Yemeni popular resistance eliminates three pro-Saudi military brigades
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 02.10.2019, www.thecommunists.net
1. The corrupt capitalist monarchy of Saudi Arabia has suffered another humiliating blow. A few weeks after a major air strike resulted in huge destructions of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, the Houthi movement (officially called Ansar Allah) published reports about a devastating attack against pro-Saudi forces. According to Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree, they had defeated three enemy military brigades in a three-day large-scale operation in late August. More than 200 pro-Saudi fighters were killed and over 2,000 were taken prisoner. Among the prisoners are also Saudi soldiers. (The Houthis’ Al-Masirah TV showed a video clip of the attack: https://youtu.be/Goj3poVXKvo) A Yemeni government source confirmed that some 200 soldiers were killed in an attack in late August, but that “only” about 1,300 fighters were still being held, including 280 who were wounded. The operation was conducted close to the border to Saudi Arabia and, according to the Houthis, partly even in the Saudi province of Najran.
2. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) strongly welcomes this success of the Yemeni popular resistance! We have consistently warned that the Saudi monarchy is waging an arch-reactionary war of aggression against the Yemeni people. Contrary to many pseudo-socialists who denounce the Yemeni civil war as reactionary on all sides, we have unconditionally supported the Yemeni resistance from the beginning of the war in March 2015.
3. It has to be pointed out that the Saudi-led invasion has received massive support from Western Great Powers – in particular U.S. imperialism. Saudi Arabia became the world's largest arms importer from 2014 to 2018. According to SIPRI, 88% of all arms sold to the country came from the U.S.! However, despite their overwhelming military superiority the tyrants in Riyadh have been incapable of defeating the Houthis! The main reason for this is that the Houthis are leading a legitimate national liberation war which has broad popular support.
4. Our support for the military struggle of the Yemeni resistance against the Saudi-led alliance doesn't mean support for the political leadership of the Houthis. Quite the opposite: we strongly reject the petty-bourgeois nationalist-Islamist agenda of the Houthi leadership. Likewise, we strongly denounce their support for the reactionary Mullah regime in Iran which is waging a brutal war of annihilation against the Syrian people. However, together with our comrades in the RCIT in Yemen we stress that it is the duty of democrats, anti-imperialists, and socialists in Yemen and the Arab world, as well as internationally, to support the Yemeni people’s struggle for national independence.
5. The latest blow intensifies the crisis of the richest state in the Middle East which is also the most important Arab ally of US imperialism. It is evident that the Saudi tyrants are faltering. Significantly, they have now asked the hostile Iranian regime, via mediators like Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, for negotiations in order “to defuse tensions”. As we have noted somewhere else, it is not accidental that the most important gang leaders of the Western counterrevolution – Trump, Johnson, Netanyahu and Sisi – are currently also in deep trouble. These developments reflect the crisis of the imperialist world order and the upswing of the class struggle.
6. We point out that it is a shameful fact that numerous self-proclaimed socialist organizations have denounced the legitimate resistance of the Yemeni people as “reactionary”. They have refused to support this struggle as they have refused to continue supporting the legitimate popular struggles in other sectors of the Great Arab Revolution (e.g. Syria, Libya). They wrongly identify the character of these liberation struggles with the specific ideology of their petty-bourgeois (usually Islamist) leaderships. This is a profoundly mistaken method which would have make it impossible for revolutionaries to fulfill their internationalist duty in defending the USSR (with the totalitarian Stalinist dictatorship) against the imperialist Great Powers, Argentina (with a right-wing dictatorship) against Britain in 1982, Afghanistan (with the Taliban) against U.S. imperialism in 2001, or Iraq (with the bourgeois nationalist dictatorship of Saddam Hussein) against Western imperialism in 1991 and 2003.
7. The latest defeats for the Saudi tyrants are another manifestation of the new wave of the Second Arab Revolution. The events in Algeria, Sudan and, most recently, in Egypt and Iraq show that the popular struggles against dictatorships are gaining momentum again. It is important to show international solidarity with the struggle of the Yemeni people as well as all other Arab people. Revolutionaries must support these struggles and advocate uniting them into a single Intifada of the entire Middle East – from Algiers, Khartoum, Idlib, Tripoli, Sanaʽa, Gaza, Cairo to Teheran! Most importantly, they should work together in building revolutionary parties – in combination with building a Revolutionary World Party! We urge activists to unite on the basis of a program of socialist liberation and solidarity with the struggles of workers and oppressed in other countries. Join the RCIT in tackling this great task!
