Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Saudi's behind Yemen's bloody civil war


Wednesday 21 January 2015

Yemen conflict: Old hand at work in the country's bloody civil war

The US now appears anxious to crush the Houthi rebels and their Sunni al-Qaeda enemies - and the Saudis would have it no other way, reports Robert Fisk

[Image: pg-30-fisk-yemen-1-getty.jpg]

[INDENT=3]It's all about the Saudis. No matter how complex the new Yemeni civil war may appear nor how powerful the Houthi rebels have become in the capital of Sanaa where they now encircle the presidential palace it's the Zaidi sect of Shiism which the Houthis represent that frightens the Sunni Wahabi monarchy of Saudi Arabia, and not without reason.
[INDENT=3]For more than five years, there has been armed conflict between Saudi forces and the Houthis, who at one point captured a low mountain range inside the Saudi border. The Saudis blame the usual suspects: Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah. The Houthis blame the usual suspects: the Sunnis of Yemen and their Saudi supporters along with you guessed it the United States.
But like every crisis in the Middle East, the Yemen conflict is a little more nuanced than news dispatches might suggest. Indeed, Yemen's first independent ruler was a Shia Zaidi not a Sunni who extended his territory over much of northern Yemen between the world wars. The Imam Yahya was head of the Zaidi sect, whose beliefs and worship have almost as much in common with Sunni Islam as they do with Shiism, but he struggled against the Saudis when they seized Asir and Najran from what Yahya called "historic Yemen". Oxford scholar Eugene Rogan has described the ruthlessness of Yahya's successor, his son Ahmed.
[Image: pg-30-fisk-yemen-2-ap.jpg]Houthi Shiite soldiers stand guard on a street leading to the presidential palace in Sanaa (AP)
When Ahmed's son Badr was overthrown in a military coup, Nasser supported the new republic and the Saudis sought to destroy it, supporting the Shia Zaidi rebels. The sad story of Yemen's partition and eventual (and unhappy) unity, of Sanaa's 33-year history of dictatorial rule under Ali Abdullah Saleh himself a Shia Zaidi and then the inevitable minority claims of disenfranchisement, meant that the Arab awakening a bloody "spring" in Yemen would open still-painful wounds. Saleh's departure was to produce a new constitution unsatisfactory to the Houthis. The Saudis now feared that the Shia rebels of the north were supported by Iran and thus given their own substantial Shia minority a threat to the stability of the Kingdom itself.
Many were the Saudi claims of Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah support for the Houthis and many were the denials of Iran and the Hezbollah but the growth of al-Qaeda's Yemeni faction (following, of course, the same Salafist-Wahabi beliefs as Saudi Arabia itself) brought inevitable US military involvement. US drone strikes in Yemen were directed against al-Qaeda, supposedly on behalf of the Saudi-supported Yemeni government. But in December 2009, Houthi spokesmen began to catalogue a series of US raids against their own forces. The Houthi advance on Sanaa divided the government army's strength since it was now battling al-Qaeda (on behalf of the Americans) and the Houthis (on behalf of the Saudis). Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula moved north to fight the Houthis, garnering Sunni support as it did so. Yemen is not Syria. But America's skewed comprehension of the Middle East has now produced a remarkably similar scenario: instead of the US trying to destroy both the Shia Alawite Assad regime and its Sunni Isis enemies in Syria, it now appears anxious to crush the Shia Zaidi Houthis and their Sunni al-Qaeda enemies in Yemen. The Saudis would have it no other way
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14


Post categories: Back Stories
Adam Curtis | 15:54 UK time, Friday, 8 January 2010

