When escalation means escalation

Feb 4, 2024
Protests in Sana'a, Yemen following the 2024 missile strikes

In one of the world’s poorest countries, Yemen, there is a tribe called the Houthis. Emanating from that tribe to lead a larger coalition of other tribes is a group which does not want to be ruled by a Western or Saudi backed puppet government, they are called Ansar Allah, which means Supporters of god. Western media, in an effort to either simplify, or perhaps to denigrate them, have given Ansar Allah different names, they are now referred to as either Houthis or Iranian Backed Houthis, or sometimes Iranian Backed Militia, they are rarely, if ever, referred to by their correct name. There is a good reason for this; we are being spoon fed a line that this is all Iran’s doing and led along a path of escalation to include a war with Iran.

Escalation consent is sought by moving the scale a slice at a time: Ansar Allah and Hezbollah, as well as the fighters who attacked US bases in Syria and Jordan, are all known in Western media as “Iranian-backed”. When the US finally do what people such as presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, suggests should be done, and that is to invade Iraq, Syria and Iran, they are going to change the wording. Syrians will become Putin-backed rebels, and Iranian military will most likely be called Chinese-backed forces; when that happens, it won’t be hard to guess where it’s going.

Some might refer to Ansar Allah as freedom fighters, others might call them terrorists, for a while, they were officially removed from the list of terrorists in February 2021, only to be replaced on that list last month. One thing that can be agreed upon is that they fight to remove the current Yemeni government. Their fight might very well be considered a valid one: Chatham House described deep corruption in 2013 but their page has now been removed. Yemen was ranked 176 out of 180 in the Global Corruption Perception Index in 2022. And yet, it is this corrupt government which has the backing of both Saudi Arabia and the USA. This might explain why the inconvenient truth has now been removed from Chatham House’s website and does in fact, justify Ansar Allah’s cause.

UNICEF declared the Civil War in Yemen to be the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” and so it was. However, it was eased when the two nations that supported either side of the war, Iran and Saudi Arabia, were brought to the table by China and resolved their differences.

The inappropriately named United States Institute for Peace (USIP) was critical of the move stating Iran and Saudi Arabia had “chosen to give China a considerable diplomatic victory”. Notwithstanding that both countries had been suffering considerable financial costs. In the case of Iran, the devaluation of the Rial caused immense strain while the report neglected to mention the $54.6 billion Saudi Arabia had spent on US military supplies for this ongoing Civil War.

Since the deal, there has been an ongoing economic improvement in the region with forecasts to improve further in 2024, but that forecast was before October 7th, before the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, so things are very likely to change now. Ansar Allah have declared they will support Palestinians.

This escalation of war is great news for the weapons manufacturers.

Iran and Saudi Arabia getting along was good for regional trade and very good for stability but led to a loss of revenue for the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), The US recently announced that 2023 was a record year for weapons industry but in a truly horrific prediction they hope 2024 will be even better.

The Israeli offensive on the civilian population of Gaza has been directed to stop by the International Court of Justice due to a possible Genocide, but Joe Biden recently announced that the US, working with a coalition of five nations, UK, Australia, Bahrain Canada and the Netherlands, had entered the conflict by “conducting strikes” in Yemen. Which is a nicely worded way of describing the invasion of a sovereign nation in support of a possible genocide.

Biden took responsibility by opening his own press release with the words: “At my direction…” and used a UN Security Council Resolution as justification for his actions. The Resolution however, gave him no such authority. It called for respect of navigational rights, it allowed for defence of ships, it specifically called for the Yemen Coastguard to protect the sovereignty of the country and it asks for the opposite of what Biden did. It asks that further escalation be avoided.

The UN resolution calls for many things; none of them are the invasion of Yemen’s sovereign territory

It’s important to provide some perspective on what’s happened: Ansar Allah have fired missiles at ships over the last few months. Whilst there has been damage, not one of those ships has been disabled, none have been sunk and not one sailor aboard them has been injured. Almost all shipping companies have announced that they will change routes and this means there are a decreasing number of targets for the missiles.

All military tacticians know that the best conflict is the one they avoid. Re-routing ships from the Red Sea, around Africa might be a little more expensive but not one life would be lost. And any expense incurred would easily be offset by the costs of the actual response which so far, has been ongoing military strikes on a country that has no air force and no air defences to speak of. The most interesting comment on these strikes was the very last line of a CNN article which unironically state: “the new strikes come after the White House said it was trying to avoid an escalation”.

It wasn’t just 70 targets in 28 rebel-controlled sites in Yemen that were destroyed; this “escalation to avoid an escalation” also destroyed the recently gained prospects of peace, stability and economic recovery.

All this is bad for the region, bad for the global economy and bad for the world, but good for one small group of people; investors in weapons are seeing great returns. The people of Yemen, on the other hand, are seeing close up what the USAF and the RAF look like when they go to war. At least 5 people are dead with more injured and now that Ansar Allah is back on the US list of designated bad guys, there will no doubt be many more.

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