April 1, 2015

Vijay Prashad On Saudi Arabia's Operation Light Drizzle In Yemen

An excerpt from, "The Sultans of Arabia intervene in Yemen's domestic conflict" al-Araby, April 1, 2015:
Threatened by the Arab Spring’s promise, the Saudi regime fought back in its Peninsula, across North Africa and in West Asia to snuff out republican tendencies. Bahrain’s uprising was crushed without much adverse comment in the Arab world, or indeed in the West. In Syria, the Saudi backed Islamic Front has done its utmost to smother any independent democratic sensibility in the rebellion.

Matters took longer to handle in Egypt and Libya, where the Muslim Brotherhood posed a problem. Egypt’s General Sisi welcomed Saudi money in exchange for closing down any substantial ideological challenge to autocracy in the region. Libya continues to be a battlefield of these sensibilities, with General Khalifa Haftar carrying the Saudi order mantle.

The current Saudi intervention in Yemen should be seen in light of this regional geo-political thrust. On March 25, Saudi Arabia launched Operation Decisive Storm. It sent its bombers to pummel targets in Yemen. The assault was immediately backed by the United States, and by various Arab states (including all the Gulf Arab countries except Oman). It was not a surprise. Saudi troops had amassed on the border, and Saudi bombers had threatened Yemeni airspace already. Such adventures are not alien to the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen as recently as 2009, to deal with the very social forces that it has gone after this time.