By David William Pear
[Photo: WhatsuPic, “Expanded War, Hunger, Disease, Death in Yemen. No Big Deal to US”.]
[First published by The Greanville Post]
“Only God can save our children”, say Yemeni fathers and mothers as they can do nothing but watch their children die, try to comfort them in their final agonizing hours, and pray for God to spare them from death. The fathers and mothers watch and pray, as one by another their children die from cholera, dehydration and starvation.
Where is God? He cannot get through the total US blockade of Yemen to save the children. A cholera epidemic is a man-made disaster. Since 2015 the cholera epidemic has been spread by biological warfare against Yemen. US bombs dropped by Saudi pilots destroyed Yemen’s public water and sewage systems. The parts, chemicals and fuel to operate Yemen’s water purification and sewage plants are blockaded. Potable water, cholera vaccine, and even individual water purification tablets cannot get in. The resulting cholera epidemic was predictable.
[Photo from Bln Ghaleb’s in Stop the War on Yemen Group]
The sewage from non-working treatment plants overflows into streams that run onto agricultural land, thus contaminating vegetables before they go to market. Sewage flows into the cities, residential areas and the refugee camps. Flies swarm over the sewage and spread cholera everywhere. The International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, and Doctors Without Borders; hospitals, clinics and disaster relief organizations, and human rights workers have been deliberately bombed.
The US dominated United Nations adds a fig leaf of legality to the blockade, and a one-sided weapons embargo against Yemen. To ask why there is no UN arms embargo against Saudi Arabia is, of course, a rhetorical question.
The UN wrings its hands about a humanitarian crisis, and the worst cholera epidemic in human history. The UN does nothing to stop the US-led Saudi genocide and destruction of Yemen, and it puts out knowingly phony underreported numbers of the civilian deaths.
The former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley threw a temper tantrum when the UN dared to even voice mild criticism against the US, when it moved its embassy to Jerusalem. She spoke of the UN “disrespecting” the US, and she threatened financial retaliation against the UN and countries that voted contrary to US wishes. The UN is not an honest broker, because it is dominated and fears the US displeasure.
President Donald Trump cut funding to humanitarian UN agencies, did not try to stop Israel from gunning down thousands of unarmed Palestinians, withdrew the US from the UN Human Rights Council, and thumbed his nose at the UN International Court of Justice. Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said that the US plans on withdrawing from more treaties that are the foundation of international law.
In other words, Bolton is confirming that the US is a rouge state; it makes a mockery of the United Nations. From the beginning of the Bush-era War on Terror, the US showed contempt for the Geneva Conventions. Obama too violated customary international law with impunity. Obama assassinated US citizens, droned Afghan wedding parties and funerals, and destroyed Libya. He invaded Syria in an illegal war of aggression. Obama was really good at killing. He allegedly said so himself.
Purposely causing a cholera epidemic is biological warfare. Yemen is not an unprecedented case of US use of biological-chemical warfare. During the 1950’s Korean War the US was accused convincingly of biological warfare. In the Vietnam-American War the US sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange, which poisoned the soil, rivers and people. Agent Orange, 50 years later is still “causing miscarriages, skin diseases, cancers, birth defects, and congenital malformations”.
[Photo: The Independent, “US planes drop Agent Orange in 1966.]
The US contaminated Bosnia, Afghanistan, and the Middle East with so-called depleted uranium. Depleted uranium can cause cancer, birth defects, and as yet other unknown health effects. The US knows it. It has put out a health warning to US Iraq war veterans.
In 1995, Madeleine Albright was interview by Lesley Stahl on the TV show “60 Minutes”. That interview should live in infamy in a hall of shame for eternity. Stahl asked Albright if the death of over 500,000 Iraqi children caused by US sanctions was “worth it”. Albright’s answer was, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.” (Whoever the “we” is, Albright did not elaborate.) It is now known that “we” purposely used biological warfare to kill those 500,000 Iraqi children.
[Madeleine Albright – The deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it for Iraq’s non-existent WMD’s?]
