Viewpoint: United States Coordinated War in Yemen Intensifies After Saleh Assassination

Yemen damage by Saudi airstrikes, Dec. 5, 2017
Yemen damage by Saudi airstrikes, Dec. 5, 2017

Despite Trump’s statement on the need to end the economic blockade, bombings and ground operations continue against the Ansurallah forces

Former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh was assassinated outside of the capital of Sana’a on December 4 just days after he had ordered his supporters to refuse any form of cooperation with the Ansurallah (Houthis) movement.

In the immediate aftermath of the killing, Ansurallah leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi went on national television to describe a plot in which Saleh was said to have been a part of aimed at facilitating the much coveted dominance of Saudi Arabia over the people of Yemen. Saleh, who was pressured into retirement during mass demonstrations in the early months of 2011, had entered into an alliance with the Ansurallah against the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which has carried out a devastating air and ground campaign in Yemen since March 2015.

The following day on December 5, tens of thousands of supporters of Abdul-Malik al-Houthi participated in demonstrations in the capital of Sana’a which celebrated what they said was the defeat of a plot to undermine the defense of the country from United States backed Saudi attempts to take control of Yemen. Ansurallah leaders said the action of switching sides by Saleh was tantamount to treason against the country.

On December 6, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a statement demanding that the blockade of key Yemeni ports be lifted in light of the horrendous humanitarian crisis inside the region’s most impoverished state. Trump claimed that he had directed administration officials to contact their Saudi Arabian counterparts to urge them to allow much needed food, medicines and supplies into the country.

Nonetheless, not one word was said about reigning in the U.S.-manufactured fighter jets and ordnances laying waste to cities, towns and villages throughout the country. The U.S. provides intelligence coordinates which guide the bombing operations along with refueling technology. Both the previous administration of President Barack Obama and his successor Trump have recognized the ousted President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is under the protection of Saudi Arabia, as the de facto leader of Yemen. Hadi has established an alternative regime in the south of the country.

The closest ally of Washington behind Israel is undoubtedly Saudi Arabia. Until the diplomatic posture of the U.S. shifts, there will be ongoing imperialist militarism targeting the enemies of Tel Aviv and Riyadh causing destabilization, displacements and deaths throughout the region.

Air Strikes Escalate After Saleh Assassination

After the killing of former President Saleh, the GCC coalition began another round of bomb attacks in several areas in Yemen. Saleh was being cultivated by Saudi Arabia as a potential partner in containing the Ansurallah which controls the capital of Sana’s and other areas of the country.

Ahmed Ali, the son of Saleh, who is a former commander of the Republican Guard now living in exile in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), vowed to avenge his father’s death. The leader of the UAE, Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, visited Ali and was photographed sitting with him during a meeting.

Reports indicate that Ali may return to Yemen in order to take control of Saleh’s forces amid indications that some within their ranks are defecting to the Ansurallah. On December 5, Saleh supporters revealed that his nephew, Tareq, who is also a commander, along with the leader of his party, the General People’s Congress, Aref Zouka, had also been assassinated.

According to the al-Masirah television network on December 6, GCC fighter jets carried out bombing operations at Saleh’s residence and other locations occupied by family members now controlled by the Ansurallah. Aerial bombardments took place in Northern provinces including Ta’izz, Hajjah, Midi and Sa’ada.

In other bombing attacks at least 23 people died as a direct result of GCC airstrikes in the Sa’ada Province located in the northwest region of Yemen. The al-Masirah television network told its viewers on December 8 that as many as 15 people died in other aerial assaults in Sha’ban District in the province’s Razeh City. Also an additional 8 people were killed in bombings that targeted the Bani Ma’adh District in the town of Sahar, said al-Masirah.

An article published by Press TV on December 9 noted that media outlets were subjected to aerial attacks as well, noting that: “The Saudi-led coalition waging war on Yemen has attacked the headquarters of the Yemen al-Youm TV channel in the capital, Sana’a, killing four people and injuring five others. Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported that in addition to the casualties, the Friday Saudi air raids caused serious damage to the building of the TV station and its equipment.”

This same article goes on to emphasize: “The building of the Yemen al-Youm TV channel had been targeted twice by Saudi jets over the last week. The TV station was affiliated with the General People’s Congress (GPC) of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed on Monday.”

December 11 was a day of renewed bombings when some 14 people were said to have been killed. Al-Masirah television reported on the attacks in the Hamli neighborhood in Moze district located in the southwest province of Ta’izz resulted in the deaths of six people. Other airstrikes in Kataf district in the northwestern province of Sa’ada left eight dead.

Overall since the bombing and ground operations initiated by the U.S.-backed GCC began in March 2015, estimates are that over 13,000 people have been killed. Tens of thousands of others have been wounded and injured. Millions within the country have been driven from their homes both internally and outside Yemen.

A cholera epidemic impacting many children has been described as the worst of such outbreaks in the world. This widespread presence of cholera is a result of the lack of clean drinking water and adequate health facilities which have been targeted by the U.S.-backed forces in the GCC and their allies on the ground.

Humanitarian Crisis Will Not Improve until Peace is Achieved

The war against the people of Yemen has been largely hidden from the American public as the corporate and government-controlled media refuses to cover the conflagration in an objective manner. Numerous reports on the cholera epidemic, the lack of food and water does not mention the U.S.-supported GCC bombing operations as the underlying causes of the crisis.

Although Relief Web reported that some 7 million people have been reached in recent weeks with assistance and that the cholera epidemic is being addressed, the crisis impacting the country’s 22 million residents is by no means over. Without being specific as it relates to actual culprits, a statement from the organization’s coordinator for humanitarian assistance, Jamie McGoldrick, on December 11 still paints a grim picture of the conditions on the ground.

McGoldrick stressed in an entry on the site of Relief Web that: “The violence that engulfed Sana’a city over the last weeks has subsided, but the suffering continues. Famine still threatens millions; preventable diseases continually strike a weakened population in all parts of Yemen. The continuing blockade of ports is limiting supplies of fuel, food and medicines; dramatically increasing the number of vulnerable people who need help. The priority for humanitarian organizations is to resume life-saving operations that were scaled back because of insecurity. The lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, food, shelter and nutrition support. This includes assistance to the thousands that were impacted by the recent violence in Sana’a city and other parts of Yemen.” (

Consequently, the support for the war being waged in Yemen must be halted in order for genuine stability to occur in the nation. Nonetheless, this goal is unlikely to be realized as long as the status-quo related to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East remains intact.

Trump’s visit earlier this year to Saudi Arabia was largely centered-around a major multi-billion dollar arms deal. Additional indications were that increased hostility towards the Islamic Republic of Iran would continue to characterize Washington’s foreign policy in the region.

The situation in Yemen is often framed as a proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran due to the political support provided to the Ansurallah by the Islamic Republic. Yet the Trump administration is stoking the crisis by providing military technology and diplomatic cover to Saudi Arabia at the expense of the Yemeni people.

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Monday December 11, 2017

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