Stop the War on Yemen! Saudi and US Imperialist Hands Off Yemen’s Revolution!

14-04-2015 – The Middle East is once again spiralling out of control as a result of yet another US backed war. As of March 26, Saudi bombs are raining down on Yemen, with the full political and even logistical support of the US empire. In fact, Saudi Arabia declared war on Yemen in the United States itself. Saudi Arabia’s envoy to the US Adel al-Jubeir listed the countries that will participate in a criminal act of aggression against a popular revolution – the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and Morocco.[1] Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan are conspicuous with their participation in the reckless act of criminal lawlessness, as they, have been arming funding and training ultra-reactionary jihadists waging a brutal war against the popularly elected secular government of the Syrian Arab Republic for the past 4 years at least. But make no mistake, this war takes place under the direct patronage of the US empire. The US and their Saudi Arabian, Israeli, Turkish and assorted Gulf Monarchy allies have so far failed in their attempt to overthrow the Syrian government led by President Assad. It’s almost as if this failure has led them to simply start another war.

The bitter irony of this murderous rampage by US allies is that this is a war to suppress a genuinely popular revolution in Yemen, led by the Ansar Allah movement, or the Houthis. The criminal US led war by proxy on Syria was justified in terms of supporting an alleged “revolution” led by “rebels” fighting for “democracy” in Syria. This “revolution” was nothing but imperialist sponsored carnage, using unhinged jihadists who in their vast majority were not Syrian, and thus were despised by the vast majority of Syrian citizens. The assistance to that fake revolution jars with US and Saudi attempts to crush a revolution which is genuinely popular, as the Houthi led rebellion certainly is. The reasons for this are not hard to understand. The Houthis have been consistently opposed to the US as well as Al-Qaeda, as well as being opposed to Israel, the US lap-dog in the region – which is also backing the current Saudi strikes against Yemen. So, for the West, a fake revolution carried out by bloodthirsty lunatics is worth backing with all available resources. At the same time, the West simply cannot tolerate a popular revolution in an Arab country in the Middle East. War must be waged to put it down – even if via surrogates such as Saudi Arabia, Israel the Gulf Monarchies, which was and is the current modus operandi against sovereign Syria.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, in an interview with PBS Newshour, warned Iran against “waging war across international boundaries”. Kerry stated that “Iran needs to recognise that the United States is not going to stand by while the region is destabilised or while people engage in overt warfare across lines – international boundaries – in other countries”.[2] He has got to be kidding. Accusations against Iran waging war in other countries pale in comparison to the actual US funding and/or arming ultra-reactionary forces in Syria, Ukraine, Hong Kong and Venezuela. Moreover, in the same way that the US repeatedly claimed that Russia was “invading” Ukraine without a shred of evidence, the US did not supply a shred of evidence that Iran was overtly or covertly backing the Houthis in Yemen. It is true that the Houthis subscribe to Shia Islam, which predominates in Iran, whereas the ultra-reactionary Wahabism which predominates in Saudi Arabia is a branch of Sunni Islam. Yet viewing this as a purely religious conflict misses the point entirely.There are geopolitical alliances being made on a world scale on either side, with the US and its allies on one side, and an anti-imperialist bloc on the other. With the US stand Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain etc – along with the UK, France and Germany. The anti-imperialist bloc contains Russia, China, Iran, Belarus, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, the DPRK and others. The alliances are not at all cemented in place, and the anti-imperialist bloc contains forces and countries who often work with US imperialism. It is nonetheless in the interests of workers, to side with the anti-imperialist side without necessarily politically endorsing every ally.

US and Saudi hostility to Yemen stretches back to the days of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). In 1969 a leftist movement took power, which subsequently allied itself with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The USSR at that time played a progressive role of assisting some nations as a counterweight to US imperialism. At the same time, it also ultimately engineered the replacement of some PDRY leaders with ones more compliant with the Soviet bureaucracy. In the end, in 1990, one of these leaders, Ali Salim Al-Beidh, agreed to dissolve the PDRY and accede to the pro-capitalist, pro-Saudi and US backed Ali Abdullah Saleh.[3] It was in opposition to the pro-US Saleh that the movement which later became the Houthis arose. In recent times, the Saudi and US leaders have stated that their aim is to re-install Abd Rabu Mansour-Hadi, a US backed favourite who took power in 2012, but was forced to resign and flee Yemen in the face of the Houthi rebellion. The Houthis, being Islamic based, do not represent full liberation, especially for women. But the victory of the US and Saudi Arabia over the Houthis would double or triple the oppression of Yemeni men and women, in a country which is one of the poorest in the entire region.

