Profit, hypocrisy and slaughter: Britain’s role in the war on Yemen

Six months since the beginning of the Saudi Arabian-led war, Yemen faces a critical humanitarian crisis. 84% of the population, 21 million people, are in immediate need of humanitarian assistance – more than anywhere else in the world. 1.5 million people have been made refugees. Almost 5,000 people have been killed. Peter Maurer, the head of the International Red Cross, recently said ‘Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years’. Despite the fact that the onslaught is supporting forces which include Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), it is backed by the major imperialist powers, with Britain among them. This is not a surprise given the British state’s cosy and lucrative relationship with the brutal and tyrannical Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The media in Britain has been largely silent about this slaughter. Toby Harbertson reports.

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US and Saudi war on Yemen

In the face of an unstoppable economic crisis which is causing poverty and instability in the heartlands of global capitalism, the imperialist powers are bringing war and death to the Middle East and North Africa. To save their sinking ship, Britain and the US are turning to old allies like Saudi Arabia to aid in the brutality needed to control global resources and stamp on dissent. Assisting drone strikes on Yemeni villages, channelling arms to rebels in Syria and cracking down on the poor at home, Saudi Arabia is a trusted client of imperialism.

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US and Britain manoeuvre in Yemen

us_and_britain_manoeuvre_in_yemenHundreds of thousands of people continue to join protests across Yemen in opposition to President Saleh's authoritarian and corrupt government. On 15 July at least ten people were killed and many wounded in clashes between government forces and tribes people supporting protestors in Taiz. 7 civilians were killed and 30 wounded when government forces fired mortars in the several neighbourhoods in Taiz.

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Yemen

Months of protests in Yemen against the government and President Saleh have gained in strength. Many people have been killed and wounded by police, military and pro-Saleh forces, but the demonstrators have succeeding in isolating the President as leading generals and clan leaders turn against him.

Yemen has an unemployment rate of 40%, with 45% of its nearly 20 million people living on $2 a day or less. Recent months of sharp rises in food prices have magnified the poverty suffered in the country. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute, 32% of Yemenis lack access to sufficient food and around 58% of all children are malnourished. The UN ranks Yemen with the lowest Human Development Index of any Arab country. Illiteracy exceeds 50%.

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British and US imperialism take aim at Yemen

The US and Britain have declared Yemen as the next hotbed of Al Qaida activity and have prepared their military targets. Britain has now imposed a ‘no fly’ ban on the entire Yemeni civilian population. From 1839 southern Yemen was an important geo-strategic colony of the British and later a gateway to the Suez Canal. Today, with the excuse of ‘the war on terror’, Britain and the US once again seek to gain influence on the Arabian peninsula, scrambling for the chance to intervene.

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