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Saudi Arabian and U.S. Imperialist Hands off Yemen!
by Steven Argue
Saturday Mar 28th, 2015 9:09 AM
[Photo: Mass rally against air strikes in Sana’a, Yemen, held on March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah.]

800_a_yemen_mass_rally.jpg
Stop the Bombing of Yemen!
Saudi Arabian and U.S. Imperialist Hands off Yemen!

By Steven Argue

On Thursday, March 26th, Saudi Arabia and a number of other U.S. backed dictatorships started air strikes and announced plans of a massive ground invasion of Yemen. This is part of an attempt to crush the country’s popular revolution, primarily led by the Houthis. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised the invasion saying he "commended the work of the coalition taking military action against the Houthis”. Kerry also stated the United States was backing the invasion with support that includes “intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, and advisory and logistical support for strikes against Houthi targets.” It should also be mentioned that almost all of the countries participating in the attacks have been heavily armed by the United States.

The bombing started in residential areas on the night of March 26th. In the first day of bombing in the capital city of Sa’ana at least 25 civilians were killed, including 6 children, and at least 24 people were wounded. On the second day of bombing, a busy market in Sa’ada was also hit, killing and injuring 15 people. By the second day of bombing, at least 45 civilians have been killed. An additional 80 fighters opposed to the invasion, both from the Yemeni Army and Houthi forces were also killed.

This is pure unprovoked aggression against Yemen.

Saudi Arabia declared war on Yemen in the United States. This was done by Saudi Arabian envoy to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir on the evening of Wednesday, March 26th. In his declaration of war the Saudi envoy listed the countries that will participate and even the numbers of bombers they have pledged. Saudi Arabia plans to send 150,000 ground troops into Yemen. These troops have been amassed on the border. In addition, they are using 100 fighter jets to bomb Yemen. Also pledging to participate in the murderous bombing raids are the U.S. backed dictatorships of the United Arab Emirates (pledging 30 fighter jets), Kuwait (pledging 15 fighter jets), Bahrain (pledging 15 fighter jets), Qatar (pledging 10 fighter jets), Jordan (pledging several fighter jets), and Morocco has lent several fighter jets to the bombing campaign.

Today, Saudi Arabia is calling its invasion of Yemen “Operation Storm of Resolve”, a name reminiscent of “Operation Desert Storm”, the first U.S. war against Iraq in 1991. That war restored Kuwait’s brutal anti-democratic, pro-U.S., and anti-woman monarchy. It did so at the cost of irradiating regions with depleted uranium munitions and tens of thousands of people killed. Despite numerous problems with Saddam Hussein, his secular government was at least strongly pro-woman and money from Iraq’s nationalized oil fields was used in part to provide the Iraqi people with education and health care. Saudi Arabia supported Operation Desert Storm by allowing American military bases in Saudi Arabia. Their support for Desert Storm helped make the Middle East safe for monarchies, misogyny, and imperialist looting of oil wealth.

While John Kerry speaks of the target of this war being the Houthis, it should also be pointed out that most of the Yemeni Army is also united with the Houthis against the Saudi invasion of their country. An estimated 70% of the Yemeni army supports Ali Abdullah Saleh who has formed an alliance with the Houthis against the U.S. and Saudi backed dictatorship of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The Houthi movement began as a Shia religious revivalist movement, but became highly politicized in 2003 in opposition to the Yemeni government’s support for the U.S. imperialist invasion of Iraq. By 2004, the Houthi movement turned into a full fledged insurgency. Ironically, at that time the insurgency was a fight against the dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the very same deposed president who is now allied with the Houthis against the Saudi / U.S. led invasion as well as against the Hadi dictatorship, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State in Yemen.