How many more children did Albright, the Bill Clinton administration and “we” continue to kill because “we” thought it was “worth it”? Hundreds of thousands, according to a study of the partially declassified Defense Intelligence Agency document “IRAQ WATER TREATMMENT VULNERABILITIES” [emphasis in original]. The partially declassified document was discovered in 1998 on an official website of the Military Health System. In 2001 the Association of Genocide Scholars released the study referred to above: The Role of “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities” in Halting One Genocide and Preventing Others.
During the 1991 First Gulf War the US purposely targeted all of the water purification plants and sanitation works in Iraq, which is itself a war crime. The “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities” document produced by the US Department of Defense and implemented in1991, was continued under President Bill Clinton. Even after Albright’s admission on “60 Minutes” that the US sanctions regime had killed 500,000 Iraqi children, “we” continued the draconian embargo of water purification equipment.
The Department of Defense and Madeleine Albright’s “we” knew that without potable water that the rate of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, would sicken and kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Depriving an entire population of the essentials of life is genocide, and it is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Degrading of the water supply to knowingly cause epidemics, such as cholera, is biological warfare.
Economic sanctions and trade embargos are barbaric siege warfare against civilian populations. There is no way to pretty them up as surgically targeting a regime or being humanitarian. Now think about the millions of people of Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Burma and, Côte d’Ivoire that are suffering under a US embargo today.
The “Iraq Water Treatment Vulnerabilities” document reveals the diabolical intention of a sanctions regime, even when authorized by the UN. It is for these and other reasons that The International Committee of the Red Cross has often raised concerns , including concerns about UN authorized sanctions regimes. Not even the UN has the authority to violate the Geneva Conventions, and the UN oversteps its authority when it does so.
The US has also overstepped the UN’s authorization by imposing a total blockade of Yemen. Just as predictably as in Iraq, children are dying in Yemen from cholera. Tens of thousands of civilians have died from starvation, disease and the lack of medicine. Twenty million human beings are starving to death in a famine caused by the US, and its proxy, the so-called Saudi coalition.
For three years, starting with the Obama administration the US has been passing Saudi Arabia the bombs, ammunition, fuel, and most importantly it is the US military at the command and control center of the war on Yemen. Other war-profiteering countries, such as the UK, EU countries, and Canada have their hands dripping with the blood and cholera infected feces of Yemeni children, too.
[Photo: Nora Al-Alwaki, an American citizen killed by Navy SEALs when they raided her Yemeni village on January 29, 2017.]
US Special Forces, Seal Team 6, and the CIA carry out night raids and assignations, such as the one that killed 8 year old Nora, pictured above. She was an American citizen who lived with her grandparents in a Yemeni village.
Nora was the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was the first known American citizen to be executed by the US without due process. A week later his 16 year old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was assassinated by a US drone. Barack Obama carried out those killings in 2011.
It was also Obama that planned the raid in which Nora was killed on Trump’s orders, January 29, 2017. When Obama’s press secretary Robert Gibb was asked why 16 year old Abdurahman was killed, his answer was that his crime was that he “should have had a more responsible father”. Was that Nora’s “crime” too?
The war against Yemen is another dirty war just like Iraq, Libya and Syria. It is an ‘all but in name’ a US genocide-scale slaughter of civilians and the destruction of a country. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its so-called coalition are the US proxy that pays for the bombs and drops them. It is the US that picks out the targets, back at the command and control center.
Most of the ground fighting inside Yemen is caused by an invasion of US, Saudi and UAE sponsored Salafists terrorists, mujahideen, al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and Blackwater (rebranded Academi) US, Somalia and South American mercenaries. Saudi-backed terrorists are attacking in the north, while UAE-backed terrorist attack in the south. Saudi-backed terrorists are fighting UAE terrorists. Saudi Arabia has put a blockade on Qatar, in a squabble over Yemen.
The de facto government of Yemen is the leadership of the Houthi Movement, named after its charismatic founder Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi. The Houthi Movement is backed by Yemen’s military units, security forces and a broad base of the Yemeni people, including many Sunnis. That is not to say that Yemenis do not have many differences. They do, but when their common self-interests are at stake, they do come together, despite their differences.
