The bombardment of a series of targets in sovereign Yemen on the early morning of Friday 12 January by the United States and the United Kingdom, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, has significantly raised the risk of an escalation of the terrible conflict beyond Gaza and inflamed tensions in an already hugely volatile region.
Cruise missile attacks and airstrikes were launched from US battleships in the Red Sea and a British airbase in Cyprus respectively. According to the headquarters of the US Central Command, “CENTCOM”, more than 30 targets, including “command and control centres, ammunition warehouses, launching systems, production facilities and air defence radar systems” were attacked in different parts of Yemen.
Biden administration officials in the US and both David Cameron, the disgraced former prime minister and current foreign minister in the mandate-lacking Rishi Sunak government, and Grant Shapps, the defence minister, have stated that these reckless actions in Yemen serve the purpose of warning the Islamic Republic of Iran not to meddle in the war in Gaza. Indeed, Joe Biden said on Saturday that the US had sent a private message to Tehran essentially stating that “we’re confident we’re well-prepared”, following a second night of airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was in Israel earlier this month as part of a trip to the region during which he met with the leaders of several Arab countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, the Palestinian Authority, and Egypt. There is growing opinion among the region’s political analysts and commentators that Blinken’s latest ‘tour’ was significant in that it seemed to signal a readjustment and recalibration of the US’ policies in the region to provide more emphasis on a confrontational stance with the Islamic Republic of Iran and a testing of Tehran’s limits as well as shoring up support for the criminal policies of the Israeli government once its military operations inevitably began to wind down – this, despite Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence that Israeli forces would fight on until ‘total victory’ as the country marked 100 days since the beginning of its onslaught on Gaza on Sunday. The British government once more subserviently endorses and goes along with the US diktat, regardless of whether or not it accords with the standards of decency and righteousness let alone serves the interests of the British people.
There are huge sensitivities and risks involved with such dangerous brinksmanship that carry the potential for a much wider conflagration in the Middle East region with even more devastating ramifications than those currently posed. Despite this, PM Rishi Sunak chose to throw the UK’s lot in with that of the US without recalling the Westminster parliament to gauge the opinion of the British people’s elected representatives before proceeding.
Following Scottish National Party leader Humza Yousaf’s decrying of the UK’s involvement in the airstrikes on Yemen, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn branded the decision to launch the strikes without consulting parliament as “farcical”. “We need to make sure that the action the government has taken doesn’t precipitate a much wider crisis in the region, nor indeed drag the UK or our allies into prolonged conflict in the Middle East, given the impact that has had in the past,” Mr. Flynn told BBC Scotland’s ‘The Sunday Show’.
Of course, the US and the UK have a long history of launching military offensives under the rhetorical guise of “self-defence” and upholding the international rules-based order and security. Yet, such moves have invariably made matters worse. And they serve to push the world ever closer to a disastrous wider conflict, even world war.
In the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, ruin, destruction, and the huge movement of peoples desperately seeking refuge followed in the wake of the fighter jets and missiles.
Demands for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza are growing around the world. It is increasingly recognised that a ceasefire would not only serve to end the horrific ordeal of the people of Gaza as they courageously face down the genocidal campaign being waged against them by Tel Aviv. It would also more or less immediately quell tensions in the wider region, provide a firm foundation for de-escalation of the crisis there, as well as bring an end to the jeopardy posed towards international shipping routes in the Red Sea.
However, with the Tories in pre-electoral panic mode, more war would serve as a useful distraction, with Starmer and his like-minded collaborators being drawn into the mire of such jingoism and imperialist subterfuge.
For the US and Britain to launch more acts of aggression at the very time that the International Court of Justice is considering South Africa’s petition regarding Israeli war crimes and acts of genocide, not only shows a cold-blooded disregard for justice, but also massively ups the risk of a wider military escalation and even more wasteful spending on the war and destruction that inevitably ensues.
This is not the first time British weapons have been used in Yemen. Since 2014, successive British governments have supplied the Saudi dictatorship with significant military hardware and sophisticated armaments in its unsuccessful campaign of aggression against its impoverished neighbour. What Britain is involved with now is nothing short of the bloody campaign of war and terror that the Saudis pursued beforehand.
Liberation has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the continuation of the Israeli war on the Palestinian people, as well as all interventionist and warmongering policies of the forces of imperialism in the Middle East. Liberation resounds its warning regarding the grave risk of an escalation and spread of military conflicts in the region! The wholly unnecessary dragging of Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen into such a conflict would amount to a catastrophe for the region and the people of these countries, and would imperil peace, security, and stability internationally… Such an escalation must be avoided!
The criminal racist apartheid regime in Israel along with its imperialist allies and facilitators seek to continue and expand the war in the region with the aim of imposing their hegemony over the Middle East. These heinous, dangerous designs must be met with vigilance as well as principled solidarity with the beleaguered peoples of the region and their progressive advocates and representatives!
Liberation believes that more war, more bombs, and more destruction in the Middle East only portends the onset of a wider conflict – even a world war – where the lives and wellbeing of working people in all lands, including here in Britain, will be jeopardised!
Our core demands and slogans in relation to this conflict remain unchanged… Stop the wars! Ceasefire in Gaza now! Solidarity with the people of Palestine! Forward to the creation of a free and sovereign Palestinian state!
Read the Arabic Translation of Statement
Photo: A Typhoon aircraft from 29 Squadron Royal Air Force is photographed at altitude over the North Sea. Typhoon is a multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations, from air policing, to peace support, through to high intensity conflict. Four Royal Air Force Typhoon fighters were used in the strikes on Yemen, supported by two Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker aircraft, it has been reported.