YEMEN – The Yemeni theatre turned into a battle for supremacy, in which the two regional powers that be, Iran and Saudi Arabia, are trying to earn a political victory for themselves at the expense of Yemen.
Stories of defeat cannot be found on Almasirah television’s website, the topmost media outlet of the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
“Our forces fired missiles at a convoy of the invaders and mercenaries,” one report remarked. “Our forces’ missiles hit and destroyed the mercenaries’ tank. … In a single day, the army” – the Houthi one, of course – “destroyed 21 armored vehicles and four tanks belonging to the invaders.” The writing ended with the Houthi slogan: “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews, victory to Islam.”
There was absolutely no mention of the attacks by the Arab coalition on the Houthis or the wounded and killed Houthi fighters. When a station proudly branded itself as “The Fighting Media,” its sole aim is to raise morale and not to tell the entire story.
Almasirah is one of the 25 media outlets run by Houthi which have aided the Houthis in recruiting thousands of fighters. Rough estimates put the number of men they now have under arms at more than 120,000 men, up from about 3,000 to 7,000 over three years ago.
The civil war in Yemen goes unreported in the Western media, in spite of its gargantuan price – over 10,000 people killed, half of which are civilians; an estimated 50,000 children dead from cholera or hunger; millions of displaced persons, and hundreds of thousands who are suffering from malnutrition. Even the strategic location of Yemen on the Bab al-Mandeb strait and the Red Sea, coupled with the fact that it has become a zone of international competition, with Saudi Arabia, America, and the United Arab Emirates on one side and Iran on the other, have not made efforts to move it to the top of the global media and diplomatic agenda.
When Arab began to intervene in Yemen in 2015, shortly after Saudi King Salman was enthroned, it was anticipated to be a short, and quick war. Saudi Arabia who has pilots trained in America, armed with the best American weaponry, and excellent intelligence provided by America itself, pledged it could easily overcome the Houthi rebels and reinstate the recognized government led by Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in power, who is currently taking refuge in Saudi Arabia.
But following a Saudi investment of about $5 billion per month – which paid the bills for mercenaries from Africa and South America, among other expenses – and more than 100,000 sorties, the question now on the mind of Riyadh and its allies is how to evacuate Yemen without being seen as a victory for Iran.
Due to the humanitarian disaster it has caused, the war has recently managed to break the stronghold of American apathy. US Congress enacted a law that would stop American planes from refuelling UAE and Saudi warplanes except Riyadh make a formal promise to work towards a diplomatic solution, minimize the harm to civilians and allow shipments of medicine and food to areas under attack.