Today the Saudi regime is promising to reinstall the Hadi dictatorship which has no popular support and has been overthrown in a popular revolution. This is not the first time Saudi Arabia has come to the aid of a U.S. backed dictatorship in Yemen. In 2009, Saudi troops also invaded to aid the Ali Abdullah Saleh dictatorship against Houthi rebels. Similarly, Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain in 2011 to help that U.S. backed monarchy brutally crush its ongoing pro-democracy movement. For criticizing the most recent invasion of Yemen that started this week, the U.S. backed monarchy in Bahrain immediately arrested Fadhel Abbas, the secretary general of the National Democratic Assembly in Bahrain. In part due to the Saudi invasion of Bahrain in 2011, large numbers of human rights and pro-democracy activists suffer in Bahraini prisons where torture is routine. Family members are also being denied access to these political prisoners.

Saudi Arabia is by far the most oppressive country in the world with sweeping oppression for women, atheists, Shi’ites and other religious minorities, and political dissidents. They helped create ISIL by, along with the U.S., aiding fanatically religious rebels against Assad’s secular government in Syria. They continue to help the United States train and arm other factions of religious fanatics fighting in Syria to this day, supposedly, but not really, the “moderate” religious fanatics. And like the ISIL fanatics that Saudi Arabia helped create in Syria, Iraq, and Kurdistan, the Saudi Arabian government regularly cuts off the heads of people for such crimes as “wondering from the faith”. Still, Saudi Arabia, along with Israel, are the biggest allies of U.S. imperialism in the region. The United States is fine with Saudi Arabia’s crimes and was, in fact, fine with the crimes of ISIL and similar groups like the so-called Free Syrian Army as long as they limited their fight to Syria. What turned the United States against ISIL was when their forces spilled over the border and became a threat to the corrupt and repressive U.S. backed puppet governments of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan.

In his declaration of war against Yemen, Saudi Envoy Adel al-Jubeir stated the goal of the invasion is to do “whatever it takes” to keep the presidency of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in power. Last week, the United States withdrew its military advisors from Yemen in the face of the crumbling of Hadi’s U.S. backed dictatorship. On Wednesday Hadi fled Yemen for Saudi Arabia as Houthi rebels and military units loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh seized the central bank headquarters, Al Anad Airbase in Lahj province, and the international airport in Aden. Hadi was the successor of the 34 year U.S. backed dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh who fled the country in 2012 in the face of a mass revolutionary uprising.

Yemen is the poorest country in the region. With 24 million people, a majority, almost two thirds of the people, are acutely malnourished. The Saudi invasion, which includes a planned port blockade, will only greatly worsen this problem. Even before the current civil war and foreign invasion, many of Yemen’s people were forced to travel to Saudi Arabia and other oil rich kingdoms for work. There, they are commonly literally held as slaves. Slaves in the U.S. backed oil kingdoms come from all over Asia. An example of how brutal this involuntary servitude is includes anti-slavery organizations documenting child slaves from India and Bangladesh being purposely starved so that they weigh less and can be used as jockeys in camel races. Workers / slaves are subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse, withholding of travel documents so the worker can’t leave the country, restrictions on freedom of movement, and often non-payment of wages.

Up until 1967, southern Yemen remained a formal colony of Britain. In 1969 a leftist government was won in South Yemen called the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. With the backing of the Soviet Union this government charted a path independent of U.S. imperialism and Saudi Arabia. This included major progress that was made in women’s rights and in education. Likewise, besides the Soviet Union, South Yemen formed friendly relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, and East Germany. Unfortunately, the capitalist counterrevolution in the USSR pushed South Yemen towards uniting with the rest of Yemen under the U.S. and Saudi backed dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh in 1990. By 1994 people in South Yemen came to their senses and declared independence, but they were invaded by Saleh’s troops and taken over by force.

