Sunday, December 09, 2018

Americans are Misled on Yemen Conflict

William O. Beeman

Americans have been fed an enormous lie about the conflict in Yemen. The Houthis (named after their current leader) are NOT "rebels." They are, in fact, members of the Zaidi community of Shi'a Muslims. They ruled Yemen from the 9th Century until the 1970s when North and South Yemen (a former British colony) were re-united. The Zaidis were then persecuted by the Sunni leadership in Sana'a. Their movement is in reaction to that persecution, and is an effort to regain their historic control of the country. The Zaidis also live in Southern Saudi Arabia, precariously close to Jeddah, Mecca and Medina, and that is the problem. They have effectively won the civil war. They occupy the capital, and most large centers of population. But the Saudis are afraid that if they fully establish control over Yemen, their Saudi residents will challenge the Royal Family. The Saudis have therefore launched this monstrous humanitarian crisis to try and eliminate the Zaidis. They have sold the lie that somehow the Zaidis would not have tried to re-establish their sovereignty unless instigated by Iran. This plays into the US enmity against Iran, and the utterly false narrative that Yemen is some kind of Iranian expansion project. Yes, Iran has provided some aid to the Zaidis/Houthis, but the aid has not been extensive, or, more important, decisive. The Zaidi/Houthis have achieved their gains on their own. Simply stated, the Saudis are practicing genocide. The US should not participate.

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