There are some internal groups opposed to the Houthi Movement and they are collaborating with the Saudi and UAE terrorist groups, but this is not a Sunni vs. Shia war. Nor is the war a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as the corporate mainstream media monopoly would have the US public believe.
The Zaydi Shia that makes up about 42% of Yemen’s population is closer to Sunni Islam than they are to the Shia branch of Islam in Iran. The Zaidi-led Houthi Movement “have not called for restoring the imamate in Yemen, and religious grievances have not been a major factor in the war”, according to Al Jazeera. Rather, the Houthi Movement has been primarily economic, political and regional in nature.
There is a separatist movement in what was once South Yemen, which until 1990 was a separate communist country: The Democratic Republic of Yemen. Before unification North Yemen was the Yemen Arab Republic. In the power struggle that followed unification the south lost power and patronage. The UAE is backing a southern separatist group, the Southern Transitional Council, which also opposes Hadi and Saudi Arabia. As mentioned, Saudi backed terrorists are fighting UAE-backed terrorists.
The US, KSA and the UN try to pass off the “internationally recognized legitimate government of Yemen” as if it were Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Hadi was the president of an interim government of Yemen from 2012 to 2014. Hadi fraudulently overstayed his term when it expired in 2014.
Hadi was forcefully removed from office by the Houthi Movement, and a broad base uprising of the Yemeni people. Hadi resigned his office and fled to Saudi Arabia. The US, KSA and the UN use Hadi as a figurehead to add a fig leaf of legality to the illegal US-led war of aggression against Yemen.
[Photo: Press TV, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley briefs the media in front of remains of what is said to be a Yemeni missile’]
There is little if any evidence that Iran is providing the Houthi Movement with weapons, materials or fighters. Look at the map. How would Iran be able to get massive supplies of weapons past the total US blockade, even if it wanted to. Iran has its hands full with its (legal) support of its ally Syria. Iran is struggling with its own economic crisis caused by the illegal US economic sanctions regime, re-imposed by the Trump administration.
When the US was pressed for hard evidence to back up its allegations that Iran was involved in Yemen, the best that the former UN ambassador Nikki Haley could do was come up with a few missile parts. The UN dismissed Haley’s show as having “no evidence as to the identity of the broker or supplier.” Iran has denied involvement in Yemen, and rejected the US’s claims as unfounded, and Iran further added:
“These accusations seek also to cover up for the Saudi war crimes in Yemen, with the US complicity, and divert attention from the stalemate war of aggression against the Yemenis.”
Yemenis, regardless of religion, region or tribe are fiercely nationalistic, and they are nobody’s puppet. They resent attempts by foreign invaders to dominate them. Yemen, like Afghanistan, is a graveyard where empires come to die. The British and the Egyptians learned it in the 1960’s and now the Saudis and the UAE are leaning it the hard way.
The US is like a zombie empire that never dies in an empire graveyard. Instead when faced with humiliation and defeat, the US totally destroys its antagonist from the air, as it did Iraq, Libya and Syria. The US shows no mercy for the civilian population. The US destroys civilian infrastructure, blockades food, water and medicine. It targets the people with cluster bombs and white phosphorus; and the US poisons their water, soil and air with biological, chemical and radioactive weapons.
[Photo: Minn Post, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Libyan soldiers upon her departure from Tripoli in Libya on October 18, 2011.]
As with Iraq, Libya, and Syria and with so many other small countries that the US declared to be its enemy, Yemen poses no threat to the US national security. So why does the US destroy small countries, and why is the US destroying Yemen?
In the 1990’s with the collapse of the USSR, the US set out to build an empire to dominate the world, and it made no secret of it. The US plan for world domination has gone by different names, such as the Wolfowitz Doctrine, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), Full Spectrum Dominance, the Indispensable Nation, American Exceptionalism, New World Order, and more subtly the role of US World Leadership.
Whatever name US world domination goes by, it is all the same. The US considers itself above international law, customary moral behavior and believes it alone has the right to pursue whatever it thinks is in its self-interest politically, militarily and financially. If the US were a person, it would be diagnosed as a psychopath, with no conscience, no empathy, and no remorse; aggressive, narcissistic and a serial mass murderer.
