By Finian Cunningham
August 18, 2013 “Information Clearing House” – “Sputnik” – The slaughter in Yemen just keeps getting worse, with civilians at the bloody forefront. Yet, shamefully – moreover tellingly – there is no uproar in the Western media.
The silence is in spite of the fact that Western governments are profiting massively from supporting the Saudi military actions in its southern neighbor. Where is the presumed high-minded Western journalism to investigate this horror?
In the latest atrocity, on Monday, more than 10 civilian patients and one staff at a hospital were killed when Saudi warplanes bombed the facility in the northern province of Hajjah. The hit was confirmed by French-based medical charity, Doctors Without Borders, which runs the hospital. It was the fourth time over the past year that a DWB facility in Yemen was targeted in air raids.
Only days before the latest hospital strike, 10 children were killed when their school was hit – again reportedly by Saudi warplanes – in the adjacent province of Saada.
Elsewhere this week there were reports of two women and two children killed in airstrikes on residential homes near the capital Sanaa. Also, five civilians died after the vehicle they were traveling in was hit from the air.
The US government issued a condemnation of the hospital attack and the Saudi military coalition stated that it was “investigating” the incident. Meanwhile, the Saudis denied the deadly strike on the school, claiming that it was a training center used by Houthi rebels. Local sources negated the Saudi claim, confirming that the victims were all young children.
Condemnation from Washington about the hospital strike may not amount to much beyond empty rhetoric aimed at deflecting from the atrocity. Last October, the US Air Force carried out an airstrike on a DWB hospital in northern Afghanistan, killing more than 30 people.
If Washington had any compunction about wiping out hospitals, and a will to stop inflicting further civilian “collateral damage”, then why does it continue to give full military and political support to Saudi Arabia in the latter’s year-and-a-half war on Yemen, where hospitals, schools and homes are bombed from the air on a weekly basis?
Last week, the Obama administration signed off a $1.5 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia. According to the Washington Post, the US has sold the Saudis a total of $20 billion in weapons over the past year.
Britain, France and Germany have also made a financial killing from selling weapons to the Saudi regime over the same period. Britain alone reportedly sold nearly $4 billion-worth of weaponry to the oil-rich kingdom in 2015.
Western arms exports include fighter jets, helicopter gunships, air-to-ground missiles, tanks and anti-missile defense systems.
Apart from the occasional verbal “concern” about civilian deaths in Yemen, Western governments have largely been mute on the slaughter occurring in that country.
Saudi Arabia and its regional allies – other Western-backed oil-rich dictatorships in the Persian Gulf – began attacking Yemen in March 2015. The so-called coalition waging war on the Arab region’s poorest country received, from the outset, diplomatic and military support from Western governments, even though the legal grounds were highly dubious. Arguably, what is happening to Yemen is out-and-out foreign aggression – a Nuremberg standard supreme crime – which Western countries are fully complicit in.
The official reasoning is that the Houthi rebels ousted President Mansour Hadi. The Saudis and the Western media typically refer to deposed Hadi regime as the “internationally recognized” government of Yemen. The implication is that the Houthi-led uprising is illegitimate. However, the ousted president is seen by many Yemenis as a corrupt puppet of Saudi Arabia and Washington.
The Western media also repeat the Saudi claim that the Houthi rebels are backed by Iran, which again serves to justify the Saudi military assault. There is no evidence for that claim, and Iran denies it. It is rather a propaganda device giving cover to Saudi Arabia for what is patently international aggression, a propaganda device that the Western media fully facilitate.
Since March 2015, some 10,000 Yemenis have been killed in the war. The United Nations has expressed “concern” about the rising number of children losing their lives. Again, such expressions don’t carry much weight. Where are UN sanctions on Saudi Arabia and its supporters in Washington, London and Paris?
There are none because the UN is a tool of Western geopolitics. An earlier condemnation of Saudi Arabia over Yemen by UN chief Ban Ki-Moon was quickly retracted after the Saudis threatened to cut off financial contributions to the world body.
The Western media have been studiously silent on the horror in Yemen. Regulars viewers of CNN, BBC or France 24 will rarely if ever see a report on the violence, never mind reports on how that violence is fueled by Western governments plying the Saudi regime with weapons.
Yet, these same media channels frequently carry unsubstantiated reports claiming that Syrian and Russian forces are responsible for striking hospitals in Syria’s battleground city of Aleppo.
Of course, the difference is that in Syria, Washington, London and Paris are seeking regime change in that country. So any information that purports to show the Syrian government and its Russia ally in a bad light is given prominence, even if unverified.
In Yemen, by contrast, the Western powers want to reinstall their ousted, corrupt puppet who is living in exile in Saudi Arabia. After more than 18 months of non-stop bombardment, which has left 80 per cent of Yemen’s 24 million population in dire deprivation, the Saudis and their Western allies are nowhere near reinstalling the exiled Hadi. So much for “internationally recognized government”!
Washington and London are not just plying the Saudis with the arsenal of weapons that are killing Yemenis en masse. The Americans and British are also actively coordinating the Saudi warplanes from logistics centers inside Saudi Arabia. There are also credible reports of American and British special forces working on the ground to assist Saudi-paid mercenaries, some of whom include the same kind of extremist jihadists operating in Syria.
As women and children continue to be torn to pieces by American, British and French warplanes and missiles in Yemen, there is a grim object lesson for the rest of the world. The Western media’s silence is not merely a dereliction of duty to inform the public. It is a revelation of the systematic criminality of Western so-called democracies.
Western claims of democratic values and respect for international law, human rights and freedom of independent media are seen for what they truly are. A cynical pretense to hide what is the ultimate value for the ruling capitalist powers – the freedom to exploit financial profits.
In Yemen, families are being slaughtered in their homes by Western-supplied and guided warplanes. All the while, the Western media is blacked out.
The only Western “value” of any consequence is the money that can be made from human lives. Yemen demonstrates how this vile predatory logic works: killing people, including women and children, means more profit, which in turn, requires more killing.
That abominable logic of Western capitalism must be kept hidden at all costs. Hence, Western media silence and blindness towards Yemen, and how the West is truly making a killing.