By Mohammad Mazhari

Saudis will pay high price for genocidal war on Yemen: analyst

November 29, 2020 - 12:32

TEHRAN – A political analyst says Saudi Arabia is well aware that it is paying a high price for its genocide in Yemen. 

“Saudis should worry that they will continue to pay a high price for their genocidal war on Yemen,” Jay Tharappel, a representative in the Yemen Solidarity Council, tells the Tehran Times. 

According to Tharappel, the Saudis could not impose a blockade on Yemen without support from the American and British navies.

“Saudis cannot impose the blockade on Yemen without the support of U.S. and British naval power,” he explains.

The following is the text of the interview:

Q: How do you see the recent missile attack on the Saudi Aramco in Jeddah? What does it mean for Saudi Arabia and its allies?

A: On Monday we learned that the Yemeni national resistance fired a missile that hit a Saudi Aramco oil facility in Jeddah, the spokesman for the Yemeni armed forces Yahya Sarei claimed the strike was delivered by the newer and more accurate Quds-2 missile and has vowed that “operations will continue”. The rationale behind these missile strikes is very simple to force Saudi Arabia to pay a price for the ongoing war and blockade that the Saudi-led coalition continues to wage against the people. 

What does this mean for Saudi Arabia and its allies? In September 2019 there was a spectacular sophisticated drone strike on Saudi oil facilities in Abqaiq, however, the Saudis and their allies were quick to blame Iran, admittedly because it is geographically closer to the scene of the attack, but also because it demonstrated capabilities that the U.S.-Saudi alliance did not believe could have been carried out by the Yemeni national resistance. This strike, however, is undeniably a Yemeni attack, because it was against a target that is well within the range of the missiles that Yemen does have. 

Q: Has the Saudi-led coalition been able to make a considerable military or political achievement in Yemen after more than five years of war on the country?

A: The official justification for Saudi-led action was accepted by the United Nations Security Council back in April 2015, making this perhaps the world’s first genocide legally permitted by international law. According to UN Res. 2216, which was co-sponsored by the United States, Britain, and France, the Saudis are acting on behalf of the “legitimate Government of Yemen” against “the Houthis”, in order to force the latter to, “withdraw from all areas seized during the latest conflict, [and] relinquish arms seized from military and security institutions”. 

Such legality ignores ground reality. The so-called president of the “legitimate” government – Abd Rabbah Mansour Hadi – does not even live in Yemen. He resigned as president in March 2015 before defecting to Saudi Arabia where he declared he was still president, which the Saudis then cited to justify bombing and besieging Yemen. Even more absurd is that Hadi has reportedly been placed under house arrest since November 2017, meaning that the Saudis have been waging war against Yemen on behalf of someone they’ve effectively imprisoned. By contrast “the Houthis” is the nickname for the Ansarullah movement, which seized power in the capital Sana’a with relatively little bloodshed in September 2014, unlike Hadi. The fact that the Yemeni national army defected to the side of the Houthi revolution underscores their mass support. 

To this day, the Yemeni national army and Ansarullah have been fighting shoulder-to-shoulder against the Saudi-led coalition. Despite being comprised entirely of Yemenis, the Ansarullah movement is routinely referred to as “Iranian proxies”, whereas the army of the so-called “legitimate government”, is around 84% comprised of foreign mercenaries sourced from around 22 countries. 

“The capabilities of the Yemeni resistance appear to have improved dramatically. Now they can deliver accurate cruise missiles that are capable of bypassing an entire regiment of Saudi Patriot & Hawk air defense systems.”

Q: How do you assess the power of the Yemeni resistance forces today? 

The capabilities of the Yemeni resistance appear to have improved dramatically. Now they can deliver accurate cruise missiles that are capable of bypassing an entire regiment of Saudi Patriot & Hawk air defense systems. Not many countries in the world have cruise missiles, which is sophisticated technology. They cost around $1 million for each missile, fly really low and fast, can maneuver around hills, change direction, and avoid radar detection. What will make the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel extremely worried are that there is no doubt this time around that the missile was launched from Yemen, and apparently there’s more coming. The Saudis should worry that they will continue to pay a high price for their genocidal war on Yemen. 

Q: How do you evaluate Saudis’ human rights record in Yemen?

Genocidal. The statistics from Yemen are enough to vindicate the charge of genocide and it’s not just Saudi Arabia that is responsible for this. The Saudis cannot impose the blockade on Yemen without the support of U.S. and British naval power. As a result of this blockade, 18.4 million Yemenis are starving, which has caused “the worst famine in the world in 100 years” according to the United Nations, that too back in October 2018. Roughly 44% of children under the age of five are malnourished, that's 2.2 out of 5 million. As of this month, over 2 million people have been infected with cholera.

Q: What is your analysis of the U.S.-Israeli role in Yemen? Why didn’t the U.S. try to help broker peace there?

The U.S. is Saudi Arabia’s largest arms supplier, and the interests of Israel are a major force behind U.S. foreign policy in the Arab world. The Israeli navy is also patrolling the Bab al-Mandeb strait, which means they are also directly involved in enforcing the blockade against Yemen. Ultimately, they want to crush any revolutionary Arab movement that supports the Palestinian struggle like Ansarullah. 

As for why the U.S. doesn’t try to maintain peace, this goes back to history. Yemen is located in a very strategically important part of the world because that’s where around a quarter of the world’s oil supplies travel through. Therefore, there is a long history of preventing Yemen from developing into an independent country, going back to the period following the collapse of the Ottoman empire. 

Yemen was not supposed to be an independent country, Saudi Arabia was supposed to annex northern Yemen, but they were repelled by the Imam of Yemen, Yahya Hamiddedin in 1934, and Britain was supposed to maintain control over southern Yemen, but they were forced to grant independence to the south Yemeni communist movement. In 1977 the Saudis assassinated the popular President of North Yemen, Ibrahim al-Hamdi, which paved the way for the 34-year reign of Ali Abdullah Saleh. 

During that reign, Yemen was kept artificially poor so it could be transformed into a pool of cheap labor for the Saudi economy, and Yemenis were recruited for so-called ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan. After the unification of Yemen in 1990, President Saleh used returned al-Qaeda fighters to terrorize the south Yemeni socialists into submission, then Saleh turned his attention to the Ansarullah movement which was founded in 1994. 

Ansarullah did not take up arms against the old pro-Saudi Yemeni government of Saleh, rather, Saleh took up arms against Ansarullah, that is, Saleh used military power and terrorist attacks against a political movement. In 2014, that movement was so popular, that the armed forces and interior ministry of Yemen joined the revolution, which prompted the Saudi-led war. 

This war is about preventing the emergence of an independent Yemen. 


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