The Najdi Bedouins, their Arabian allies and the corporate Western media project the Yemenis’ struggle as being limited to the Zaydis of the north is meant to delegitimize it. The struggle is to reclaim Yemen’s sovereignty.
In recent comments to the media, Yemen’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Khaled al-Yemany claimed that Yemen’s “rebellion” would be crushed by year’s end, putting an end to the violence the impoverished country has suffered since late-March 2015. While such bravado might be understood as a sign that the Saudi-led coalition has managed to finally erode the Resistance’s determination, one would be well advised to look at developments on the ground rather than heed pro-Saudi officials’ political ranting.
If we are to truly grasp Yemen’s reality, and thus understand what powers and dynamics have moved, shaped, and prompted the people to behave in the manner they have done, we ought to learn Yemen’s terminology. We ought to gain a true perspective in order to see and understand events from the Yemenis’ point of view and not from that of the Western powers, or Riyadh’s hegemonic desires.
Those “rebels” that the mainstream media habitually and almost contemptuously refer to as nefarious “Shi‘i dissidents” are in fact Yemen’s Resistance movement. They are Yemen’s sons and daughters. They represent Yemen’s popular legitimacy, the only legitimacy worth having if we are in fact to stand by those democratic standards the West so vociferously claims to champion.
If the Houthis have raised the banner under which Yemen has gathered, this one tribal faction’s faith has little to do with its political stand — especially if we are to consider that Zaydiism is actually particular to Northern Yemen. To put it simply, Zaydiism is an integral component of Yemen! For the media to suddenly emphasize only this characteristic is to underscore the profoundly sectarian nature of Western politics, notwithstanding Saudi Arabia’s desire to criminalize those school of thoughts that it views as a threat to its own obscurantist ideas called Wahhabism.
But Yemen’s Resistance movement does not play by Saudi Arabia’s sectarian handbook. Yemen’s Resistance cannot be reduced to an adjective, or a label since its very strength lies in its pluralism. A patchwork of political persuasions, religious currents, and tribal factions, Yemen’s Resistance quite simply resembles the very people it has vowed to protect — unapologetically, defiantly, and assertively.
And though many still might disagree with the direction the Yemenis have chosen to take, we would do well to remember that any negation of a people’s sovereignty renders democratic claims null and void.
It is interesting to note how Yemen’s desperate bid for political independence has completely failed to register in the imagination of a Western public that claims to stand by those for whom liberty rings a calling worthy of all sacrifices. It is equally revealing to witness the arrogance and sense of self-entitlement of Western regimes — in reality Saudi Arabia’s masters — that have dismissed Yemen’s Resistance movement as a temporary hiccup on the road to so-called political emancipation and maturity. This country’s impoverished people have managed by the sheer strength of their will power and determination to resist a coalition of military superpowers.
From the onset of this colonialist war launched 16 months ago, Yemen was projected as a weakling, destined to remain under the heel of wealthy heavily-armed Saudi Arabia. The Peninsula oil giant, the Arabian overlord that others have learned to obey for fear of being smitten, thought Yemen too would surrender meekly. All physical evidence also pointed in that direction: Yemen is the poorest country in the region; at least two million Yemenis work in Saudi Arabia as labourers who could be thrown out at the blink of an eye. The Najdi Bedouins respect no law, Islamic or otherwise; they operate on the basis of whim. They can be extremely cruel to the weak — consider the manner in which they behead innocent domestic maids after spurious allegations through a medieval judicial system that is a blot on the name of justice itself. Yet, they meekly surrender to the powerful and mighty (the US and Zionist Israel, for instance).
Poor Yemen would not dare to challenge the Najdi Bedouins for fear of being further impoverished. This was the thinking in Riyadh when the direct military assault was launched on Yemen in March 2015. Yemenis, however, are made of very different material: they are not the ones to bow before what they do not recognize as legitimate. Yemen never exactly learnt to submit to imperialism.
Maybe the time has come for the only free people of the Arabian Peninsula — the Yemenis — to take the war to the Najdi Bedouins. A number of Saudi soldiers and even senior officers have been killed in skirmishes with the intrepid Ansarallah fighters. On July 21, a missile was fired at a Saudi military base in Najran, Yemeni territory that was illegally occupied by the Najdi Bedouins in 1934. Perhaps the Yemenis should reclaim their territory that has been illegally occupied by the Bedouins. This may lead to the banishment of the primitive savages back to their desert dwellings in Najd and could even start the process for the liberation of the entire people of the Arabian Peninsula.
For the many political efforts officials have made in pursuit of bringing peace to Yemen — talks have been underway in Kuwait since last April without making much headway because of the ludicrous demands of the Saudi puppets — they ignore a fundamental point. The talks are not aimed at finding a just solution to the Yemeni crisis. They demand the political capitulation of the Resistance and of those principles that Ansarallah holds dear and refuses to part with: freedom, independence, and territorial integrity.
And yes, the Western corporate media and their regional mouthpieces have periodically spoken of the imminent breakthrough and tentative peace agreements, meaning that the Houthis’ Ansarallah fighters would soon be defeated, this is mere wishful thinking. Watching coverage of the likes of CNN and al-Jazeera one gets the impression as if the Houthis are alien to Yemen. This is deliberate and meant to rationalize imperialism as the latest manifestation of political salvation. Such ranting, however, remains completely divorced from Yemen’s reality.
Peace in Yemen, it must be emphasized, remains a distant dream, almost a mirage if we consider the implications of its terms — absolute surrender to Riyadh’s tutelage. This the Ansarallah fighters will never countenance. This is not to say that peace is impossible, only that its premise would have to be modified if ever there is to be hope of bringing about change. It must be borne in mind that Yemen did not ask for this war. Yemen neither threatened the Najdi Bedouin-ruled Kingdom, nor did it challenge its territorial integrity as some have deceptively alleged. Yemen is fighting against a pernicious foreign invader, hell-bent on laying waste not just state infrastructures, but also the entire population.
Despite 16 months of the most brutal military onslaught by a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia, the people of Yemen have heroically withstood their ground. True, they have paid a heavy price but freedom and independence demand no less. They have now taken the fight to Saudi Arabia, calling on the Kingdom to return territory that was once part of Yemen.
Early last month, ABNA published a news report in which it spoke of the Resistance’s campaign in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern province of Jizan. “According to Yemen’s Defense Ministry, Yemen’s Ansarullah movement and allied army units carried out the attack… in the Saudi province of Jizan,” it read.
If Jizan is portrayed today as a “Saudi province,” its history firmly anchors it within Yemen’s true territorial reach. Jizan was bought by Saudi Arabia alongside Nasir and Najran provinces. The aim was to keep Zaidiism and the promises of political independence at bay. The three provinces are also of course rich in natural resources.
If the rest of the world has yet to read the proverbial writing on the wall, the Resistance quite clearly verbalized its intentions vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia when it engaged its military on the Najdis’ home turf. The military conflict can no longer be envisioned unilaterally since Yemen has now taken the war back across the Saudi border. This would better position it to reclaim the lands that were stolen by the Najdi Bedouins.
The question that must be asked is: will Saudi Arabia survive Yemen’s wrath now that it has been challenged and the people awakened?