A major club in Ali Abdullah Saleh’s arsenal in fighting against the leftists in South Yemen were Afghanistan war veterans who fought in the CIA sponsored mujahideen armies that eventually overthrew the pro-woman Soviet backed PDPA government of Afghanistan and brought the Taliban to power. The United States gave those forces $8 billion in military aid, including stinger missiles. Saudi Arabia was also a major financial backer of the western imperialist’s holy war against literacy and women’s rights in Afghanistan. In addition, a good number of the jihadist fighters in Afghanistan came from Yemen. The dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh used these war veterans to its advantage. In 2011, Qassin Dawoud, a long-time member of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), explained what happened:

“During the 1994 civil war, there was still a cold war mentality being used in Yemen’s case. Saleh made the U.S. choose between him and the socialists. Since the beginning, they were all together against the socialists. Sixteen thousand Afghanistan veterans were sent south to fight us. No one talks about this. These same men bombed the U.S.S. Cole and these same men are threatening to overrun the south and occupy Aden. 20 years later, the civil war is still being fought in South Yemen. And just as he did before, Saleh is using jihadis to do it.”

Both Saleh and Hadi played a leading role in defeating the secular and pro-woman 1994 rebellion which was led by the Yemeni Socialist Party. Saleh and Hadi, who, aligned with the United States and Saudi Arabia, used the Sunni religious fanatics of al-Qaeda to help them defeat the left at that time. After the YSP’s defeat in 1994, YSP members have regularly faced unwarranted arrest and torture under the imperialist puppet regimes of Saleh and Hadi. Now Saleh has aligned himself with the anti-imperialist Shi’ite Houthi forces in a bid to regain power after controlling the north of the country from 1978 to 1990 and controlling the whole country from 1990 to 2012. Hadi, on the other hand, with little support in Yemen, fled the Yemeni revolution on Wednesday for Saudi Arabia and is relying on the U.S. and Saudi led invasion to bring him back into power.

In the 37 years of the rule of the Hadi and Saleh dictatorships, Yemen mostly moved backwards. Their smashing of the secular socialist movement weakened the position of women and the plebian masses in general and strengthened the position of the takfiri religious fanatics of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State that are now terrorizing women and religious minorities in Yemen. Illiteracy for women in Yemen is 67% while male illiteracy is at 30%. In comparison, the secular communist leadership of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen had increased overall literacy training to have reached 81.4% of the population by 1983-1984, with an overall literacy rate of men and women higher than the present day literacy rate for men under the neglected and discriminatory education system of the present day capitalist state.

The USSR played an important role in backing the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen against the hostilities of the U.S. imperialists, Saudi Arabia, and the Saleh dictatorship. This was one of many important contributions the USSR made to the world anti-imperialist movement and the world struggle for secularism and women’s liberation. Unfortunately, the role of the USSR in backing the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen came with the same baggage that plagued the USSR’s international policy ever since Stalin consolidated the power of his conservative clique against the Leninists in the USSR in 1928. While the 1917 October Revolution, led by the joint leadership of Lenin and Trotsky proclaimed that supporting the international revolution was a fundamental task to break the Soviet Revolution out of economic isolation, Stalin’s conservative bureaucratic ideology was instead one of advocating socialism in one country and often betraying revolutions in other countries as a means of keeping the peace with the capitalist imperialists. That ideology of socialism in one country was not abandoned by the Soviet bureaucracy after Stalin’s death.

In 1980, the USSR secured the resignation of the president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), President Abdul Fattah Ismail. He was replaced with the more conservative leadership of President Ali Nasir Muhammad. This was both a major step backward politically and an unacceptable intervention in the internal affairs of the PDRY. President Abdul Fattah Ismail was a revolutionary whose leadership brought important gains to South Yemen and who sought to extend those gains into the rest of Yemen as well as into Oman. Ali Nasir Muhammad was instead happy with limiting the gains of the revolution to a weakened fraction of the country while the rest of the nation suffered. Instead of Stalin’s socialism in one country, this was socialism in a fraction of the country. In 1990, Ali Nasir Muhammad took this Stalinist betrayal of the revolution a step further by dissolving the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen into one country under the capitalist, pro-Saudi, and pro-imperialist leadership of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

