Quick points on Yemenyemeni-300x158


Yemen is now the target of an invasion by the forces of Empire. This is the culmination of a long crisis. Yemen has a long history of division and social strife. However, the recent crisis can be traced to the negotiated overthrow of then President Ali Abdullah Saleh after two decades. The then Vice-president Abd Rubbuh Mansur Hadi became head of an attempted national reconciliation government that united the diverse, fractured opposition. Insurgencies continued. Insurgents from northern Houthi tribes who practice a kind of Shia Islam broke into and occupied the capital Sana’a in 2014. They forced Hadi to form a “unity government”  with numerous factions. Yet the unity government was crippled. It failed. In January 2015, Hadi resigned. The Houthis declared themselves the new state led by the Revolutionary Committee lead by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi. However, Hadi excaped to the southern city of Aden where he proclaimed himself still the legitimate leader of the country. He called on the old state and military to rally to him. Now, Empire is using the instability in Yemen to invade and occupy the country.

There are several points to consider.

1. This conflict is part of a regional war between the Shia bloc of Iran, the Assad regime, Hezbollah, the Iraqi militias, Bahrain protesters, etc. versus the the Sunni Gulf States, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, etc. The latter bloc is part of Empire and its allies. The Shia bloc supports the Houthi rebels, although the level of support is not known. Empire supports the Hadi regime.

2. The regime of  Ali Abdullah Saleh was a close ally of the Empire. The United States proclaimed it a key player its war on terror. Yemen was even held up as a success, a model to be emulated, at one point. It was in Yemen that, for years, the United States waged a secret drone war killing thousands of innocent people. The United States supplied aid and trainers to help the regime. Similarly, the Aden-based regime of Abd Rubbuh Mansur Hadi is supported by Empire.

3. It is unclear if there is any concrete support to the Shia Houthi rebels from Iran. The Houthi brand of Shiaism is very different from the Iranian branch. Although the Iranians have extended moral support to the Houthis, this is more for geopolitical reasons than ideological. Both Iran and the Houthis share common enemies.

4. Just as in Syria and Iraq, there is an ambiguous relationship between Sunni jihadists and Empire. With one hand, Empire supports the jihadists. With the other, it smacks them down. Empire uses them as a destabilizing force. Empire uses them as its shock troops. Empire uses them as its pawns as a way to weaken the Third World, as a way to offset Iranian hegemony. The imperialists create a mess by supporting jihadists, then the imperialists try to play the hero. Imperialists create chaos, then they seize power.

5. The country of Yemen is not united, but divided along tribal, religious, and geographic lines. The war in Yemen is very sectarian in nature. Nonetheless, Yemen is a pawn in a geopolitical struggle. Saudi Arabia and Israel have intervened in the conflict, bombing the Houthi. Now, Saudi Arabia is planning a ground invasion and occupation. Saudi Arabia is amassing 150,000 troops on the border. Reportedly, the Saudis are trying to get Pakistani manpower for this operation also. Egypt’s navy is supporting the intervention. The United States, France, the United Kingdom, Turkey also support the attack on Yemen.

We must oppose foreign intervention in Yemen, especially by Empire. We must denounce the militarist policies of Empire, especially the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia and its Islamic State and Al Queda allies who are using genocide and sectarianism to destroy the peoples of the Third World. We must oppose those who would deliver the people of Yemen into the hands of Empire and semi-feudal barbarism.