No to intervention in Yemen

April 13, 2015

Saudi Arabia launched an air war against Yemen in late March. In the Yemeni port city of Aden, bodies are piling up in the streets, and the devastation is horrific, according to media and eyewitness accounts. Within days of the start of the bombing, the Arab League announced it would form a joint military force to back up the Saudi air campaign.

In response, six revolutionary socialist organizations from the Arab world--Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt), Union of Iraqi Communists (Iraq), al-Munadhil-a (Morocco), Revolutionary Left Current (Syria), Leftist Workers League (Tunisia) and Socialist Forum (Lebanon)--issued the following statement to oppose both the coalition of Arab countries intervening in Yemen, as well as Iranian backing for the Houthi rebels who have aligned themselves with Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's former dictator, who was ousted in 2012.

In place of the sectarian logic that predominates in Yemen, these groups are calling for unity and class solidarity against all the regimes pursuing their own interests at the expense of the poor and oppressed of Yemen.

AT MIDNIGHT, between March 26 and 27, warplanes belonging to 10 Arab and Muslim (Pakistan) countries, led by Saudi Arabia, launched a raid of Yemen, under the pretext of dealing with the sectarian Yemeni militia (the Houthi rebels) believed to be linked to a foreign state, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which threatens to take control of all of Yemen and overthrow the elected authority represented by the Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The military campaign has attracted a wide range of supporters in Western imperialist governments and was particularly welcomed by most Arab governments, reunited this time at a summit held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, less than two days after the start of hostilities.

Apart from support for the war on Yemen--until the Houthi rebellion is crushed, disarmed and authority returned to President Hadi--the summit decided to form a joint military force. It is meant to counter what those governments perceive as a threat to the [Arab] nation as a whole, ensure its protection and, above all, safeguard their own regimes. They put aside all differences and joined hands to quash all revolutionary struggles in the region, which had proved resilient enough to overthrow them.

Destruction caused by Saudi Arabia's air assault on Yemen
Destruction caused by Saudi Arabia's air assault on Yemen

Saudi Arabia's current meddling in Yemen's affairs is not new. In the 1960s, it wholeheartedly interfered, with all its means, including its military capabilities, to defend the royalists against the Yemeni revolution supported by the Nasser regime in Egypt. During the Arab Spring, the Saudi kingdom played a crucial role in quashing the peaceful Yemeni uprisings by applying pressure, with the help of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), to impose a settlement, which led to the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but kept the regime's apparatus intact and untouched.

This paved the way for Saleh, after a long period of hostility, to join forces with Houthi militias and take control of the capital of Sanaa, followed by most of the provinces and regions of Yemen. However, the Houthis are now the allies of the Iranian regime and carrying out the plans of the ayatollahs, whose nationalist aspirations of a broader empire are loaded with religious ideology and armed with the weapons of sectarian division.

HOWEVER, THE current Saudi aggression on Yemen has a clear difference from previous interventions, as Riyadh is able to benefit from the U.S. administration's countless wars in the region and the manner in which it has conducted new imperialist campaigns since the war on Iraq in 1991. It formed a broad coalition of nine Arab countries and one non-Arab country (Pakistan) and immediately called on all Arab governments, with the exception of Syria, to a summit meeting of the Arab League. This was most likely an attempt to achieve the widest mobilization of their military forces to engage in a costly ground war in Yemen in the near future, which is expected to last several months, due to the rugged terrain and mountains in the country.

The ground war could also lead to a civil conflict, fuelled by the sectarian divide, which could spill to neighboring countries, Arab and non-Arab. This is in conjunction with the accelerated pace of an arms race in the region, whose biggest beneficiaries are the imperialist countries and their military institutions. This is added to potential reactions and instability in a region with unbounded wealth and under imperialist control.

It is clear that the primary victims of the attack will be the civilian population, which has nothing to do with any of the parties in the conflict, added to the devastation of facilities, infrastructure, and the military capabilities of the people of Yemen. This is all in a country considered one of the poorest in the Arab region and the entire world.

Remarkably, the decisions of the Arab summit made no mention of the Palestinian people, despite the recent Israeli war on Gaza and the tremendous human and material loss there--and while many are yet to return to their homes awaiting rehabilitation. Moreover, the Zionist enemy continues with settlement-building policies in the West Bank and Jerusalem, with the intent of erasing the homes and buildings and agricultural land of Palestinians--as well as the continuous mistreatment of Palestinians, through killing, imprisonment, forced displacement and limitations on mobility.

The summit did not even take the most basic positions of condemnation and denunciation, let alone threaten to take various internationally legitimate actions related to deterrence, encouraging acts of resistance and providing the means to carry out these acts to a people under a permanent occupation, enabled by the treason and cowardice of these complicit Arab rulers.

BY CONTRAST, these rulers have chosen to declare war on another miserable Arab country. They will form a unified Arab military force to engage in a plethora of wars to come, excluding a war with the Zionist state or even responding to any of its aggressions. The only war these regimes are interested in conducting will be directed against potential and current popular insurgencies and uprisings within the Arab world, confining their support to the Palestinian cause to paying premiums owed by the Palestinian Oslo authority in the West Bank.

The revolutionary Marxist organizations that are signatories to this statement strongly condemn the various acts of aggression carried out by Houthi militias in alliance with the military, which is still controlled by the former tyrant of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and strongly supported by the Islamic Republic of the mullahs of Iran.

These organizations also condemn the recent onslaught perpetuated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its allies in this brutal criminal process and call for the cessation of hostilities between all the parties involved and the withdrawal of all foreign military presence from Yemen.

All intervening imperialist factions, be they Iran or the various Gulf regimes, notably Saudi Arabia, must be forced to offer a huge financial compensation to alleviate the grave losses suffered by the people of Yemen in recent years due to the savage interventions by those regimes.

Finally, we demand that the people of Yemen should be allowed, with full freedom, their right to self-determination and to form an authority by their choosing and own free will without any outside interference or coercion.

Down with all interferences by foreign reactionary regimes in Yemen, be it Iran or Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Down with the chorus of corrupt traitors who met in Sharm El Sheikh.

Down with the imperialist support of the reactionary military onslaught.

No to civil war and yes to the right to self-determination for the people of Yemen.

Yes to all forms of support to galvanize the mass revolutionary process in Yemen.

Yes to the unity of the toiling masses of the Arab region of all nationalities and creeds.

Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt), Union of Iraqi Communists (Iraq), al-Munadhil-a (Morocco), Revolutionary Left Current (Syria), Leftist Workers League (Tunisia) and Socialist Forum (Lebanon)

Translated by Elia El Khazen

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