- by Casey Davidson
- The Guardian
- Issue #1950
The new Biden administration announced it will end US support for offensive operations in Yemen, following a six-year war which has claimed the lives of over 200,000 innocent Yemenis and led to the starvation of over ten million more. In arguably the worst humanitarian crisis today, the US, and its Anglo-American allies, including Australia, have backed Saudi Arabia to gain strategic control over the region, against the wishes of the majority of Yemeni people. As Australia continues to march lockstep with US interests, it is provided with an opportunity to also remove troops from the Middle East and stop supporting this genocide.
In 2014, the US framed the invasion of Yemen to be for the purposes of defeating Iranian-backed rebels who were fighting against the Yemeni government, however the reality is that these so-called “rebels” are made up of Yemeni soldiers, known as Ansarullah, or the Houthis, fighting to protect their country’s people from exploitation from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Global North.
Yemen has a long history of defending its country from imperialism, with South Yemen also being a Marxist-Leninist state before the fall of the Soviet Union. Although Yemen has suffered terribly in the recent war, the Ansarullah are winning, and are so popular, that the Yemeni state and army shifted to the side of the revolution.
Despite this, Australia is complicit in its support for the Saudis and Emirates imperialist war of aggression, supporting the mass starvation of a population due to crippling and unconscionable sanctions. In 2017, it was reported that the Royal Australian Navy trained Saudi soldiers not far from a location enforcing a naval blockade of Yemen. In 2018, it was discovered that Australian military contractors were training National Security Forces in the UAE.
Spokesperson for the Yemen Solidarity Council, Jay Tharappel, explained that the UAE “alongside Saudi Arabia, were attempting to partition the country so that the north is ruled by a pro Saudi dictator, while the south becomes a protectorate of the UAE.”
Regardless of all this, Ansarullah has prevailed, and in April 2019, the US Congress voted to end US support for the war. In what Tharappel describes as “perhaps the single most evil act of his administration,” Donald Trump vetoed the US Congress’ decision.
The Biden administration, other governments, the UN, and aid organisations all agreed that the sanctions imposed on Yemen would further complicate food deliveries amidst the famine. In response, Ansurallah leader Mohammed Ali al-Houthi tweeted “America is the source of terrorism. It’s directly involved in killing and starving the Yemeni people.”
Now with the inauguration of President Joe Biden, this ruling has again been overturned, with a commitment to end all US support for the war in Yemen, including arms sales. “This war has to end,” Biden said.
This brings an important question to the table here in Australia. Last year, the Brereton report was released, which included allegations of horrific war crimes by Australian Defence Force (ADF) soldiers in Afghanistan. Australian troops are on the ground in the UAE right now, and were training their soldiers who were attacking Yemen. With the new policy in the US with regards to Yemen coming into place, an opportunity presents itself to bring ADF soldiers home and for Australia to stop assisting in inhumane and needless attacks on people who are fighting for sovereignty.