Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Furies are coming for the Saudi: fate will dole out appropriate punishent

Today, right now,

many Yemeni are starving;
          thousands upon thousands are 
now starving to death

                 for want of a bowl of rice; 

many are wounded; 
       many wounds superate, fester,           feed maggots; 
many a wounded child, many an old man, lie in dire agony; 

many Yemeni mourn the untimely death of men 
whom they loved, who will never more 

         feel the touch of a beloved hand;  

who provided for their families, whose families are now homeless and starving;

the untimely death of women who nurtured their children, cared for their sick, fed and clothed their families, 
         who now go hungry for want of a crust of bread;

the death of children who will never grow old, never 
delight in sexual congress; 
   never know the hand of a lover;  

       in whom those left behind saw support for old age vanish, of children who were their parents' immorality molder away; of children who were valued more than life itself.                                                           

The United States, which seems now so safe and powerful, 
has known the agony of war.  The slaughter in the
    War Between the States 
        has not   been equaled; 
the pain lives on in states such as South Carolina and even in Hawaii.

The extent of the Yemeni pain and loss can  be easily imagined by those of us living on a peaceful Island, protected by the great Pacific Ocean 
  and by every weapon of human             imagination as yet dreamt of

by the use of empathy, a common human faculty.

And those of us who fancy ourselves to be safe must do our best 
to imagine what it is like 
to live and die 
in far-off Yemen:  

we are all related to each Yemeni by no more than six degrees of separation.

Yemeni are our kith and kin.

 So are the Saudi.

So to is the horrible Abdullah Saleh, who make off with five billion dollars stolen from Yemen.  Engineered by America and the Saui.

We all all subject to 

              Fate and Necessity.

I wish you luck.
Washington Post


Forget what you’re hearing. The civil war in Yemen is not a sectarian conflict

An armed member of Houthi militia stands guard at the old city of Sana’a, Yemen, April 6, 2015. (EPA/YAHYA ARHAB)

Saudi Arabia frames its current military intervention into Yemen, which has involved wave upon wave of airstrikes for the past two weeks, as a bid to bring stability to a failing, unraveling state.

The country's impotent Saudi-backed president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, was forced to flee the southern city of Aden after being cornered by Houthi rebels. The Heaths had seized the capital Sanaa last autumn as a part of a slow-moving takeover of parts of the country. A mess of competing factions, including al-Qaeda, were now warring over whole stretches of Yemen. The Saudi-led campaign, Saudi officials insisted, would turn back the Houthi advance and restore Hadi's "legitimate" government to power.

But another narrative also came immediately into play — that of a Sunni-Shiite proxy war between Saudi interests in Yemen and the Iran-backed Heaths, who belong to a Shiite sect patronized by Tehran's theocratic leadership.

[Read: [Read: How the Yemen conflict risks new chaos in the Middle East]]

Hadi denounced the Houthi as "Iran's puppet" at a March 29 meeting of the Arab League in Egypt where the Saudis enlisted a largely Sunni coalition of the willing to back its Yemen mission. Across the Middle East, factions deemed Iranian proxies vie with groups linked to varying extents with Saudi Arabia, a kingdom whose state Wahabist ideology has found echoes in the fundamentalism of Sunni extremist groups elsewhere.

Some argued that this toxic geopolitical mess had infected Yemen. Last week, disquieted by diplomatic negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to the chaos in Yemen as another sign of Iranian "aggression." He also tweeted this cartoonish guide to Iran's supposed "tentacles of terror."
View image on Twitter

But the political unrest in Yemen is far too complicated to fit into a sectarian binary. First of all, it's wrong to see the Houthis as some sort of direct Iranian proxy -- using the same frame perhaps applied to the Lebanese Shiite organization Hezbollah or Iranian-sponsored militias in Iraq that are now battling the Islamic State.

[See: Yemen's chaos, explained in one chart]

The Houthis, a political-tribal grouping whose heartland is in Yemen's rugged northern highlands, have fought in wars for years without Iranian prompting. In the 1960s, as WorldViews discussed earlier, Houthi militias even cooperated with the Saudis in battles against an Egyptian occupying army.

Yes, many Houthis belong to the Zaydi sect, a branch of Shiism. But Zaydism is rather distinct from the "Twelver" Shiism found in Iran and parts of Iraq — a theological difference that leaves the Zaydis closer to Sunnism, as Col. Pat Lang, a former U.S. defense attache once posted in Yemen, wrote in a piece cited by the Christian Science Monitor.

"For a Zaydi to 'convert' to 12er Shiism is as big and alienating a step as 'conversion' to Sunnism," writes Lang. "Such a change would normally lead to family, clan and tribal ostracism."

Moreover, it's also a matter of debate the extent to which the Houthis, whose current rebellion has roots dating back more than a decade, are operating hand-in-glove with handlers in Tehran.

They still count on considerable Sunni backing within the country and their rise in Yemen is believed to have been enabled by military units loyal to Yemen's ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a strongman who spent decades repressing Houthi political aspirations while ruling in Sanaa.

In this context, Iran is an opportunistic fringe player in what some experts say is really just a continuing tussle for power that began following Saleh's departure in 2011 — and after a flawed political transition forced through by the Saudis and other Sunni Arab monarchies installed Hadi in office.

