The last thing Saudi Arabia and its Western allies want is a self-sustaining, economically viable, militarily strong, and anti-imperialist Yemen at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula, controlling the Red Sea and its strategic waterways. Yemen’s geographic placement in regards to the flow of world capital cannot be stressed enough.
by Randi Nord
Part 8 - Challenging the international isolation and skewed media coverage
Saudi Arabia has failed nearly all of its political and military objectives in Yemen. There is, however, one goal Riyadh has achieved: isolating Yemen from the international community.
In the rare event that mainstream media covers Yemen, the content is so filled with lies and blame-shifting as to distract from Riyadh’s, Abu Dhabi’s, and Washington’s war crimes.
Between the media blackout, travel restrictions, ban on foreign journalists entering the country, and financial blackmail in the United Nations, Yemen’s suffering is all but forgotten.
The Saudi-imposed and U.S.-enforced blockade restricts all land, sea, and air imports, exports, and transportation. Not only has the Sana’a airport been closed for most of the war, but coalition warplanes also destroyed the airport’s communication infrastructure.
Anyone who wishes to enter or exit the country must pass through Aden, where Riyadh and its allies have set up an improvised capital. Although mainstream media outlets like Reuters and The Guardian say that the so-called Houthis limit press freedoms and detain journalists, it is really the Saudi coalition creating the media blackout.
Foreign journalists are not allowed to enter the country. The very few who are able to enter must receive security clearance from Riyadh — where the Yemeni “president” lives.
As I’ve covered for MintPress in the past, Saudi Arabia has a tight grip on both Western and Arab media outlets. Through thousands of subscriptions at inflated rates and other backdoor financial methods, Riyadh ensures that news outlets take a “containment” or “neutralized” approach when covering its behavior. WikiLeaks exposed this systemic control of the media through the “Saudi Cables.”
Owing to Riyadh’s media monopoly, I found it important to ask al-Houthi what he thought English-language readers should know about the Saudi aggression and skewed coverage of his movement.
His first response included the truth about al-Qaeda in Yemen (AQAP). Although Saudi Arabia and the United States claim to fight terrorism, their militias — including senior commanders — arm and fight side-by-side with terror groups like AQAP and ISIS against Ansarullah. As Al-Houthi pointed out: “All they are doing is supporting them – al-Qaeda and ISIS – by arming them and granting them many opportunities to be the stronger in the face of the Yemeni people. They want [from what they do through these militias that they claim to be terrorists] to control the Yemeni people. They know that some of the ministers in Hadi’s government are included in the [terror] list declared by the U.S. Treasury, and they today stand by this government, which has these wanted terrorists, or have links to terrorists, yet they – U.S.-Saudi-U.A.E. coalition – fund them financially, economically and militarily.”
For an example, al-Houthi points to the former so-called Vice President General Ali Mohsin with ties to the al-Islah party, Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood offshoot. Al-Houthi says Mohsin, as well as other members of al-Islah, are either wanted by the U.S. Treasury Department for recruiting al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan or have links to individuals on this terror list. Despite this, al-Houthi says the United States supports Mohsin and has even helped him open camps to strengthen AQAP and ISIS in Yemen. Mohsin (who has links to both Osama bin Laden and the late President Saleh) has a history of resettling Afghan terrorist fighters in Yemen.
But terrorism isn’t Ansarullah’s only concern. One of its top priorities has always been fighting political fraud — in a country notorious for corruption.
Al-Houthi said all the most corrupt entities in Yemen stand with the Saudi coalition today and, in order to tackle this systemic corruption, the entire state administrative apparatus must be dismantled and recreated.
He said this self-determination is Yemen’s right, which should include democratic and transparent presidential elections, parliamentary elections, and referendums: “We have moved against those corrupt people by a legitimate action, a popular movement that came from the people’s concerns, aspirations and hopes, and therefore the international community must recognize that the Yemeni people have the right to self-determination.”
Al-Houthi also pointed out the hypocrisy of the United States — which calls itself a champion of democracy, yet supports oppressive monarchies, reactionary regimes, and notorious human-rights violators like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
With this history, how can it possibly offer a solution to Yemen — a republic?
“I think it is very stupid for anyone to look at reactionary states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the coalition countries that stand by them as pioneers of democracy or able to offer solutions to the Republic of Yemen. This is counterproductive and unrealistic. A monarchy — which imprisons anyone who criticizes them for years, like activist Ra’if Badawi or others who have been jailed or executed — cannot provide democracy to the people of Yemen or work to give the Yemeni people their full rights.”
The Kingdom is known for its “radical reactionary” rule, criminal behavior, and hostility towards genuine democracy at home and abroad. How can anyone who claims to support human rights and political freedom ally themselves with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates?
Al-Houthi concluded: “What is clear is that the U.S. administration stands by criminal regimes that do not work for rights and freedoms, but rather to confiscate the rights of Arabs.”