by Gordon Haave
I have written before of the tragedy of my beloved Kenya’s entry into the world of endless U.S. sponsored warfare. Now Senegal is about to do the same thing.
Recent news states that Senegal has pledge 2,100 soldiers as part of the Saudi led coalition against the “Houthi” rebels In Yemen. The Saudi war in Yemen is US planned and coordinated.
So what’s the issue?
Like most of the world, you probably never heard of the Houthis until recently.
The propaganda states that the Houthis are an Iranian armed and financed Shia rebel movement and that their impending victory in Yemen is part of an Iranian proxy war being waged for supremacy in the middle east.
First of all, it is not clear why that would be such a bad thing and why the U.S. or Senegal should care. After all, it is hard to argue that increased Iranian influence in the world is somehow worse than an increase Saudi influence in the world. After all, it is not the Iranians funding Wahhabism all over the world or funding the 9/11 hijackers. While Iran is not exactly a free country, women have considerably more freedom in Iran than they do in Saudi Arabia as well.
More importantly, however, the argument is largely untrue to begin with.
Here are some excerpts from a cable from the US Embassy in Sana’a from 2009 about the Houthis:
Little is clear about the Houthi leadership, aside from the fact that Abdulmalik al-Houthi is the rebel group’s current leader. Houthi field commanders do not seem to agree on key ideological and religious principles. The Houthis’ numbers range from the hundreds to the thousands, though it is difficult to determine how many of these adhere to Houthi ideology and how many are tribesmen who have joined the Houthis’ fight for other reasons.
So, for starters, it’s not even clear who the Houthis are or what they want. Let’s go on:
(S/NF) Contrary to ROYG claims that Iran is arming the Houthis, most local political analysts report that the Houthis obtain their weapons from the Yemeni black market and even from the ROYG military itself. According to a British diplomat, there are numerous credible reports that ROYG military commanders were selling weapons to the Houthis in the run-up to the Sixth War. An ICG report on the Sa’ada conflict from May 2009 quoted NSB director Ali Mohammed al-Ansi saying, “Iranians are not arming the Houthis. The weapons they use are Yemeni. Most actually come from fighters who fought against the socialists during the 1994 war and then sold them.” Mohammed Azzan, presidential advisor for Sa’ada affairs, told PolOff on August 16 that the Houthis easily obtain weapons inside Yemen, either from battlefield captures or by buying them from corrupt military commanders and soldiers. Azzan said that the military “covers up its failure” by saying the weapons come from Iran. According to Jamal Abdullah al-Shami of the Democracy School, there is little external oversight of the military’s large and increasing budget, so it is easy for members of the military to illegally sell weapons.
And there you have it. At least as of 2009 Iran was likely not arming the Houthis, and instead the Houthis were probably getting some of their arms from the corrupt Yemeni government, that was itself getting its arms from the US and it’s allies.
Now, that was 2009. How about now? Well, as the Houthis bear down on the Capital, the Huffington Post reports that Iran Warned the Houthis Against A Yemen Takeover.
Am I the only one saying this? Not quite:
Saudi Arabian film maker Safa al-Ahmad has spent a lot of time in Yemen andsaid the following recently in The Atlantic:
The one that drives me insane is the one when they say “Houthi Shia militia” or simply “Shia militia.” That line just makes me cringe, because the Houthis are first and foremost a political group. Their sect is Zaidi. And when you say “Shia militia,” it’s actually misinformative. They are traditionally part and parcel of the Shia sect, but they hold very different beliefs than, say, Shia in Iran. When you say “Shia militia,” automatically you have a connection with Iran, right? In fact, that misleads you to thinking that they have religious motivations in their control over Sanaa and their spread across Yemen. That is political. They’re very pragmatic. They have alliances and affiliations with a whole bunch of other groups that don’t believe in their core beliefs as Zaidi.
And are they fighting a proxy war for Iran?
If we’re talking about a proxy war, Saudi Arabia has played a much bigger role when it comes to Yemen than Iran ever [did]. The control, the money, the influence that Saudi Arabia has had for decades over the Yemeni government and the tribes inside Yemen do not compare at all to the impact that is alleged of Iran. Iran does have a relationship with the Houthis, but [it’s] not that strong. They can’t pick up the phone and tell the Houthis, “Go do this, go do that.” It’s not that type at all. The Houthis are very much a local group that was borne from local conflict inside Yemen. The outside regional conflict has exacerbated something that was local. But predominantly the Houthis are very much a local group with local grievances.
So now as the Houthis have captured Sana’a and are moving on Aden, what is the U.S. and its Saudi Allies doing?
The answer: Horrific things. According to the U.N.:
Also on Thursday, the U.N.’s World Food Program warned that a blockade of the country’s ports had created “a severe fuel shortage” that “is threatening the delivery of lifesaving assistance to Yemeni civilians.” It said its delivery of emergency food rations to 700,000 people in seven of Yemen’s governorates was in danger of halting completely.
In case you didn’t know: The Houthis don’t have a Navy.
So what is the point of all this? We are we complicit in worsening the situation on the ground for civilians and bombing those who are fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda?
The answer is the same as the answer to the question “Why are we just hearing about the Houthis now?”.
The answer is: The Saudi’s, Israelis, and our own neocons are desperately want war with Iran. They thought they were going to get it but were shocked when Obama announced the nuclear deal with Iran. Suddenly, (literally within 2 or 3 days) we started to hear about the Houthis and Iran’s proxy war in Yemen, which as I have already pointed out is basically a lie.
The Saudi’s have always wanted ware with Iran since 1979 and pushed Saddam into the Iran-Iraq war and helped to finance it. The Israeli’s always want the US to attack anyone they perceive as a possible threat, and the neocon’s, too, have had their eyes on war with Iran for decades. The military contractors want it, and the military itself wants it for fear that our military budget (greater than all other military budgets combined) might be cut if we can’t find another poor country to attack.
If you don’t know, however, the Iran deal is a good deal. Don’t listen to the propagandists, listen to the actual experts:
So now, back to the original title: Why is Senegal getting involved? What possible interest to the people of Senegal have in the outcome of the war in Yemen? The answer: absolutely none whatsoever.
So why are they going? Direct cash payments:
“The most obvious potential benefit of a Senegalese military engagement alongside Saudi Arabia would be in the form of closer political and economic ties between the two, and almost certainly direct cash payments from Saudi Arabia to Senegal,” says Andrew Lebovich, a security and political analyst focused on West Africa
The Government of Senegal has sold its people out for cash, and if you know anything about government in Africa, most of it will end up in the pockets of the politicians.
The people of Senegal will regret the day that they became involved in the killing of people thousands of miles away. Doing such has sucked the United States into endless war and the loss of liberties at home. Even serving US interests in neighboring countries has cost Kenya dearly. It will only end poorly for Senegal.