Western Strategy in Yemen and Elsewhere
Posted on May 11th, 2015

By Afshain Afzal

Washington and it western allies have plans to increase influence of Shias in Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen as well as their noticeable representation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But surprisingly, it is not Iran which would be given the leadership role over the golden crescent, starting from Lebanon through Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan but it would be a Baghdad-Beirut combination. There are analyst who believe that Washington, London, Tel Aviv and Paris created unrest in Yemen through Houthis to compel Tehran comprise on its nuclear and missile programmes in lieu of Western help over Iranian domination over Muslims’ affairs. Now when the frame work on nuclear deal has been agreed, there is very little that Tehran might do to save herself from the embarrassing siltation without Western help; on one hand Tehran cannot revive its influence over the Shia majority countries without the Western help while on the other it cannot survive without lifting of Western imposed sanctions and embargo.

Interestingly, US and allies, stationed in Yemen to save the government of president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi from Al Qaida’s threat, started pulling out from early February this year and had completely withdrawn from the Yemeni bases and safe houses on 18th March 2015. Afterwards, the western forces, stationed at the Strait of Hormuz and around Arabia Sea, continuously provided military aid and strategic planning to anti-government Armed Forces units and the Houthis rebels. Washington has committed to continue supporting rebels till the time negotiations starts for a broad-based government. There are also plans for the representation of Houthis and comeback of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. In this regard, president Hadi was several times contacted by the Western diplomats and media persons before the rebellion for his comments on dialogue and inclusion of Houthis in the broad-based Yemeni government.

There are four main reasons why US engineered revolt in Yemen to checkmate Saudi Arabia and its allies. Firstly, Saudis vetoed Israeli role in the Afghan war when the CIA and Congressman Wilson raised the idea. In the past, Saudi Arabia warned US for its support to Ariel Sharon in the second Intifada in a Paris conference and accused Washington being a party to war crimes. Secondly, it was to avenge Saudi Arabia’s refusal to reduce oil production amid drastic drop in its oil prices. Despite requests and pressures, Saudi leadership was determined to produce its 9.6 million barrels per day share in the global oil market, thus eliminating benefit that was to be fetched by Iranian and American oil producers. Thirdly, Washington is aggrieved over cold welcome to American delegation to Saudi Arabia on 27 January 2015, comprising of US President, Director Central Intelligence Agency, Commander US Central Command and others. Fourthly, US is facing its political defeat in Middle East as after the takeover by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz the policies of King Fahd have been altered and the new policies are combination of King Abdullah and King Shah Faisal’s policies as well as new charismatic strategic initiatives of King Salman.

The aerial attacks on the position of Houthis and their allies by Arab alliance led by Saudi Arabia proved effective. After successful completion of first phase of operation, Saudi Arabia announced focus on humanitarian and relief from 21 April. Since then the airstrikes have been reduced to minimum level. In the recent development, Saudi Arabia announced a general amnesty to the Yemeni hostile Houthis in the shape of ceasefire that would be effective from 1100 hours on 12 May 2015. Saudi Foreign Minister, His Excellency Adel Al-Jubir in a statement in Paris on 8 May 2015, announced that ceasefire has been declared as a result of cooperation by the Houthis. During the ceasefire talks will be held to restore the government of President Hadi in Yemen.

The Western world, especially the US and Britain consider the on-going crisis in Yemen as proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Despite Saudi announcement of ceasefire, there were renewed movements of Houthis in Saada Province in North of Yemen. Western nations are transporting heavy weapons in the North of Yemen in the garb of humanitarian relief to strengthen rebels. Reacting to Saudi peace offer and US role in pressurizing Houthis and allies to accept ceasefire, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Paris that there were indications that the Houthis would accept the cease-fire, but there is no certainty. The hypocrisy of the US along with its allies is evident from the statement as the Houthis are being shown alternative for non-acceptance of ceasefire offer. The fact cannot be denied that it is a golden opportunity for the Houthis give up hostile rebellion and resolve the issue amicably through negotiations on basis of democratic Islamic principles.

One wonders against the spirit of democracy, which West claims to be its champion, US strategy around the Muslim world, especially in the Middle East, revolves around power-sharing and formation of broad-based governments. Interestingly, despite an open revolt by the Houthis and their takeover of Yemeni Armed Forces ammunition depots and other military hardware, Saudi Arabia is being blamed for the unrest. As a litmus test, one would like to ask Washington, Tel Aviv and other countries, why they failed to opt power-sharing and formation of broad-based governments by including original inhabitants and aborigines in the governments in their countries. One need to understand that there is no proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran in Yemen or elsewhere, but these are mere strategic moves of the West to keep the Muslim world divided and bleeding. afshain@hotmail.com

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