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Parry writes: "As the humanitarian crisis in Yemen worsens, the Obama administration seems less concerned about the plight of the desperate Yemeni people than the feelings of the Saudi royals who have spent the last month indiscriminately bombing a nearly defenseless Yemen, using high-tech U.S. jets and bombs to reportedly kill hundreds of civilians and damage its ancient cities."

President and Mrs. Obama disembark from Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh in 2015. (photo: Pete Souza/White House)
President and Mrs. Obama disembark from Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh in 2015. (photo: Pete Souza/White House)


Embracing the Saudi War on Yemen

By Robert Parry, Consortium News

26 April 15

 

Fearful of further offending the powerful Saudi-Israeli alliance, President Obama is deploying the U.S. Navy to seal off poverty-stricken Yemen so the Saudi air force has free rein to pummel its regional rivals from the air while the population faces a humanitarian crisis on the ground, reports Robert Parry.

s the humanitarian crisis in Yemen worsens, the Obama administration seems less concerned about the plight of the desperate Yemeni people than the feelings of the Saudi royals who have spent the last month indiscriminately bombing a nearly defenseless Yemen, using high-tech U.S. jets and bombs to reportedly kill hundreds of civilians and damage its ancient cities.

On Friday, the Obama administration took credit for blocking nine Iranian ships from reaching Yemen with relief supplies, claiming that the ships may have carried weapons that the Yemenis could use in their civil war or to defend against Saudi attacks. President Barack Obama had dispatched a U.S. aircraft carrier fleet to the Yemeni coast to enforce an embargo that has helped the Saudis seal off the country from outside help.

A person closely involved with the Yemen crisis told me that the Iranian ships carried food and medicine, not weapons, but turned back to avoid the risk and humiliation of being boarded by the U.S. Navy. Meanwhile, Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, is facing shortages of basic supplies since the Saudis have cut off normal trade routes into Yemen.

Yet, despite the suffering of Yemen, the U.S. government appears more worried about the sensitivities of Saudi Arabia, one of the richest countries in the region. A Defense Department official, speaking anonymously, told the New York Times that it was “important that the Saudis know that we have an arm around their shoulders.”

Defense Department officials also acknowledged that they didn’t know what type of cargo was being transported aboard the Iranian ships, the Times reported. Though the Obama administration had touted the possibility that the Iranian ships carried weapons, the decision by Iran to avoid a confrontation may have reflected Tehran’s desire not to worsen relations with the United States and thus disrupt fragile negotiations over international guarantees to ensure that its nuclear program remains peaceful.

But the losers in this military/diplomatic maneuvering appear to be the Yemenis who, in effect, face a Saudi strategy of starving the country into submission with the help of the United States. While U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power built her public image as a “humanitarian interventionist” asserting a “responsibility to protect” vulnerable populations, she has said little about the Saudi role in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.

In a statement on April 14, at the height of the Saudi bombing campaign, Power made no mention of the Saudi attacks or the hundreds of civilian dead from Saudi bombs supplied by the United States. She instead focused her denunciations on the Houthi rebels and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who have joined forces in a civil war that ousted sitting President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who then fled to Saudi Arabia.

Power primarily blamed the Houthis, who “have intensified their military campaign, bombed Aden, and extended their offensive to Yemen’s south. These actions have caused widespread violence and instability that threaten the security and welfare of the Yemeni people, as well as the region’s security.”

Though the Saudi air force has bombed a number of cities including the ancient port city of Aden, Power ignored those attacks in her statement. But Power was not alone in her solicitousness toward the Saudis. On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry even endorsed the Saudi bombing of Houthi targets in Yemen.

Who Are the Houthis?

The Houthis adhere to the Zaydi sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam but one that is considered relatively close to Sunni Islam and that peacefully co-existed with Sunni Islam for centuries. But the Houthis have been resisting what they regard as government persecution in recent decades.

As revealed in leaked U.S. government cables and documented by Human Rights Watch, Yemen’s government used U.S. military aid to support an all-out assault against the Houthis in 2009. HRW said Yemeni government forces indiscriminately shelled and bombed civilian areas, causing significant civilian casualties and violating the laws of war. This repression of the Houthis led to an escalation last fall which ended with the Houthi rebels, who allied themselves with army forces loyal to ex-President Saleh, capturing Sanaa and other major cities.

After these victories, in private contacts with American officials, the Houthis indicated their readiness to take the fight to Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate. However, since the Saudi airstrikes began a month ago, “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” has taken advantage of the limitations on Houthi rebel movements by grabbing more territory in the east and overrunning a prison that held a number of Al-Qaeda militants.

The Saudi royals have a complicated relationship with Al-Qaeda including some princes who are viewed as important financiers of the terror group. The Saudis also promote the same extremist interpretation of Sunni Islam, known as Wahhabism. Now, instead of concentrating on the terror threat from Al-Qaeda, the Saudis have sought to portray the Yemeni civil war as a proxy assault in Saudi Arabia’s backyard by Shiite-ruled Iran.

In that propaganda effort, the Saudis have been helped by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has relied on the powerful Israel Lobby and his own rhetoric to divert the U.S. Congress from a focus on Al-Qaeda and its hyper-brutal spinoff, the Islamic State, to Iran, which both Saudi Arabia and Israel have designated their primary regional enemy.

In his March 3 speech to a joint session of Congress, Netanyahu cited Yemen as one of the Mideast countries that Iran has been “gobbling up.” Many regional experts, however, considered Netanyahu’s assertion ludicrous given the Houthis’ reputation for stubborn independence.

For instance, former CIA official Graham E. Fuller called the notion “that the Houthis represent the cutting edge of Iranian imperialism in Arabia – as trumpeted by the Saudis” a “myth.” He added:

“The Zaydi Shia, including the Houthis, over history have never had a lot to do with Iran. But as internal struggles within Yemen have gone on, some of the Houthis have more recently been happy to take Iranian coin and perhaps some weapons — just as so many others, both Sunni and Shia, are on the Saudi payroll. The Houthis furthermore hate al-Qaeda and hate the Islamic State.”

But the Obama administration remains sensitive to Israeli-Saudi criticism of its efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear dispute. So, to demonstrate that the Americans are comforting the Saudi royals with “an arm around their shoulders,” the U.S. government is embracing the Saudi bombardment of a largely defenseless country and is turning back ships carrying relief supplies.


_________

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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+33 # Activista 2015-04-26 21:07
Excellent, factual analysis by Robert Parry - go to other side and listen to Israeli controlled news - what Americans are brainwashed/con trolled with ...
Please put "Embracing the Saudi War on Yemen" on facebook
 
 
+23 # CragJensen 2015-04-26 21:57
Of course our government is doing the wrong thing. Par-for-the-cou rse...
 
 
-50 # egbegb 2015-04-26 22:00
I would love to hear Robert Parry's understanding of why Arabs bomb Arabs on the Arabian peninsula. I suspect Mr. Parry has no understanding of the Middle East, Arabia, Islam or the Islamic terrorists and how they all mix to form a succotash of Middle Eastern conflicts that define the history of the Middle east.

Listen to Mr. Parry's drivel and you get what you deserve.
 
 
+25 # Helen Marshall 2015-04-26 22:28
Better than reading your drivel, which I did not deserve to have to read...what on earth are you talking about? Please go back in your corner.
 
 
+24 # wrknight 2015-04-26 22:32
Quoting egbegb:
I would love to hear Robert Parry's understanding of why Arabs bomb Arabs on the Arabian peninsula. I suspect Mr. Parry has no understanding of the Middle East, Arabia, Islam or the Islamic terrorists and how they all mix to form a succotash of Middle Eastern conflicts that define the history of the Middle east.

Listen to Mr. Parry's drivel and you get what you deserve.

You want to give us some facts?
 
 
+25 # Merlin 2015-04-27 03:01
egbegb 2015-04-26 22:00

You must be new here.

You have to be one of the worst trolls I have ever read on RSN. Look buddy, we have standards around here! If you want to troll here, you have to step up your game. Ever heard of the word subtle? How about vague? This blatant, in your face horsepucky is just downright silly. Very amateurish! You are dealing with pros here on RSN! This isn’t britebart or redstate, you know.

OK, your new here, so I won’t turn you in to your boss. Everybody deserves one bad effort. Listen, does your handler know you are over here doing this kind of stuff? Have you misplaced your copy of The Big Book for Trolls? Now here is a little advice for ya. I mean I don’t want you to feel ignored or anything. Next time you post, give us a challenge. Or maybe try humor. You gotta try something, buddy! This post is a total failure.
 
 
+15 # curmudgeon 2015-04-26 23:39
The Corporate Imperium of the Rich knows no bounds.

I wonder if the sealing of airspace will prevent further evacuation flights by Russia..which by the way has been evacuating U.S. citizens with help of Russia Today

http://rt.com/news/253001-yemen-evacuation-russia-us/

The U.S. evacuated its staff of probably white folks and pulled its troops...and refuses to evacuate US citizens of color and Muslim, claiming "too dangerous". At same time providing bombs and refueling and weapons to the Saudi Israeli onslaught on Yemen.

And then prevent humanitarian supplies from reaching victims of the Saudi-Israeli blitzkrieg.

NBC News puppets claimed we were going to interdict arms carrying convoy ...then nothing.

Interesting that we do mea culpa over whtie hostages, accidentally killed while at same murdering other-than-whit e innocent civilians with drones ("collateral damage") without due process or ANY publicity.

Imperium Corporatis sucks!
 
 
+23 # dquandle 2015-04-27 00:00
Kerry "even" endorsed the Saudi bombing of Houthi targets…?

Kerry and Obama have been endorsing bombing of everything, like there is no tomorrow, which for their terrorized victims, is indeed the case.

The both were absolutely gung-ho to bomb Syria and fully enter the conflict there, and they bombed/droned the hell out of Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
 
 
+15 # MidwestTom 2015-04-27 07:39
Every bomb, every missile, every plane shot down, means more American jobs. We are probably trying to sell anti-aircraft missiles to the Houthis. Just do the numbers, they shoot five miles at a cost of $500,000 per missiles, and finally shoot down one plane costing $800,000,0000. All have to be replaced. This is how we create American jobs, and it helps our balance of payments.

