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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #295 - Yemen: Silence, we sell, we kill (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 6 Jun 2019 09:50:56 +0300

The war in Yemen in 2015 by Saudi Arabia and its allies against the Houthi rebellion continues to wreak havoc on the ranks of the population, with support, armaments and diplomatic coverage from Western countries. ---- It's a scandal we do not talk about enough. As confirmed by an investigation ---- Yemen has experienced popular uprisings during what is commonly called the "Arab Spring". Following the massive demonstrations and the attack on the presidential palace in June 2011, the dictatorship of Ali Saleh falters, and gives way a few months later, for a period of "transition" negotiated with his Vice President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi. The Houthis [1], marginalized, launch an offensive towards the capital, Sanaa. This will be taken by this movement in September 2014. The second stage of the Houthi offensive to southern Yemen begins, with the help of forces loyal to former President Ali Saleh, recently allied with the movement. . The rebels' takeover of the most populous part of Yemen forces Abdrabo Mansour Hadi's transitional "government" to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Sunnis against Shiites ?
Faced with this new stage of the civil war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, which supported Abdrabo Mansour, triggers with its allies [2]the military intervention called Decisive Storm. Its aim is to militarily weaken the Houthi movement and to overcome the alliance between the movement and Iran, thus reflecting Saudi Arabia's desire to become a major player in regional geopolitics. This doctrine will be put into practice by Mohamed Ben Salman, the power-hungry pretender to the Saudi throne and determined to establish his influence through a won battle against Iran. The latter is content to blow on embers inexpensively, and let the coalition get bogged down in the conflict in Yemen.

In Yemen, the Western powers (United States, Great Britain, France and Germany) supported the Saudi intervention, whether through the UN resolution giving a green light to the start of operations, via exports of weapons and ammunition, or through direct logistical assistance.
The complexity of the situation prohibits a binary reading. If the conflict in Yemen can look like a battle between two regional powers with theocratic hints, with Saudi Arabia as representative of the Sunni world and Iran as leader of the Shiite world, the reality accumulates layers of local and regional dynamics intermingled, far from being an interfaith conflict. It would be pretentious and time-consuming to detail all the contours, but let's give an example: former President Ali Saleh, himself a member of the Zaydite community, waged a merciless war against the Houthis for more than a decade, which did not prevent him to make an alliance with them during 2014, with the aim of regaining power. This alliance was broken abruptly when Ali Saleh handed over his loyalist troops to serve the coalition. He was killed in late 2017 by the Houthis, two days after this flip-flop.

Made in France
The conflict continues, and with it the number of civilian casualties continues to rise. Since the beginning of the Saudi-led coalition's intervention, no less than 19,000 bombings have in part affected non-military targets. Recent estimates point to 50,000 Yemenis killed by the fighting.

The embargo imposed by the coalition accentuates the ravages of malnutrition in the ranks of the population: to the victims of the fighting are added to those threatened by the famine, to the number of 8 million according to the UN. Not to mention that the negotiations during the talks to take charge of the humanitarian situation further aggravate the suffering of a population decimated by the spread of diseases such as cholera, causing an unprecedented health crisis in the country.

Freedom of expression "à la française"
Since the beginning of the war, the Western powers (United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany) have supported the Saudi intervention, whether through the UN resolution giving a green light at the beginning of operations, through exports of arms and ammunition, or through direct logistical assistance.

Disclose, a collective of French journalists, revealed [3]in April a note classified "confidential-defense" of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DRM). In this note, we learn that French material is involved in the bombing of civilian areas. As is the case for the 48 Caesar guns positioned around three areas on the border with Yemen.

The extract from the DRM note speaks for itself: "Population concerned by possible artillery strikes: 436,370 people" . The investigative work of the collective goes further, crossing the maps indicated in the DRM note with "the data of the NGO Acled concerning civilian deaths by artillery fire with their geolocation, or not, in areas Caesar cannon fire. Result: between March 2016 and December 2018, 35 civilians died during 52 bombings located in the field of action of these guns.

Caesar guns sold to the Saudi army are manufactured by Nexter, a French state-owned armaments company.
The list does not stop there. While Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, repeats in loop and without blinking that "the terrestrial equipments sold to Saudi Arabia are used not for offensive purposes but for defensive purposes" , one of the charts of the note shows that Leclerc tanks participate in the offensives conducted by the Emiratis, with the following precision of the DRM "[The tanks Leclerc]would use only French ammunition" type "shells arrows".

Following these revelations, the reaction of the French power is to use the judicial system to condemn the authors of this leak, with as a first step the opening of a preliminary investigation entrusted to the antiterrorist prosecution (!), And the convocation of journalists of the collective by the DGSI in May. The French government can shed tears, and look for the culprits for a fire, but when it comes to money, human lives matter little. It is up to us to show our internationalist solidarity with the Yemeni people, and to maintain the pressure on the French State by supporting the investigative work of these journalists, so that the cynicism of the warring parties ceases.

Marouane (AL Paris North East)

[1] The Houthi rebellion comes from the Zaydi community (Shiite minority) located in the north of the country with a stronghold.

[2] A coalition of ten Arab and Sunni countries (United Arab Emirates), Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Morocco, etc.

[3] All quotations are available in full on the website of Made in France to Disclose .

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