As an imperialist nation, Britain routinely violates the sovereignty of other countries in the course of its search for investments and new returns on capital. Any nation that Britain puts in its crosshairs can expect to become the victim of a massive propaganda onslaught, which will make much use of such nauseating double-speak as ‘humanitarian intervention’, ‘democracy’, ‘rule of law’, ‘human rights’, etc.
At the same time as these operations are taking place, the same ‘humanitarian’ media and politicians ignore the real humanitarian crises that are taking place around the globe – like the ongoing catastrophe in Congo, for example, where the people are becoming ever poorer and more brutalised as a result of having had the misfortune to be born in a land rich in resources.
British corporate media are especially adept at ignoring the humanitarian crises for which Britain itself bears prime responsibility.
A day after a Lords committee declared British weapons sales to Saudi Arabia to be unlawful, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt was in Germany chastising his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, for refusing to sell certain arms components to the Saudis. (Britain’s Saudi weapons sales unlawful, Lords committee finds by Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 16 February 2019)
“I am very concerned about the impact of the German government’s decision on the British and European defence industry and the consequences for Europe’s ability to fulfil its Nato commitments,” Hunt chided Mr Maas. (Jeremy Hunt urges Germany to rethink Saudi arms sales ban by Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 20 February 2019)
Saudi Arabia, let’s not forget, is a barbaric theocratic dictatorship waging an incredibly brutal war on Yemen, which has resulted in famine for 7 million of Yemen’s 28 million people (that is, for one quarter of the population).
As west gears up for regime change in Venezuela, Yemen is largely absent from corporate media
The war against Yemen was launched by Saudi Arabia to restore a regime that the Yemeni people had overthrown because of its failure to protect their interests. It is supported by the imperialists because their arms sales to Saudi Arabia are so good for business and for propping up imperialist industries that are reeling from the capitalist economic crisis.
What was supposed to be a ‘quick win’ became, as a result of the fierce resistance of the Yemeni people, a protracted war from which the Saudis are now unable to extricate themselves without considerable loss of face.
As a result of the most brutal blockade and sanctions, which are being enforced by the Saudis in the hope of bringing Yemen’s resisting people to their knees, fourteen million people could soon be dependent on aid for food. The famine in Yemen is becoming one of the worst in living memory. (Famine in Yemen could become one of worst in living memory by Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian, 20 February 2019)
The difference between the famine in Yemen and the economic crisis in Venezuela could not be more stark. You do not have to do much research into Yemen to find thousands of pictures of starving children, their skin stretched taut over their emaciated frames.
The imperialist-engineered economic crisis in Venezuela is in no way comparable, despite the hardships that it is managing to bring to the masses, yet our media are filled with emotional calls to action ‘to oust the dictator Maduro’ – in order, allegedly, to ‘help’ the ‘downtrodden’ and ‘starving’ masses.
There are no similar calls to oust Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), who orders the execution of opposition journalists with bone saws and is the architect of the famine in Yemen. In fact, we’ve seen a robust defence of Mohammed bin Salman by both British and the US imperialist politicians and media.
“‘The link that we have with Saudi Arabia is historic; it is an important one, and it has saved the lives of potentially hundreds of people in this country,’ said prime minister Theresa May, pausing her answer briefly as opposition lawmakers cried ‘Shame!’ She was alluding to intelligence-sharing on islamist militant suspects.” (May defends Saudi ties as crown prince gets royal welcome in London by William James, Reuters, 5 March 2018)
US president Donald Trump did not even bother to cloak his support for the Saudis in such ‘security of the people’ clothing. Instead he embarrassed his masters by nakedly reminding his audience that Saudi business brings a massive amount of money into the USA.
“I don’t like stopping massive amounts of money that’s been pouring into our country. They are spending 110 billion on military equipment,” he said. (Trump defends Saudi arms sales amid fury over missing writer by Matthew Pennington and Catherine Lucey, Associated Press, 11 October 2018)
Meanwhile, Trump’s regime is working overtime for the overthrow of Venezuela’s legitimate and popular government, headed by Nicolás Maduro, hoping to install in its place a puppet regime headed by Juan Guaidó, who spent over a decade living in the US and has been groomed for his regime change role by a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive director. (The making of Juan Guaidó: How the US regime change laboratory created Venezuela’s coup leader by Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, Global Research, 20 February 2019)
The IMF, let’s not forget, is an imperialist-controlled financial organisation that offers predatory loans to developing countries. When they inevitably can’t keep up with the extortionate rates of interest, IMF hit-men arrive and enforce a ‘restructuring’ plan that involves the forced sell-off of public assets to foreign capital. The effect is to cut huge swathes of the poorest from access to basic necessities like water, sanitation, education and healthcare as profit becomes the determining factor in provision.
With regard to the crisis in Yemen, there are plenty of things the British government could do if it really wanted to stop the emergency. First, and most importantly, Britain and US have the ability to end the war tomorrow by withdrawing their support for the Saudi armed forces, which could not operate or run air their bombing campaigns without it.
They choose to do the opposite, despite all the crocodile tears being shed over the fate of the innocent civilians whose lives are being destroyed as a result – and whom the imperialists are in fact quite happy to use as blackmailing chips to try to crush the will of the Yemeni resistance.
According to a 2016 United Nations report: “At least 7.6 million people, including three million women and children are currently suffering from malnutrition and at least three million people have been forced to flee their homes.” (Zeid urges accountability for violations in Yemen, Office of the high commissioner, 25 August 2016)
The report further outlined the litany of war crimes that the ‘Saudi-led-coalition’ is committing in Yemen: “The perpetuation of the conflict and its consequences on the population in Yemen are devastating. The international community … has a legal and moral duty to take urgent steps to alleviate the appalling levels of human despair.”
The report contained examples of the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that occurred between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2016, including attacks on residential areas, marketplaces, medical and educational facilities, and public and private infrastructure; the use of landmines and cluster bombs; sniper attacks against civilians; deprivation of liberty; targeted killings; the recruitment and use of children in hostilities; and forced evictions and displacement.
In several of the documented military attacks, the report stated that the UN human rights commissioner’s office was unable to identify the presence of possible military objectives: “In numerous situations where military targets could be identified, there remain serious concerns as to whether the incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects that could be expected from the attack were not excessive in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage apparently sought.”
Why Britain is lobbying Germany to resume arms sales to the Saudi despots
Britain is part of a consortium manufacturing jets and other armaments alongside Italy and Spain. The German ban on selling arms to Saudi Arabia is having an adverse effect on the ability of British arms peddler BAE Systems to supply planes to the Saudis, as it is reliant on German manufacturer Rheinmetall to provide certain key components.
Such a naked display of lobbying for the bourgeois interest on behalf of the arms industry reveals the prevalence of corruption in capitalist Britain. Rheinmetall, for its part, is trying to sue the German government over the losses it is incurring as a result of the ban. (Germany maintains Saudi arms sales ban, declines to heed Britain plea, Sputnik, 22 February 2019)
Every effort must be made to defend Venezuela from the imperialists who wish to see it reduced to rubble. It is to be hoped that the masses have seen enough of the catastrophe inflicted on the people of Libya and Iraq to have learned the true purpose of imperialist media lies in paving the way for imperialist wars of aggression.
At the same time, our voices must be amplified by action in opposing arms sales and military assistance to the mediaeval Saudi regime, which has time and time again targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure, and which is acting as an arm of colonial policy towards the people of Yemen.