'Saudis don’t care about international law’
RT:Russia's Foreign Ministry has been calling for the conflicting sides to start negotiating. Is peace possible anytime soon?
Catherine Shakdam: I don’t think so and for the main reason that Saudis don’t want to stop. As far as international law is concerned they have proven already that they don’t care, and that they are willing to go as far as they want to go. And to do that they are willing to call on a broad Arab coalition regardless of international law or international regulations.
RT:Do you think al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula could use the Saudi intervention to join efforts with Islamic State in Yemen?
CS: Absolutely. We know already for a fact that al-Qaeda has always strived on chaos and a power vacuum. And this is what we are seeing unfolding in Yemen essentially. And the other point I would like to make is that a lot of members of the Al-Islah party which have now aligned themselves with Hadi actually have among their members and their subgroups people such as members of the Muslim Brotherhood and well-known terrorists. I mean just to name one person, Sheikh [Abdul Majeed] al-Zindani, who is actually…on America’s Terror list, he is a wanted man and he is a member of Al-Islah. He is the type of person fighting with Hadi right now.
RT:President Obama declared less than a year ago that the campaign against al-Qaeda in Yemen was a success. Are his words coming back to haunt him? What do you think the end game is?
CS: It’s oil. Let’s talk about what it is for real. The Saudis have claimed that they want to make democracy. Not really. And after they have claimed that they want to restore President Hadi’s legitimacy who actually quit so there is no real legitimacy. And looking at where they are actually bombing Yemen, they are trying to obliterate Yemen’s military and they are trying to gain control of Bab-el-Mandeb which is the real fight of this war. They are trying to control the oil route because they understand that actually the Houthis gained control of Yemen - and because the Houthis are friendly with Iran - the Saudis will have a very big problem especially now they are looking at a possible alliance between the US and Iran over the nuclear issue. The Saudis are starting to lose their relevance in the region while Iran is rising as a super power and therefore they have to move. It’s the matter of survival.
RT:Have the Saudis and Washington chosen the wrong enemy to fight in Yemen?
CS: Definitely. I just find it very strange that the Saudis haven’t learnt from history. In 1972 they sent thousands of their fighters to Yemen, very few returned. And to think that they could take on Yemen on the ground is completely ludicrous. And another thing, for them to be able to not just defeat them but limit their advance they had to send ten countries. We are talking about a ten-country coalition here to fight one militia. The real question is: can they really take on the Houthis?
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