Saudi Arabia Launches Air Assault on Yemen
by William Skink
Today Saudi Arabia started bombing targets in Yemen, undoubtedly with some level of US support.
Besides exporting oil, Saudi Arabia also exports Islamic extremism in the form of Wahhabism. That means America’s oil pals aren’t shy about demanding the occasional beheading of alleged witches and sorcerers because hey, that’s just how they roll.
Though Wahhabism adherents despise the Shiite sect of Islam, they are not opposed to going after Sunnis as well:
Since the foundation of the Wahhabi sect in the 18th C it has shown extreme hostility towards Sunnis. In fact Saudi Arabia emerged through a series brutal wars with non-Wahhabi Sunnis.
The plight of Shiites in Saudi Arabia is well known, but few know about the rampant discrimination against Sunnis. When the Wahhabi army of Abdelaziz ibn Saud invaded Mecca in 1924 scores of Sunni scholars were killed and Sunnis books burned. Through violence and intimidation the Wahhabis managed to destroy all other Islamic schools of thought in the occupied city.
Until today non-Wahhabi Sunnis are prohibited from giving sermons or lectures in any mosque in Saudi Arabia. Wahhabi preachers routinely insult and condemn Sunnis and their beliefs, but Sunnis are not allowed to even gently criticize Wahhabism. Anybody who dares to do so is fined, thrown in jail or tortured. Non-Wahhabi Sunni books, like classic collections of poetry praising the Prophet (pbuh), are banned and if found, confiscated.
In Yemen, some recent history for context would be helpful, so here’s a bit of background from Moon of Alabama:
In 2012 the U.S. and its Wahhabi Arabic Gulf allies expelled the longtime Yemeni president Saleh and replaced him with his vice president Hadi. There was some hope that Hadi would change the quarrel on the ground and the dysfunctional state but the unrest in the country kept growing and as the oil prices went down so went the Yemeni government.
Hadi could only beg the Saudis to finance him and in return had to fulfill their political demands. Meanwhile al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula kept growing in Yemen, U.S. drone strikes killed more and more tribe members in the south and deserved revenge and a southern independence movement added to the tumult. All this led to the rise of the Houthis (video, 45min).
The Houthis, allied with the former president Saleh and some parts of the dysfunctional Yemeni army, decided to take on the state. In 2014 they captured parts of the capitol Sanaa and expanded the territory they controlled. In January Hadi fled to Aden in the south. Many people belonging to the Houthi groups are Zaidi Shia. Their belief differs from Iranian 12er Shia belief and their religious rituals have more in common with Sunni rituals than with mainstream Shia. Yemen is in general not as sectarian as other gulf countries. Various variants of belief mix and often use the same mosques.
But Houthi, like many other Yemenis, despise the Saudis and their Wahhabism. It is mostly therefore that they are accused of being allied with Iran. While there are certainly some sympathies between Iran and the Houthi groups there is no evidence of outright support.
Ah, there we are, the great boogeyman, Iran. Keeping the propaganda pressure going gets really weird when you start to realize jihadist berserkers are supported by our allies, who behead witches, yet it’s Iran that must be perpetually demonized, sanctioned, and attacked with cyber assaults and assassinations of scientists.
One despicable craftsman of propaganda can be found regurgitated on the Missoulian’s opinion page, Rich Lowry. There is no end to the hilarity that ensues as this tool decries a diplomatic revolution:
The socialist government in France usually doesn’t have much in common with congressional Republicans, for whom both France and socialism tend to be anathema. But the French, according to a Wall Street Journal report, are taking the toughest line among the powers negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program and are alarmed by the Obama administration’s accommodating approach.
“Some U.S. officials,” the Journal writes, “privately believe France is seeking in part to maintain strong ties to Israel and to Arab countries deeply skeptical of Washington’s outreach to Tehran.”
When the Quai d’Orsay is more concerned than Foggy Bottom with maintaining warm ties to Israel, it is a sign of a world turned upside down.
Consider the bizarre confluence of the perhaps-imminent Iran agreement with the administration’s apoplexy over Bibi Netanyahu’s re-election in Israel. The Iran deal will nullify the half-dozen U.N. resolutions calling on Iran to halt all uranium enrichment, at the same time the administration is floating the idea of going along with a new effort to isolate Israel at the U.N., in effect for the offense of re-electing Bibi Netanyahu.
There are barely words for the perversity of this turnabout. It would be a step toward normalizing a rogue state and making a rogue state out of a normal country. It would be a rapprochement with a sworn enemy and a breach with a tried-and-true friend. It would be a diplomatic revolution in keeping with President Barack Obama’s purported realism that has little regard for either our deepest-held values or coldblooded interests.
This is just amazing stuff, and it get’s even better:
Israel holds free-and-fair elections in which Arabs can freely vote, even if Netanyahu made an ill-advised election-day comment about them turning out in droves; in country after country, Sunni and Shia forces kill and maim one another in a vicious fight for dominance by force. Israel builds settlements (mostly in areas that will stay part of Israel in any peace deal); Bashar al-Assad drops cluster bombs on people, and has reportedly returned to using chemical weapons.
It doesn’t take great discernment to see the differences. It takes only a modicum of perspective, which President Obama can’t muster as he sets about engineering a rupture with our only democratic ally in the Middle East.
Wow. Just wow. Where to start?
The racist state of Israel, armed with nukes, no longer even maintains the illusion of desiring a two-state solution. Israel has committed countless war crimes with the assurance that the US will always have its back at the UN. American citizens have been killed, like Rachel Corrie crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on March 16th, 2003. American soldiers were slaughtered by Israeli war planes in the attack on the USS Liberty.
And just two days ago the Wall Street Journal reported on Israel’s spying on US negotiations with Iran:
Soon after the U.S. and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks.
The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said. In addition to eavesdropping, Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials said.
What nice friends we have.
While all this is very complicated and depressing to try and sort out, the US/Israel objective seems pretty straight forward: What can’t be controlled must be destroyed.
And so it goes.