* * * * *
The RCIT has published a number of statements and articles on the civil war in Yemen which can be read on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/
In particular we refer readers to:
After the Death of Saleh: Continue the Defense of Yemen against the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! 12.10.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-after-the-death-of-saleh/
Yemen: The al-Hadi Puppet Government Calls for an Imperialist Invasion! Victory to Yemen! Defeat the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! 8.5.2015, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/assault-on-yemen/
Michael Pröbsting: Highly Encouraging Solidarity Actions! French activists successfully obstructed Saudi vessels due to load weapons for the barbarous war in Yemen for the second time, 04.06.2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/french-activists-obstruct-saudi-arms-vessel/
RCIT: Aramco Attack: Defeat the US/Saudi/Israeli Warmongers! Defend Iran against any imperialist aggression! But no political support for the reactionary Mullah Regime in Teheran! 16 September 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/aramco-attack-defeat-the-us-saudi-israeli-warmongers/
Michael Pröbsting: The Gang Leaders of Western Counterrevolution Are Faltering. Some observations on an interesting historic moment in the world situation, 25 September 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/the-gang-leaders-of-western-counterrevolution-are-faltering/
Warmongering in the Middle East: Down with all Imperialist Great Powers and Capitalist Dictatorships! 13 May 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/joint-statement-warmongering-in-the-middle-east/
Yossi Schwartz, ISL the RCIT section in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 03.02.2022, https://the-isleague.com/defeat-saudi-arabia-led-coalition-backed-by-the-usa-and-britain-in-yemen/
In the last few days, we have learned that Israel joined Saudi Arabia and Oman in naval exercises for the first time amid heightened Gulf tensions. That the Zionist war Minister Benny Gantz landed on 2 February 2022, in Manama, Bahrain for an official visit to the Kingdom. No doubt about a military agreement against Iran and the Houthis in Yemen. We also have seen vicious airstrikes by Saudi Arabia on the civilian population.
Yemen is located on the Bab al-Mandab Strait at the southern entrance of the Red Sea. Since the Kingdom’s foundation in 1932, the Saud family (al-Saud) , the ruling family of Saudi Arabia has acted to expand its control over Yemen. In 1934, the first modern war broke out between the two Arabian states. That war ended in the 1934 Treaty of Ta’if that ceded the three provinces of Asir, Najran, and Jizan to the army of Ibn Saud.
In September 1962, the army staged a coup against the Mutawakkilite Imam and set up a republican government. Civil war followed. Egypt backed the republicans with tens of thousands of troops and aircraft. The Russian Stalinists provided airlift for the Egyptian intervention. The Saudis backed the royalists, with help from Jordan and Israel.
South Yemen was a British colony until 1967. The National Liberation Front (NLF) took power over the country following negotiations with the British government in Geneva in 1968. The NLF was a left-wing nationalist insurgent coalition seeking to unite the forces of the Aden petroleum and port workers’ trade unions, Nasserites, and Stalinists led by Abdul Fattah Ismail, a founding member of the NLF and its chief Stalinist ideologue.
In 1969, with support from the Russian Stalinists, Ismail formed the Stalinist regime based on state capitalism in South Yemen. When Stalinist Russia collapsed the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen in the south joined the North.
The Saudi Kingdom relied on Ali Abdallah Salah, president of North Yemen from 1978 and later of a unified Yemen from 1990 until 2012. Saleh was inclined to support Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. The Saudis believed that Saleh was secretly conspiring with Saddam to restore the territory that the Saudis had won in a war with Yemen in 1934. U.S President George H.W. Bush backed the Saudis. The Saudi government expelled a million Yemenis living and working in Saudi Arabia.
