After the Death of Saleh: Continue the Defense of Yemen against the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors!
Joint Statement by the International Secretariat of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and the RCIT Yemen, 12.10.2017, www.thecommunists.net
- The death of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh opens a new chapter in the Yemeni struggle against the Saudi aggression. It is a dramatic turn which accelerates the contradictions of the war. As it is well known, the war started in March 2015 when a Saudi-led alliance, with the support of the military dictatorship in Egypt as well as the US and other Western imperialist powers, invaded the country. Its purpose is to restore the puppet government of Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and to liquidate the, albeit limited, democratic and social victories achieved since the popular uprising started in Yemen in the autumn of 2014.
- In the last two and a half years, the Saudi monarchy has waged a barbaric war against the Yemeni people – with the tacit support of the Western imperialist powers. By imposing a reckless bombing campaign as well as a total land, air and sea blockade, the Saudi aggressors try to subjugate the Yemeni people. As a result, over 11,000 people, with the vast majority being innocent civilians, have been killed since March 2015. Meanwhile, untold millions have been displaced. Seven million Yemenis are facing famine and completely rely on food aid to survive. A fast spreading cholera epidemic is affecting at least 1 million people, including at least 600,000 children.
- The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) reconfirms its position which we have taken since the first day of the war: We unreservedly condemn of the Al-Saud gang of aggressors’ war and we unconditionally support of the Yemeni resistance. We congratulate our comrades in Yemen for the participation in the defense of the country against the foreign aggressors. As we stated in our past declarations, such a support for the military struggle of the Yemeni resistance against the Saudi-led alliance doesn’t mean support of the political leadership of the Houthis. Quiet the opposite: we strongly reject the petty-bourgeois nationalist-Islamist agenda of the Houthi leadership. However, together with our comrades in the RCIT in Yemen we stress that is the duty of democrats, anti-imperialists, and socialists in Yemen and the Arab world as well as internationally to support the Yemeni people’s struggle for national independence.
- Despite their military and technical superiority, the Al-Saud gang of aggressors has failed until now to defeat the Yemeni forces and to conquer the capital city Sana’a. This can only be explained by the popular support for the Houthis’ struggle and the lack of such support for the foreign invaders. In fact, the popular resistance against the Saudi invasion goes far beyond the Houthis and includes also other, including socialist, forces. Furthermore, the Saudi-led coalition is faced with inner contradictions with a significant part of their Yemeni supporters striving for the secession of the Southern part of the country from the north (as it was the case between the 1960s and 1990)
- As Riyad could not win on the battlefield, it tried to defeat the resistance by bribing Saleh, a notorious reactionary figure and former Saudi ally who had fought the Houthis in six different confrontations between 2004 and 2011. However, in 2015 he had joined an alliance with the Houthis for opportunistic reasons. After one year of secret negotiations, Saleh stated on 2 December 2017, publicly that he was willing to engage in talks with Saudi Arabia, i.e. that he was ready to switch sides. The Houthis rightly condemned Saleh’s actions as “a coup against our alliance and partnership … and exposed the deception of those who claim to stand against aggression“. As a result armed clashes erupted in Sana’a. However, given the weak support for Saleh and his treacherous actions, the Houthis succeeded quickly in defeating this coup. On 4 December, Saleh was killed at a checkpoint outside Sanaa when he tried to flee. In short, once more a maneuver of the Saudi monarchy has failed.
