The always informative Ramzy Baroud, editor of the Palestine Chronicle, has written an inspiring article in Counterpunch about the Yemeni uprising. The Yemeni revolt has not gotten much press here in Australia, so any information about it is always welcome. While most of the mainstream media’s attention is focused on Libya, the implications of a victory for the Yemeni people would be significant for the Arab world, as well as directly impacting the position of Saudi Arabia on the Arabian peninsula.
Yemen is a strategically important country for the US military, as Baroud observes. Located at the southern portion of the Arabian plateau, it has a coastline on the Red Sea, a major waterway, and is close to Somalia, another flashpoint. There is an ongoing civil war in the country, and the demonstrators have proven resilient in the face of violent repression by the Yemeni military forces. While the long-term president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, remains in power for now, his grip is tenuous, with army units defecting from the government side.
Interestingly, Baroud documents that in terms of all the current US wars around the globe, Yemen is the fourth-most costly in terms of finance and human life, behind Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are no calls by the major capitalist powers for a no-fly zone over Yemen in support of the rebels, as far as I am aware. The Obama administration has been quietly bombing Yemen for the past several years, with repeated unmanned drone strikes against alleged al-Qaeda hideouts. These drone strikes have killed scores of civilians and further radicalised the Yemeni people against US imperialist power.
The least that the Obama administration can do is stop supporting the brutal dictatorship of Saleh by stopping the sale of arms to that regime. After all, the Yemeni military is using military hardware sold to it by the United States to prop up its power. But the United States is still talking about maintaining military-to-military relations, according to Baroud.
Yet the Yemeni people fight on, with such unparalleled courage and determination. Mass anti-regime demonstrations occur with regularity in this impoverished country. They more than deserve our support.