Yemen is often scripted by the corporate-government mainstream media as “the poorest country in the Middle East”, as if it has no wealth that anybody could possibly want. The people of Yemen are poor, but Yemen has oil, pipeline routes, gold, minerals, agriculture, fishing, state owned enterprises, desirable real estate, finance, and its geography gives Yemen great potential for tourism.
Yemen’s 30 million people are both a potential source of cheap labor and a potential market for the products of US global corporations. Yemen is strategically located at the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, through which 1.4 billion barrels of oil pass every day. For millennium Yemen was a center for trade.
The US covets Yemen’s wealth and its strategic location as part of the neoliberal New World Order. The US vision of the New World Order is a world dominated by US global corporations, US financial institutions and wealthy US family dynasties.
US foreign policy is shaped by special interests, monopolies and their political action committees (PACS), such as those of weapons manufacturers, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and agri-business. Foreign countries such as Israel and Saudi Arabia also have powerful lobbies that can manipulate US foreign policy to their advantage. US foreign policy has little to do with the interests of the average US citizen.
Yemen is the southern neighbor to the KSA, and the Saudis want a corrupt, compliant and passive government in Yemen. The KSA has expanded its border to encroach on Yemen’s northern borderlands, which is the birthplace of the Houthi Movement. The Saudi dynasty also fears an independent Yemeni people that might influence the oppressed people of the Saudi Dynasty. The KSA is a powder keg for an uprising of the people, they are ready to explode.
The KSA uses extremist Wahhabi Islam as a political subterfuge to recruit jihadist, terrorists, and to spread Saudi influence throughout West Asia, Africa and beyond. International terrorism has been a joint venture of the US, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. All the GCC states: KSA, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait are theocratic monarchies. That says volumes about US values for democracy and human rights.
The US has a long history of coveting the wealth of Yemen. In the mid-1980s the Bush family and their Texas oil buddies at Hunt Oil invested in Yemen’s oil-rich Marib Shabwa basin. Bush obtained for Hunt Oil the rights for future exploration. Deviously, the former director of the CIA and then Vice President Bush arranged for Iraq’s Saddam Hussein to finance the Bush-Hunt investments in Yemen. A few years later Bush “repaid” Saddam’s loan with Shock and Awe.
[Photo One World: George H. W. Bush and Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh]
The war that started in 2015 is to protect US investments of global corporations, neoliberalism and the vision of a New World Order. The people of Yemen have been starch opponents of neoliberalism, and like their old world order. They rebelled against the 33 year rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh for selling out Yemen to neoliberalism, and then the people rebelled against the interim government of Hadi for his fire-sale privatization scheming with neoliberal empire.
The US beneficiaries of neoliberalism were not happy when their benefactor Hadi was deposed by the Houthi Movement. Nor was Saudi Arabia, which has been trying to exploit Yemen for decades. The vultures of the other GCC countries are circling Yemen in the hope of picking at its corpse too.
The US is providing the GCC with the Shock and Awe to kill the prey, and the US does not care if it kills 22 million people in the process of looting Yemen. It is the US that is providing the bombs. The Saudi-led coalition of GCC countries are just the delivery boys.
To summarize, there is no civil war in Yemen. Iran is made the scapegoat for a US-led illegal war of aggression. Saudi Arabia and its coalition of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The GCC states are made up of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. They are all monarchies. The US hopes to walk off with Yemen’s main prizes, and the KSA, UAE and Qatar are fighting each other over the crumbs. The lives of 22 million Yemeni people are hanging by a thread, because of a US blockade of food, water and medicine. The US is the cause of the worst cholera epidemic in history. It is biological warfare and genocide.
Bio: David William Pear is a progressive columnist writing on U.S. foreign policy, economic and political issues, human rights and social issues. David is a Senior Contributing Editor of The Greanville Post (TGP) and a prior Senior Editor for OpEdNews (OEN) for four years 2014 to 2018, and he is still a “Trusted Writer” for OpEdNews. David has been writing for The Real News Network (TRNN) for over 10 years, and has been a long-term financial supporter.