The Saudi-led war on Yemen is not a proxy war at all. It is flat out aggression that doesn’t comfort with international law.
Such assertions are unfounded that the current conflict is between the Saudis and “Iran-backed rebels”. Despite Saudi/Western claims, there is no evidence of Iranian involvement beyond political support. They are simply playing the Sunni card to oppose Iran’s growing influence across the Middle East.
Here’s a look at some key points about the new conflict:
1. Under the fundamental rule of international law, Saudi Arabia and its regional cronies have no right to attack Yemen. They have no authorization from the UN Security Council and they are not acting in genuine self-defense. They offer no explanation for why their aggression would comport with international law. Without UN mandate, they have no right to act as unilateral cop or in alliance with others to strike Yemen.
2. It is wrong to assume that the airstrikes, supported by the US government, are peripheral. They are central to the balance of power within the Arab world, to tensions within the region, and are at the core of fears in the global oil market.
3. The unjustified war has antagonized the people. The bombings have resulted in a large number of civilian casualties, spurring widespread anger in targeted cities, even among those opposed to Ansarullah movement, that has now wrested control of much of the country from former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi as a result of a revolution that had many ups and downs in the last two years due to the Saudi meddling and pressures.
4. The campaign will fail to put back Hadi in his presidential palace. That’s the nature of any illegal war. Calling it anything resembling a proxy war is silly, since the Saudis aren’t acting by proxy. Their pledge to back a president elected under dubious circumstances is silly too.
5. Saudi officials are desperate to downplay the scope of the war, saying they don’t intend to occupy Yemen, but rather to just weaken Ansarullah in the hopes that Hadi, who resigned in January, will take over again. That seems unlikely. The more likely immediate impact of the war will be emboldening extremist and terrorist forces in the country and beyond.
6. Hadi cannot be put back in his presidential palace. Such a failure will be embarrassing for Riyadh and its duped allies. For General Sisi, the war will fail to present an opportunity to reassert so-called Egyptian leadership across the Middle East.
In effect, the Saudi-led warplanes are bombing the civilian infrastructure with little – or better to say no – care for civilian life on the ground. They seek to salvage the US imperial policy by turning Yemen into a failed state; reinventing language to call this proxy war; preparing for ground invasion; and bombing the country into submission.
It’s all the reason why the UN Security Council should intervene and use the leverage it has to stop this madness. This kind of aggression and barbarity is condemnable. The international community should hang its head in shame to say otherwise. Whatever happened to Chapter VII: Action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression?