Iraq is the latest flash point. This is not a case of Iranian expansionism either. Saddam somewhat repressed the Shia, although millions of Shia were Baath Party members, and most of the army were Shia.
When the US military rolled through the Shia cities of the South during the Gulf War, they expected a warm welcome. It was the other way around. A convoy would be driving down a street in Nasariyah with nary a problem in sight. They got halfway down the street when the whole street opened up on them with automatic weapons and RPG’s. Most of them were hiding on rooftops. These were Shia Baath Party people, Shia Iraqi military veterans and also a lot of Shia who were simply Iraqi nationalists who would rather live with Saddam than be conquered by foreign invaders.
Of course, our criminal, Nazi-like war of aggression against the Iraqi people resulted in the overthrow of Sunni rule. With democracy, obviously a Shia government was elected, as 60% of the population is Iraq is Shia. The US and Israel are now screaming that Iraq is a case of Iranian expansionism. The Hell it is. It’s a case of democracy! The Shia are the majority, so democratic elections of course elected a Shia government. Democracy in action. I guess the US and Israel are opposed to democracy now?
Of course the new Shia government has friendly ties with Iran. The Shia Alawi government of Syria also has close ties with Iran. The Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon has close ties with Iran. None of this is “Iranian expansionism” or “Iran conquering the Arab world.” Instead these are Shia populations in the Arab World who have formed a natural and normal confessional alliance with Shia Iran. Shia are going to ally with Shia. What do you expect them to do?
In Yemen, the Shia are 45% of the country. This group is called Zaidis, and they are barely even Shia. They only differ from Yemeni Sunnism on one or two things. While most Zaidis call themselves Shia, some call themselves Sunnis, and others say that they are both Sunni and Shia. So the sect isn’t even pure Shia according to their own members.
A tribal group in the north called Houthis who are mostly Zaidi launched a very popular civil war from the north all the way to the south of the country, eventually overthrowing the government. The US- and Saudi-installed president, a man named Hadi, was airlifted out to Saudi Arabia where he continued to insist that he ran the country. Hadi was very unpopular, and frankly most Yemenis hated him.
The Houthi revolt had the support of the majority of Yemenis. The Yemeni Army was loyal to a former president named Saleh, who was also a Houthi Shia. Most of the Yemeni Army, 70-80%, went over to the side of the Houthis. So the vast majority of the army goes over the side of the armed revolution that overthrows the state, and the revolution is still not legitimate? Well, when is a revolution legitimate then?
The US went along with this folly and insisted that Hadi was still the real president of the country. Well, no he wasn’t. Ever heard of a revolution? When an armed revolution happens and overthrows the government, the new armed group is the new government. I would say they are even under international law. Revolutions have been a legitimate way to overthrow states forever now. Or do we now say that all revolutions are illegitimate? Would that apply to our own revolution then? That would have to be illegitimate too, right, because the US says that armed revolutions cannot install legitimate governments?
The remaining 25% of the Yemeni Army started fighting the Houthis, but they were close to defeat. Suddenly, the Saudis, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, and Sudan all jumped into the war and attacked Yemen. They invaded Yemen, a sovereign country. That’s a Nazi like war of aggression, illegal under international law. Yet the US and UK gave full support to this invasion.
Since that time, the Saudis have been bombing all over the country. The Saudi and UAE militaries also invaded, but they did not get far. They set up a few garrisons, but they came under constant attack and suffered heavy casualties. The Saudi military is terrible and is not capable of fighting any war. The UAE military is about as bad. The US has been supplying intelligence and command and control facilities to the invaders from the beginning. At least 10,000 Yemenis are dead at the hands of the US and the UK in this sickening war. Whenever the Saudis start running low on bombs, we rush-deliver more bombs to them.
Al Qaeda has a large presence in Yemen, and they quickly waged war against the Houthis and Saleh’s army. The Gulf states have been funneling supplies to Yemeni Al Qaeda ever since the invasion, using them to help overthrow the Shia Houthis. When the war started, Saudi Arabia and the UAE flew 300-400 ISIS and Al Qaeda jihadis from Syria down to Yemen to fight against the Houthi. The UAE and the Saudis continue to run jihadis into Yemen, typically by ship. The Saudis have never launched one attack against the Al Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen, and the US has had a quite but not completely hands-off policy too, as the US and UK are using ISIS and Al Qaeda in Yemen to overthrow the Houthi.
The Houthi takeover had nothing to do with “Iranian expansionism.” That’s a paranoid lie of a fever dream. The Shia are 45% of Yemen. The Houthis have always been very popular in Yemen. In fact, the Shia Houthis ruled Yemen for centuries with no problems whatsoever. Even many Sunni Yemenis say they support the Houthi because they say that the Houthis know how to run the country. The Houthis have some friendly relations with Iran, but it boils down to little more than moral support. US and Israeli charges of the Iranians running weapons to the Houthis appear to be complete lies.
One thought on “The "Iranian Expansionism" Lie: How the US and UK Have Joined the Gulf Arab War against the Shia: The Cases of Iraq and Yemen”
Robert, some of the information is wrong.
First of all, I wouldn’t use the word Houthi for an ethnicity. Think of Houthis as Hezbollah in Lebanon. It is a political/social/religious movement. The Houthi movement began in the north where a part of the tribal confederation of Bakil resides. Saleh is Zaidi, but not Bakil. He’s not Houthi. His clan/tribe is a part of Hashid tribal confederation, which was more supportive of government. Hadi is not Shia Zaidi, he is Sunni; he’s not Houthi.
A read a bit about Yemen, and the situation and history there is interesting. Houthis seem to be an effective and popular movement like Hezbollah. It was ineffectiveness/weakness of preceding governments which have created them. I would also understand if say Adenis would oppose Houthi occupation of Aden. Groups such as Houthis also bring tensions; other ethnicities might not want them. But still these groups are effective and rather progressive.
And they have strong enemies (also bringing tensions) – Muslim Brotherhood affiliated party Al-Islah, not to mention Al Qaeda and similar jihadis, and also Saudi Arabia, which was exporting Salafism to Zaidi lands, which was a strong contributing factor why Houthi movement emerged.