By continuing to sell weapons to a known violator that has done little to curtail its abuses, the US, UK, Canada, Israel and France risk being complicit in unlawful civilian deaths.
Over 8,900 Yemenis have died in the onslaught, according to Sheba Rights.
Schools, electric grids, water towers, factories, hospitals, cultural heritage sites, NGOs, and residential areas have been levelled by the fury dispensed by Riyadh, earmarked for destruction so Yemenis would be made to suffer absolute destitution.
(left, starving child)
Adding insult to injuries, Riyadh arranged for Yemen to be completely sealed off from the rest of the world -- an isolated political pariah which had to be broken and starved before being allowed back into the kingdom's fold as a pliable vassal of the House of Saud.
Dr. Riaz Karim, the director of the Mona Relief Organization, one of the very few truly independent NGOs based in Yemen, attested to the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Yemen as a result of Riyadh's aggression.
"Yemen is a veritable humanitarian black hole. I have witnessed firsthand the destruction and the despair civilians have been put through under al-Saud's draconian siege," Karim told MintPress News. "Hospitals have long run out of medicine -- no antibiotics, no anaesthetic, no pain relief in any form."
A jewel among all geopolitical jewels, Yemen today is to Saudi Arabia what India was to the Crown in the 19th century. Both a bridge and an access point onto several continents, Yemen also happens to possess vast natural resources, rich arable lands, and water.
It's also a geostrategic key to the world's oil route, Bab-el-Mandeb, and holds the promise of an alternative to the Strait of Hormuz through the construction of an oil pipeline in the eastern province of Hadramawt.
With Yemen as its vassal, Saudi Arabia stands to eclipse not just Iran, but any contender to its might through an almost absolute monopoly over the world's oil route.
"The geopolitical importance of Yemen cannot be ignored. The country controls entry into the Red Sea (towards the Suez Canal) and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which although less important than the Strait of Hormuz, is the point of passage for oil and gas on its way to Europe," wrote Alain Gresh in April 2015 in a report published for The New Arab....
For fear of upsetting the wealthy and growing Saudi lobby the international community has mostly chosen to [ignore the slaughter], only too aware of the lucrative contracts a "friendly Saudi Arabia" could offer in exchange for political pliability.
"For Yemen dared imagine itself free, for Yemen had the audacity to stand in rejection of Riyadh's U.S.-backed imperialism, an entire nation was allowed to suffer the abomination of a genocidal war, a war so violent and murderous that not even the most Saudi-sold and Saudi-controlled NGOs and other international institutions have been able to keep mum," noted Kim Sharif, founder and head of The International League for Yemen War Crimes, to MintPress.
For the sake of appearances, and likely to justify the military violence which Riyadh's military coalition unleashed upon Yemen, this war has been sold as a legitimate struggle against Iran's covert militantism.
Touted as a necessary evil set in motion to return Yemen to its democratic transition and to prevent Tehran from claiming yet another capital to its growing coalition of allies, the so-called "Shia Crescent," which Saudi Arabia and its Western backers have been so intent on portraying as a nefarious development.
Writing for The Huffington Post on Feb. 8, Akbar Shahid Ahmed explained: "The Saudis see Yemen a key arena for their regional competition with Iran. They and the U.S. both say Iran has supported the Houthis as a thorn in Saudi Arabia's side."
Iran's role and pull in Yemen have long been overblown and taken out of context. More than that, though, experts have mostly misinterpreted Iran's real connection to Yemen, playing into pre-packaged propaganda instead of assessing geopolitical realities.
However, this has not prevented Saudi Arabia from playing the Iranian card ad nauseam....
In November 2014, Asher Orkaby wrote for the Washington Institute: "For its part, the foreign media has portrayed the Houthi rebellion in global terms of religious sectarianism, Iranian foreign policy, and al-Qaeda, while largely ignoring local Yemeni factors." ...
The Houthi-led resistance movement has been conflated with Iran's alleged Shi'ization campaign, an argument which echoes a dangerously rancid xenophobia.
"The Saudis' principal aim - to restore Yemen's deposed President, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi - has not been achieved. If they hoped to contain spreading Iranian regional influence, that has not worked, either," Simon Tisdall wrote for the New Zealand Herald in March 2015.
This race for access and control is the true red line between Iran and Saudi Arabia that's at the heart of the war on Yemen. Sectarianism was only ever played up as a weapon of mass deception and mass distraction.