The government of the United States, supported by the UK and France, has long proffered itself as an advocate and proponent of “democracy”. Yet at the moment, the US is politically and logistically backing an alliance of ultra-repressive absolute Gulf monarchies, against a popularly supported political revolution, which aims to put in place a democratic constitution.[4] The US is not really trying to hide this involvement: the Pentagon has admitted that US Stratotankers are refuelling Saudi war-planes in mid-air, to allow continuous bombing.[5] So on the one hand the US arms and funds jihadists fighting a proxy war against the Syrian government, and on the other hand refuels the warplanes that are raining death down on a victorious revolutionary, if religiously led, movement in Yemen.

It is staggering hypocrisy for the absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia to lecture Syria about the treatment of its citizens, and then go on to fund and arm blood-crazed jihadists in an attempt to overthrow its government. The Washington Post, for example, reported in 2013, that Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving is far more extensive than preventing them from getting behind a steering wheel. Saudi women must have a “male guardian”, a father or husband or brother, who has material power over her as a parent has over an infant. The women must have the permission of the male guardian to work, attend school, or receive medical treatment.[6] Compare this to secular Syria, where women have all the rights women in the West have, protected and guaranteed. The Western backed Saudia Arabia, an unelected feudal monarchy, then lectures Yemeni rebels about “legitimacy”.[7]

For all of their Western backed tyranny, the Saudis do quite rightly fear the potential of a Yemeni revolution, complete with some degree of anti-imperialist politics, on their doorstep. The Houthis appear to have some political limitations, but for all of that, they are leading a revolutionary movement against US/Saudi/Israeli domination of the region, and by extension, are resisting the encroachments of world imperialism. They may or may not have the backing of Iran – but the Saudis nor the US have not provided hard evidence of this. In any case, an independent Yemen would most likely follow the course of Iran, Russia, China, Cuba, Syria, the DPRK and to an extent Venezuela, in opting for development outside the claws of the Washington/Paris/London/Canberra nexus. In the eyes of Washington, this simple aim on its own is enough to be declared an enemy of “freedom”.

Unfortunately, the anti-war movement in Australia is at a chronically low ebb, and currently is ill-equipped to oppose another Western backed war on a Middle Eastern country. This is partially due to the lack of a class struggle and internationalist leadership of the Trade Unions, and partially due to the capitulation of large parts of the left in the closely related war on Syria. Most of the left and “socialist” parties, with some exceptions, in this country, have lined up behind the Australian and US governments in their war for “regime change” against the Syrian Arab Republic, under the guise of supporting a “Syrian revolution”. This has persisted despite much evidence that the “revolution” is in fact Western armed and funded, and the “rebels” are in fact ultra-reactionaries with little or no political support in Syria. Wittingly or unwittingly, most of the left has gone into battle with, rather than against, “our own” government, as it assists the US empire in attempting to destroy an independent state, in a similar way in which Libya was obliterated. The left parties who provided propaganda cover for the war on Syria also provided propaganda cover for the war on Libya.

As of April 22, the Saudi-led coalition had called a halt to the bombing phase of “Operation Decisive Storm”. A spokesperson for the Saudi kingdom announced in a press conference in Riyadh, that the operation will now move on to a new operation called “Restoring Hope”.[8] Less than 48 hours later, however, the bombing of Houthi positions had resumed. The absurdly Orwellian titling of these “operations” hides the fact that the war against Yemen will continue using other methods. US warships are reportedly also moving into the waters surrounding Yemen.

The war on Yemen is not just yet another war in a far-away country, with little relevance to workers in Australia trying to eke out a living. This war is both an extension and an escalation of the drive towards world war which the faltering world casino capitalist economy inevitably invokes. Currently, Australian workers are being bombarded with a massive corporate media campaign glorifying the Anzac story 100 years on. The purpose of this campaign is not just to remember the fallen – if it ever was. In truth the ruling elite are ready to sacrifice the working class yet again in the service of another empire – this time that of the US. The Anzac campaign is part of an effort on behalf of the ruling class to garner working class support behind current and future wars that will be waged wherever and whenever capitalism is unable to lift itself out of economic failure. It is the ultimate indictment of the capitalist system – 100 years after the “Great War”, the ruling classes representing the corporate elite stand ready to plunge the globe into another “war to end all wars”.

The war on Yemen, and the potential world wars against Russia and China, are directly linked to the war on working Australians at home. Workers here are suffering high unemployment, the highest cost of living in the world, and a continual degrading of public health, education, transport and other public services. Those still in work frequently are pushed to breaking point with unrealistic workloads, often unsafe working conditions, for deteriorating wages. Class collaborationist Union leaders are repeatedly selling out their own members, where Union members exist. It is time we fought back against not only the war on Yemen, but the war on living conditions for working people here, as part of an offensive against the decaying but still dangerous capitalist system. Hands Off Yemen!

Workers League
PO Box 66 NUNDAH QLD 4012
E: workersleague@redfireonline


[1] – Article by Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency


[3] – Article by Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency

[4] – by Caleb Maupin



[7] – by Eric Draitser


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