Last month, the Saudi Air Force bombed a Doctors Without Borders Cholera-treatment center. This is a flagrant war crime that went almost completely unmentioned in US mainstream media. If you stumbled across news of this bombing, and you haven’t been paying attention, you might think this was just a one off, perhaps even a mistake. But, over the past year, the Saudis have also been bombing water infrastructure and sewage-treatment facilities. It’s important to note that Cholera is a bacterial infection of the intestines that is caused by drinking unclean water. These bombing targets are not random. The Saudis have demonstrated their commitment to waging war, not on some targeted ruling elite, but on all Yemenis. And the world looks away.
So how did we get here? Former Predident Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down during the Arab Spring protests of 2011. Then Saleh formed an alliance with the Houthi movement. The Houthis portray themselves as a secular, anti-corruption movement. Western propaganda portrays them as an Iranian-backed, militant Shia organization. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Either way, the alliance between Saleh and the Houthis didn’t end well, as Saleh was killed by a Houthi sniper in December of 2017.
The Houthis looks control of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, in September of 2014. The Saudi backed government fled to the coast, where, officially, they have set up a new capital in Yemen’s second largest city of Aden, although, in reality, they prefer to operate from Riyadh. Al Qaeda, predictably, has declared war on the Houthis. Does anyone find it interesting that Al Qaeda is always there to fight for Saudi interests? It’s almost as if there’s a link there.
Here’s a map of the territory controlled by the various factions as of December 2017.
The Saudis intervened in 2015 to restore the deposed president Hadi to power. They have been aided by the US and UAE. The US has provided logistical and intelligence support. The Saudis rely on their satellite imagery to determine targets, and the US helps with in-air refueling of Saudi jets. Almost all of Saudi Arabia’s military hardware comes from the US. This aid has been given without the authorization of congress, and despite the fact that the US still claims to be apposed to Al Qaeda. The US was drone-bombing Al Qaeda targets in Yemen as recently as 2017, but has discontinued this campaign at the behest of the powerful Saudi lobby. All their efforts in Yemen in 2018 have been towards the goal of eradicating the Houthis and terrorizing all civilians that happen to be living under their control. Therefore, the US is now de facto allied with Al Qaeda.
The Houthi-controlled area relies on the port city of Hodeidah as a life line to the outside world. The Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive on the city on June 13th of this year. If this port is closed, the heavily populated capital region will lose all access to vital necessities. The Houthis, remarkably, have held their ground, and, earlier this week, struck a Saudi oil tanker in the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. The Saudis subsequently decided to stop using the Red Sea and Suez Canal as a rout for oil shipment for the time being. The is causing a rise in global oil prices as we speak. This can only strengthen the Saudis resolve, and I shudder to think what Riyadh might do next.
The UK-based charity Save the Children warns that Yemen is “on the brink of a new epidemic.” More than one million people were infected with Cholera last year, with more than two thousand deaths. This year is suspected to be much worse. There is usually a spike in Cholera infections in the hot summer months of July and August. The first month of July was reportedly the worst month in the year so far for infections. It is expected to be the worst in Hodeidah. The recent Saudi bombings of hospitals, water infrastructure and sewage treatment facilities has worsened the problem by orders of magnitude.
The Saudi coalition has also been bombing the means of food production, including farms, fishing boats, ports and market places. The Saudis have also nearly blocked off all oil imports, so tractors to plow the fields, water pumps and hospital generator which are desperately needed are unavailable. At least 50,000 children died of starvation and preventable disease in 2017. That number is suspected to be much higher this year. According to the WHO, around 17 million people are suffering from undernourishment. Unless the world makes a collective decision to intervene quickly, we could have a famine of biblical proportions on our hands.
These are the people who Noam Chomsky, in Manufacturing Consent, called ‘unworthy victims,’ the ones the media doesn’t want you to see, because it doesn’t fit the agenda. They want you to worry about Sergei Skripal (who made a 100% recovery, and is not allowed to tell his side of the story). They want you to worry about certain kids in Syria, but not all. (See The Weaponization of Children in Anti-Syria Propaganda) You can even worry when Thai kids get trapped in caves. That won’t hurt geopolitical interests. But don’t worry about these people. Look away as you scroll down. Your natural human impulse of compassion is of no use here.
MSNBC is the supposed Trump #Resistance network. You would think they might mention his most devastating foreign policy blunder. But nope. In the past year, since July 2nd of 2017, they have not mentioned Yemen once. In that same time period, they mentioned Stormy Daniels 455 times.
The current ruler of Saudi Arabia is Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. He is only 32 years old. It is unprecedented for a prince to assume such power in the kingdom. The average age for a monarch to become Head of State under the House of Saud is 64. It is a terrifying thought that this man could rule the kingdom for many decades. The House of Saud has been consistently monstrous since its inception, but MBS seems particularly diabolical.
And he has the entire US corporate, political and media establishments by the balls. Here is a picture of Trump going over exactly which weapons the US is going to sell to him, so he can bomb hospitals, schools, mosques, weddings, funerals and pretty much anything else that might quench his insatiably thirst for blood for a short moment.
In April of this year, a non-partisan coalition of three senators proposed the radical idea that congress should get to vote on whether or not the US goes to war with Yemen, but, a month later, the US senate killed the bill. They voted 55-44 to abdicate their constitutional right to vote on whether or not the country goes to war. If you still think Russia, and not Saudi Arabia and Israel, have undue influence over Washington, you can shut up now.
MBS rules over a country where the punishment for homosexuality is public beheading, yet openly-gay media figures like Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper would never dare speak a word against him.
If one of America’s ‘enemies,’ say Iran or Russia, had been conducting a similar siege of one of its neighboring countries, do you think the media might be talking about it? That MSNBC might mention it more than ZERO times in one year?
One of the strangest things about this is that it has no discernible aim, unless the Saudis know about some massive deposit of natural resources in Yemen that I don’t. Saudi foreign policy can only be described as psychopathic.
That’s about all for now. I’ve written myself into a rage.
To conclude, if you still have a functioning heart, it’s time to spread the world. Most Americans probably don’t even know about the war in Yemen and America’s role in it. While people are obsessing over rude tweets, there is human suffering happening on an unimaginable scale, much of it being carried out in your name and with your tax dollars if you’re an American. So next time you hear people squabbling over divisive bullshit, maybe propose we stop slaughtering kids in Yemen. It’s a start.