Archives‎ > ‎

Israel-Saudi alliance sustains Sunni militants, Al-Qaeda & Islamic State, from Peter Myers

(1) Israel-Saudi alliance sustains Sunni militants, Al-Qaeda & Islamic
State - Robert Parry
(2) Yemen: "When the Israelis and Arabs are on the same page, people
should pay attention" -Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer
(3) Yemen: Houthis ally with former president Saleh, who was ousted in
"Arab Spring"; Saudis installed Hadi
(4) Saleh branded "Yemen's Wily Puppet Master"
(5) Former Yemeni President Saleh: The Arab Spring was a Zionist-Western
(6) US backs Saudi airstrikes against Houthis in Yemen

(1) Israel-Saudi alliance sustains Sunni militants, Al-Qaeda & Islamic
State - Robert Parry

From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics and Engineering Physics)"
Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2015 10:48:34 -0400

The Transformational Israeli-Saudi Alliance

By Robert Parry, Consortium News, 31 March 2015

The tangle of conflicts in the Middle East is confusing to many
Americans who lack some key facts, such as the transformational
Israeli-Saudi alliance that is dragging the American people into a
sectarian religious war dating back 1,300 years, as Robert Parry explains.

Few Americans seem to comprehend what is unfolding in the Middle East –
with the latest conflict involving Saudi airstrikes against the Houthi
rebels who now control Yemen’s capital of Sanaa. In this swirl of
regional wars, it’s often not clear where the U.S. government stands and
how American interests are affected.

The reason for the confusion is simple: Many key pundits who get to
explain what’s going on from the op-ed pages of the major U.S.
newspapers and from the TV talk shows prefer that the American people
don’t fully grasp what’s happening. Otherwise, the people might realize
the dangers ahead and demand substantial changes in U.S. government

But a few basic points can help decipher the confusion: Perhaps the most
important is that – although it’s rarely acknowledged in the mainstream
U.S. media – Israel is now allied with Saudi Arabia and other Sunni
Persian Gulf states, which are, in turn, supporting Sunni militants in
Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Sometimes directly, sometimes
indirectly, this Israel-Saudi bloc sustains Al-Qaeda and, to a somewhat
lesser degree, the Islamic State.

The U.S. news media is loath to note these strange Israeli bedfellows,
but there’s a twisted logic to the Israeli-Saudi connection. Both Israel
and the Saudi bloc have identified Shiite-ruled Iran as their chief
regional adversary and thus are supporting proxy wars against perceived
Iranian allies in Syria and now Yemen. The Syrian government and the
Houthi rebels in Yemen are led by adherents to offshoots of Shiite
Islam, so they are the “enemy.”

The schism between Sunni and Shiite Islam dates back to 632, to the
secession struggle after the death of the Prophet Muhammad. The dispute
led to the Battle of Karbala where Hussein ibn Ali was captured and
beheaded in 680, an event that gave rise to Shiite Islam as a rival to
Sunni Islam, which today has both moderate and extremist forms with
Saudi Arabia sponsoring the ultra-fundamentalist Wahhabism.

The extremist Wahhabism has inspired some of the most radical Sunni
movements, including Al-Qaeda and now the Islamic State, along with
their practice of suicide attacks as a form of martyrdom that has become
a staple of these groups’ anti-Western jihad.

In other words, what has most outraged Americans has been the behavior
of these Sunni extremists, from Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks to the Islamic
State’s beheading of helpless hostages and religious minorities in Syria
and elsewhere. And, the principal backer of this Sunni extremism has
been Saudi Arabia where wealthy prince-playboys buy leniency for their
licentious behavior from the religious ulema (or leaders) by financing
the extreme Wahhabi teachings. [See’s
Secret Saudi Ties to Terrorism.”]

Confusing the American People

The West has had grievances with elements of the Shiite world, too, such
as the seizure of U.S. Embassy hostages in Iran in 1979 and excessive
violence by the Syrian military against opposition forces in 2011. But
the most intense American anger has been provoked by the actions of
Sunni fundamentalists involving mass murder of innocents.

Yet, over the years, the U.S. government has exploited the general lack
of knowledge among Americans about the intricacies of Middle East
religions and politics by funneling the anger against one group to
rationalize actions against another.

