In Flames (II)

SANAA/RIYADH/BERLIN (Own report) – Saudi Arabia is using German fighter planes to wage its aerial warfare in Yemen. This has been reported in several Arabian Peninsula news articles independently from one another. According to these articles, the Eurofighter, which German arms manufacturers have played a significant role producing, are being used to carry out so-called precision bombing of the Houthi rebels. The Saudi-led aggression coalition, which is receiving military and intelligence aid from the USA, is also politically supported by Berlin. This war, causing a humanitarian catastrophe, is geostrategic in nature. Saudi Arabia’s ruling clan and the West are seeking to prevent Iran from gaining influence through the Houthis on the Arabian Peninsula. However, it is unclear whether the Houthis are even acting in Iran’s interests. But, according experts, it is clear that the Al Qaeda network, whose Yemeni wing claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks in Paris last January, will be the main beneficiary of this war. The West – Germany included – is deliberately risking al Qaeda’s reinforcement.

“Legitimate under International Law”

Germany is also politically supporting its closest Middle East ally, Saudi Arabia, in its latest war. Although German politicians are showing restraint in making public statements, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly stated that it prefers a “political solution” to the conflict. A speaker for the ministry has regularly reiterated that according to Germany’s legal interpretation, the Saudi-led coalition’s air attacks, are “legitimate under international law.” Riyadh has merely “intervened at the request of the Yemeni president in a highly dramatic situation.” Without question, this is admissible. “According to the rules of international law, it is legitimate, to render emergency aid at the request of a legitimate head of state.”[2] In this respect, the German government has “no reservations about the international legitimacy of the Saudis’ course of action.”

A Key Position

The war must be viewed in the context of a regional power struggle and western geostrategic interests. On the one hand, Saudi Arabia and Iran have always been rivals in a struggle for hegemony in the Persian Gulf. Iran has had a clear advantage since the West has virtually eliminated Irak, another Iranian rival in 2003. In this power struggle, the West supports Riyadh, considered more acquiescent. German arms manufacturers have significantly helped to upgrade the Saudi armed forces. ( reported.[4]) Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi has been a strong ally of Saudi Arabia and the West. The United States was therefore able to use a military base north of Aden to wage its “anti-terror” drone war on the Arab Peninsula. It is unthinkable that the Houthis would endorse this war. “The Houthi rebels are puppets of the Iranian government,” declared Hadi, Yemen’s overthrown president. “If the Houthis are not stopped, they are destined to become the next Hezbollah, deployed by Iran to threaten the people in the region and beyond.”[5] Even though most experts consider this assessment as exaggerated, fear of Iranian strategic advantages are driving the Saudis to war – and the West to support this war. Yemen’s seaport Aden is of great geostrategic importance because of its location at the Bab el-Mandeb strait, the access to the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, to the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean. Henner Fürtig, Middle East expert of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) concludes, “whoever controls Aden, has a key international position.”[6]

Déjà vu

Yemen is not the first geostrategic war, where the risk was taken that jihadist forces could be reinforced. Saudi Arabia’s Osama Bin Laden was one of the West’s allies in the 1980s’ war in Afghanistan.[10] At that time, the enemy was the Soviet Union, today, it is Iran. However, as far as the reinforcement of al Qaeda is concerned, it appears that one could quicker lose control of the war in Yemen, than had been the case in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Full article: In Flames (II) (German Foreign Policy)

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