Early May 19th—an important day for anti-imperialists worldwide—the Yemeni Houthi forces expressed their solidarity with all those resisting amerikan imperialism and the repressive Saudi monarchy by firing a ballistic missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh, just ahead of Donald Trump’s arrival in the country. Although Saudi forces reported that the missile had been intercepted about 200 kilometers west of the city, it is nevertheless a powerful message to the genocidal imperialists and their lackeys. The Houthis have reassured the imperialists, through countless prior attacks on Saudi positions, that they will continue to fight until the invaders are defeated. The war in Yemen has now reached its second year, and although the front has remained stagnant with no significant Saudi gains, the casualties in Yemen are extraordinary with over 12,000 dead so far and millions suffering acute malnutrition and outright starvation.[1]

An International Plea

It is significant that such an attack was launched just before the arrival of the amerikan president in Saudi Arabia, whose visit to Riyadh has been hyped up for weeks. This was likely a move on the part of the Houthis to draw international attention to a war pushed out of the public mind through a near-total news blackout from the region. Very little on the genocidal conflict has managed to reach the united $tates especially, who is responsible for a great deal of logistical and material support to the compradore Yemeni troops under Hadi and the Saudi invaders. Additionally, Trump had scheduled the meeting with Saudi leaders in part to finalize a 100 billion-dollar weapons deal with Lockheed Martin with the possibility of THAAD deployment on the peninsula.[2] Such deployment intends to block any further retaliation on Saudi positions by Yemeni missiles.

At the time of writing, most big-name western media sources have ignored the story as the west continues to silence reports on the constantly worsening situation in Yemen. In this case, we should stand ready to do all we can in order to publicize the events going on in Yemen, as they are supremely relevant to the future of anti-imperialist struggle throughout the world, with grave consequences for whomever loses this conflict. A deployment of the THAAD system in the Arabian peninsula would be the second such aggressive act by the new u.$.F regime in their attempts to further confine anti-imperialist forces in the Third World. This comes less than a month after the deployment of similar systems on the Korean peninsula in order to further intensify their efforts against the Korean people.[3] We cannot remain silent in the face of acts of overt aggression in the Third World. Communists in the west have a strategic role to play in opposing further deployments and weapons deals. The task of the day is to ensure that the imperialists cannot deny the nature of this attack, nor any righteous counterattack of the world’s oppressed, nor the conflict of which it is a part.

The Saudi War on Shia

This attack comes at the close of a 9 day siege on the traditionally Shia Saudi town of Awamiyah by government forces. The siege was launched, as the Saudis have claimed, to silence the resistance of Shia militants after a series of deadly conflicts with authorities over the plan to demolish sections of historic Shia neighborhoods. Saudi sources claim workers came under fire from militants attempting to defend their neighborhood from the proposed “redevelopment” program which would have seen Shia residents displaced in order to make way for new commercial interests. The Saudi attack included the mobilization of the army which quickly closed the city and began their assault on the Shia neighborhoods believed to be housing “terrorists” and supporting dissenters. They used armored vehicles, automatic weapons and explosives to destroy homes and vehicles. During the siege, workers returned with bulldozers to resume the demolition of residential areas as planned, displacing the population. This is a genocidal attack on the Shia community, which has had its leaders routinely executed for their dissent against the Saudi government’s oppressive policies.[4]

It is clear that the escalation between Shia activists and the Saudi government is inspired in part by the heightened tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran, who has been the prime supporter of the Houthi government in Yemen. The Saudi government views the Shia population in the country as a fifth-column for the Iranian government and Houthis fighters. This fear has been validated many times in the minds of Saudi officials due to the consistent solidarity of Iranians with the plight of the Shia minority, even culminating in the attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran after the murder of Nimir Al-Nimir, an influential cleric from Awamiyah.[5] It demonstrates a profound instability in the Saudi state, and the willingness of the Shia minority to stand up against the oppressive imperialist-backed monarchy. Without the consistent backing of the Saudi regime by western imperialism, and the logistical support for Saudi militarism, the state could not withstand the intense pressure now put upon it by the combined resistance of anti-imperialist forces in the region.

It is tempting, to the liberals, to treat Saudi Arabia and their aggressive wars and oppression of Shia Muslims as entirely separate from amerikan/european interests in West Asia and North Afrika, but the opposite is true. Saudi actions are of supreme interest to the imperialist core, which not only plays an active role in Saudi stability for the sake of a West-Asian outpost, but also from the perspective of expanding neo-colonial power into Yemen and Iran. In fact, none of what is happening now would be possible if not for the intervention of the united $tates and europe, who have an expressed interest in the success of the Saudi project, not only against Yemen, but also for internal stability. In this light, the genocide of Shia Muslims is considered an unfortunate necessity for the sake of state solidity. Here the silence of the liberal mouthpieces—CNN, BBC, and so on—is more valuable than gold for the outright support of such violence. Make no mistake, there can be no distance put between amerikans and responsibility for the actions of the Saudi government.

This responsibility should not only provoke shame, but should also provoke action. If the real story will not be told by CNN or the BBC, those of us on the anti-imperialist left must tell this story ourselves. In lieu of greater action in support of anti-imperialist struggles in the region, we must organize among the forces for peace in order to block further deals which would bolster imperialist interests in Yemen and the Levant, and expose all imperialist crimes against the people of the Third World by our governments in collusion with the Saudi monarchy. Silence is violence. We cannot allow the blackout lead by western media to overshadow the ongoing genocide against Saudi Shia and the Yemeni people.

  1. Yemenis fire ballistic missile at Riyadh ahead of Trump visit: Report, Press TV and Stop the Genocide in Yemen!, Anti-Imperialism.org
  2. Trump signs Kushner-negotiated $100B Saudi arms deal, CNN
  3. U.S. Starts Deploying THAAD Antimissile System in South Korea, After North’s Tests, New York Times
  4. Two dead in Saudi town ‘siege’ against Shia militants, the Independent
  5. Ibid.

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Imperialism, Iran, Middle East, News and Analysis, US/Canada


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