As far as Stalinist betrayals of revolutions go, it really doesn’t get any worse than dissolving the entire deformed workers state as Ali Nasir Muhammad did in 1990. This points to the need build a Leninist-Trotskyist Party in Yemen that, while pointing to the important gains of the PDRY revolution, advocates a more consistent communist revolutionary and anti-imperialist stand than has been the history of the Yemeni Socialist Party. While an anti-imperialist communist revolution in Yemen today would face major economic obstacles, it would not be completely isolated. It could potentially trade and even get some aid from the world anti-imperialist block that includes Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Belarus, North Korea, Russia, and China. Further more, in power, the Yemeni socialist revolution could work to extend the revolution into the territory of their oil rich neighbors like Saudi Arabia where the working class, women, and minorities are horribly oppressed. Such a revolutionary communist party in Yemen today, and internationally, unconditionally supports the military defense of Yemen from imperialist attack and calls for the military defeat of the U.S. imperialist and Saudi Arabian invasion of Yemen. A defeat of the imperialist invasion is a fundamental component of the fight for the total liberation of Yemen from capitalism, imperialism, misogyny, and religious rule and will be a shot in the arm to the entire anti-imperialist movement across the Middle East and the world.

Houthi (Ansurullah) leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi leader has answered the invasion in a speech where he explained that Yemen is poor because of the imperialists, that the Yemeni people are in the right, that the Yemeni people will defend themselves, and that Yemen will be made the graveyard of invaders. He further stated the Saudi Arabia is in a weak position as a puppet of foreign powers on the side of evil and that the Yemeni people have right on their side. He explained that the Saudi government does not even represent the Saudi people, so therefore they will not target the Saudi people, but instead the Saudi government as they retaliate against the invasion.

Mass Houthi led rallies of tens of thousands of people are taking place in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a against the invasion with chants of “Death to al Saud!”, “Death to America!”, and “Death to Israel!” Houthi fighters have vowed retaliation and this may well include moving the civil war into Saudi Arabia where Houthi fighters are likely to gain support, especially from Saudi Arabia’s terribly oppressed Shia minority. With the U.S. imperialist / Saudi invasion, the price of oil immediately rose by 6% out of fear of a growing conflagration across the region. The Saudi Arabian stock market has also taken a nose dive.

Israel is backing the invasion saying they support what they are falsely calling the “Sunni axis”. This should be no surprise. Who knew that Saudi Arabia had such a powerful air force while Israel was slaughtering Palestinians in Gaza? Saudi Arabia backed Israel’s murderous military attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza by doing nothing and never delivering the aid they promised to the people of Gaza living in the devastation of rubble and a shattered infrastructure. Similarly, the U.S. backed dictatorship of Egypt participated in the attack on Gaza by keeping the border closed.

Today, the U.S. sponsored dictatorship of Egypt is also giving naval support to the invasion of Yemen with 4 Egyptian warships en route to the Gulf of Aden and pledges of war planes and ground troops if those troops are needed. Air and naval warfare plans include a blockade of Yemeni ports.

Britain, whose top two arms purchasers are Israel and Saudi Arabia, is also backing the invasion Yemen. France and Turkey are backing the invasion as well. The EU as a whole, on the other hand, has called for the conflict to be settled through peaceful means.

Notably not joining in this aggression against Yemen are Lebanon, Tunisia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Pakistan, China, and Russia. Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif calls it a U.S. led aggression” that violates the sovereignty of Yemen, calling for an immediate end to the invasion. The Foreign Minister of Iraq has issued a statement opposing the invasion as well. Hezbollah likewise opposes the invasion stating, "Hezbollah strongly condemns the U.S.-Saudi aggression targeting the brotherly people of Yemen…”. Saudi Arabia was also unable to get the backing of the UN Security Council for the invasion. Russia and the People’s Republic of China are not supporting the invasion and are calling for a peaceful resolution.