What I find so fascinating about the reporting of the War on Terror is the way almost all of it ignores history - as if it is a conflict happening outside time. The Yemen is a case in point. In the wake of the underpants bomber we have been deluged by a wave of terror journalism about this dark mediaeval country that harbours incomprehensible fanatics who want to destroy the west. None of it has explained that only forty years ago the British government fought a vicious secret war in the Yemen against republican revolutionaries who used terror, including bombing airliners.
But the moment you start looking into that war you find out all sorts of extraordinary things.
First that the chaos that has engulfed the Yemen today and is breeding new terrorist threats against the west is a direct result of that conflict of forty years ago.
Secondly it also had a powerful and corrupting effect on Britain itself. To fight the war both Conservative and Labour governments in the 1960s set up international arms deals with the Saudis. These involved bribery on a huge scale which led to the Al Yamamah scandal that still festers today.
To fight the war in secret the British government also allowed the creation of a private mercenary force. Out of it would come today's privatized military industry that fights wars for dictators throughout Africa and is deeply involved in fighting against the insurgency in Iraq.
The key figure behind Britain's involvement was called Colonel David Stirling. He brought Britain into the war, created the mercenary amy, and set up the Saudi Arms deal. Stirling was one of the main characters in a documentary series I made called The Mayfair Set, and a large part of the first episode tells the inside story of Britain's role in the Yemen war in the 1960s. I thought I would put up that section plus a brief background to our whole involvement in Yemen.
Here is a map of Aden in the 1960s:
[Image: 95c174d637ea47515b0508259fcbc7d46ee226d8.jpg]
And here is one of the Yemen:
[Image: d359216e60f08596a360f849f96e1db865dc2890.jpg]Aden had been a crucial part of the British Empire since 1839. In 1963 a rebellion began. A nationalist group called the National Liberation Front started an armed revolt against the British army. The NLF were followers of Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser who was the president of Egypt. Nasser was an extraordinary figure who inspired the whole of the Arab world. He wanted to unite all the Arab countries and use that power to force the western colonial powers out of the Middle East.
By the mid 60s the revolt had developed into a bitter and vicious insurgency as the NLF used terror against British civilians as well as attacking the soldiers. Here is some footage shot by the BBC Panorama programme of the aftermath of the killing of a British Civil Servant on a dusty road just outside the Crater district of Aden. As well as showing the details it also conveys the mood of a once confident imperial power caught up in something it doesn't fully understand and feeling its power slipping away.
It is also interesting how back then Panorama broadcast shots that lingered far longer on the dead body than we would be allowed to today.

As the insurgency continued both sides turned to terror. An Amnesty report in 1966 alleged that the British were torturing prisoners including beating them and burning them with cigarettes. The British soldiers were also stripping the Arab prisoners naked to humiliate them.

Here is a short piece of film that was grabbed by a Reuters cameraman in 1967. It graphically shows the hatred of the local people that had built up in the British troops.[video][/video]

The terrorists meanwhile had resorted to throwing grenades into childrens' parties and had blown up a DC3 civilian airliner over the Yemen killing everyone on board. Here is a news item where a BBC journalist shows some of the Improvised Explosive Devices that were being used against civilians.