- Various left-wing organizations have refused in the past years to support the Yemeni resistance. They argue that this conflict would be a “proxy war” between Saudi Arabia and Iran resp. between the Western and the Eastern Great Powers. The RCIT has always condemned such a coward position which was equivalent to desertion from a legitimate national liberation struggle. Of course, it is true that Iran politically supports the Houthis and lend them some limited material aid. However, the struggle of the Houthis since 2004 and the popular mass uprising in autumn 2014 and spring 2015 have their origins and their impetus in the domestic class contradictions and not in any foreign interests. Likewise it is complete nonsense to assume that the struggle of the Houthis is controlled by Tehran. Given the geographical isolation of the Houthi-controlled areas in the north of Yemen and their total blockade by the Saudis from all sides, this is simply not possible even if Tehran would wish so. For the same reason there is no significant presence of Iranian (or Hezbollah) troops in the north of Yemen. Of course, the opposite is true when we look at the anti-Houthi camp which is dominated and controlled by foreign powers, beginning with Saudi Arabia. Let us finally remark that in an epoch marked by the rivalry between capitalist powers, it is only logical that such powers try to utilize a national or democratic liberation struggle to advance their interests. This has always been the case in the 19th and 20th century and is also the case in the new historic period which opened up in 2008 with China and Russia as emerging imperialist powers. This has, however, never led Marxists to refuse support for oppressed people fighting for their freedom!
- It is urgent to link the Yemeni national liberation with other legitimate national, democratic and anti-imperialist struggles in the region. Most of all, the struggle must be linked to the current Al-Quds intifada in Palestine and the global wave of mass protests against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Furthermore, the struggle should link up with the ongoing liberation struggle of the Syrian people against the barbaric Assad dictatorship and its Russian and Iranian masters. Other examples are the resistance of the Egypt people against the regime of General Sisi and the resistance of the people of Bahrain against the corrupt monarchy. Such a strategy requires that the liberation forces do not orientate to find allies among this or that capitalist government in the region but among the workers and oppressed fighting against the ruling classes. It requires international solidarity across sectarian and national lines.
- Such an internationalist and anti-imperialist strategy must be combined with the goal a uprising of the workers and fallahin which should result in the formation of a Worker’s and Fallahin government. Such a government would rely not on the old and corrupt army but on the power of popular councils and armed militias. Such a government would break Yemen’s dependence on the imperialist monopolies, and would nationalize the key sectors of the economy under workers’ control.
- However, such a strategy can not be implemented “spontaneously”. It requires the existence of a revolutionary party based on an action program which combines the tasks of the democratic and socialist revolution. Such a party has to be independent of capitalists, imperialist institutions, and bourgeois parties. It should be based on the working class and rally the oppressed peasantry and poor. It should fight against any sectarian divisions along religious lines.
- The RCIT calls on revolutionaries in Yemen as well as the Arab world to join us in the struggle for an internationalist, anti-imperialist, and socialist program, and to build a common international organization.
For the RCIT’s analysis of the Yemeni Revolution we refer readers to:
Almedina Gunić: Yemen – Thirsty, Sick and War-Ridden! 02.10.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-thirsty-sick-and-war-ridden/
RCIT: Yemen: Condemn the Massacre in Sana’a! Down with the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! 11.10.2016, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-massacre/
RCIT: Greetings to the Yemeni ‘Socialists against Aggression’, 15 July 2016, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/greetings-to-yemeni-socialists/
RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 36, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-arab-revolution/
RCIT: Yemen: The al-Hadi Puppet Government Calls for an Imperialist Invasion! Victory to Yemen! Defeat the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! 8.5.2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 36, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/assault-on-yemen/
Yossi Schwartz: The War in Yemen, Iran and US-Imperialism, 20.4.2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 35, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-war-us-and-iran/
RCIT: Defend Yemen against the Al-Saud Gang of Aggressors! No to Sectarian Divisions and Civil War! For a Workers’ and Popular Government! Joint Statement of the International Secretariat of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and the RCIT Yemen, 3.4.2015, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 34, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/saudi-aggression-vs-yemen/
Mohammed Al Wazeer: Yemen Under Attack, RCIT Yemen, 15.4.2015, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-under-attack
RCIT: Yemen: Down with the Price Hikes! For a “Second Revolution” to Establish a Workers and Fallahin Government! 3.9.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 27, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-uprising/
Yemen: The Mass Protests continue, Report from a Yemeni Supporter of the RCIT, 4.9.2014, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 27, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/yemen-report-4-9-2014/