One surprise is Sudanese participation in the invasion. Sudan has committed to sending ground troops into Yemen “if necessary”. Unlike the other countries involved in the war against Yemen, Sudan is no longer an ally of U.S. imperialism. It is in fact a country under U.S. economic sanctions. Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir was once a close ally of U.S. imperialism, but fell out of favor as the United States also turned on President Bahir’s, former allies of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein. Alliances with those forces were the original reason for the U.S. breaking relations with President Bashir. Later, the U.S. claimed the reason for its economic sanctions was war crimes in South Sudan and Darfur, yet when the U.S. was supporting President Bashir he was carrying out those same crimes against the peoples of those regions. Truth is that the reasons for U.S. aggression against Sudan are more complex than western claims of genocide in Darfur. While Sudan has committed crimes in Darfur and South Sudan, U.S. aggression towards Sudan has far more to do with U.S. attempts to isolate the People’s Republic of China and earlier attempts to isolate Iraq under the leadership of Saddam Hussein. Now, allied with the United States in the war on Yemen, Sudanese troops will be extending their war crimes into Yemen. Yet, unlike President Bashir being charged with war crimes in the Hague for his actions in Darfur, the invasion of Yemen is backed by the United States. That means nobody involved will be charged for their crimes in the Hague. This is how the Hague works, war crimes only happen if they are carried out by someone the United States doesn’t like. In fact, Sudan probably hopes to get back into good relations with the U.S. imperialists by participating in crimes against the people of Yemen.

Before U.S. forces fled Yemen last week, the Al Anad Airbase captured on March 25th was used by the United States to carry out drone attacks. Both the Hadi and Saleh dictatorships worked closely with the United States in drone attacks against al-Qaeda the Islamic State, and other radicals in Yemen. The Houthis oppose drone attacks and have now put an end to them in Yemen. These attacks were extremely unpopular and ineffective. Before the U.S. was driven out of the country last week, drone strikes were killing far more innocent civilians than they were killing al-Qaeda and ISIL militants. The actual effective fighters against the takfiri murderers of al-Qaeda and ISIL in Yemen have been the Houthis. Similarly, the most effective fighters against ISIL in Syria, Kurdistan, Iraq, and Lebanon have been those also considered by the United States to be enemies, these being the secular governments of Syria and Syrian Kurdistan as well as the Shi’ite anti-imperialist forces of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Let there be no mistake, the invasion of Yemen is not a Sunni versus Shi’ite conflict. This is a U.S. inspired and backed invasion carried out with U.S. weapons and intelligence by U.S. sponsored dictators in the region. It is an attempt to restore the remnants of the failed Hadi dictatorship on Yemen and is a total violation of the national rights of the Yemeni people. It is also part of a regional quest for continued U.S. imperialist control of the region by undermining allies of Syria’s secular government as well as Iran and Hezbollah.

In addition, it is worth noting that the coalition of forces fighting against the Saudi Arabian invasion is comprised of both Sunnis and Shi’ites, so imperialist propaganda that portrays this as simply a sectarian war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Houthis really don’t hold water. The Yemeni people are currently fighting against an imperialist orchestrated invasion of their country that is being carried out to further their geo-strategic goals of U.S. imperialism. This is not to say Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a stake in smashing a movement that is giving more power to Shi’ites. The absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia brutally oppresses its oppressed Shi’ite minority and has reason to fear an anti-imperialist movement that has given the oppressed Shi’ite people more power in a country right on their border.

