06/10/2019 by socialistfight
By Ian Donovan
The attacks on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil refinery and Khurais oilfield on 13th September were a game-changer in the resistance of Yemen’s insurgent Houthi movement to Saudi Arabia, which has been trying to wipe out their movement since it gained control of most of Northern Yemen in 2015, challenging the Saudi-dominated ‘internationally recognised’ puppet regime.
The bombardment of the Houthi population and infrastructure has been pitiless since then, producing mass malnutrition and an epidemic of cholera since 2016 that continues to this day. 27 million people are blockaded and being pulverised, millions are threatened with starvation, disease and death by terror bombing.
But the Houthis have survived. The September attacks briefly knocked out close to 50% of Saudi oil production and caused oil prices to spike, though not as much as in 2018 when Trump tore up Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. The Houthi action, which is really a simple act of self-defence against an imperialist-backed attack, has really spooked the Saudi Arabian regime and its US and Israeli backers. For the Saudi war on Yemen is part of a US/Israeli campaign of terrorisation and aggression aimed squarely at Iran.
For those with decent information, these events were not a complete surprise. They were herald in a trial run by the Houthis of their new improved drones on 17th August. This attack was effectively predicted by an article in the Moon of Alabama, a most interesting anti-war, anti-imperialist US American blog. They published the forecast that:
“Today Saudi Arabia finally lost the war on Yemen. It has no defences against the new weapons the Houthis in Yemen acquired. These weapons threaten the Saudis’ economic lifelines.” (https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/08/long-range-attack-on-saudi-oil-field-ends-war-on-yemen.html)
They went on to cite Associated Press (AP),
“Drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked a massive oil and gas field deep inside Saudi Arabia’s sprawling desert on Saturday, causing what the kingdom described as a “limited fire” in the second such recent attack on its crucial energy industry.
… The Saudi acknowledgement of the attack came hours after Yahia Sarie, a military spokesman for the Houthis, issued a video statement claiming the rebels launched 10 bomb-laden drones targeting the field in their “biggest-ever” operation. He threatened more attacks would be coming. (https://apnews.com/9edb1f71010847f2b321d1951997e797).
And as we saw on September 13th, they came. As the Moon of Alabama noted: “Today’s attack is a check mate move against the Saudis. Shaybah is some 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) from Houthi-controlled territory. There are many more important economic targets within that range.”
This is the reason for US/Israeli hysteria and attempt to deflect attention to Iran. It does appear that Iran has, entirely legitimately and correctly, allowed their Houthi allies access to more advanced drone technology than they previously had been able to develop, and that has now provided them with a crucial levelling off of the previously very one-sided war with Saudi and its US/UK/Israeli quartermasters and patrons. The Houthis have copied the Iranian designs that were provided to them and adapted them to their own purposes.
The Houthi, who are a mixed-confessional Muslim group centred on the Zaidi strand of Islam, which is close to but not identical to the 12er Shi’ite form of Islam that dominates Iran, are regarded by the US and Israel as an Iranian ally and therefore something to be crushed with the utmost brutality even if that means a near-genocide of the Yemeni population.
The US claim that the missiles ‘must have been’ fired from Iran and not Yemen is belied by what was already known and in the public domain from the August trial run. The American allegations are a classic smokescreen, both to justify possible future wars in the region – the standing threat of war against Iran by Israel and the US has been a huge threat hanging over the region, and indeed the world, ever since the Iraq War, and could even have the potential to go nuclear given the demented racist nature of the Zionist/neocon project.
This has particularly appeared to be true since the rise of Trump to power in the US, and his partnership with Netanyahu; his moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, his destruction of UNRWA, and recognition of Israeli annexation of Golan. However this may have been destabilised by Netanyahu’s failure to win the just-concluded Israeli election.
Trump is not the most stable partner for the Zionists in their war crusade; there is a right-wing populist-isolationist element in his base to which he promised not to get involved in more wars in the Middle East, and he sometime genuflects to that as well. In fact he seem to vacillate between pandering to both the neocon/Zionist element, and the isolationist/right-wing ‘anti-war’ element in ways that are quite incompatible with each other.
This was personified by his appointment, and then later sacking, of the demented arch-neocon hawk John Bolton as his National Security Adviser. He knew full well what Bolton was like when he appointed him, so sacking him appears oddly erratic.
Other elements of this instability in Trump are his deranged threats of destruction and even implicitly nuclear war, issued often on Twitter to such opponents as North Korea and Iran, and then his abrupt switches to a policy of personal talks with the likes of Kim Jong-Il, and his attempt to do the same with Rouhani. Some of this behaviour is for electoral purposes, but it really is a sign that Trump’s right-wing populist government is severely dysfunctional from the point of view of the rational interests of US imperialism.
On 30th September the Houthi claimed to have killed 500 Saudi soldiers, captured a further 2,000 and seized a convoy of military vehicles. We cannot but applaud the heroic resistance of the Yemenis to the Western and Zionist-supported Saudi genocidal war; we seek the defeat of Saudi Arabia as the transparent proxy of imperialist and Zionist domination of the Middle East.
Hands off Yemen! Defend Iran against imperialist-Zionist attack! US/UK imperialism out of the Middle East! For permanent revolution throughout the region! ▲