THE LEADER of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has slammed Saudi Arabia for doing the bidding of the United States, saying the Riyadh regime has become absolutely subservient to Washington’s policies.
Speaking on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan on Wednesday, Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi said US President Donald Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia further exposed Riyadh’s blind ‘subservience’ to Washington. He added: ‘Not only do the Saudi rulers not deny this issue, but they even take pride in it and openly announce it.’
In March 2015, the Saudi regime and its allies, backed by the US, began a military campaign against Yemen to reinstall its former government, a close Riyadh ally. The war has killed over 12,000 civilians since then. During his visit to Saudi Arabia last week, Trump signed a new $110-billion arms deal with the kingdom, a move severely criticised by international rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Al-Houthi further described Saudi Arabia as ‘the leader of Wahhabism’ in different parts of the world, expressing regret that leaders of some Muslim countries are following the policies of ‘the enemies of Islam’. Wahhabism is a radical ideology dominant in Saudi Arabia and freely preached by clerics supported by the regime in Riyadh. The ideology has been a source of inspiration for terrorists worldwide.
Daesh and other Takfiri terrorist groups take advantage of Wahhabism to declare people of other faiths ‘infidels’ a justification for the terrorists to kill those individuals. Unfortunately, the Islamic world is currently facing myriads of problems due to a lack of prudence, said Houthi, adding that the existing divisions in Muslim societies have made it easier for the US and Israel to advance their agendas.
The brutal Saudi campaign has been met with stiff resistance by the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has the support of the Yemeni army and popular forces. In the latest wave of their retaliatory attacks, the Yemeni army and Ansarullah fighters targeted the Bahtet and Taba military bases in the Saudi border city of Jizan, killing several soldiers and injuring a number of others, according to Yemeni media.
The Yemeni army also shot down a Saudi reconnaissance aircraft in Midi desert on Tuesday, the reports said. The latest UN Security Council session was partly dedicated to Yemen. Speaking at the Tuesday session, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the Security Council that the impoverished Yemen is on the brink of total collapse, as the country is facing an emerging famine and an outbreak of cholera amid the war.
Over 55,200 Yemenis, one third of them children, are infected by cholera. O’Brien has said Yemen is facing ‘total social, economic and institutional collapse’. O’Brien told members of the UN Security Council that ‘urgent action is required to stem the suffering’. More than two years of war launched on the country by a US and UK-backed Saudi-led coalition in a bid to crush Houthi rebels and re-install imperialist-favoured ex-president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi have triggered a humanitarian crisis, with almost seven million people on the brink of famine.
Al-Qaeda, meanwhile, has taken advantage of the chaos to reinforce its presence in the south and south-east of the country. At least 7,800 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and 44,000 others injured since March 2015, UN figures say. An estimated 18.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Warning of a resurgence of a cholera outbreak, O’Brien said that in just the last month, twice as many people were suffering from suspected cholera cases compared to those in the last six months combined.
According to estimates, 150,000 cases are projected for the next six months, in addition to the broadly 60,000 current suspected cases since late April, with 500 associated deaths. O’Brien said the suffering of Yemenis ‘is not an unforeseen or coincidental result of forces beyond our control’ but rather it is a direct consequence of actions of the parties and supporters of the conflict and ‘sadly, a result of inaction – whether due to inability or indifference – by the international community’.
He warned: ‘The people of Yemen are being subjected to deprivation, disease and death as the world watches. Crisis is not coming, it is not looming, it is here today – on our watch.’ O’Brien said that despite ‘very generous pledges’ at a conference in Yemen in April, the UN’s appeal for $2.1bn (£1.6bn) for humanitarian aid was only 24% funded.
Warning against an attack on Hudaydah Port, O’Brien said it is a lifeline for Yemen, being the primary point of entry for commercial and humanitarian imports into the country, which historically is 80 to 90 per cent dependent on imported food staples.
‘It is also the only port in Yemen that can handle fuel, and bulk and containerised cargo at scale,’ he said, appealing to Member States to ensure that all efforts are made to keep the port open and operating. An attack on Hudaydah is not in the interest of any party, as it will directly and irrevocably drive the Yemeni population further into starvation and famine,’ he said.
• Bahrain’s dissolution of a major political opposition society is the latest troubling move in its blatant campaign to end all criticism of the government, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
Amnesty said: ‘The secular National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad) was dissolved today after having issued a statement in February, saying that Bahrain was suffering from a “constitutional political crisis” amid continuous human rights violations. The group was subsequently charged with “advocating violence, supporting terrorism and incitement to encourage crimes and lawlessness”.’
‘By banning major political opposition groups, Bahrain is now heading towards total suppression of human rights,’ said Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut Regional Office. ‘The suspension of Wa’ad is a flagrant attack on freedom of expression and association, and further proof that the authorities have no intention of delivering on promises of human rights progress.’
Amnesty added: ‘At the request of the Ministry of Justice, a Bahraini court dissolved Wa’ad following a statement it made on 14 February 2017, the anniversary of the country’s 2011 uprising, criticising the Bahraini constitution. The court also ruled to liquidate its funds.
‘On 6 March, the Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit against Wa’ad for violating the Law on Political Associations. Wa’ad first learned about the lawsuit through the media, receiving official notification on 7 March. Wa’ad is also being charged on account of its support to the main opposition party Al Wefaq, which was dissolved on baseless charges in July 2016, and its Secretary General, Sheikh Ali Salman, an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience.
‘It also is accused of electing Ebrahim Sharif, a former prisoner of conscience, as a member of its Central Committee despite his having “lost his civil and political rights” when he was charged in 2011. The Ministry of Justice accused Wa’ad of “advocating and inciting terrorism” after it condemned the execution of three men on 15 January – referring to them as “martyrs” – and calling “martyrs” other men who died or were killed by security forces in February.’
‘The allegations made by the Ministry of Justice against Wa’ad and its leaders are baseless and absurd,’ said Lynn Maalouf. ‘Their only so-called “crime” is exercising their right to freedom of expression and association.’
Wa’ad and its leaders have repeatedly stated their opposition to violence and commitment to peaceful means and they have denied the charges. The Wa’ad party also signed the National Declaration of Non-Violence Principles in 2012 and has repeatedly condemned calls for violence and acts of violence against security forces.