For instance, in 2003, as revenge for the 9/11 slaughter of 3,000
Americans – carried out primarily by Saudi extremists under the
leadership of Saudi Osama bin Laden – President George W. Bush shielded
the Saudis from blame and ordered the invasion of Iraq to oust Saddam
Hussein, a secular Sunni dictator who was a fierce opponent of Al-Qaeda
and other religious fanatics.

Ironically, that war put Shiites in power in Baghdad, turned Iraq’s
Sunnis into a persecuted minority, and created fertile ground for a
particularly virulent strain of Al-Qaeda to take root under the
leadership of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. That group
became “Al-Qaeda in Iraq,” later morphing into “the Islamic State of
Iraq and Syria” and finally into “the Islamic State,” with its own
twisted branches reaching out across the Middle East and Africa to
justify more provocative slaughter of Westerners and “non-believers.”

While on the surface, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other
Persian Gulf states repudiate this violent extremism, some of their
oil-rich princes and intelligence services have provided covert support
to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to advance the cause of breaking the
“Shiite crescent” – from Tehran through Baghdad and Damascus to Beirut.

In seeking to smash this “Shiite crescent,” these Sunni-ruled states
have been joined by Israel, which has taken the position that Iran and
its Shiite allies are more dangerous than the Sunni extremists, thus
transforming Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State into the “lesser evils.”

This was the subtext of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
address to Congress on March 3 – that the U.S. government should shift
its focus from fighting Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to fighting Iran.

One of the hit lines of Netanyahu’s speech was when he told a cheering
Congress that the United States should not collaborate with Iran just
because it was the most effective counterforce to the bloodthirsty ISIS.
Or as he put it, “So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your
enemy is your enemy.”

But Netanyahu was soft-pedaling his real message, which was that ISIS
with its “butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube” was a minor
annoyance compared to Iran, which he accused of “gobbling up the
nations” of the Middle East. To the applause of Congress, he claimed
“Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and
Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.”

His choice of capitals was peculiar because Iran took none of those
capitals by force and, indeed, was simply supporting the embattled
government of Syria and was allied with elements of the government of
Lebanon. As for Iraq, Iran’s allies were installed not by Iran but by
President George W. Bush via the U.S. invasion. And, in Yemen, a
long-festering sectarian conflict has led to the capture of Sanaa by
Houthi rebels who deny that they are supported by Iran (although Iran
may have provided some limited help).

Amid the wild and inchoate cheering by Republicans and many Democrats,
Netanyahu continued: “We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of
conquest, subjugation and terror.” But, in reality, there has been no
“march of conquest.” There have been no images of Iranian armies on the
march or a single case of Iranian forces crossing a border against the
will of a government.

Cheering the Propaganda

Netanyahu’s oration was just another example of his skillful (but
dishonest) propaganda – and the groveling behavior of the U.S. Congress
when in the presence of an Israeli leader.

Among the many facts that Netanyahu left out was Israel’s historically
close ties to Iran even during the reign of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
in the 1980s when the Israelis served as a key Iranian arms supplier
after the Saudi-backed Iraqi invasion of Iran. Only after that
eight-year-long war ended – and Iran’s treasury was depleted – did
Israel shift away from Iran and toward the oil-rich Saudis.

Regarding the Syrian civil war, senior Israelis have made clear they
would prefer Sunni extremists to prevail over President Assad, who is an
Alawite, a branch of Shiite Islam. Assad’s relatively secular government
is seen as the protector of Shiites, Christians and other minorities who
fear the vengeful brutality of the Sunni jihadists who now dominate the
anti-Assad rebels.

In one of the most explicit expressions of Israel’s views, its
Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to
Netanyahu, told the Jerusalem Post in September 2013 that Israel favored
the Sunni extremists over Assad.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from
Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the
keystone in that arc,” Oren told the Jerusalem Post in
an interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred
the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed
by Iran.” He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were
affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

And, if you might have thought that Oren had misspoken, he reiterated
his position in June 2014 at an Aspen Institute conference. Then,
speaking as a former ambassador, Oren
<> said Israel would even
prefer a victory by the Islamic State, which was massacring captured
Iraqi soldiers and beheading Westerners, than the continuation of the
Iranian-backed Assad in Syria.

“From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to
prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail,” Oren said.

Israel’s preference has extended into a tacit alliance with Al-Qaeda’s
Nusra Front in Syria, with which the Israelis have essentially a
non-aggression pact, even caring for Nusra fighters in Israeli hospitals
and mounting lethal air attacks against Lebanese and Iranian advisers to
the Syrian military.

