Bomb Iran? Not now: Bomb Yemen
By Pepe Escobar
April 09, 2015 "ICH"
- ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ – the Pentagon-style House of Saud glorifying of
its ghastly ‘Bomb Yemen’ show - could be summed up in a single paragraph.
The wealthiest Arab nation – the House of Saud petro-hacienda –
supported by other GCC petro-rackets and also the wealthy “West”, has launched
an – illegal – bombing/war/kinetic operation against the poorest Arab nation in
the name of “democracy.”
And this absurdity is just the beginning.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, the innocuous as a stale
cannoli Federica Mogherini, seems to be mildly alarmed. She remarked that Saudi
bombing of hospitals and “deliberate targeting and destruction of private
homes, education facilities and basic infrastructure cannot be tolerated.”
Well, the EU tolerates exactly the same thing in Donbass
perpetrated by Kiev’s goons – so nothing will come out La Mogherini’s feigned
The Red Cross and the Russian Federation, for their part, at
least are demanding a temporary ceasefire to allow for humanitarian relief.
Humanitarian relief is incompatible with the House of Saud’s bloodline. So after
two weeks of Saudi ‘Shock and Awe’, the current toll of at least 560 Yemeni
civilians dead (and counting), and 1700 wounded - dozens of them children – is
bound to increase.
Bab-el-Mandeb me, baby
Bomb Iran? Not now; the new normal is bomb Yemen. But still
bomb Iran might be back in a flash. Pentagon supremo Ash Carter confirmed last
week “all options are on the table” even if an Iran-P5+1 nuclear deal is finally
reached in June. So, for the record, the Pentagon is affirming nuclear
negotiations are just white noise unable to deter the tantalizing prospect of
yet another nice little Middle East war.
Needless to add, the so civilized ‘West’ didn’t even flinch
when “our bastards” the House of Saud invaded and started shockin’ an’awin’
dirt-poor Yemen. No UN Security Council resolution. Not even a mandate from the
totally discredited Arab League. Who cares? After all the ‘Empire of Chaos’ has
done the same over and over again with total impunity.
Much hysteria has been raging on whether the Houthis are about
to take control of the Bab-el-Mandeb – one of the key strategic global energy
chokepoints along with the Straits of Hormuz, and as crucial as the Suez Canal.
Nonsense. Whatever the House of Saud does, the not so hidden ‘Empire of Chaos’
agenda is never to lose control of the Bab-el-Mandeb, the Gulf of Aden, and the
This is part of what we could dub ‘Chokepointistan’; wars
taking place near or around energy bottlenecks, and always narrated in Global
War on Terror (GWOT) deceitful terminology. US Think Tankland is more
straightforward, carefully following US naval deployments. That’s what this is
all about; an Orwellian “freedom of navigation” masquerading a hardcore strategy
of shutting out the geopolitical enemy – be it Iran, Russia, China or all of the
‘Chokepointistan’ is all over the place: just watch the war or
pre-positioning action in the Bab-el-Mandeb (with spillover effects from Yemen
to Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti); the Straits of Hormuz (all about
Iran); but also the strait of Malacca (all about China), Panama (about
Venezuela), the coming Nicaragua canal (about China), the Korean Strait, the
Taiwan Strait, the Kuril Islands, and last but not least the Baltic Sea.
A Grand Armada Run Amok
Saudi intel knows the Houthis can’t possibly control the Bab-el-Mandeb
– not to mention Washington would never allow it. What freaks the Saudis out is
that the Houthi rebellion in Yemen – supported by Tehran – may encourage bright
rebellion ideas among the Shi’ite majority in the eastern provinces in Saudi
Arabia, where most of the oil is.
And this where the Saudi excuse for war interfaces with the
empire’s paranoia of preventing Iran, Russia and/or China from establishing a
possible strategic presence in Yemen, at the Bab-el-Mandeb, overlooking the Gulf
So we have once again Pentagon supremo Carter insisting,
“The United States supports Arab plans to create a unified military force to
counter growing security threats in the Middle East, and the Pentagon will
cooperate with it where US and Arab interests coincide.” Translation: we
gave the green light for our bastards to maintain “stability” in the Middle
Yet there’s a spanner
in the works; the possible Washington-Tehran rapprochement, assuming a nuclear
deal is reached. For the self-described “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” Obama
administration, the nuclear deal will be their only foreign policy success.
Moreover, without Tehran there’s no meaningful fight against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in
None of this mollifies the cosmically paranoid Saudis, who
assembled in a flash a Grand Armada Run Amok (GARA) – 100 jet fighters, 150,000
soldiers – respectfully described by US Think Tankland as a “coalition” of 10
countries. Without even blinking at UN norms, the Saudis instantly declared the
whole of Yemen as a no-fly zone.
And along with routine bombing of residential complexes, the
al-Mazraq camp for the internally displaced in Hajjah, a dairy factory near
Hodeida, and other instances, came, what else, hardcore internal Saudi
repression, via a crackdown with tanks and indiscriminate shooting in Awamiyah,
in the eastern provinces; Shi’ites there can’t even think of organizing protests
against the bloodbath in Yemen.
