The Staged Blacklisting of the Yemeni Resistance Ansarullah?

On the 10th of January US Secretary of State issued a statement declaring Ansarullah a terrorist organisation, which he justified by claiming that Ansarullah was responsible for the bombing and shooting attacks carried out at Aden airport on Dec 30th. No evidence has been presented suggesting that Ansarullah was involved. There’s also a lot more evidence that the Saudis and/or UAE were involved, thereby opening up the possibility that the attacks were staged to provide a pretext Pompeo’s blacklisting of Ansarullah, aka the Houthis.

“We need not look further than the callous attack targeting the civilian airport in Aden on December 30, in which the Houthis struck the arrival terminal killing 27 individuals, including three staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross, to see the destruction the Houthis continue to inflict upon civilians and civilian infrastructure.” – Mike Pompeo, 10 Jan 2021

The absurdity is that the US is on the same side as al-Qaeda & Islamic State in Yemen, which are also proscribed terrorist organisations according to the US. This is not a controversial statement. The Associated Press wrote three years ago in an article that, “the larger mission is to win the civil war against the Houthis, Iranian-backed Shiite rebels. And in that fight, al Qaeda militants are effectively on the same side as the United States”. Meanwhile, Ansarullah has never attacked the West, unlike al-Qaeda, which stands accused by the West of committing the very crime that justified the invasions of Afghanistan & Iraq, namely the 9/11 attacks.

It may come as a surprise that elements of the US military have a soft spot for Ansarullah. Back in April 2015, one month after the US-Saudi war on Yemen had begun, Michael Horton, a fellow at the Jamestown Foundation who is also close to U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) had this to say, “elements of the US military are clearly aware that much of what the US is doing in Yemen is aiding AQAP and there is much angst about that”. According to Horton, SOCOM, “favor the Houthis, as they have been successful in rolling back AQ [al-Qaeda] and now IS [Islamic State] from a number of Yemeni governorates”, before adding that, “these constant reports that the Houthis are working for the Iranians are nonsense, but the view is right out of the neocon playbook”. Pompeo is pushing the same neocon line today, but he is also on record admitting that during his time at the CIA, “we lied, we cheated, we stole”, so why believe what he says?

The US is a strange country, one where the dissenting factual opinions of its own military are ignored, but the self-interested lobbying of one foreign state in particular is magnified by the corporate media. According to Horton: “The Israelis have been touting this line that we lost Yemen to Iran. That’s absurd. The Houthis don’t need Iranian weapons. They have plenty of their own …They’ve been fighting Al-Qaeda since at least 2012, and they’ve been winning. Why are we fighting a movement that’s fighting Al-Qaeda?” After 9/11, US military culture was indoctrinated into believing that the invasions of Iraq & Afghanistan were to defeat al-Qaeda, however from 2011 onwards, they watched as their government started to aid al-Qaeda, although this had been observed earlier by Seymour Hersh in 2007, see The Redirection.

To complicate the lies even further, two days after the blacklisting, Mike Pompeo declared that Iran and al-Qaeda had formed an axis, and that al-Qaeda is now headquartered in Iran! If the political awareness of the Western public were higher, proposing such a wild conspiracy theory would be met with public ridicule, especially given that the nominally Sunni al-Qaeda is violently hostile to Shia Islam, the state religion of Iran, as well as hostile to every one of Iran’s regional allies across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and of course Yemen.

Everything Pompeo says makes perfect sense upon assuming his real motives are to intimidate governments and NGOs into siding with the war on Yemen. His statement opens up the possibility that aid agencies could be prosecuted for sending aid to the starving people of Yemen, simply because the government in Sana’a is Houthi dominated.

According to UN officials, the blacklisting by Pompeo, “will be a death sentence to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of innocent people”. That is why 29 international aid agencies have written to the US Congress expressing their concerns, pointing out that, “Ansarallah are not a niche armed group with limited control over a small sliver of territory”, and that that they have, “control over one-third of Yemen’s territory where 80 percent of Yemen’s population lives”. The letter points that this designation will “exacerbate humanitarian needs, further devastate Yemen’s economy, and hamstring the ability of humanitarian agencies to respond, by severely restricting their ability to engage with staff from the Health Ministry or other government agencies controlled by Ansarallah”.