A Powerful Alliance

Over the past decade, the Israelis and the Saudis have built a powerful
alliance, a relationship that has operated mostly behind the curtains.
They combined their assets to create what amounted to a new superpower
in the Middle East, one that could project its power mostly via the
manipulation of U.S. policymakers and opinion leaders – and thus
deployment of the U.S. military.

Israel possesses extraordinary political and media influence inside the
United States – and Saudi Arabia wields its oil and financial resources
to keep American officialdom in line. Together, the Israeli-Saudi bloc
now controls virtually the entire Republican Party, which holds
majorities in both chambers of Congress, and dominates most mainstream
Democrats as well.

Reflecting the interests of the Israeli-Saudi bloc, American neocons
have advocated U.S. bombing against both the Syrian and Iranian
governments in pursuit of “regime change” in those two countries.
Prominent neocons, such as John Bolton and Joshua Muravchik, have gone
to the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post to openly
advocate U.S. bombing campaigns against Iran. [See’s
Publishes Call to Bomb Iran.”]

But the problem with this Israeli-Saudi strategy for the American people
is that the only viable military alternatives to the Assad government in
Syria are Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the even more brutal Islamic State.
So if Israel, Saudi Arabia and the neocons succeed in ousting Assad, the
likely result would be the black flags of Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State
flying over Damascus.

That would likely mean major atrocities, including executions of
Christians and other religious minorities, as well as terrorist plots
mounted against Europe and the United States. An Al-Qaeda or Islamic
State conquest of Damascus would likely force any U.S. president to
invade Syria at enormous costs in blood and treasure, albeit with little
hope of achieving any long-term success.

Such a U.S. intervention might very well mean the end of the United
States as a viable democratic society – to the extent that one exists
today. A full-scale transformation into a militaristic state would be
required to sustain this open-ended conflict, channeling national wealth
into endless warfare and requiring the repression of anti-war sentiments
at home.

So, what is at stake for the American Republic is essentially
existential, whether the constitutional structure that began in 1789
will continue or will disappear. Politicians, who say they love the
Constitution but follow Netanyahu into this dead-end for the Republic,
are speaking out of both sides of their mouths.

(2) Yemen: "When the Israelis and Arabs are on the same page, people
should pay attention" -Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer

From: "Ken Freeland [shamireaders]"
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:49:38 -0500
Subject: [shamireaders] Fwd: The geopolitics behind the war in Yemen

The Geopolitics Behind the War in Yemen

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

March 29, 2015

The United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia became very uneasy
when the Yemenese or Yemenite movement of the Houthi or Ansarallah
(meaning the supporters of God in Arabic) gained control of Yemen’s
capital, Sanaa/Sana, in September 2014. The US-supported Yemenite
President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Al-Hadi was humiliatingly forced to share
power with the Houthis and the coalition of northern Yemenese tribes
that had helped them enter Sana. Al-Hadi declared that negotiations for
a Yemeni national unity government would take place and his allies the
US and Saudi Arabia tried to use a new national dialogue and mediated
talks to co-opt and pacify the Houthis.

The truth has been turned on its head about the war in Yemen. The war
and ousting of President Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Al-Hadi in Yemen are not the
results of «Houthi coup» in Yemen. It is the opposite. Al-Hadi was
ousted, because with Saudi and US support he tried to backtrack on the
power sharing agreements he had made and return Yemen to authoritarian
rule. The ousting of President Al-Hadi by the Houthis and their
political allies was an unexpected reaction to the takeover Al-Hadi was
planning with Washington and the House of Saudi.

The Houthis and their allies represent a diverse cross-section of Yemeni
society and the majority of Yemenites. The Houthi movement’s domestic
alliance against Al-Hadi includes Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims
alike. The US and House of Saud never thought that they Houthis would
assert themselves by removing Al-Hadi from power, but this reaction had
been a decade in the making. With the House of Saud, Al-Hadi had been
involved in the persecution of the Houthis and the manipulation of
tribal politics in Yemen even before he became president. When he became
Yemeni president he dragged his feet and was working against the
implement the arrangements that had been arranged through consensus and
negotiations in Yemen’s National Dialogue, which convened after Ali
Abdullah Saleh was forced to hand over his powers in 2011.

