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Announcement :: International
Anti-War Standout - Park Street Station on the Common - Sat 4 July - 1- 2pm
03 Jul 2015
When: Saturday, July 4, 2015, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Where: Park Street MBTA Station • Tremont Street • Boston
Join us for an anti-war July 4th. Since July 4th falls on a saturday, our weekly Saturday peace vigil will happen as usual.

If you get tired of the patriotic pro-war observance of the holiday, come join us for an alternative gathering: anti-war, pro-black lives matter, against the surveillance state, for funding social welfare and ending funding for the US war machine. Bring signs, friends, and family.

July 4th-we declare independence from war.

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sponsored by The Committee For Peace and Human Rights, Boston.

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Re: Anti-War Standout
04 Jul 2015
Workers Vanguard No. 1070

12 June 2015

U.S. Out of the Near East!

Down With Saudi-led War in Yemen!

With all the subtlety of a Mad Max film, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced its declaration of war against the Houthi-led forces now in power in Yemen not from its royal palace but rather from its embassy in Washington. Having already turned Yemen into a firing range for drone attacks, the Obama administration is now reluctantly helping its oil-rich Saudi ally further devastate that small, impoverished country. Over 2000 people have been killed since the war was launched in late March and upwards of one million have been displaced from their homes.

As noted by Conn Hallinan in an article in CounterPunch (13 May): “The U.S. has played an important, if somewhat uncomfortable, role in the Yemen War.” The U.S. has been supplying the Saudi air force with bombs, in-flight refueling and targeting information. With U.S. and British backing, the Saudis imposed a naval blockade of Yemen, worsening a humanitarian disaster in a country where the populace relies heavily on imported food and where medicine and other necessities are always scarce. In April, U.S. Navy ships, including the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt, were sent to the region to prevent Iranian ships from delivering supplies to Yemen. U.S. president Barack Obama brazenly and hypocritically claimed this naval presence was meant to defend “freedom of navigation”—mass starvation presumably being only a collateral issue.

While supporting its Saudi clients, Washington has been less than enthusiastic about their Yemen adventure. Early on, the lack of a prospect of a quick Saudi victory led the White House to urge negotiations toward a political solution. On June 2, the administration announced that it had engaged in talks with the Houthis aimed at ending the war. The Obama administration is concerned that the anti-Houthi operation is playing into the hands of Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, as well as threatening yet further destabilization in the region. Voicing the concerns of the White House, the New York Times (22 April) intoned, “the challenge has been advising a crucial Middle East ally on how to carry out a complex military campaign whose results were starting to undercut larger political goals.” The Times article quoted a “Middle East specialist” who complained, “Once your clients have a quasi-independent military capacity, you lose some control over them.”

Especially since the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the American empire has been spreading its tentacles ever more widely and deeply throughout the Near East, wreaking mass murder and destruction, strengthening the most retrograde and anti-woman tribal and religious forces and fueling sectarian conflicts and pogroms. Every time one of its tentacles is weakened or cut off, every time a blow is struck against the American imperialist monster and its local agents and allies, working people and oppressed around the world benefit, not least in the U.S. itself.

That is why we have called for military defense of the Islamic State (ISIS) reactionaries in Iraq and Syria against U.S. imperialism and its foot soldiers on the ground—including Kurdish and Iraqi Shi’ite militias—notwithstanding that the bloodthirsty methods and retrograde outlook of ISIS are counterposed to everything Marxism stands for. And that is why we now likewise take a stand militarily with the Houthi forces and their allies, without giving them any political support, when they are targeted by the U.S.-backed Saudi-led military coalition and its proxies on the ground.

Apologists for the Saudi intervention claim that it was launched in response to a proxy war waged by Shi’ite Iran, which is supposedly funding and arming the Houthis, who adhere to Zaidi Islam, a variant of Shi’ism that in fact has much in common with Sunni Islam. Newly installed Saudi king Salman hopes to awe Tehran by deploying his extensive—and expensive—arsenal of military hardware (usually reserved for air shows) against Houthi fighters and civilians, but there is little evidence linking Iran to the fighting in Yemen. Then again, there was little evidence linking the Saddam Hussein regime to non-existent “weapons of mass destruction,” a fact which drives the younger and marginally more articulate brother in the Bush clan, Jeb, to descend into fits of incomprehensible burbling about bringing democracy and stability to the region. And the current tenant in the White House, who it should be recalled was elected in good part on his pledge to end U.S. involvement in Iraq, is supporting what is arguably the most reactionary regime in the world, Saudi Arabia. That country is a theocracy rooted in the extreme, Wahhabi variant of Sunni fundamentalism, the social strictures of which are quite similar to those of ISIS.

Although U.S. reliance on Saudi oil has declined considerably in recent years, Washington wants to retain control over the flow of Gulf oil to the rest of the world. Moreover, Saudi Arabia, along with Zionist Israel, has long been a key ally of the U.S. in the Near East. Its importance particularly increased after the ouster of the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran by the 1979 “Islamic revolution.” The Saudi monarchy, one of the biggest importers of advanced U.S. and British weapons systems, plays a critical role in financially sustaining other U.S. client states in the area, such as Egypt and Jordan, as well as propping up other oil-rich Gulf kingdoms and emirates.

After the U.S. overthrow of the Sunni-dominated Ba’athist regime in Baghdad in 2003 and the establishment of a Shi’ite-led regime there, the Sunni theocracy in Saudi Arabia appointed itself guardian of the Sunni Arab peoples of the Near East against the Persian-dominated Shi’ite theocracy in Iran. The Saudi monarchy is also fearful of the sizable oppressed Shi’ite minority in its own kingdom and elsewhere in the peninsula. In 2011, the Saudis viciously suppressed Shi’ite protests against the Saudi’s fellow royals in Bahrain. Like that other regional gendarme of pro-imperialist reaction, the Zionist rulers of Israel, the Saudi rulers have openly thumbed their noses at Obama over his nuclear deal with Tehran, much to the applause of the Christian fundamentalists in the Republican Party.

Obama has sought to smooth ruffled feathers, hosting a meeting of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council at Camp David in May, where he promised to send more military equipment to the emirs and to assist the development of an integrated missile defense system in the region. King Salman showed his continuing displeasure with Obama by boycotting the gathering. But, for the moment, Washington continues to stand foursquare behind its Saudi ally, adding further evidence of why Iran needs nuclear weapons to defend its own sovereignty.