Yemen was thrown into the fires of war so its land and the power it hides would remain under the control of Riyadh and, by extension, the United States.
Yet Yemen's oil and gas reserves pale in comparison to that of its neighbors. The country's true strength lies in its geography, even if foreign oil and gas companies' interests suggest the country has more to offer than officials might have proclaimed.
With over 1,000 miles of coastline, this poorest nation of Arabia sits atop the world's most strategic chokepoint. Should Gulf monarchies lose control over it, the Arab world as we know it would simply cease to exist. This is why Riyadh's call for war was answered so fervently by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and their regional and global allies.
What would happen if unruly Yemen were to unite with non-aligned Iran and resist an imperialist power-grab in the region? What power would the Islamic Republic hold over those nations which long sought to curtail its independence?
Indeed, Yemen's war was devised long ago as a last attempt to protect interests regional players cannot afford to abandon. Everything else is mere political decorum.
Before taking sides in a matter that most readers weren't thinking about when they got out of bed this morning, if you want to be fair, you have to study the history of Yemen for the last four decades at least. I have, and to be fair, neither Saudi Arabia, the United States or even Israel started the civil war in Yemen.
The Saudis left Yemen alone during the four decades they were ruled by the stereotype Reagan-era perpetual President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who took power in 1978 with a bloody coup. The recent civil war wasn't the first one. The last Yemeni Civil War was in 1994 between Ali Abdullah Saleh's 'union' forces and separatist Socialists that tried to split Yemen in two. The Saudi's didn't feel threatened because it was a strictly secular power struggle between the Kleptocracy and Socialists in 1994. They also didn't intervene during the turbulence of Yemeni internal power struggles to wrest power from Saleh that went on since 2006 to 2012. In 2011 "Arab Spring" erupted in Yemen. Initially Saleh feigned concession to step down at the end of his term in 2013, but soon as the protesters went home he announced moves to make his term permanent. A the resulting protest troops opened fire into the crowd, killing 52 and injuring 200.
Wikileaks release of US State Department cables reveal some of their involvement in backing the leader of the largest tribe to keep massive crowds on the streets until Saleh cut a deal to step down in return for immunity from charges. The deal was arbitrated by the 'Gulf Cooperation Council'; which includes the monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Oman. But Saleh welshed on the deal. A month later a bomb exploded, seriously injuring Seleh and several members of his cabinet. The son-of-a-bitch still clung to power, while gun battles became common in the streets, and several of Seleh's party were killed in ambush. Finally he signed the State Department backed deal,On 27 February 2012, Saleh formally ceded power to his deputy Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Soon as Hadi took charge, it was obvious that he got along with the US State Department. Three years ago Hadi formed a 'National Dialogue Conference' of regional tribes, proposing a 'power sharing' government. This approach would try to balance power equally between factions. The Houthi didn't like it, so they took the city of Sana'a by violence in 2014. Thus the civil war was begun by Zaydi Muslims loyal to Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, a powerful tribal leader from the northern Saada Governorate. This prompted their rival tribes and old enemies to take up arms too. Islamists from Yemen's Islah party attacked the Houthis in Dammaj.
So this is the sort of circumstances that have resulted in this current mess in Yemen.
We shouldn't ignore the fact that Saudi Arabia stayed out of Yemen's domestic affairs for decades until the Houthis seized control in the Yemeni civil war.
The Houthis are Zaydi sect Shiites. They are a minority among Yemeni Zaydis: the Houthi are a militant deviant of Zaidism, essentially another Hezbollah.
I don't like the Saudis or the US State Department, but whether I like them or not has nothing to do with the situation. We shouldn't ignore the fact that Saudi Arabia stayed out of Yemen's domestic affairs for decades until the Houthis seized control in the Yemeni civil war. We have no right to expect them to be neutral when an obvious Iran Shia proxy is taking over strategically crucial Yemen. Indeed, the Houthis leader Abdul-Karim Badreddin Al-Houthi will have to rely on backing from Iran to keep him in power over his tribal enemies.
Also if the Houthis win, Iran will gain the same control of the mouth of the Red Sea as they already have of the Straight of Hormuz. And that would be pretty well "checkmate" for Saudi oil tanker access to the sea.
I don't like any of the dirty business either, but that's the truth of the situation.