The UN Security Council has once again shown that it is a tool in the hands of the US and its allies. On April 14, it passed a resolution presented by Arab dicators demanding not a halt to Saudi-led aggression against Yemen but the disarming of Houthi militias that are struggling for their rights. Further, the resolution put a travel ban on a number of anti-regime leaders as well as a freeze on their assets.
Wednesday April 15, 2015, 15:39 DST
The UN Security Council resolution approved yesterday by 14-0 with one abstention (Russia) is essentially a green light for more Saudi crimes against innocent Yemeni civilians. While approving the resolution that was proposed by Jordan and the sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf and imposing sanctions on a number of individuals, other UN officials have warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. Russia had initially opposed the resolution and proposed other solutions but it appears under US pressure, it abstained leaving the floor open for manipulation by Washington and its allies.
The resolution calls for travel ban on Houthi leader Abdul Malik Houthi, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son Ahmed. It also freezes their bank accounts. Further, the resolution calls for Houthis to withdraw from the capital Sana‘a and other major cities they control as well as disarm themselves. This is hardly going to occur. The Houthis have vowed to cleanse Yemeni politics of corruption and to establish a broad-based government that would accommodate all the groups in Yemen.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister Dr Javad Zarif said Tehran would use all its influence to broker a peace deal for Yemen in order to end Saudi-led air strikes against the Houthis. "We are a major force in the region and we have relations with all groups in various countries, and we are going to use that in order to bring everybody to the negotiating table, to the point that we can," Dr Zarif said today while on a visit to Portugal.
The Iranian foreign minister said efforts to bring peace to Yemen must "start with the right premise: that we need to end this bombardment and all the bloodshed, and prevent al-Qaeda from taking advantage of this nasty situation." He went on: "We have influence with a lot of groups in Yemen, not just the Houthis and the Shias."
The Saudi aggressors are backing the fugitive former president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi who is currently hiding in Saudi Arabia. Clinging to the fiction that he is still the president of Yemen when he had actually resigned in January 2015 and then fled the capital on February 21, he wants to be restored to power through Saudi guns and fire power. In order to justify their aggression, the Saudis are calling Hadi the “legitimate authority” in Yemen. The Saudis do not have legitimacy in their own country, so how can they talk about someone’s “legitimacy” in another country?
Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said that Tehran had already consulted with Turkey and Pakistan, two majority-Sunni allies of Saudi Arabia, as well as Oman, a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that has refused to join the Saudi war of aggression against dirt-poor Yemen. Pakistan and Turkey have also called for dialogue of all parties and a peaceful resolution of the conflict. A three-member delegation has been dispatched from Islamabad to Riyadh to pacify the Saudis after the Pakistani parliament refuse to allow Pakistani troops to be sent to join the Saudi aggression against Yemen.
The Pakistani delegation comprises Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif (brother of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif), Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz and Pakistani Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry. They are meeting Saudi Crown Prince Muqrin, Defence Minister Muhammad bin Salman and Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. The visit is widely seen as a damage control exercise to mollify the Saudis and other Arabian dictators after the Pakistani parliament refused to agree to a Saudi request for troops, planes and ships.
There have been other developments as well. A day earlier (April 14), Dr Zarif had outlined a four-point peace plan comprising a ceasefire, humanitarian assistance, an intra-Yemeni dialogue and the establishment of a broad-based government. Iran’s top diplomat also urged an end to what he called "an aerial bombardment against the people of Yemen", saying there were "hardly any military targets in Yemen."
The Saudi and allies aerial attacks have caused massive civilian casualties (2600 so far according to Yemeni sources), the displacement of 121,000 civilians (according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) and the massive destruction of Yemen’s infrastructure. These constitute war crimes and Saudi officials could be hauled before the International Criminal Court.
The other consequence of Saudi attacks has been the strengthening of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In fact, the Saudis appear to want to instigate a sectarian conflict, something the Yemenis may not oblige with. The US-backed Saudi attacks also give the lie to their claim that they are opposed to al Qaeda or the Takfiri terrorists operating in Syria and Iraq.
As this story was being compiled, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera streamed a news item that former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh had requested the sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf for safe passage for himself and his family out of Yemen. The news could not be independently verified but given al-Jazeera’s bias toward the oppressive monarchies, this may be deliberately planted false news in order to bolster the low morale of the rapidly dwindling forces still loyal to Hadi.