Fri Sep 2, 2016 4:5PM
Yemeni explosives experts from the police department gather around an unexploded rocket dropped by a Saudi air strike in Tahrir Square, in the centre of the capital Sana’a, on September 1, 2016. (AFP photo)
Yemeni explosives experts from the police department gather around an unexploded rocket dropped by a Saudi air strike in Tahrir Square, in the centre of the capital Sana’a, on September 1, 2016. (AFP photo)
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Press TV has conducted an interview with Catherine Shakdam, a Middle East expert, to discuss Saudi Arabia’s ongoing military aggression against Yemen.

Here is a rough transcription of the interview:

 

Press TV: It is almost tiring to speak of the Saudi war on Yemen day after day as the casualties mount, however we are not seeing any action being taken on the ground against it?

Shakdam: No whatsoever and the Saudis have been quite clever in the way that they have constructed this, this narrative war where they have boots, the UN silence, they have made sure that they continue to buy weapons from Western powers which means that Western capitals have had, to some degree, to sit by and watch Yemen burn because they are making a lot of money out of it and it is actually fitting within their own foreign policy agendas in terms of crushing popular movements and trying to basically impose a certain political rhetoric in the Middle East.

I do not think that any Western capital who is like to see political self-empowerments in the Middle East especially not in Yemen because Yemen is a very geostrategic country in the Middle East. It opens up to Asia, Africa, beyond the Middle East, and of course Europe and it is very important. Everybody is fighting over Yemen right now. This is just the reality. Nobody wants the Yemenis to be in charge. And this is not just sad; it is criminal at this point where it is more than 10,000 people [that] have died by the way. I think the number is grossly underestimated … and I am just talking about civilian casualties, I am not talking about resistance fighters or the military.     

So this is a grand catastrophe that we see unfolds in southern Arabia and nobody seems to kind of realize the danger that Yemen represents actually to fall within the hands of Wahhabi Saudi Arabia. Nobody seems to get it and I think that it is a very sad state of affair.

That being said, the resistance is actually taking matters in their own hands and they are now actually looking outside for support and support is coming to them.      

Press TV: It has been almost a year and a half of war for the people in Yemen; we have spoken of how it is a humanitarian catastrophe in the making. However, as you have just pointed out that Yemen is of extreme geostrategic importance, so how long can the people of Yemen hold off?

Shakdam: It is a very good question.  I do not know. If you just look at them already I think that 18 months of resistance against over 36 countries including several military superpowers says a lot about the type of resistance that Yemen has demonstrated. This country for me represents the epitome of courage and bravery. They have gone beyond the call of duty, I would say, because they have had to handle tremendous hardship, difficulty of the likes I do not think that any country in our history has ever seen before.  And so, again it is a credit to the Yemeni people.

 That being said, I think that countries in the region, those at least who understand what resistance means and who understand what it is to have self political determination understand now and have understood for quite some time that Yemen needs help.  

Their problem is always about timing and so it is about taking into consideration the power dynamic at place, well not to make things actually worse for Yemen and you have to remember too that Yemen had to ask for help. If Yemen does not ask for help, then help cannot come because of course countries such as Russia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, we never intervened in Yemen unless they are actually invited in, unless there is some kind of a political consensus in Yemen where the Yemeni people want to see help coming from outside and it would mean that if help was to come, then we are facing a potential escalation in terms of the military intervention and fight where Saudi Arabia could actually declare war on other countries and because of the alliance that it has, other countries could actually declare war too on those who are coming to help Yemen. So it is a very difficult dynamic.

That being said, I think that when it comes to again resistance, resistance does not abide by the rules of international law as we understand them today or political dynamics as we understand them today. Resistance will do what resistance wants to do because it withholds popular legitimacy.

So I think that when you see the resistance going to Iraq for example to call for support and support was given at least politically, it is very important. You can see today that the resistance is actually shaping its own destiny and not waiting for Western powers to do something. It is not waiting for Saudi Arabia to just give up. It is going to make them give up because there is no other way but forward.

Again, the Houthis went into Saudi Arabia and nobody talks about that but they are actually in Najran, in Asir which are southern Saudi provinces and they have made great headways there. The Saudis are being defeated on their own ground never mind Yemen. All they have managed to do so far is just destruction and random killing of civilians but in terms of military gain nothing has been achieved whatsoever. In terms of political gain nothing has been achieved whatsoever. All they are really good at is genocide. All they are really good at is killing people but they are not succeeding anything else and so the resistance has already won by those standards.

When you see Houthi fighters, resistance fighters going inside Saudi Arabia barefoot and managing to take over  military airports and making Saudi military run for their lives, this is to tell you just how determined the resistance movement is in Yemen and they are winning.

And I would like to add just as a matter of fact that those provinces the resistance are actually in right now actually belong to Yemen historically so it could actually just be a return I would say or a restoration of Yemen as it was meant to be all along.