regarding the future relationship between the two governments.  Given the disastrous track record of the de facto Saudi ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) since his rise to power beginning in 2011, including the prolonged and disastrous war in Yemen, breaking diplomatic relations with the government of Qatar, detaining, interrogating, shaking down and, in some instances, killing top Saudi leaders, the brutal execution of Washington Post journalist Jamal Kashoggi, the detention, imprisonment, forced disappearances, and murders of human rights activists, women’s rights activists, and anyone MbS deems a threat, there is no evidence to suggests that the current Saudi leadership is either to be trusted or even be deemed competent.  To most international observers, MbS is pejoratively referred to as the Saudi “Clown” Prince.

Have other countries, especially the West who always claim to support human rights, performed their duties toward ending the humanitarian crisis in Yemen?

The United States government, the United Kingdom government, the Israeli government, and other western allies seek to maintain western control over the entirety of the Arabian Peninsula both for geostrategic reasons and to have access to the region’s rich store of oil and natural gas.  Western strategists are concerned that an independent Yemen will weaken the Saudi monarchy which is the linchpin of western hegemony in the Middle East/North Africa region.  Should the Yemeni people break free of the Saudi yoke, others in the region may do so as well.  As a consequence, western governments, led by the United States and the United Kingdom, continue to sell arms, ammunition, planes, military supplies, and other instruments of war to the Saudi-led coalition while providing it with intelligence, military advice, and logistical support.  The US claims it is attempting to restore the United Nations recognized government of Yemen to power from what it claims is an Iranian-sponsored Houthi rebellion in Yemen.  What western governments are primarily concerned about, however, is propping up their traditional and reliable ally, the undemocratic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the House of Saud is the imposed caretaker over what western leaders regard as “their oil” [meaning “western-controlled oil”]. 

This interview was first published in Mehr News Agency.

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