Coup or Counter-Coup: What Happened in Yemen?

At first, when they took over Sana in late-2014, the Houthis rejected
Al-Hadi’s proposals and his new offers for a formal power sharing
agreement, calling him a morally bankrupt figure that had actually been
reneging previous promises of sharing political power. At that point,
President Al-Hadi’s pandering to Washington and the House of Saud had
made him deeply unpopular in Yemen with the majority of the population.
Two months later, on November 8, President Al-Hadi’s own party, the
Yemenite General People’s Congress, would eject Al-Hadi as its leader too.

The Houthis eventually detained President Al-Hadi and seized the
presidential palace and other Yemeni government buildings on January 20.
With popular support, a little over two weeks later, the Houthis
formally formed a Yemense transitional government on February 6. Al-Hadi
was forced to resign. The Houthis declared that Al-Hadi, the US, and
Saudi Arabia were planning on devastating Yemen on February 26.

Al-Hadi’s resignation was a setback for US foreign policy. It resulted
in a military and operational retreat for the CIA and the Pentagon,
which were forced to remove US military personnel and intelligence
operatives from Yemen. The Los Angeles Times reported on March 25,
citing US officials, that the Houthis had got their hands on numerous
secret documents when the seized the Yemeni National Security Bureau,
which was working closely with the CIA, that compromised Washington’s
operations in Yemen.

Al-Hadi fled the Yemeni capital Sana to Aden n February 21 and declared
it the temporary capital of Yemen on March 7. The US, France, Turkey,
and their Western European allies closed their embassies. Soon
afterwards, in what was probably a coordinated move with the US, Saudi
Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates all
relocated the embassies to Aden from Sana. Al-Hadi rescinded his letter
of resignation as president and declared that he was forming a

The Houthis and their political allies refused to fall into line with
the demands of the US and Saudi Arabia, which were being articulated
through Al-Hadi in Aden and by an increasingly hysteric Riyadh. As a
result, Al-Hadi’s foreign minister, Riyadh Yaseen, called for Saudi
Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikdoms to militarily intervene to prevent
the Houthis from getting control of Yemen’s airspace on March 23. Yaseen
told the Saudi mouthpiece Al-Sharg Al-Awsa that a bombing campaign was
needed and that a no-fly zone had to be imposed over Yemen.

The Houthis realized that a military struggle was going to begin. This
is why the Houthis and their allies in the Yemenite military rushed to
control as many Yemeni military airfields and airbases, such as Al-Anad,
as quickly as possible. They rushed to neutralize Al-Hadi and entered
Aden on March 25.

By the time the Houthis and their allies entered Aden, Al-Hadi had fled
the Yemeni port city. Al-Hadi would resurface in Saudi Arabia when the
House of Saud started attacking Yemen on March 26. From Saudi Arabia,
Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Al-Hadi would then fly to Egypt for a meeting of the
Arab League to legitimize the war on Yemen.

Yemen and the Changing Strategic Equation in the Middle East

The Houthi takeover of Sana took place in the same timeframe as a series
of success or regional victories for Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and the
Resistance Bloc that they and other local actors form collectively. In
Syria, the Syrian government managed to entrench its position while in
Iraq the ISIL/ISIS/Daesh movement was being pushed back by Iraq with the
noticeable help of Iran and local Iraqi militias allied to Tehran.

The strategic equation in the Middle East began to shift as it became
clear that Iran was becoming central to its security architecture and
stability. The House of Saud and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu began to whimper and complain that Iran was in control of four
regional capitals—Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad, and Sana - and that
something had to be done to stop Iranian expansion. As a result of the
new strategic equation, the Israelis and the House of Saud became
perfectly strategically aligned with the objective of neutralizing Iran
and its regional allies. «When the Israelis and Arabs are on the same
page, people should pay attention», Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer told
Fox News about the alignment of Israel and Saudi Arabia on March 5.

The Israeli and Saudi fear mongering has not worked. According to Gallup
poll, only 9% of US citizens viewed Iran as a greatest enemy of the US
at the time that Netanyahu arrived t Washington to speak against a deal
between the US and Iran.