Aden, which is currently being bombed by the U.S. Saudi led coalition forces to drive back the Houthi and Yemeni Army alliance, is also occupied by al-Qaeda forces. The Islamic State has also become a force in the Yemeni civil war. The Houthis (primarily Shi’ite) and the rebel Yemeni Army (primarily Sunni) have been making significant headway not only against the Hadi dictatorship, but also against al-Qaeda and ISIL. While Saudi Arabia and allies bomb the positions of the Houthis and Yemeni Army, the forces of al-Qaeda and ISIL are left alone. While Saudi Arabia’s stated purpose for the bombing of Yemen is to bring Hadi back to power, Hadi lacks support in Yemen. Therefore, foreign troops will be needed on the ground to re-impose the Hadi dictatorship on the Yemeni people. In the meantime, any successes the bombing campaign is having against the Houthis and Yemeni Army is mainly serving to strengthen the position of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

None of this is to say there is anything to be excited about in the allied forces of the Houthis and Saleh loyalists in the Yemeni Army. It is likely that Saleh will break his alliance with the Houthis as soon as he thinks he can get the upper hand, but for now the alliance between the Yemeni Army and the Houthis is holding true against the Saudi Arabian and U.S. imperialist led assault. At the same time, the consistently anti-imperialist Houthi forces, while defending oppressed minorities like the Shi’ites, are also extremely anti-woman in a similar manner to the Saudi aggressors. In January 2015 the Houthis circulated a decree in a region under their control banning women from going out in public after Maghrib prayer (just after sunset), prohibiting male musicians at parties held by women, and prohibiting any sort of photographic equipment at any gathering of women including mobile phones. Many similar absurd restrictions are in place in Saudi Arabia including the prohibition of women from driving.

While the Houthis and Saleh forces do not represent liberation for Yemen, their enemies, the United States, Saudi Arabia, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State would double the chains of imperialist oppression in Yemen. Revolutionary communists unconditionally support Yemeni self-determination against this unprovoked aggression. For these reasons, despite the Houthis and Saleh’s army having major problems, the Revolutionary Tendency sides with them against the imperialist orchestrated invasion of their country. At the same time, we give these forces no political support and call for the building of a revolutionary communist alternative that fights for the United Soviet Socialist Republics of the Middle East and an end to U.S. imperialism through proletarian socialist revolution in the United States.

-Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency

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Also from this same author, see:

Why The Russian Revolution is Still Important
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/03/03/18708611.php

Why We Should Oppose the Imperialist War on Libya
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/03/25/18675579.php

Afghanistan: Misogynistic Hell Hole Made in the U.S.A.
by Steven Argue
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/07/16/18717635.php

For Women’s Liberation through Socialist Revolution!
by Steven Argue
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/03/08/18733326.php
§Yemen Socialist Led Rally
by Steven Argue Saturday Mar 28th, 2015 9:09 AM
a_yemen_protesters-in-taiz-yemen_4-13-11.jpg
[Photo: Aden 2011: thousands waving flags of the former South Yemen (The Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen), demanding renewed independence for the region. The rally was held to make the 20th anniversary of a secession bid that was crushed by the U.S. backed troops of the Saleh dictatorship and al-Qaeda.—AFP]
§Child Casualty of Imperialist Bombing
by Steven Argue Saturday Mar 28th, 2015 9:09 AM
800_a_child_yemen.jpg
People carry the body of a child they uncovered from under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sana'a Airport, Yemen, Thursday, March 26, 2015 after Saudi bombing. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
§Correction
by Steven Argue Wednesday Apr 1st, 2015 2:54 AM
I wrote:

"In 1990, Ali Nasir Muhammad took this Stalinist betrayal of the revolution a step further by dissolving the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen into one country under the capitalist, pro-Saudi, and pro-imperialist leadership of Ali Abdullah Saleh."

This act was actually carried out under the presidency of Ali Salim al-Beidh who came to power in 1986. What was meant, but stated in an inaccurate manner, was that the more conservative leadership of Ali Nasir Muhammad helped lay the basis for this even worse betrayal by Ali Salim al-Beidh in 1990.
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
UPDATESteven ArgueTuesday Mar 31st, 2015 5:36 PM
Saudi Arabia Bombs Refugee CampSteven ArgueMonday Mar 30th, 2015 6:37 PM
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