If Mike Pompeo were honest, he’d respond by saying, ‘yes that is the point’, because the only logical conclusion to be drawn from the blacklisting of Ansarullah is that inflicting mass starvation on Yemen is the only weapon that the US-Saudi alliance has left, especially given that the Yemeni resistance is winning the war. Every ship that delivers anything to Yemen is already extensively searched for weapons, specifically Iranian weapons, because by the absurd legalism of the UN, the only independent and indigenous polity in Yemen is denied arms to defend its territory, whereas the arms flowing in from 22 nations to support the US-Saudi-Emirati occupation and blockade of Yemen are considered legal by international law.

 

Resistance & Collaboration in Yemen

There are three rival governments in Yemen. In the capital Sana’a there is the Ansarullah-led government under which roughly 80% of the Yemeni population lives. In the capital of the former South Yemen, the port city of Aden, there are two governments, the Saudi-backed Hadi government, and the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) which controls Aden airport. However, only one of these governments is objectively independent, namely the government in Sana’a. Its armed forces are entirely comprised of Yemenis and are equipped with conventional arms drawn from Yemeni army stockpiles. The other two ‘governments’ collaborate with the foreign occupiers of their country to the point where the majority of their fighting strength is comprised of foreign mercenaries, putting them effectively under the control of the Saudis and Emiratis.

Despite being recognised as “official” and “legitimate”, the majority of the Hadi government’s fighting strength comes from foreign mercenaries recruited by Saudi Arabia, including most importantly, fighters from the ranks of al-Qaeda & Islamic State. Surveying the numbers of foreign mercenaries deployed to Yemen, it would appear that 84% of the fighting strength of the Hadi government is foreign. The STC is entirely dependent on the UAE and is confined to the port city of Aden, projecting very little influence beyond that city.


Image Composition of Forces, Yemen 2.pngImage Composition of Forces, Yemen 2.png

 

The government that is entirely made up of Yemenis is referred to by the corporate media as ‘Iranian backed rebels’, or worse, ‘Iranian proxies’, whereas the ‘governments’ that collaborate with the foreign military occupation of their nation which has inflicted nearly six years of mass starvation upon the people of Yemen, is referred to as the “legitimate government” thanks to the ethically bankrupt legalism of the UN.

According to the UN Security Council, the Hadi government is the “legitimate” government of Yemen despite its “president” (Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi) resigning from office in January 2015, before travelling to Saudi Arabia where after two years he was placed under house arrest by the Saudis, although “officially” his government is based in Aden, unlike him. This is because of UN resolution 2216 which put forward that Hadi represented Yemen, which could have been vetoed by Russia or China but wasn’t, thereby legalising the war on Yemen at the level of the UN.

 

Collaborators Divided

The blacklisting also exposes deep divisions among the Yemeni collaborationist forces, especially given that three days ago, the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) threatened to escalate hostilities with the Saudi-backed Hadi government, accusing the latter of violating the 2019 Riyadh Agreement that was intended to manage the disagreements between them.

When the war began in March 2015, the STC was part of the Hadi government, that is until Hadi dismissed Aidarus al-Zoubaidi from his post in Aden in April 2017, prompting the formation of the STC, which aims to re-establish the former South Yemen (but only the flag and territory, not the Marxist-Leninist ideology). This shows that the Aden airport bombings happened in the context of hostility between Saudi and UAE backed forces in the city, however, on the same day that the attack took place, the Hadi govt foreign minister immediately blamed Ansarullah, without any evidence, and before any investigation had taken place. Eleven days later, the event was being cited by the outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to justify blacklisting Ansarullah as a terrorist organisation.

The timing of the attacks with the subsequent blacklisting is suspicious.