The Geo-Strategic Objectives of the US and Saudis Behind the War in Yemen

While the House of Saudi has long considered Yemen a subordinate
province of some sorts and as a part of Riyadh’s sphere of influence,
the US wants to make sure that it could control the Bab Al-Mandeb, the
Gulf of Aden, and the Socotra Islands. The Bab Al-Mandeb it is an
important strategic chokepoint for international maritime trade and
energy shipments that connects the Persian Gulf via the Indian Ocean
with the Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea. It is just as important as
the Suez Canal for the maritime shipping lanes and trade between Africa,
Asia, and Europe.

Israel was also concerned, because control of Yemen could cut off
Israel’s access to Indian Ocean via the Red Sea and prevent its
submarines from easily deploying to the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran.
This is why control of Yemen was actually one of Netanyahu’s talking
points on Capitol Hill when he spoke to the US Congress about Iran on
March 3 in what the New York Times of all publications billed as «Mr.
Netanyahu’s Unconvincing Speech to Congress» on March 4.

Saudi Arabia was visibly afraid that Yemen could become formally align
to Iran and that the evens there could result in new rebellions in the
Arabian Peninsula against the House of Saud. The US was just as much
concerned about this too, but was also thinking in terms of global
rivalries. Preventing Iran, Russia, or China from having a strategic
foothold in Yemen, as a means of preventing other powers from
overlooking the Gulf of Aden and positioning themselves at the Bab
Al-Mandeb, was a major US concern.

Added to the geopolitical importance of Yemen in overseeing strategic
maritime corridors is its military’s missile arsenal. Yemen’s missiles
could hit any ships in the Gulf of Aden or Bab Al-Mandeb. In this
regard, the Saudi attack on Yemen’s strategic missile depots serves both
US and Israeli interests. The aim is not only to prevent them from being
used to retaliate against exertions of Saudi military force, but to also
prevent them from being available to a Yemeni government aligned to
either Iran, Russia, or China.

In a public position that totally contradicts Riyadh’s Syria policy, the
Saudis threatened to take military action if the Houthis and their
political allies did not negotiate with Al-Hadi. As a result of the
Saudi threats, protests erupted across Yemen against the House of Saud
on March 25. Thus, the wheels were set in motion for another Middle
Eastern war as the US, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait
began to prepare to reinstall Al-Hadi.

The Saudi March to War in Yemen and a New Front against Iran

For all the talk about Saudi Arabia as a regional power, it is too weak
to confront Iran alone. The House of Saud’s strategy has been to erect
or reinforce a regional alliance system for a drawn confrontation with
Iran and the Resistance Bloc. In this regard Saudi Arabia needs Egypt,
Turkey, and Pakistan —a misnamed so-called «Sunni» alliance or axis — to
help it confront Iran and its regional allies.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the crown prince
of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE’s
military, would visit Morocco to talk about a collective military
response to Yemen by the Arab petro-sheikhdoms, Morocco, Jordan, and
Egypt on March 17. On March 21, Mohammed bin Zayed met Saudi Arabia’s
King Salman Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to discuss a military response
to Yemen. This was while Al-Hadi was calling for Saudi Arabia and the
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to help him by militarily intervening in
Yemen. The meetings were followed by talk about a new regional security
pact for the Arab petro-sheikdoms.

Out of the GCC’s five members, the Sultanate of Oman stayed away. Oman
refused to join the war on Yemen. Muscat has friendly relations with
Tehran. Moreover, the Omanis are weary of the Saudi and GCC project to
use sectarianism to ignite confrontation with Iran and its allies. The
majority of Omanis are neither Sunni Muslims nor Shiite Muslims; they
are Ibadi Muslims, and they fear the fanning of sectarian sedition by
the House of Saud and the other Arab petro-sheikdoms.

Saudi propagandists went into over drive falsely claiming that the war
was a response to Iranian encroachment on the borders of Saudi Arabia.
Turkey would announce its support for the war in Yemen. On the day the
war was launched, Turkey’s Erdogan claimed that Iran was trying to
dominate the region and that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the GCC were
getting annoyed.

During these events, Egypt’s Sisi stated that the security of Cairo and
the security of Saudi Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms are one. In
fact, Egypt said that it would not get involved in a war in Yemen on
March 25, but the next day Cairo joined Saudi Arabia in Riyadh’s attack
on Yemen by sending its jets and ships to Yemen.

