THE US emphasised that it had gone to war on the territory of the Yemen yesterday, by closing its embassy in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, hardly a sign of great strength.
Britain is the US’ partner in this new expansion of the war that began in Afghanistan in 2001, was spread to Iraq in 2003, and then resumed with greater force inside Afghanistan from 2007 onwards. It is now being expanded into Pakistan, and into the Yemen.
The cry is now going up that a large number of the fighters in the Yemen are from Somalia, and that nothing will be resolved until the ‘terrorists’ are snuffed out in Mogadishu.
Even Iran is in the sights of the imperialist powers, with advisers counselling that nothing will be as it should be in the Gulf until the mullahs are driven out of power in Tehran.
Britain will be required to supply all of its special forces for the action inside the Yemen since it has a history in the area and was its most powerful oppressor in the recent past.
In the 1960s, British troops fought nationalist movements throughout Aden and the southern Yemen.
Reginald Lingham records in ‘One Soldier’s Wars’: ‘If a village or a Sultan caused any trouble, leaflets were dropped from aircraft warning them they would be bombed and at what time, if they didn’t hand in hostages to prove their good behaviour in the future. If this instruction was not complied with they were bombed. They were ordered to move everybody plus their livestock out of the village, and at the precise time the village would be bombed into oblivion. This was found to be an excellent, fast, cheap, and cost-effective way of controlling a large number of people spread out over a large almost inaccessible area of land.’
In the 1970s, British special forces fought throughout the Trucial States in the service of feudal reactionaries such as Sultan Qaboos in Oman, who was also supported by troops sent by the Shah of Iran.
Britain’s role is well remembered in the area and any of its special forces sent into the country will not be welcomed.
In his speech to the US people last month announcing the surge of 30,000 more US troops into Afghanistan, President Obama said the following: ‘As Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.’
He added: ‘We have been at war now for eight years, at enormous cost in lives and resources. Years of debate over Iraq and terrorism have left our unity on national security issues in tatters, and created a highly polarised and partisan backdrop for this effort. And having just experienced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the American people are understandably focused on rebuilding our economy and putting people to work here at home.’
He concluded: ‘Indeed, some call for a more dramatic and open-ended escalation of our war effort – one that would commit us to a nation-building project of up to a decade. I reject this course because it sets goals that are beyond what can be achieved at a reasonable cost.’
Since then the US has told Pakistan that if it will not tackle the Taleban the US will. Now it is intervening in the Yemen, and threatening Somalia and Iran!
US imperialism’s desperate need to control the oil and gas-rich Middle East and Gulf, means that Obama has been forced to eat his more cautious words of early December, and put himself into the hands of the US military command and the CIA.
War throughout the Arabian peninsula and the Gulf will have a fantastic impact on oil prices and will deepen the world crisis of imperialism.
In order to finance these military offensives, the attacks on the working class at home will have to be all the more savage.
The British trade unions must demand an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Yemen, and must organise industrial action to achieve it. British workers must stand for the defeat of imperialism.