Showing posts with label Yemen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yemen. Show all posts

December 8, 2016

UK's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson comments anger the rulers of Saudi Arabia, forcing Downing Street to distance itself from his views

    Thursday, December 08, 2016   No comments

When the British government is forced to choose between factual truth and political imperatives, it chose politics

The UK's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson stated a fact almost universally known by now. He pointed out that Saudi Arabia is fomenting sectarian war in the region. Saudi officials were angered by the comments and Saudi media accused British media of having an Iranian bias when reporting his comments.
Saudi rulers’ unhappiness with UK media is not specific to this particular instance. They are threatened by the rise in news stories portraying the Saudi military campaign in Yemen in a negative light. BBC had several programs that put the blame for the horrific conditions of children in Yemen on Saudi Arabia. Moreover, UK media in general is highlighting the hypocrisy of UK government, which criticizes Saudi War in Yemen, but keeps selling weapons that enable the rulers of the kingdom to conduct its destructive war in Yemen.
In its attempt to manage this crisis, especially that UK premiere was a guest during the GCC summit in Bahrain, Downing Street was forced to release a statement distancing itself from Johnson’s views.
Johnson’s comment is just one in many negative statements made by Western leaders, in the last two years, accusing Saudi Arabia of spreading an extremist interpretation of Islam

and supporting terrorist groups around the world. Outgoing U.S. president, Barack Obama made the case against Saudi Arabia in a 90-page long article summarizing his views in The Atlantic. Last summer, German intelligence officials also accused Saudi Arabia of building Islamic centers in the West that promote Wahhabism. The incoming U.S. administration will likely take a harsh stance against Saudi Arabian leaders as well.
In short the Saudi rulers must reform their political and religious institutions to be able to live in peace with their neighbors or risk crippling isolation.

June 9, 2016

Will hubris bring the end of the Saudi regime?

    Thursday, June 09, 2016   No comments
by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

Saudi Arabia’s bizarre behavior was on display, again, during the last two weeks. The recent actions reveal how Saudi Arabia’ rulers leverage the kingdom’s oil-generated wealth, Wahhabism, and religious sites and institutions to exert unmatched control in world politics--unmatched even by the superpowers of today.
Here is the chain of events.
On Thursday, June 2, the United Nations released its blacklist of states and armed groups that violate children's rights during conflict. In it, Saudi Arabia--and its coalition partners but mainly Saudi Arabia--was found responsible for “killing and maiming children in Yemen.” The report concluded that the coalition led by Saudi Arabia “was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries last year, killing 510 and wounding 667… The coalition carried out half the attacks on schools and hospitals.”

April 13, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s attempt to create a Sunni-Shia sectarian war hinges on fragile alliances and a retrograde worldview

    Monday, April 13, 2015   No comments

What is happening in Yemen and why?

In the post-Arab Spring Middle East, the rulers of Saudi Arabia see no place for neutrality. Their default position has become that declared by President Bush after 9/11: You are either with us or against us. Even the winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, Tawakkol Karman, who is also a leading figure in Yemen’s Islah party, flew to Riyadh to join Abd Rabuh Hadi and bless the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Yemen, which killed thus far over 1000 people, including children and women. Indeed, neutrality is not an option when it comes to loss of life, but those who are inviting a foreign country to bomb their own people are siding with aggression.

March 1, 2015

The rulers of the Gulf States are bent on destroying countries that refuse or escape their influence

    Sunday, March 01, 2015   No comments
Saudi Arabia and Yemen
by Ahmed Souaiaia

During the early days of the so-called Arab Spring, nervous for their own continued rule, the rulers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), led by the King of Saudi Arabia, proposed the expansion of the GCC to include Jordan and Morocco—but not Yemen. Yemen shares borders with two GCC member states yet it was excluded from this club of rich Arab countries. Yemen is not a good candidate because, despite poverty and political corruption, its people actually have a genuine desire to move towards representative governance. That is a non-starter for the Guff States. They prefer countries with similar governing tradition: exclusive family or clan rule and no prospects for democratic rule. That is why Jordan and Morocco were good candidates but not Yemen.

June 5, 2012

What is behind Saudi Arabia’s uncharacteristic aggressiveness?