In the same vein, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif released a
statement on March 26 that any threat to Saudi Arabia would «evoke a
strong response» from Pakistan. The message was tacitly directed towards

The US and Israeli Roles in the War in Yemen

On March 27, it was announced in Yemen that Israel was helping Saudi
Arabia attack the Arab country. «This is the first time that the
Zionists [Israelis] are conducting a joint operation in collaborations
with Arabs,» Hassan Zayd, the head of Yemen’s Al-Haq Party, wrote on the
internet to point out the convergence of interests between Saudi Arabia
and Israel. The Israeli-Saudi alliance over Yemen, however, is not new.
The Israelis helped the House of Saud during the North Yemen Civil War
that started in 1962 by providing Saudi Arabia with weapons to help the
royalists against the republicans in North Yemen.

The US is also involved and leading from behind or a distance. While it
works to strike a deal with Iran, it also wants to maintain an alliance
against Tehran using the Saudis. The Pentagon would provide what it
called «intelligence and logistical support» to House of Saud. Make no
mistakes about it: the war on Yemen is also Washington’s war. The GCC
has been on Yemen unleashed by the US.

There has long been talk about the formation of a pan-Arab military
force, but proposals for creating it were renewed on March 9 by the
rubberstamp Arab League. The proposals for a united Arab military serve
US, Israeli, and Saudi interests. Talk about a pan-Arab military has
been motivated by their preparations to attack Yemen to return Al-Hadi
and to regionally confront Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and the Resistance

(3) Yemen: Houthis ally with former president Saleh, who was ousted in
"Arab Spring"; Saudis installed Hadi

Fri Apr 3, 2015 1:41am BST

Related: YEMEN

Yemen's Houthis seize central Aden district, presidential site


(Reuters) - Yemeni Houthi fighters and their allies seized a central
Aden district on Thursday, striking a heavy blow against the Saudi-led
coalition that has waged a week of air strikes to try to stem advances
by the Iran-allied Shi'ite group.

Hours after the Houthis took over Aden's central Crater neighbourhood,
they marked another symbolic victory by fighting their way into a
presidential residence overlooking the neighbourhood, residents said.

The southern city has been the last major holdout of fighters loyal to
Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled Aden a week ago
and has watched from Riyadh as the vestiges of his authority have crumbled.

By nightfall the Iran-allied Shi'ite fighters had reached the edge of
Aden's port district of Mualla, they said.

The Houthis and their supporters swept into the heart of Aden despite an
eight-day air campaign led by Riyadh trying to stem their advances and
ultimately return Hadi to power. [...]

The Houthis, who took over the capital Sanaa six months ago in alliance
with supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, turned on Aden
last month.

A diplomat in Riyadh said the city had come to symbolise Hadi's fading
authority, meaning that Saudi Arabia could not afford to allow it to
fall completely under Houthi control. But he said Riyadh's air campaign
was so far geared more towards a slow war of attrition than an effective
defence. [...]

Huge street demonstrations in 2011 linked to wider Arab uprisings forced
veteran leader Saleh to step down, but he has re-emerged as an
influential force by allying himself with the Houthis, his former enemies.

The Houthis are drawn from a Zaidi Shi'ite minority that ruled a
thousand-year kingdom in northern Yemen until 1962. Saleh himself is a
member of the sect but fought to crush the Houthis as president. [...]

(4) Saleh branded "Yemen's Wily Puppet Master"

Yemen's Wily Puppet Master

Ali Abdullah Saleh, ousted in the Arab Spring protests, has re-emerged
as the country's most influential man.

Matt Schiavenza Mar 29 2015, 5:17 PM ET

The violent conflict engulfing Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country,
intensified on Saturday, as Houthi rebels fought government forces for
control of Aden, a crucial port city. Meanwhile, air strikes launched by
a Saudi Arabia-led coalition attacked Houthi positions in an attempt to
repel the group that now controls most of Yemen. According to the
national Health Ministry, the air attack killed 35 and wounded 88.