Did you read where some Saudi prince is donating a new Bentley(think $300,000 each) to each of the 100 brave Saudi pilots who bombed Yemen. Soon we will have US fighter pilots applying for work in Saudi.
 
 
+12 # Kootenay Coyote 2015-04-27 08:06
‘…the U.S. government is embracing the Saudi bombardment of a largely defenseless country….’
Monkey see, monkey do. If the US can do that, why can’t Arabia?
 
 
+12 # aljoschu 2015-04-27 08:35
Dear Americans,
face it: your government is of the same basic terroristic fibre as the feudalistic dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and its vicinity. The Saudis together with your government support each and every djihadist, bigoted soldateska in the Middle East as long as they are intent to fight Russians (Afghanistan), or their allies in Syria (Assad), or in Yemen (the Houthi and Iran). Your government will equip them with the most modern detruction tools available simply to harm Putin and Russia (or their allies). That the USA together with Saudi Arabia have thus become the major supporters and clandestine mentors of the fiercest enemies of western culture and civilization is simply an accepted side effect which will guarantee even more war and profits through war for your oligarchs in the future.
 
 
+7 # Radscal 2015-04-27 12:25
“…former CIA official Graham E. Fuller called the notion “that the Houthis represent the cutting edge of Iranian imperialism in Arabia – as trumpeted by the Saudis” a “myth.”

Coincidentally, in another article here at RSN, we’re discussing Mr. Fuller and his daughter’s ex, Ruslan Tsarni who is the uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers. Some may remember him as the guy who suddenly showed up all over the corporate media as soon as FBI officially ID’d the “Terrorists,” to rant about what “losers” they are, and even though he hadn’t seen them in years, was convinced they were guilty as all get out.

Uncle Ruslan ran a CIA program out of the Fuller house that worked with Chechen terrorists in their decades-long fight against Russia.
 
 
+1 # geraldom 2015-04-28 00:21
Radscal, maybe you can explain something to me. I'm a little confused. When outside forces went into east Ukraine to support the pro-Russian forces in their fight against the Ukrainian military, many of them were Chechen. What happened? I thought that the Chechen were enemies of Russia.

I also thought about this. Putin has to know that if he doesn’t take a strong and immovable stance against what the United States is doing, not just in Ukraine but in regions very close to Russia like the middle east, in countries like Syria, Iran and Yemen, that if he doesn’t finally draw a line in the sand that he will not allow the U.S. and its western puppet allies to cross, the United States will continue to press on and on and on, to take control of more and more territory in Russia’s own backyard since their appears to be no one willing to stop the U.S.

For example, during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 1960s, if JFK had only taken half measures in an attempt to resolve the problem of Soviet nuclear-tipped missiles being stationed in Cuba only 90 miles off the coast of Florida, who knows what would’ve happened? It would’ve been seen as a sign of weakness on the part of the U.S. by Nikita Khrushchev. Perhaps, like the U.S. is doing right now, the Soviet Union might have attempted to spread their power throughout Latin America if JFK had not thrown down all of his cards on the table at the time.

(Continued)
 
 
0 # geraldom 2015-04-28 00:22
(Continued)

JFK made it clear to Khrushchev that all missile must be removed from Cuba. A U.S. naval blockade was created around Cuba threatening to inspect all Russian vessels heading towards Cuba. Khrushchev knew that JFK meant business, that a line had been drawn in the sand that JFK would not allow Khrushchev to cross, and magically the problem was resolved and didn’t fester as the current situation is doing between the U.S. and Russia.

Putin needs to do what JFK did in the early 1960s when the situation was reversed, that is to draw a line in the sand that Russia will not allow the U.S. to cross without taking military action. Putin needs to be crystal clear to the United States, that Russia will respond militarily if the U.S. attempts to move any further eastward and does not back off from Russia’s borders, and, in the same vein as happened in the Cuban Missile Crisis, demand that the U.S. remove all missile bases located in the Baltic states along Russia’s borders.

Russia must also protect the few allies it has left in the region like Syria and Iran which are obviously being targeted by the U.S. and NATO for regime change. Putin needs to make it clear to the U.S. that both Syria and Iran are under the military protection of Russia, that any military action against either of these two countries would be the same as if the U.S. attacked Russia itself. Does that sound familiar?

(Continued)
 
 
0 # geraldom 2015-04-28 00:22
(Continued)

In my opinion, Russia is the only country that can forcibly intercede in Yemen to stop the one-sided genocide being committed by the Saudis with the backing of the United States. Someone has to, and Russia is the only one that can. Not even the UN is willing to stop the one-sided slaughter in Yemen. Russia should at least force open the naval blockade by Saudi Arabia along Yemen’s coast to allow massive humanitarian aid into the country. What Saudi Arabia is doing to Yemen is illegal. The U.S. is behind this, and Yemen is no threat to either Saudi Arabia or to the United States.
 

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