    Tuesday, June 05, 2012   No comments

Until before Cablegate, when in February 2010 WikiLeaks began releasing classified U.S. cables, Saudi Arabia was known for its quiet diplomacy. Then its secret dealings were revealed and exposed its actual dealings. Regionally, released documents exposed Saudi Arabia as an enthusiastic proponent of military intervention in Iran. Privately, the Saudi rulers told U.S. officials that Iran is the biggest threat. Publicly, they emphasized Saudi Arabia’s commitment to a diplomatic, peaceful solution to the Iranian problem. In other words, the Saudi rulers conducted a two-tract, contradictory policy. The leaks deprived them of the cover of diplomatic secrecy. 

Together, WikiLeaks and the Arab Awakening highlighted Saudi Arabia’s reliance on authoritarian rulers and extremist Salafis to exert influence around the world. The Arab Spring threatened authoritarian rulers and extremist Salafis. Access to information and public participation in selecting leaders became a threat to Saudi religious and political paradigms and for those reasons they are now fully prepared to pursue an aggressive foreign policy publicly. In other words, Saudi aggressive meddling in the affairs of its neighbors is not new, it is simply overt nowadays.

In the short run, the Saudis will be able to exert limited influence in the region, mainly through their ability to create instability using violent, fanatic elements. In the long run, the Saudi money that is supporting Salafi political parties in Tunisia and Egypt and their open military support of Salafi armed groups in Syria will not succeed in preserving their governing paradigm. First, because it is ideologically flawed and socially unjust. Second, if the Salafis become willing and successful participating members in the democratic processes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria and other Awakened Arab countries, they would want to have the same rights in Saudi Arabia itself. Thirdly, the Saudis’ enthusiastic support of the uprising in Syria cannot and will not absolve them of the long record of supporting authoritarians such as Mubarak and Ben Ali, who is still living under their protection. In the end, only genuine political and religious reform can save the kingdom from radical, and perhaps violent changes.


April 14, 2012

What caused the Syrian and Yemini uprisings to falter?

    Saturday, April 14, 2012   No comments

Syria: From peaceful uprising to armed rebellion
By all accounts, the success of the uprisings against the old guard in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya was not matched in Yemen and Syria. The failure of the Yemeni and Syrian uprisings to achieve their goals can be explained by the post-revolutions’ events in the Arab Awakening countries and the Gulf States’ meddling therein.

After nearly a year of hard struggle against the authoritarian regimes in the first three Arab Awakening countries, the youth of the revolution were overlooked in the elections due to the efficiency of the political machine of religious parties. In all three countries, Islamists, moderate and otherwise, reaped the fruits of uprisings initiated and realized by apolitical youth who were less interested in ideology and more driven by their yearning for dignity and respect.

But when the dust settled, religious and nationalist groups were able to mobilize their followers and gain control of elected bodies. This trend sent a shock of despair among the youth in Syria and Yemen. They became uninterested in sweating and bleeding for a cause that will be hijacked by Muslim brothers, salafis, and tahriris.

The second factor that contributed to the starving of the uprisings in Syria is the uncharacteristic “support” from the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Syrian youth were not interested in having their fight for dignity sponsored and bankrolled by regimes that have no culture of social justice, shared governance, and respect for human dignity. For many Syrians, it is bizarre that the Saudi family could offer the former dictator of Tunisia protection while calling for Assad’s removal from office. It is inexplicable that the same regime that hospitalized and supported the dictator of Yemen and called for a peaceful, political solution to the crisis there was willing to arm and finance the rebels in Syria. It is disturbing that the same regime that sent military tanks and troops to crush a peaceful uprising in Bahrain wants the UNSC and the Arab League to send troops into Syria. 

Simply put, the Syrian youth who struggled for political rights were not persuaded by the crocodile tears of the ruling families in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Perhaps, when those rulers recognize the human rights of immigrants, respect the dignity of women, and end sectarian and ethnic discrimination in their countries, then, and only then, can they side with the Syrian people and speak on their behalf.

Considering the Saudi involvement in the Syrian crisis, it would seem as if the Saudis gambled on a win-win situation: the removal of Assad whom they despised for many reasons or the derailing of the Arab Awakening. They may have gotten the latter; while depriving the Arab peoples of a chance to transform their world for the better.


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