Since the Houthis overthrew president Abu Rabbu Mansour Hadi in
February, Yemen has become a front in an emerging proxy war between
Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's strongest Sunni power, and Shia-majority
Iran. Tehran has provided ample financial and logistical support to the
Houthis, a Shia group whose meteoric rise compelled Riyadh--and nine
other nations--to intervene. But the Yemeni conflict has also revealed
the power of a source far closer to home: ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Now 73, Saleh ruled Yemen for three decades until an "Arab Spring"
uprising drove him from power in 2011. But unlike his counterparts in
Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya--who ended up exiled, imprisoned, and
murdered, respectively--Saleh managed to step down in exchange for
immunity. That he extracted such a deal was, given his history,
unsurprising. During his tenure as Yemen's president--a job he famously
likened to "dancing on the heads of snakes"--Saleh was an acknowledged
master manipulator: a Middle East Frank Underwood. Saleh allowed the
U.S. military to launch drone strikes against al-Qaeda positions while,
at the same time, ceding control of an entire province to the terrorist
organization. During his presidency, Saleh waged an anti-insurgent
campaign against the Houthis. But since his ouster, he has emerged as
their great champion, and forces loyal to the ex-president have assisted
the Houthis in their sweep across the country. Abandoning his low
profile, Saleh delivered a speech on Saturday, urging a truce and
disparaging the Saudi-led air strikes.

"I appeal to you and your conscience to protect your children and women
in Yemen against these barbaric and unjustified strikes," he said.

Saleh has promised Yemenis that he would not again be president, and has
called for elections to select a new leader. But his behind-the-scene
power grab, aided by a marriage of convenience with the Houthi, leaves
little doubt that he will retain de facto control as long as he can.
Four years after the Arab Spring protests inspired hope of a better
future for Yemen, Saleh's return to prominence leaves little doubt that,
elections or not, he has truly won.

(5) Former Yemeni President Saleh: The Arab Spring was a Zionist-Western

November 24, 2014

Clip No. 4643

Former Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh: The Arab Spring Was a
Zionist-Western Conspiracy

In a TV interview, former Yemeni president Ali Abdallah Saleh said that
the Arab Spring - which he called the "Zionist Spring - was a
Zionist-Western conspiracy to "bring down the pan-Arab enterprise."

Following are excerpts from the interview, which was broadcast by the
Egyptian CBC network on November 24, 2014.

Interviewer: You mentioned the "so-called" Arab Spring.

Ali Abdallah Saleh: It was a Zionist Spring.

Interviewer: Please explain why you call it the Zionist Spring.

Ali Abdallah Saleh: Since there was no democracy in some Arab countries,
young people expected this "Arab Spring" to improve things, in culture,
economy, security, and politics. But instead, it brought about a
sweeping anarchy as you can see in Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and Syria, as
well as in Egypt. This led the youth and the people who sought
improvement to despair. I was one of the rulers, but I hoped that they
would give rise to someone who would function better than me and my

Interviewer: Would such a thing have made you happy?

Ali Abdallah Saleh: Completely happy. But it brought nothing but
anarchy, the disintegration of nations, the destruction of the
infrastructure and the economy, and the deterioration of the army and
security services. The Muslim Brotherhood entered the units of the army
and security services, with no training, qualifications, or
organization. Anarchy! That is why I called it the "Zionist Spring."

Interviewer: Do you think it was a Zionist-Western conspiracy?

Ali Abdallah Saleh: Absolutely. They wanted to bring down the pan-Arab
enterprise, which existed since the days of the late Abd Al-Nasser. [...]

(6) US backs Saudi airstrikes against Houthis in Yemen

By Niles Williamson

26 March 2015

The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adair Al Jubeir, announced
Wednesday night from Washington, D.C. that his country, in coordination
with the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, had begun
airstrikes on Houthi rebel positions inside Yemen. He said that Saudi
Arabia and others in the coalition were prepared "to protect and defend
the legitimate government" of President Adb Rabbu Mansur Hadi.

Jubeir declared that Saudi Arabia would do "whatever it takes" to keep
Hadi in power.

The Saudi strikes are backed by the Obama administration, which released
a statement stating that the US was providing "logistical and
intelligence support." A ground offensive involving 150,000 Saudi troops
is also reportedly being prepared.

Airstrikes were reported at the Sanaa airport and at the Al Dulaimi
military base. Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Houthi's Ansarullah
politburo, warned that the airstrikes would set off a "wide war" in the
Arabian Peninsula. "The Yemeni people are a free people and they will
confront the aggressors. I will remind you that the Saudi government and
the Gulf governments will regret this aggression," Bukhaiti told Al
Jazeera news.

