New Saudi op in Yemen to cause more ‘chaos, violence and genocide’
After almost a month of relentless air strikes, Saudi Arabia says it's wrapped up its bombing campaign in Yemen. Commanders hailed Operation Decisive Storm a victory, saying they've achieved their goals. However, they have declared a new Operation Restoring Hope. Riyadh says it will be aimed at protecting civilians and fighting terrorists.
RT:The Saudis say Operation Decisive Storm is over. Does that mean some respite for Yemen?
Lawrence Freeman: I don’t think so. We’ve got a very dangerous development which of course is the US is sending the USS [Theodore] Roosevelt aircraft carrier into the region. There are about nine or 10 ships in the area and this is allegedly to stop Iranian ships from bringing arms to the Houthis, which is unsubstantiated. We now have another flashpoint in the very narrow area of the world, narrow straits for a confrontation with Iran. This could expand into other countries as well.
We also have the deployment by the Saudis of the National Guard which is deployed by the monarchy itself which is supposed to be its best troops; there’s a discussion that Egypt may be sending troops.
The Saudis have destroyed the country, committed genocide with the support of President Obama, even though the Saudis have been investigated for involvement in the 9/11, 2001 attacks in the US. They were going to another phase which can be very ugly and disruptive to the entire region.
RT:Saudi Arabia says the new operation will include military action. How, then, will it differ from the campaign they've just wrapped up?
LF: It appears on the surface that the bombing campaign which is indiscriminant bombing of infrastructure and civilians has ended, maybe due to public pressure. And now it looks like there’s a ground troop invasion.
RT:So you think that “boots on the ground” is going to be the next stage, don’t you?
LF: That’s what it appears at the moment. The king has given his approval to the National Guard to be deployed. And there has been a discussion of other countries deploying their forces as well. The idea that this is somehow going to bring back Yemen, that this is going to make the world safer, is total rubbish. The Saudis are going for major dominance, geopolitical control of the area; they coordinate the policies with the British geopolitical group, and are being supported by President Obama.
RT:Saudi Command also says it won't hesitate in switching back to Operation Decisive Storm should the need arise. What exactly could push Riyadh towards that?
LF: Don’t forget [that] you’re dealing with a backward kingdom, and that the policy continues to be genocide, just like the policy in 2011 against Libya, that we’re seeing today with people dying off the coast of Libya trying to cross the Mediterranean.
RT:So do you think both operations are about causing chaos and violence in Yemen?
LF: Yes, naturally - chaos, violence, and genocide…basically wiping out people, slaughtering people. [They are] reducing the world population in this region of the world without any regard for life. And this is the British and the Saudi policy, and this is a policy unfortunately of President Obama.
Operation Decisive Storm success - Saudis’ fantasy for gullible people
International Law Professor at Georgetown University Daoud Khairallah said the end of the first military operation in Yemen could be a statement of recognition by Saudi Arabia of its “total failure”.
RT:So what are we looking at here? The start of a political solution or a prelude to a ground operation? Rumors are swirling and depending on who you listen to it seems either could happen.
Daoud Khairallah: It might be a little bit of the first - a political solution. Although the declaration made by the Saudi spokesman that the operation has achieved its goal is a fantasy that I doubt he believes. But it is a fantasy that they are making for gullible uninformed people to believe in. The reality is, it could be a statement, if translated, it could be a statement of recognition of total failure of this operation. This failure would definitely lead to some way out of it. And what they are saying: “it’s not a ceasefire but we will change [the operation].” It is very doubtful that they will initiate a ground attack. The Saudis wouldn’t do this because they know what the consequences will be - they will be defeated. But they might from time to time hit certain targets to go from there to some kind of settlement.
RT:If Saudi Arabia does launch a ground operation, will Iran get involved on the side of the Houthis do you think? Is there a risk a wider regional conflict will out of this?
DK: I doubt very much that Iran would participate militarily like the Saudis and their allies in this adventure. But I think that Iranians would probably help in every way politically and probably provide some weapons if they can, and I think there are means to do that to the Houthis. But fighting for them... I doubt it. Nor do the Yemeni people need it. It is not the Houthis only - it is the Houthis, it is the supporters of Ali Abdullah Saleh who was the protégé of Saudi Arabia and was fighting the Houthis, it is the Yemeni army- all of them. There is a certain uprising in Yemen, and [it] has expanded after the attacks... Those who lost loves ones, who lost property, who saw their country being destroyed by the Saudis will be against the Saudis, against the coalition, against this attack that is not justified legally, or morally.
RT:Saudi officials say that the goals of the previous operation have been achieved. Is that accurate? What is the situation for the Houthis now?
DK: This is what I call a fantasy that they don’t believe. They had declared [as goals] the bringing back to power of Mr. Hadi and his government - this was not achieved. They said they would get rid of the Houthis…[who] are Yemenis ... All the maneuvers, all whether verbal or material maneuvers didn’t lead to any of the initially declared objectives; and I doubt very much that they will be able to achieve any after the barbarian attack.
RT:The US has sent its military ships to Yemen. What are they there for do you think, and what would be a successful outcome for the US?
DK: The US is not very comfortable with this adventure from the beginning. But they felt that the Saudis are alive and they are insisting on showing a certain physical military, powerful presence in the area. They went along with that: they provided some logistical information and support; they have now moved some military ships into the area and they said that it is to guarantee the freedom of navigation in the bombardment area. But I doubt very much that the US would be involved. Knowing what they know about the impossibility of achieving the objective declared by the Saudi Arabia.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.