In a nutshell, this is
the immensely wealthy, corrupt, medieval Saudi regime busy at war against their
own people. The usual hard-line Wahhabi imams are busy working up anti-Shi’ite
and anti-Iranian fever everywhere; these are all “apostates” under the takfir
doctrine, and Iranians are lowly “Safawis” - a quite pejorative reference to the
16th century Safavid dynasty. It’s crucial to remember that Islamic State treats
Shi’tes and Iranians the exact same way. But forget about any of this being
reported by Western corporate media.
The General and the Sheikh
The House of Saud insists it wants to reinstall the
government-in-exile of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. Or, as Saudi
Ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubeir glowingly put it, “protect the
legitimate government of the country.”
Royally paid Saudi lobby hagiographers are once again
frantically spinning the Sunni versus Shi’ite sectarian narrative – which
totally ignores the mind-boggling tribal/class complexity of Yemeni society. In
a nutshell, this laughable Saudi defense of democracy is paving the way for a
ground war; a long, bloody and horribly expensive ground war.
And it gets, as expected, even more absurd. Gen. Martin
Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was recently asked during a
Senate Armed Services Committee hearing whether he knew of “any major Arab
ally that embraces ISIL.” His response: “I know major Arab allies who
Translation: the US
government not only does not sanction or punish these “allies” (the real fun is
to sanction Russia) but showers with logistical and “non-lethal” support the
“coalition” that is arguably fighting the same Islamic State they are funding.
No one is making this up; this is how the endless war on terra remains the gift
that keeps on giving.
It gets even curioser and curioser when we have Dempsey on the
same page of Hezbollah’s Sheikh Nasrallah. In
crucial speech, Sheikh Nasrallah offers the most extensive and precise
account of the origins and ideology of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. And
here he expands on Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
So what we have is the ‘Empire of Chaos’ ‘leading from behind’
in the war on Yemen and also de facto ‘leading from behind’ in the fight against
ISIS/ISIL/Daesh; the ones doing the heavy lifting are Iraqi militias supported
by Tehran. The hidden agenda is always – what else –chaos; be it across “Syraq”
or inside Yemen. With an extra bonus; while Washington is engaged on striking a
nuclear deal with Tehran, it also turbo-charges an alliance against Tehran using
the House of Saud.
Vietnam in the desert
The House of Saud badly wants Pakistan to take no prisoners,
supplying bomber jets, ships and lots of ground troops for their war. Riyadh
treats Islamabad as a vassal state. A joint session of the Pakistani Parliament
will decide what to do.
It’s quite revealing to learn what happened when Pakistan's
most popular private TV channel assembled representatives of all major political
parties to explain where they stand. Soon they reached a consensus; Pakistan
should be neutral; act as mediator; and commit no troops, unless there was a
“tangible threat” to the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina, which is far from
The House of Saud remains on overdrive, showering tons of cash
over Salafi and Deobandi preachers to bullhorn their war; that includes a
delegation of ulema visiting Riyadh. Support has already duly poured from
Pakistan-based hardcore groups that trained with al-Qaeda and fought with the
Taliban in Afghanistan; after all they are all funded by Wahhabi fanatics.
Meanwhile, in the front lines, a real game-changer may be
ahead, with the Houthis already firing missiles across the border at Saudi oil
installations. Then all bets are off – and the possibility that long-range
missiles have been pre-positioned becomes quite credible.
That scenario would mean a foreign intel agency luring the
House of Saud into its own Vietnam quagmire in Yemen, setting them up for a
barrage of missiles hitting their pumping stations and oil fields, with
catastrophic consequences for the global economy. It’s crucial to remember that
the Grand Armada Run Amok (GARA) assembled by Riyadh happens to account for no
less than 32% of global oil production. This cannot possibly end well.
Everyone in Yemen has an AK-47, not to mention RPGs and hand
grenades. The terrain is guerrilla heaven. History spells out at least 2,000
years of hardened tribes fighting foreign invaders. Most Yemenis hate the House
of Saud with a vengeance; a majority follows what the Houthis announced in late
February, that the House of Saud and the US were planning to devastate Yemen.
The Houthi rebellion includes both Sunnis and Shi’ites – thus
totally debunking the Saudi narrative. When they captured the Yemeni National
Security Bureau, which was basically a CIA station, the Houthis found a wealth
of secret documents that “compromised” Washington’s Yemeni chapter of the war on
terra. As for the Saudi Army, it’s a joke. Besides, it employs a huge contingent
of – you guessed it – Yemeni soldiers.
“Operation Decisive Storm” – yet another Pentagon-style
illegal war – has already plunged Yemen into the twin plagues of civil war and
humanitarian disaster. The remains of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),
and most of all ISIS/ISIL/Daesh (who hate the Houthis and all Shi’ites with a
vengeance) couldn’t be happier. The ‘Empire of Chaos’ couldn’t give a damn; the
more widespread the chaos, the better for the Pentagon-defined Long War (on
Over five years ago I
wrote that Yemen is the new
Waziristan. Now it’s also heading towards the new Somalia. And soon it may
become the House of Saud’s Vietnam.
Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia
Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor
to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.
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