According to US officials, Saudi Arabia has also positioned heavy
artillery and other military equipment on its border with Yemen. At a
weekend meeting of Gulf state princes and defense ministers, Saudi
officials had presented their plans for air strikes against Houthi
targets and a naval blockade of Houthi supply routes. Saudi Arabia's
foreign minister, Prince Saud Al Faisal, told reporters earlier this
week that his country was prepared to "take the necessary measures for
this crisis to protect the region."

With the latest developments Yemen's escalating civil war has openly
taken on the character of a regional conflict, involving both Saudi
Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia's Sunni monarchy is now openly backing
Hadi as the legitimate leader of the country, while Shiite-dominated
Iran has called for him to cede power, giving its support to the
Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi Shiite sect of Islam.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia, which receives military support from the
United States, has undertaken military incursions to suppress popular
Shiite uprisings in neighboring countries. In late 2009, the Saudi
military launched operations against the Houthi militias inside Yemen in
coordination with the government of former president and longtime
dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Saudi monarchy also dispatched troops
to Bahrain in March 2011 to suppress protests by that country's Shiite
majority against the dictatorship of Sunni King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman
Al Khalifa.

A letter sent by Hadi to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday
asked for the adoption of a resolution supporting "all means necessary,
including military intervention, to protect Yemen and its people from
the continuing Houthi aggression".

The beleaguered Hadi reportedly left Yemen on Wednesday as Houthi rebel
fighters backed by army units loyal to former president Saleh seized the
Al Anad airbase in Lahj province as well as Aden's international airport
and central bank headquarters.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Hadi fled Aden on a boat with the
assistance of a retinue of Saudi Arabian diplomatic officials to escape
the impending Houthi assault. Reports of Hadi's departure were denied by
Yemen's chief of national security, Major General Ali Al Ahmadi, who
told Reuters, "He's here, he's here, he's here. I am now with him in the
palace. He is in Aden."

Until their evacuation last weekend, US and European special forces
soldiers had used the Al Anad airbase to coordinate military operations
and drone missile strikes against members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula (AQAP) in southern and eastern Yemen.

The Houthis seized the base as they pushed south towards the port city
of Aden, where Hadi had fled after escaping house arrest in Sanaa in
February. The president had been forced to announce his resignation and
dissolution of the government after the Houthis seized control of the
presidential palace in January.

The Houthi rebels, who took control of the capital of Sanaa in September
2014, began their advance south last week after fighting broke out in
Aden between forces loyal to Saleh and Hadi over control of the
international airport.

Wednesday's advance put the Houthis within striking distance of the
compound where Hadi has been marshaling military forces still loyal to
him in an attempt to reassert control over the country. Fighter jets
manned by Yemeni air force pilots supporting Saleh have been strafing
the compound for the last few days.

The loss of Al Anad air base amid the complete collapse of the US puppet
regime headed by Hadi is the latest debacle for American imperialist
foreign policy following in the wake of Iraq, Syria, and Libya. The
disastrous intervention of American imperialism in Yemen has stoked
long-simmering sectarian tensions to the point of explosion, completely
destabilizing the deeply impoverished Arab country.

Al Anad was one of the key sites used by the US military and CIA to
launch drone strikes inside Yemen. According to estimates by the Bureau
of Investigative Journalism, the drone war, which began under the
direction of US president Barack Obama in 2009 with the assent of
then-president Saleh, has killed more than 1,000 people. The massively
unpopular drone strikes were also supported by Hadi, who came to power
in 2012, after Saleh was ousted by mass protests.

After the Houthi rebels seized control of Sanaa in January, the Pentagon
worked to establish relations with them in order to continue drone
strike operations against alleged Al Qaeda militants. The last reported
strike came on March 1 in Bayda province, killing as many as three
people. It was in an area where Houthi militants had been fighting
members of AQAP.

Underscoring the debacle in Yemen, the Pentagon admits that it has lost
track of more than $500 million worth of weapons and equipment amid the
ongoing fighting. US military officials testified in recent closed-door
congressional hearings that they have no idea whether the equipment has
fallen into the hands of either Houthi fighters or Al Qaeda militants.
"We have to assume it's completely compromised and gone," a legislative
aide told the Washington Post.

Among the US equipment provided to the Yemeni government since 2007 that
has now been lost are 200 M-4 rifles, 1.25 million rounds of ammunition,
160 Humvees, and 4 Huey II helicopters. An additional unknown amount of
weapons and equipment provided by the CIA and Pentagon through
classified programs has also been lost.

Peter Myers