For the record, Ansarullah has condemned the attack, and so did Iran. The Houthi deputy foreign minister of the government in Sana’a, Hussein al-Ezzi, issued a statement condemning the attack, and held “all the armed factions backed by the Saudi-UAE coalition fully responsible”, according to a YPA news report. More importantly, the Saudi-backed and UAE-backed forces in Yemen are accusing each other of being responsible for the attacks on Aden airport, revealing even greater weaknesses within collaborationist Yemen.

One member of the STC accused the Islah party militants within the Hadi government of being behind the attacks. According to STC leader Malik Al-Yazidi Al-Yafei, “the terrorist cells of the so-called Ahmed Al-Maysari [an Islahi militant] were the ones who targeted the airport”, and for that reason, the STC have refused to take part in the Hadi government’s investigation.

Accusations in the opposite direction have come from newspapers in Aden. One paper, Watan al-Ghad, accused the military attaché at Yemen’s embassy in the UAE, Shalal Shayea, of being involved in the bombings, its reasoning being that Shayea had “disembarked from the plane before the government delegation and left the airport immediately on a private armoured vehicle minutes before the explosion”. Apparently, media loyal to the Hadi government in Aden is also accusing the UAE.

After the violence, with 28 dead bodies and over 110 wounded at the scene, the Saudi occupation forces refused to even help transport the wounded from that location despite having the means to do so, especially when considering the Saudis spend around $200 million per day on the war. Perhaps the Saudis felt that helping the wounded was the responsibility of the UAE? Callous disregard for Yemeni lives has been the Saudi way thus far, even when those killed are on the same side of the war against the Ansarullah-backed government in Sana’a.

The most suspicious report regarding the Aden airport attack came on the day it happened. “According to informed sources in the airport”, the UAE-backed STC had, “confiscated the Aden international airport’s surveillance devices [two days] before the newly-formed Hadi government returned to Aden city”. Three days later, someone within the Hadi camp broke ranks, namely the former media advisor to the Saudi backed Hadi government, Anis Mansour. According to a paraphrased translation, he stated publicly that “the UAE and Saudi Arabia rushed to erase the crime scene inside the airport before completing the investigations and waiting for any international action to probe into the attack” – tell-tale signs of a false flag cover-up. Former Yemeni ambassador Abdullah Sallam al-Hakimi tweeted in support of this theory three days later (6 Jan). According to a paraphrased translation, “the Saudi-led coalition confiscated all the camera recordings and videos of media to erase evidence of attacks on Aden Airport”, before claiming that people were being shot by snipers. 

The contrasting disconnect between local and international news on Yemen is baffling. The two collaborationist polities in Yemen are accusing each other and their patrons, the Saudis and UAE, of carrying out the attack, but perhaps for international audiences, the Hadi government immediately blamed the Ansarullah movement, which appears to be the least involved in the city of Aden in general, thereby creating the pretext for the Pompeo statement. Therefore, it is entirely possible that this attack was staged to justify blacklisting the Ansarullah movement, which will only tighten the starvation blockade imposed on Yemen. 

Conclusion

There is a strong possibility that the Aden attacks were staged by the Saudis or UAE to give Pompeo the timely pretext for blacklisting Ansarullah. Given that the Hadi-Pompeo accusation against Ansarullah is not taken seriously in Yemen, the blacklisting also raises perceptions within the Yemeni collaborationist camp that the Saudis & Emiratis are willing to spill the blood of their own allies just to score political points against Ansarullah, which then only worsens the suffering of all Yemenis. Behind the smokescreen of the blacklisting lies the real problem for all occupation forces in Yemen, which is that there have been substantial defections to the side of the Houthi-led Yemeni national resistance over the past year, the Islahis and STC despise each other, and al-Qaeda and the Islahis are fighting each other. Despite having had the direct naval military assistance of the US, UK, and Australia to impose their genocidal blockade on Yemen, despite being armed by the military industries of the West, despite deploying over a hundred thousand mercenaries to Yemen, and despite weaponising mass starvation against Yemen, the US-Saudi-Emirati occupation forces have been unable to bring the Yemeni national resistance to kneel.

 

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