"There are three signs of a hypocrite. When he speaks, he lies. When he makes a promise, he breaks it. And when he is trusted, he betrays his trust."Holy Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH).
We just saw a major political and military shift take place this week in the Mideast. It was not in Syria, Lebanon, or Israel -- but Yemen, a poor country of 26 million people and some say with 35 million guns, which were historically used in tribal and personal disputes, and then civil wars in that order.
Over the weekend, we are told the Houthi revolutionaries are such a threat to all the countries in the Arab League that they have triggered the formation of a coalition to reinstall deposed Yemeni president Hadi.
The Saudis began bombing Houthi positions in what we are told is the beginning of the restoring security to the country. But if you think the goal is to pursue a negotiated political settlement, think again. At the Arab conference on Saturday, Hadi called for the intervention to end only when the Houthis have surrendered.
He must know how much death the destruction that would cause, and does not care. Before he arrived at the summit he announced he would be seeking a Marshall-type plan for his country, so it seems he is planning to destroy it…so he can rebuild it. Maybe that is why so many want him gone.
Meanwhile, UN chief Ban Ki-moon made his usual Arab League conference remarks to encourage a peaceful resolution of the Yemen conflict, but many did not seem interested in that. Surprisingly, the Secretary General then savaged the Arab League attendees for doing nothing to stop the five-year-long slaughter going on in a fellow Arab country, Syria.
We know the Arab League has not stood by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, even while several [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council members have financed the destruction of Syria with now five million refugees. With the US help, they have paved the way for introducing terrorist operations into Syria with brigade-sized units. So are we to believe their sincere motives? Let’s take a closer look.
The ex-General and new president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, is promoting his army as the cornerstone of this Arab NATO. Yes, he has had problems with militants in the Sinai, but they do not represent a strategic threat to Egypt.
On the contrary, after cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood by banning it and imprisoning most of its leaders, old-time Intel hands feel Sisi has not done the same with the Sinai militants, as they are worth more to him with their continued guerrilla attacks, by blooding his army and keeping the public “security conscious”.
Many Americans feel that one of the goals of 9/11 for the real perpetrators who did it was to pave the way for the Patriot Act and kick off the ‘War on Terror’, which has drenched several countries in blood and destruction and buried the American people in a red ink ocean of debt.
So Sisi tells the Arab League gathering that militants are a danger to its existence -- this is pretty strong language. Egypt has already launched some airstrikes in Libya to blunt the offensive of the militants there who were intent on seizing as much of the country's wealth and key infrastructure prior to any political negotiations.
But Sisi did not offer the elected Libyan government this assistance much earlier in the game, when it could have prevented getting into the terrible state that it is now. Was that by design by Sisi, again to watch the crisis develop and to then take advantage of it?
He had sought the UN backing for intervention in Libya, but no attempt was made in the Yemen situation. And when the Assad government did not fall as expected, and the Saudis and Qataris launched their terror attacks on northern Syria to gain physical control over gas and oil pipeline routes to Europe, we did not hear any calls for an Arab League intervention to save Syria.
On the contrary, with Egypt’s economy in a coma, the Saudis and Qataris have kept it afloat as Egypt’s sugar daddies and de facto co-owners of the country now. So no, we did not hear much from Sisi about Takfiri terror when he approved using them against the Syrian people. The entire Arab League did not. Money speaks louder that Arab blood or even being fellow Muslims, it seems. We have a wonderful American term to describe this maneuver: “hypocrisy on steroids”.
But let’s take a closer look at the history of the Yemen conflict. It was once a fertile country in ancient times, known in Latin as “Arabia Felix”, the happy or fortunate country. In modern times, it has swapped European colonialism for the Arab version. North Yemen became a Republic in 1970, with its civil war between the royalists and the rebel republicans of the time.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt were intimately involved in Yemen back then, with Saudi Arabia not surprisingly supporting the royalists, and Egypt the republicans, via former president Gamal Abdel Nasser who had overthrown the monarchy there. Now Egypt has joined the side of its banker, despite the threat of the Saudis and their Wahhabi extremists being a major exporter of terror whenever it suits them.
We saw the usual economic-based internal disputes after North and South Yemen united in 1990. This resulted in another civil war, which ended in semi-autonomy for the northern tribal areas and the old hostilities continuing to simmer beneath the surface.
There is also the case of religious make-up in Yemen, but tribal ties trump that ten times over, as do economic issues, since the coastal Yemeni tribes were not prone to sharing the commercial trade of the country. The Saudis backed former president Saleh in the south, as containment of the Houthi tribes in the north.
So I will close now with the old adage that things are often not as they appear, and sadly you have to dig down deep to know what is really going on and why, and overcome the many dead ends and diversions to confuse your path.
But color me suspicious. I think that if the Saudis wanted to, they would have intervened with the Houthis before president Hadi was deposed and thereby avoided the bigger challenge of now having to retake the country if they refuse a political settlement. And yes, I think they let Hadi be deposed…to use him for the staging what they and others needed to kick off; their planned Arab NATO force.
A bombing campaign is one thing, but if the new Arab NATO goes into Yemen with its 26 million people and 35 million guns, a lot of them will never be returning home.
I fear for innocent lives as people will die along the way. And I don’t think the Arab League is going to care very much, as long as it gets what it wants. A negotiated political settlement is the wiser path.