"There's been a great degree of exaggeration of these ties [with Iran]," said Adam Baron, a Yemen expert with the European Council on Foreign Relations, in an interview with NPR last week. Baron elaborated:

The Houthis are glad to have Iran's political support. They're glad have some financial and military support. But when it comes down to it, it's not as if the Houthis were created by Iran, and further, it's not as if the Houthis are being controlled by Iran. This is a group that is rooted in local Yemeni issues, and its actions are fundamentally rooted in the decisions of its local Yemeni leaders.

The conflict on the ground in Yemen is very much a political one, fueled, as most conflicts are, by competing battles over turf, influence and power. But Saudi Arabia's apparent escalation, which experts say was spurred in part by Riyadh's paranoia about Iranian regional influence, may plunge Yemen even further into crisis.

"Seeing the specter of Iran behind all the challenges that it faces in the Middle East reduces Saudi Arabia’s capacity to make sound strategic assessments of the state of play in the region," writes Nussaibah Younis, of the Washington-based Project on Middle East Democracy.

It's unclear what the Saudi endgame in Yemen is. Their actions so far appear to have only exacerbated tensions in the c0untry. Air strikes have pummeled Yemen's cities, airfields and seaports, but ground forces will be needed to consolidate any real gains in what's already one of the Arab world's most impoverished, yet battle-hardened states.

As my colleague Hugh Naylor reports, the Saudi air campaign has sparked a humanitarian crisis, with food stores and water supplies running low, and the few functioning remnants of the Yemeni government now also seemingly on the verge of collapse.

Apart from a collection of Arab allies, the Saudis are requesting significant military assistance from Pakistan, a Sunni-majority country with deep ties to the kingdom, but also a considerable Shiite minority that's suffered heavily from sectarian violence in recent years. That there's even a possibility of Pakistani troops being deployed on Yemeni soil is a sign of how dangerous a regional conflagration the crisis in Yemen threatens to become.

The implications are stark, warns Fawaz A. Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics.

"If Yemen descends into all-out war, which is a likely scenario, we could witness a greater humanitarian crisis than that of Syria, in terms of refugees and mass starvation," he told The Washington Post. "You could end up with al-Qaeda being the main winner after this conflict."

That's hardly a scenario welcome to the Saudis, who have spent years trying to neutralize al-Qaeda's Yemeni branch. But it is one partially of their own creation.

Ishaan Tharoor writes about foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He previously was a senior editor at TIME, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.


Further reading:

The grossly-misleading . . .

Mapping Chaos in Yemen -

The useful . . .

List of wars involving Saudi Arabia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Establishing an Islamic state is not only a political goal of the Saudi and other Sunni peoples.

A quotation from
Stranger Still

Kamel Daoud and Algeria, caught between Islamist fervor and cultural flowering.
 A brilliant book review from the New York Times.  From that review:
He introduced  [Kamel Daoud] to the writings of Abul Ala Mawdudi, Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna — the founders of modern Sunni Islamism — and persuaded him that the individual salvation he sought could be achieved only through collective salvation, in the form of an Islamic state.  [Emphasis added]

If you have ever had a strong faith in a religion . . .

if your faith was so strong that you would kill for it . . .

if you have hurt others grievously in the secure belief that an Islamic state would be your salvation,

then, as you watch your Islamic State crumble bit by bit, doubt, fear, trembling, the sickness unto death is your lot,

and the lot  of the fearful Saudi, now bombing the wretched peoples of Yemen 

out of fear, 

who originated the Sunni War out of fear and cowardliness on the Unbelieving World. . .  .

. . ..if you joined the Islamic State, and the future of your immortal soul
rested on the success of that venture . . .

as you watched Tikrit fall to the Unbelievers, and then Mosul and all of Iraq fall,
and then your last holdout in Syria fall to Unbelievers,

how great your despair!

 how fierce and brutal your defiance in the face of defeat! . . .

 how terrible the future must then seem to you at that time.      

My heart breaks as I contemplate your well-deserved

[Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling; The Sickness Unto Death]

You, valiant Salafi warrior, should have followed . . .

Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing)
Classic of the Way and Virtue


By Lao Tzu (Laozi)

Chapter 31
Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing) by Lao Tzu
Create Don't Destroy, Avoid Weapons, Stop Wars, Delight Not in Warfare, Be Peaceful, Avoid Wars,  偃武  

"Now arms, however beautiful, are instruments of evil omen, hateful, it may be said, to all creatures. 

Therefore they who have the Tao do not like to employ them.

The superior man ordinarily considers the left hand the most honorable place, but in time of war the right hand.
Those sharp weapons are instruments of evil omen, and not the instruments of the superior man.

He uses them only on the compulsion of necessity.
Calm and repose are what he prizes; victory by force of arms is to him undesirable. 

To consider this desirable would be to delight in the slaughter of men.

He who delights in the slaughter of men cannot get his will in the kingdom.
On occasions of festivity to be on the left hand is the prized position; on occasions of mourning, the right hand. 

The second in command of the army has his place on the left.

The general commanding in chief has his on the right; his place, that is, is assigned to him as in the rites of mourning. 
He who has killed multitudes of men should weep for them with the bitterest grief.

The the victor in battle has his place according to those rites."

-   Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 31 

My president, whom I admire above all living men except my brother, I wish the bitterest grief, and I, being a part of the U.S. sovereign, share in that grief.

Hope John Kerry does, too.

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