America’s crazy war in Yemen

By   /   March 16, 2017  /   2 Comments

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It is shameful that the New Zealand government supports the American/Saudi war on Yemen, which is causing such suffering. The UN reports that 7,700 people have been killed so far, including 1500 children. Millions have been displaced, primarily as a result the Saudi bombing of homes, hospitals and other infrastructure. It is a catastrophe.

The first casualty of war is the truth. That’s certainly true of America’s war on Yemen.

In January US Navy Seals raided the Yemeni village of al Ghayil killing around 25 people, including at least five women and 10 children. Yet all most Americans know about the raid is that one American commando, Ryan Owens, was killed. Owens was lauded by Donald Trump in his February address to Congress, with the cameras focusing on his grieving widow, Carryn. The ever-patriotic American media claimed that this was moment Trump became truly presidential.

Actually, the raid was a disaster in all respects. The war in Yemen is a many-sided conflict, with three main players: the Houthi-led administration that controls north Yemen and the Saudi-backed forces, and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, both of whom control territory in the south.

Men in the village of al Ghayil were paid by the Saudis to resist the Houthis, who control territory just north of them. So by killing those men the SEALs were killing their allies, because America supports the Saudis. There is evidence that Al Qaeda fighters may also have been present in al Ghayil.   Some villagers also sympathise with Al Qaeda, on the grounds that they are taking on their main enemy, the Houthis. It gets very confusing in a three-sided conflict.

Iona Craig of the Intercept travelled to al Ghayil to interview the villagers. She reports that when the SEALs opened fire at 1am in the morning, the locals mistakenly thought it was the Houthis invading and returned fire.

“The gunfight had lasted the better part of an hour. It would be another hour or more before the skies fell silent and the sound of helicopters, aircraft, and drones faded. It was in the dawn light that the mass of bodies was revealed, the missing accounted for, and dead children identified.”

One of the unlucky ones was Abdallah al Ameri, who was the groom in a December 2013 wedding ceremony which was attacked by US drones, killing 12 guests. Abdallah survived on that occasion, but was killed in the latest raid.

US drone strikes have continued over south Yemen through February and March. They are both murderous and counter-productive. Iona Craig reports that such raids have made the villagers in al Ghayil angry with the American government and “that dog Trump”.

It is shameful that the New Zealand government supports the American/Saudi war on Yemen, which is causing such suffering. The UN reports that 7,700 people have been killed so far, including 1500 children. Millions have been displaced, primarily as a result the Saudi bombing of homes, hospitals and other infrastructure. It is a catastrophe.

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2 Comments

  1. Mike in Auckland says:

    A good and revealing post here, by Keith Locke, thanks for this.

    Indeed all these “wars” and “terrorist fights” that the US military is involved in deserve much closer scrutiny. The US has, as did previous colonial masters in the Mid-East, betrayed groups and governments it once supported again and again.

    At present they are still supporting Kurdish fighters in Northern Syria, against the wishes of their Turkish allies, and the day will come, that the US will betray the Kurdish fighters, once the IS capital Raqqa has been captured, and leave them to be dealt with by Turkish military and security services.

    Let us also not forget how Hamas (Palestinian group) was once supported by Israel and at least indirectly also the US, to serve as a counter weight to Yasser Arafat’s Fatah group, and that the Afghan Taleban also received support from close allies of the US, like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, for many years, when they fought the Soviet Union’s occupation and supported regime in Afghanistan.

    Whatever is convenient at the time is exploited, so at the moment they support the Saudis in Yemen, as the Saudis are traditional allies, and the Houthis, supported by Iran, are the enemy. Of course they will fight Al Qaeda and IS there, but who knows, there may be changes in alliances and allegiances at any time in the future, when new groups appear, or old ones change their allies and “appearances”.

    New Zealand’s present government wants to take us back to full and blind support of the US in global strategic policies, but there will also be a highly delicate juggling act that will need to be performed, once China says, hey, do you want to trade with us, or fight us?!

    Some useful info:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas

    ‘History’

    ‘Gaza Islamic roots and establishment of Hamas’

    “Hamas rose as an offshoot of the Gaza Mujama al-Islamiya branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,[121][122] which had been actively encouraged by Israel to expand as a counterweight to the influence of the secular Palestine Liberation Organization .[12][123][124][125][126] and had since 1973 been quiescent and non-confrontational towards Israel.[127]”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliban

  2. Not so much shameful as potentially criminal.

    By supplying the arms for Saudi Arabia to attack Yemen, are they not in a way complicit with the crimes being committed?

    And Keith, the British too have a degree of culpability as well. The fragments of British made munitions have been found near a couple sites.

    But are we also going to go after the U.A.E., Jordan, Qatar and so forth who are apparently part of the Saudi coalition attacking Yemen?



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