At the same time as the insurgency began in the south, in Aden, another revolution happened in the North Yemen. A group of republicans who were also followers of President Nasser overthrew the ruling royal family. Nasser then sent Egyptian troops to support the republicans.
Many in the British government wanted to recognise the new regime, but a small group in the security services, led by David Stirling, persuaded the Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, to let them organise a covert war in the deserts and mountains of Yemen in support of the royal family.
These men had a romantic and simplified view of the world. They did not see this war as a nationalist struggle but as part of a much wider fight against a communist takeover of the world. Engaging in this global conflict would be a way of recapturing Britain's power and greatness.
Stirling also believed that selling arms and planes to the Saudis would not only help fight the war, but would also re-establish Britain's influence in the Middle East in a new way - through the arms trade.
And he was right. Although the mecenaries failed to restore the royalists in Yemen, they did help defeat Nasser and destroy his anti-colonial project. But more than that, their secret war also helped re-establish western influence in the Arab world in a new way. In a post-imperial age the British returned to the Middle East by supporting and propping up regimes through selling arms and through mercenary armies. Just as Stirling had intended.
But it had a terrible price.
The regimes that Britain, and America, would support for the next forty years were mostly corrupt and despotic. The very regimes that Nasser had told the Arab world were a part of the past which the modern world would sweep away. The man who foresaw this was the British Prime Minister - Harold MacMillan. In 1963 he wrote privately:
"It is repugnant to political equity and prudence alike that we should so often appear to be supporting out-of-date and despotic regimes and to be opposing the growth of modern and more democratic forms of government."
The Islamism that we face today rose up in the 1970s precisely as a reaction to those corrupt regimes and their western backers. It too is an anti-colonial project that is very similar to Nasser's vision of a united Arab world free of western influence - but with religion bolted on. And now, to fight it, we are preparing to send arms and "intelligence advisers" to help prop up a corrupt regime in Yemen.
To the Arabs in Yemen it must seem like deja vu. We are the old ghosts who have returned.
Here is the section from The Mayfair Set. It begins with the owner of the Clermont Club in Mayfair, John Aspinall, musing on the group of entrepreneurs and adventurers who spent their time gambling in his club. Men like David Stirling.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Oh yes, the Mayfair Set, Tiny Rowlands, Jammy Goldsmith, Stirling and others reaping in bundles of loot from the arms trade.

Not to be forgotten from that era were the so called "Savoy Mafia"; a group of arms manufacturers, intelligence officials, bankers and other interested parties who met at the Savoy suite of Alan Curtis, a close friend of Dennis Thatcher. Among their members was Maggie's cock -up of a son, Mark Thatcher. These were the men who engineered the historic Al Yamamah arms deal between the Uk and Saudi where the kickbacks were revealed to be simply enormous. Mark apparently got £12 million. The Iron Lady, apparently, several hundreds of millions - according to various sources - some who I personally interviewed back in the day.

Although I can find little about the Savoy mafia now, I do seem to remember that they also included amongst their number the pop singer Adam Faith, who died fairly young in 2002, and Cliff Richard (now Sir Cliff). But you'll find it virtually impossible to find a list of the main players, who remain faceless men. Quite likely a number of them were also members of The Parlour Club, a dining club of arms types. I have a list of the members which is part of my old Bilderberg File (but as a Mac user I can no longer access it - typical). Those who wish to get a copy merely read the instruction HERE to download and open the file for free.

Meanwhile, Adam Curtis' three part dumentary on the Mayfair Set is available to watch in full HERE
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Saudi Arabian airspace, Israel and ? Ed Jewett 1 1,673 15-06-2010, 11:42 PM
Last Post: Ed Jewett
  Reports: IAF Landed at Saudi Base, US Troops near Iran Border Magda Hassan 0 1,411 Less than 1 minute ago
Last Post:
  Civil Society Is Organizing to Maintain Costa Rica’s Status as a Nation Without Armed Forces Magda Hassan 0 1,572 Less than 1 minute ago
Last Post:
  Wikileaks exposes US proxy war in Yemen Magda Hassan 0 3,034 Less than 1 minute ago
Last Post:
  Cables claims of fraud in a BAE Saudi arms deal worth more than $80 billion. Magda Hassan 0 1,424 Less than 1 minute ago
Last Post:
  German Politicians Angered Over Saudi Tank Sale Ed Jewett 0 1,473 Less than 1 minute ago
Last Post:
  CIA using Saudi base for drone assassinations in Yemen! Peter Lemkin 0 2,436 Less than 1 minute ago
Last Post:
  "Woe Unto the Empire of Blood" [and all those who dare defy her bloody hands!] Peter Lemkin 0 2,778 Less than 1 minute ago
Last Post:
  Revealed: Britain sold nerve gas chemicals to Syria 10 months after 'civil unrest' began 0 93 Less than 1 minute ago
Last Post:
  Lawmakers worry who Saudi Arabia would kill with $1.15B arms deal Drew Phipps 0 3,357 Less than 1 minute ago
Last Post:

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)