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The UK supported Saleh and every other Middle East tragedy

Tunisia’s Ben Ali, (1L), Libya's Muammar Gaddafi (CL), Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh (CR) Egypt's Hosni Mubarak (1R) [Twitter]

Shortly after photos of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, wrapped in a red blanket bearing a fatal head wound, were circulated on Twitter, a shot of him flanked by Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak also did the rounds.

It was a reminder of life as a dictator in the Middle East, where you can rule for decades only to meet a grisly fate, as Saleh and Gaddafi did, or be tossed aside and deposed from your throne like Ben Ali and Mubarak were. What do all four have in common? Dead or alive, none have faced accountability for the corruption and jailing of political protesters they oversaw during their lengthy reigns. All were primed and propped up as puppets of the West, at least at one point during their reign, yet today their deposal and death means little to their former benefactors.

Last year an investigation by Vice revealed that when Saleh was in power the UK’s secret intelligence services MI6 collaborated with the CIA on their drone war in Yemen. By 2016 drones had killed 1,651 people in the country. Since 9/11 Saleh was courted by the US as an ally in the war on terror despite the fact that under his presidency extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances took place.

UN-appointed investigators estimate Saleh amassed between $32 billion and $60 billion in corruption during his years in power, cash he siphoned off from the people of Yemen, the poorest in the region. In 2017 Forbes named the richest woman in the world as Walmart heiress Alice Walton, and she was worth $44 billion.

Saleh was forced aside during the 2011 Arab Spring protests yet was never made to answer to the Yemeni people. Instead, a 2012 transition agreement – engineered by the Saudis and supported by the US – granted him immunity and allowed him to remain in the country rather than stand trial.

Profile: Ali Abdullah Saleh (21 March 1942 – 4 December 2017)

By considering Saleh an ally rather than the criminal he was the UK and the US helped fuel a cycle of impunity which encouraged him, rather than stopped him, ruining the country. With Saleh’s death Yemen – already the centre of a proxy war between Iran and Saudi – will become even more polarised, the Houthis stronger and the already dire humanitarian situation in the country will hit rock bottom.

In addition to the Cholera outbreak, at least 3 million children in Yemen suffer from malnutrition as a result of the current conflict [File photo]

In addition to the Cholera outbreak, at least 3 million children in Yemen suffer from malnutrition as a result of the current conflict [File photo]

Some 10,000 people have been killed in the Yemen war; seven million are on the brink of famine and one million are infected with cholera. We’ve all seen the tragic pictures of Yemeni babies, their ribs protruding through their skin, their faces gaunt as though they are 60-years-old.

Earlier this week the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Bin Ra’ad Al-Hussein, gathered together an expert panel to investigate these violations in what he sees as a step towards accountability and ending impunity in Yemen. The UK and the US should get behind these efforts, as well as withdraw support for Saudi Arabia whose aerial bombardment is responsible for killing hundreds of Yemeni civilians. But wait – Trump is too busy moving the US embassy to Jerusalem to care about the people of Yemen.


Others do. On Tuesday morning Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council tweeted: “Dear US @DeptofDefense, bombs supplied by US & Western allies to Saudi coalition were just dropped on a civilian neighbourhood near our Sanaa office. Please call Saudis and tell them to stop bombing densely populated areas so we can resume saving lives.”

Last year former British Prime Minister David Cameron boasted that he would help sell Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi (he described them as “brilliant things”) hours after the European parliament voted for an arms embargo on the Gulf state. It’s doubtful that his successor, Theresa May, will act with any integrity on the matter. Not even Yemeni lives are worth losing arms deals worth £3.3 billion.

Post Saleh it’s likely Saudi will intensify its bombing campaign in Yemen but it’s unlikely even this will make the UK take a step back. Saleh’s death will not be a wakeup call for the UK in the same way that they are undisturbed by the unprecedented crackdown in Egypt and slavery in Libya. They will continue to plough through the Middle East, influencing events in whichever way benefits them, with increasingly tragic consequences.

AfricaArticleAsia & AmericasEurope & RussiaLibyaMiddle EastOpinionUKUSYemen
  • nooraza othman

    What a piece of lying ZioNAZI PROPAGANDA article! Pure evil THRASH!

    • nooraza othman

      This is what the Yemen War is really about! And see how it is linked to the most cunning double-game of NATO/CIA/MOSSAD’s expansion of NATO bases in the Arab World; and the link also to the CIA/MOSSAD-created Arab Spring that resulted in the toppling of President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen and Egyptian President Hosni Mobarak of Egypt (he wanted to develop Nuclear power with Russia at that time); and ultimately the savage murder, torture and rape in WAR CRIME, towards one of the greatest father of Arab-African Independence, pro-Russia and Anti-Western/IS-rael Imperialism President Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi, by TERRORIST NATO/CIA-MOSSAD!

      And the treacherous Qatar King (whom I suspect has been cloned), with the late Iraqi Kurdish President, were the only ones who escaped from such ‘Arab Spring’ chaos where suspiciously, they attended the last meeting for a new Arab Union
      formation, held by Pres. Gaddafi in Libya (also attended by Pres. Ali Abdullah and Pres. Hosni Mubarak)!

      The ZioNazi New World Order’s (ZNWO) NA*O-CIA/MOSSAD’s eternal MO of “Divide and Conquer”; by creating so-called Civil Wars between Indigenous Sunni Yemenis and Indigenous Zaydi Syiah Yemenis of Al-Houthi tribe; is about
      conquering/militarizing/Nuclearizing the whole Indian Ocean (in future, towards absolute geopolitical and economic conquest of the whole deep sea TRILLIONS oil/gas-rich world major oceans with their Gulfs, Isthmus/Peninsulas/Capes,
      Straits or chokepoints, Channels/ Canals, deep sea Trenches etc. by NATO-CIA/ISra*l), that include the conquering of the Yemeni’s Biodiversity Jewel, the Archipelago of Socotra in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean, and Bab El Mandeb Strait – which are at the crossroads of the strategic naval waterways of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (and hence conquering the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea too), countering Russia’s influence in Yemen (and the whole Arab World) and Denuclearizing Iran, ultimately.

      See (caution: some of these articles, unfortunately, had to be extracted from pro-ZioNa*i’s medias) – Yemen and The
      Militarization of Strategic Waterways. From the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean: Securing US Control over Socotra Island and the Gulf of Aden, By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Asia-Pacific Research, April 18, 2015, Global Research, 7 February 2010; at – Iran issues second warning in 2 days that it could close Strait of Hormuz, strategic oil route, By ALI AKBAR DAREINI | Associated Press, Published on Dec. 28, 2011 |; at – Ex-Yemeni president Saleh offers military bases to Russia, Anadolu Agency, Sanaa, Published August 22, 2016; at – Mossad adds Yemen to the security challenges facing Israel, Yemen Press, Aug 16, 2017; at – American troops in Yemen Signals Deepening US Involvement in Mideast,
      Militarycom| 7 May 2016 | by Richard Sisk; at – Trump to unveil plans for an ‘Arab NATO’ in Saudi Arabia, By Josh Rogin, Washington Post, May 17, 2017; at – Pentagon’s Power Projection: Most Important US Military Bases Overseas, Sputnik News, 28.08.2017; and at – It’s Official: “Arab Spring” Subversion is US Funded, Doubts laid to rest; counter revolutions to come, by Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer, April 15, 2011.