What About Yemen

Bottom line up front: there's a waterway - that connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden - called the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. Situated between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, the Mandeb strait is absolutely vital to commercial sea transport. Which explains why regional and global powers seek to control it. That's the geostrategic underpinning of the war being waged on Yemen. And, of course, like all modern conflicts in Southwest Asia, there's US fingerprints all over this mess. Though while their meddlesome behavior and hegemonic aims in the region remain problematic, to say the least, what strikes me most is the duplicitous nature with which the United States and its allies have navigated the politics of this war.

Much like the conflict in Ukraine, the war against Yemen revolves around this notion of legitimacy. Which of the opposing sides, which one of the warring parties, has the legitimate right to rule Yemen? And like in Ukraine, as well as in Syria, the US intrudes speaking of democracy while promoting regime change. With regard to Yemen, the US-Saudi led coalition considers their puppet of choice, Mansur Hadi, to be the rightful leader. Even though Hadi was chosen as president for only a two-year transitional period. In an election in which he was the only candidate. And a transitional period which has since come to an end. Former president Hadi has also since fled the country to join his benefactors in Riyadh.

Meanwhile, the people of Yemen seem to have decided on a different course. Various Yemeni resistance groups, led by Ansar Allah [more commonly known the Houthis], have violently opposed the continued Saudi meddling in Yemeni affairs. But it wasn't long after indigenous groups seized critical infrastructure and multiple cities, including the capital, Sana'a, that the Saudi royal family and their regional partners began using American planes to drop American bombs on the poorest nation in the Arab world. The Gulf monarchies claim that their illegal intervention was at the request of the former president. Which brings us right back to legitimacy.

I personally think the term "legitimate government" is among the more consequential oxymorons and has no place in the lexicon of free-thinking individuals. Government is external authority and is, by definition, illegitimate. However, the manner in which the people of Yemen are organized and led can only be determined by Yemenis. Even though their geostrategic goals are well-served by Saudi military aggression, it's not Washington who decides. Although US armaments have empowered the Saudi monarchs with enormous military capabilities, it's not Riyadh who decides. Yemen's future is ultimately determined by those fighting for its territorial sovereignty, by those struggling for its political independence, by those who eat, sleep, love, laugh, pray, live and die in Yemen. As for the other parties involved there, they can be summed up in one word - illegitimate.