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Yemen, one year later

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This year marks the one-year anniversary of Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen, which began on 25 March 2015, with the Saudi-led operation against the Houthi’s in a bid to restore legitimacy.

The Houthis also referred to Ansar Allah, which means ‘partisans of God’, are members of the Shia faction of Zaidi’s that constitute one-third of Yemen’s population.

On Saturday, 26 March 2016, in a show of unity against the Saudi-led war, the people of Yemen came out in their millions to voice their undeniable support of the Houthi and Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stood as President of Yemen from 1990 to 2012 and who currently supports the Houthi.

Yemeni journalist, Nasser Arabyee, explained that the events of Saturday are the representation of the “real Yemen” since millions of Yemenis took to the streets in an attempt to bring to the fore Yemeni contempt for the US-backed Saudi -led war.

“One word, one voice, and one enemy – this is Saudi aggression against Yemen,” Arabyee exclaimed.

He further explained that Ali Abdullah Saleh was among the crowds of protesters who called for direct talks with the Saudi-led coalition in order to end the “unlawful war against Yemen.”

The people of Yemen, Arabyee asserted, have shown unadulterated opposition against the actions taken by Saudi insurgents against the Houthi’s.

Yemeni’s are, therefore, declaring that they “are against Saudi war crimes.”

Arabyee further affirmed that the Yemeni people’s opposition is clearly depicted in the pictures and videos of the protests that took place throughout the country.

In a second prisoner exchange, Saudi has swapped 1009 Yemeni nationals for nine Saudi war prisoners,

Inclusive in the prisoner swap was the exchange of 100 Yemeni prisoners, who were captured in the external battle that took place in Aden.

The agreement, Arabyee asserted, was a significant display of Saudi’s acknowledgement of Yemeni determination and furthermore provided recourse for the people of Yemen to declare the Saudi operation “a war against Yemen.”

He further noted that Saudi leaders have perpetrated war crimes under the guise of liberating their cities in the south of Saudi, which was previously under the control of Yemeni forces.

“Saudi must tell the world that it was lying when they said that Iran is in Yemen, Saudi is obliterating Yemen only because it wished to scare Iran,” Arabyee explained.

Arabyee, therefore, noted that Yemeni’s intend to have their voices heard and fight the Saudi-led operation.

He explained that 95 per cent of the country is currently under Yemeni control, which is inclusive of both the Houthi and Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Houthis, Arabyee further asserted, are supported by Yemeni’s.

Despite not being a Houthi himself, he exclaimed that he will support any faction that assists in pressurizing Saudi to remove its forces from Yemen.

On the contrary, exiled president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who currently resides in Riyadh, states that he is in control of 95 per cent of Yemen, despite the fact that his palace in Aden has been attacked.

Al-Qaeda and ISIS, Arabyee affirmed, is ruling the remaining territory in the south, including Aden, which Saudi Arabia announced it had liberated.

“I am responsible for what I am saying and I, therefore, affirm that Al-Qaeda and ISIS have 100 per cent control of Aden,” Arabyee confirmed.

Arabyee noted that the forces of ISIS and Al-Qaeda are responsible for the murder of students, women and children, as well as the kidnapping of civilians.

In addition, the military forces have enforced a dress code for females and forcefully preach their doctrine of what they deem to be permissible and impermissible behaviour of Aden residents – “this is the reality that the world should know.”

In January, the Houthi’s announced their plan to dissolve the parliament and the interim assembly and to subsequently establish a five-member presidential council.

Arabyee asserted that the plans announced by the Houthi’s were initiated prior to the outbreak of war.

“After the 26 March 2015, in which the Saudi’s waged war in Yemen, the political process was interrupted.”

He, therefore, explained that following the Saudi invasion, all resources were directed toward defending the Yemeni people, which resulted in the ceasing of the political processors.

The Yemeni people, Arabyee asserted, is calling upon the United Nations (UN) to acknowledge the plight of the Yemeni people who, through their protesting, announce their legitimacy.

The UN has reported that 21 million Yemeni’s, which accounts for more than 82 per cent of the population, requires aid and protection.

Arabyee explained that the Saudi invasion is in violation of international law as a result of the blockade, the use of cluster bombs, the indiscriminate killing of civilians, and the indiscriminate destruction of infrastructure.

“Yes, the international community has assisted in pressurizing Saudi, [but] Saudi continues to kill civilians who are asleep in their homes.”

He, therefore, declared that Yemeni’s are undeniably united; further noting that the presence of water tanks supplied by Yemeni charity organizations is a testament to the allegiance of the Yemeni people to fighting the Saudi-led coalition.

“The US-backed Saudi war crimes assisted in uniting Yemeni’s against common enemies,” Arabyee stated.

With regard to the accessibility of aid organizations, Arabyee affirmed that on occasion Saudi forces either prevented or postponed the entry of aid by bombing the airports and harbours or by intercepting the arrival of ships.

He, however, explained that numerous international aid organizations continue to break the blockade and assist in alleviating the humanitarian crises.

An announcement of ceasefire confirmed that a ceasefire will be enforced on 10 April 2016 and will subsequently be followed by peace talks in Kuwait, which will begin on 18 April 2016.

Arabyee, however, asserted that Yemeni’s do not have any expectation that a solution will be met within the UN.

“Like the US, UK and France, the UN is blindly dealing with the Yemeni situation and blindly supporting their enemy – ISIS, which is controlled by Saudi,” Arabyee asserted.

He, therefore, calls for direct talks with the Saudi regime – “between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.”

“I would like the world to know that the Saudi Government is the heart of ISIS; by supporting Saudi, you are supporting ISIS,” Arabyee concluded.

VOC (Thakira Desai)

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