“The US would be foolish to cancel arms deals with Saudi Arabia. I don’t want to hurt jobs. I don’t want to lose an order like that.”
President Donald Trump issued this statement in response to the controversy surrounding the fate of Washington Post writer and senior Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The president also said that “China and Russia would be ready to swoop in and get the business”.
Later, top Turkish official and Presidential Adviser Yasin Aktay informed the world that Khashoggi’s body was dissolved in acid after being cut up inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Speaking at a press conference in Ankara last week, Aktay said that the journalist had been strangled immediately after entering the consulate and his body was dismembered “in accordance with plans made in advance“. “The reason they dismembered Khashoggi’s body was to dissolve his remains more easily. Now, we see that they did not only dismember his body, but also vaporised it,” added the senior Turkish official.
This is why we like President Trump! Sometimes, he tells the truth in a straightforward manner. Even, professional politicians don’t dare to say the facts like him. He may make a volte-face a couple of minutes later, but (occasionally) he tells the truth abruptly, giving us a sort of relief. Such an action helps us realise the base of the contemporary (imperialist) globalisation.
Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama might have justified the US’ decision to sell arms to Saudi Arabia with some ideological arguments. He might have condemned Riyadh for its alleged involvement in the murder of Khashoggi and finally highlighted the success story of the ‘great’ American foreign policy. Obama might also have skipped some high profile meetings for some days. However, the ultimate decision would remain the same. President Trump doesn’t bother about all these. For him, nothing is important than the economic interest. And Trump is not ashamed to say these clear, as those – who voted for him – believe in the same principle.
Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist. Although a section of people tries to portray him as a ‘great reformer’, he was very close to the Saudi Royal family in the past. His only mistake was to criticise Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (popularly known as MBS). Perhaps, Khashoggi failed to realise that the mighty MBS could not tolerate any opposition…. he removes the obstacles by any means necessary! That’s why the journalist relocated to the US in June 2017 and began writing for The Washington Post in September 2017. When Khashoggi visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 in order to obtain documents related to his planned marriage, a 15-member Saudi ‘killing squad’ strangled him.
Khashoggi’s murder has sparked international uproar, with the Western World condemning Riyadh for eliminating a senior media person, who had reportedly served with both Saudi Arabian Intelligence Agency and the US in Afghanistan in 1991-99. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched verbal attacks on Riyadh a couple of days after the murder, prompting Britain, Germany and France to put the West Asian nation under tremendous diplomatic pressure.
It’s surprising that the ‘civilised’ world has completely ignored the ongoing political crisis in Yemen, where neighbouring Saudi Arabia has been bombarding for the last three years. Riyadh has also created an artificial economic crisis in the second-largest Arab sovereign state in the peninsula.
West Asia’s politics is a complex one. Although crude oil determine the character of the politics in this part of the world, big powers – like the US, Russia, China, Britain and France – are also trying hard to influence the region mainly to sell arms. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia and Iran are making serious efforts to stamp their authority over the regional politics. Apart from the post-Cold War imperialist tension, West Asia has also experienced a bitter rivalry between Shi’a, Sunni and the Jews. In these cases, the importance of ‘religion’ has been very useful, historically. It is relatively easy to change the dimension of political, cultural or economic contradictions by adding religious flavour to them.
To understand the nature of the Houthi movement in Yemen, we have to study the history of the region. Saudi Arabia, like other rich and powerful nations, has always tried to influence Yemen’s ‘internal’ political and economic issues. In the 1990s, the ‘minority’ Zaidi- Shi’a community launched an Islamic religious-political-armed movement against the government (and also against the Saudis) in Yemen under the leadership of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi. Later, it became popular as the ‘Houthi movement’.
Both Riyadh and the Sunni government in Sana’a described the movement as Iran’s plot to establish a pro-Shi’a government in Yemen and also as a Holy War between the Shi’as and Sunnis. However, the Houthi rebels claimed that their movement was against racial oppression, corruption, imperialist exploitation and also against the puppet government. The movement intensified in 2004 and the Houthis captured the then Yemeni capital in 2014, prompting a Civil War between the rebels and the government backed by Saudi Arabia and the US.
Till date, thousands of innocent Yemeni people have been killed in air strikes jointly conducted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The UN and the war strategists have claimed that the number of casualties has already crossed 50,000. Thousands of people have also become homeless in Yemen in recent years. Unfortunately, the Saudis and their allies are targeting hospitals, prisons, funeral processions and wedding parties in Yemen. There is no doubt that the Saudis are using the American and British weapons and intelligence inputs while carrying out ‘operations’ against the Yemenis.
The Houthi movement
Furthermore, Yemen is experiencing a famine and around 8 million people are depending on the emergency food service. The number of famine-affected people will soon cross 50% of the country’s total population (of 29,150,632). Also, two million children are suffering from starvation and malnutrition. Food crisis didn’t trigger this famine, as it’s the outcome of an artificial economic war launched by Saudi Arabia and the ‘Sunni Arab coalition’ against Yemen. Instead of taking necessary steps to bring the skyrocketing inflation rate under control, Yemen’s ‘legitimate’ government has stopped providing salaries to government employees living in rebel-controlled areas. The purchasing power of a vast population has decreased a lot! Corruption and chaotic situation have turned the country into a factory, producing jihadists.
The global community is not at all aware of the current situation in Yemen because common Yemeni people are not heavyweight personalities, like Jamal Khashoggi. The global media, too, ignore the political developments in Yemen because the media barons are yet to receive threats to their lives (like Khashoggi). This is 21st century ‘humanity‘. So, when President Trump said that corporate America’s profits and jobs were more important for him than any murders, we got a sigh of relief! At least, someone tells the truth.
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