When the Arab revolution began in Yemen in 2011, the Saudis intervened to get rid of Ali Abdullah Saleh. He was replaced by his Vice President Mansur Hadi, from southern Yemen who had trained in Moscow. “When Hadi assumed the presidency in 2012, his only frame of reference for leadership was Saleh, but the new president lacked his predecessor’s tenacity and skills of political maneuvering. Yet Hadi attempted to copy the centralized one-man rule model, with the result that the key weakness of the Yemeni government, lack of accountability, got even worse. During the transitional period (2012-2014) this state of affairs was further exacerbated by elites affiliated with the Islah party – most notably prominent sheik and businessman Hameed al-Ahmar – who used the government as an instrument to further their own commercial and political interests” [i]
“The failure to come to some form of accommodation with the Houthis led the government to unleash a war that it could not control – particularly through the dubious authorization in 2015 to the Saudi-led coalition to wage a destructive military campaign against the Houthis” [ii]
“The Houthis are Zaydi Shiites or Zaydiyyah. Shiite Muslims are the minority community in the Islamic world and Zaydis are a minority of Shiites, significantly different in doctrine and beliefs from the Shiites who dominate in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere (often called Twelvers for their belief in twelve Imams). The Zadiyyah take their name from Zayd bin Ali, the great-grandson of Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, whom all Shiites revere. Zayd bin Ali led an uprising against the Umayyad Empire in 740, the first dynastic empire in Islamic history, which ruled from Damascus. Zayd was martyred in his revolt, and his head is believed to be buried in a shrine to him in Kerak, Jordan. Zaydis believe he was a model of a pure caliph who should have ruled instead of the Umayyads” [iii]
The Zaydis established themselves in north Yemen’s rugged mountains in the 9th century. They are the majority of the population in the mountains of the north. They fought against both the Ottomans and the Wahhabis in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Houthis led by Hussein al Houthi, from whom they are named emerged in the 1990s. They opposed Saleh’s corrupted dictatorship like other Arab dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria. They also criticized Saudi and American backing for the dictator. The American invasion of Iraq in 2003 radicalized the Houthi movement. The Houthis adopted the slogan: “God is great, death to the U.S., death to Israel, victory for Islam” in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The group also officially called itself Ansar Allah, or supporters of God.
Yemen has been fragmented. The Houthis control the north and some parts of the south. The UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) controls the southwest and the Saudi-backed government controls the south and the east.
There are heavy fights in the Marib and Shabwa districts in south Yemen. These are the last districts controlled by the government of Rabbu Mansour Hadi supported by Saudi Arabia. Hadi is hiding in Riyadh.
The victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan has encouraged the fighting spirit of the Houthis who are fighting against the Saudi Arabia-led coalition backed by the USA and Britain. They also oppose Israel that has a history of intervening in Yemen.
The fact that they are Islamists is not a reason for working-class revolutionaries not to side with them in the military clashes with the Imperialists and their local servants. The main enemy is always the imperialists and their servants. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition has committed war crimes by bombing the civilian population. Yet you do not see the reformists and the centrists supporting the Houthis.
The last time the right-wing centrist organization the IMT wrote an article on Yemen was one year ago and, in that article, there is not one word on the need to side with the Houthis in the military conflict. They wrote: “The war in Yemen is a proxy war for the Saudis, desperately trying to avoid Iranian influence extending to their southern border. The imperialist powers share this interest. Much of the international oil trade passes the coast of Yemen. These powers would much rather have a country bombed to pieces than give Iran significant influence over Yemen. The fact that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates provided most of the financing and the mercenaries for the conflict only made it a more attractive proposal (as the Western powers didn’t have to get directly involved themselves).
The only problem is that they lost the war. The Houthi militias have held out and are now even threatening Marib, one of the most important hubs for Yemeni oil production. Now they all want out, starting with Biden. The Yemen war has been a political embarrassment for too long. They are looking for a negotiated settlement, but the Houthis would have to be part of such an agreement. This, however, would be a humiliation for the Saudis, and in particular for Mohamed bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler, and provoke a political crisis in the kingdom” [iv]
Their twin sister the ISA has not written one word on Yemen. The Mandelites’ International Viewpoint last meaningful article on Yemen was in June 2019 dealing with the mobilization of dockworkers in three different ports in France and Italy that prevented attempts to deliver ammunition for Caesar cannons and other types of armaments to Saudi Arabia. [v]
Victory for the Houthis
Down with Saudi Arabia led coalition