ANOTHER week, another series of bombing raids in Yemen by the United States and its ever-reliable poodle the United Kingdom. According to President Biden (or “Genocide Joe”, to give Israel’s most powerful supporter his increasingly popular nickname) and Rishi Sunak, these military assaults on one of the poorest nations on Earth have two main characteristics.

Firstly, say the US and UK governments, the bombing raids are successfully targeting the military capacity of the Houthi rebels (who have, in recent months, been attacking vessels in the Red Sea). Secondly, they have nothing to do with current events in Gaza and do not risk an escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

These statements serve only to support the suspicion of millions around the world that, in the arena of geopolitics, there are lies, damned lies and Western foreign policy pronouncements.

For a start, the American/British attacks on Yemen are not, as stated, incapacitating the Houthis (the Shia rebel group which, despite a horrific seven-year war with the West’s ally Saudi Arabia, continues to control much of Yemen).

According to leading analyst Ibrahim Jalal of the Middle East Institute, the US/UK attacks on Yemen have little chance of achieving their supposed military objective of stopping Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

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Quoted in The Washington Post, Jalal said that the bombing was “symbolic”, rather than meaningful in military terms.

This analysis, he continued, was based upon an understanding of the Houthis’s years of experience of evading and surviving massive Saudi bombardments which killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni civilians, but left the Shia rebel group intact.

The Houthis, said Jalal, have “little in the way of large-scale, permanent military sites … Instead [they] use mobile launchpads for rockets and drones in addition to networks of tunnels and caves that make their targeting highly complicated”.

In other words, the on-going US/UK military action in Yemen is a futile attempt to be seen to be “doing something” about the disruption to world trade represented by the Houthi actions. But every new bombing raid is an admission of failure, underlined by the continuation of Houthi attacks on shipping.

More than that, the political rhetoric on Yemen from the Biden and Sunak administrations is mendacious in the extreme. We hear over and over that the Houthis are merely an “Iranian proxy” group: this is a gross over-simplification that ignores the historical and political roots of the movement and its huge base of support in Yemeni society, as evinced by the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets of the capital city Sana’a on January 12 in protest at the US/UK attacks and in support of the Palestinians.

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Those in the Western media who regurgitate the “Iranian proxy” line on the Houthi movement would never dream of describing the Israeli genocidaires or the Egyptian military junta as mere “Western proxies”.

Yet the levels of economic and military aid the US provides to Tel Aviv and Cairo (among other regimes in the Middle East) dwarfs the support that the likes of the Houthis, Hezbollah and Hamas receive from Tehran.

As an anti-imperialist and a believer in democracy, I want the governance of the Middle East to be in the hands of the people, not divided between rival camps in Riyadh and Tehran. I want to see the back of the regimes of Khamenei in Iran and Assad in Syria as passionately as I want an end to the Western-backed dictatorships in the likes of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

That said, when it comes to imperialism and repression, no-one in the Arab or Persian world is going to take any lectures from the West.

The UK Government’s insistence on its right to bomb Yemen is particularly obscene given the history of the British Empire in that country.

For more than a century (until the final expulsion of the British from their port colony in Aden in 1967) Britain maintained a brutal presence in Yemen.

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More recently, UK arms manufacturers were chief providers of weapons for Saudi Arabia’s mass slaughter in Yemen between 2015 and 2022. As the Campaign Against Arms Trade says: “The [UK] government has refused to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite overwhelming evidence of violations of International Humanitarian Law in Yemen.

“Since 2015, bombing by the Saudi-led coalition has targeted schools and hospitals, food supplies, weddings and funerals, with UK weapons playing a central role. UK rules prohibit exports in such circumstances, but the government refuses to stop the sales.”

It is little wonder, then, that the Yemeni people reject entirely the idea that the UK has any moral authority in their country.

Which leads us to the other enormous lie embedded in the statements on the bombing of Yemen coming from the White House and Downing Street. The US/UK raids have, say Biden and Sunak, nothing to do with Israel’s onslaught in Gaza.

Across the Middle East and beyond this claim is, quite rightly, laughed out of court. The Houthis’s stated objective in attacking shipping in the Red Sea is to disrupt the maritime trade of Israel and its allies in solidarity with the Palestinians.

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In attacking Yemen, the US and UK have become combatants on the side of their ally Israel. The US/UK bombing of Yemen exposes the massive moral hypocrisy at the heart of Western foreign policy.

The world can see that Washington and London not only tolerate, but actually facilitate Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Yet, while Palestinians are murdered and maimed in their tens of thousands, the priority of Western foreign policy is to keep the profits flowing through the Red Sea.

If, instead of backing Israel, the US and UK governments demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the threat to commercial shipping heading up to the Suez Canal could be ended tomorrow. The message from the Houthis is that the West can have a secure shipping route or they can have the Israeli genocide, but they can’t have both.