Saudi Monarchy A Client State of US Foreign Policy: American Analyst
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst said both the Riyadh regime and Washington should be held accountable for the ongoing war crimes against Yemenis, noting that the US is backing the raids on the impoverished Arab country because the kingdom is a “client state of US foreign policy".
“Stepping away from the local political details, one finds a rational objective in US foreign policy in Yemen. The US doesn’t care who runs the country as long as the local boss answers phone calls from Washington with, “Yes sir!” The US is supporting the Saudi attacks on Yemen because the Saudi dictatorship/monarchy is a client state of US foreign policy,” Dr. Mark Mason from California told the Tasnim News Agency on the anniversary of a Saudi-led aggression against Yemen that began on March 26, 2015.
Dr. Mason offers analyses of United States domestic and foreign policies for the international news media. He was trained as a biological anthropologist educated at the University of California, Berkeley. Mason has appeared on Al-Etejah TV, Russia Today, Voice of Russia radio, as well as on Life News Russia, AcTVism Munich News, Nuestra Tele Noticias NTN24 Colombia, The Real News Network, and Radio 786 Capetown, South Africa, and KQED Forum in San Francisco, California.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: The Saudi-led coalition has been launching deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement for two years in an attempt to restore power to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. Some 11,000 Yemenis, including thousands of women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign. Why has the international community remained passive in the face of the ongoing Saudi crimes?
Mason: That depends on how one defines the international community. In the US and Europe, which are most familiar to me, public attention is largely controlled by corporate and state mass media. People cannot be concerned about events unknown to them. Here in the US, the media has given little attention to Saudi and US war crimes in Yemen, little attention to the illegalities, and less still, attention to the human suffering in Yemen. US media focuses on questions of military effectiveness and Presidential decision-making, not on the obvious questions of morality and international law. Thus, US media trivializes distant human suffering. In the US media, there are two kinds of people: 1) People, and 2) Unpeople. Yemeni people are dehumanized Unpeople and therefore their suffering at the hands of illegal Saudi and US military violence is trivialized. Americans know nothing about Middle East conflicts and thus cannot respond appropriately.
As for the “international community” in terms of the lack of UN action, and the lack of words and action from other states in the Middle East, this political condition indicates two factors related to US imperialism. The silence of some states in the Middle East has been bought by US money. For example, the US gives Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid each year and an additional $250 million in economic assistance this year alone. Money buys silence. Another factor in global silence regarding US military crimes is that state political leaders are quite capable of understanding what happens to countries that disobey orders from Washington. The lessons of the illegal US invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and a long list of other violent interventions are clear: the US government does not tolerate local autonomous rule. Independent politics and action are not allowed. The USA does not honor state sovereignty. That’s the definition of empire. That’s the context for abuses of US-backed Saudi state power. That’s the context for war crimes and other human rights abuses in Yemen.
Tasnim: Certain Western countries are continuously claiming that they are champions of human rights. However, it seems that they are pursuing double standard policies on Saudi Arabia's atrocities. On March 10, 2017, the administration of US President Donald Trump approved the resumption of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia which critics have linked to Riyadh’s killing of civilians in Yemen. The $1.15 billion deal was previously blocked by former President Barack Obama after Saudi warplanes targeted a funeral hall in Yemen killing scores of civilians, provoking international outcry. How do you see the role of the US in the regime’s aggression against the impoverished Arab country?
Mason: Two important questions: US human rights and US role in Yemen. Permit me to begin with some facts. The [P]GCC ([Persian]Gulf Cooperation Council), and particularly Saudi Arabia, remains the top customer for weaponry produced by US corporations. The [P]GCC purchased $33 billion in arms from the US during a one-year period, 2015-2016. The US is the world’s top arms dealer far ahead of all others. Arms sales is a capitalist business. Arms sales has nothing to do with human rights or defense. Arms sales are about profits for corporations such as Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, and General Dynamics. The arms-sales block emplaced by President Obama in December 2016, was partial and expected to be temporary, effective only long enough to allow public outrage to vanish. Thus, the US is in the business of selling arms. It does not care about human rights anywhere. The US does not care about American domestic human rights. Why should it care about what happens to the people of Yemen? The government of the USA is not a human rights organization; It’s a marketing department for US arms manufacturers. Zero corporate profits in peace mean peace is bad for business. Whatever is bad for business is bad for the American Empire. The success of American government administrations is measured, not in human rights defended, but in corporate dollar profits.
Now we can consider the direct US war crimes against Yemen, and the US role in supporting the illegal invasion of Yemen by Saudi Arabia. The US intends to control Middle East oil due to the concentration of this energy resource in this region. The US cares about oil, not people, and the US is clear in acting globally to suppress state sovereignty. As for Yemen, wherever the US goes it creates human suffering and chaos. Since the ejection of long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, control of the Yemen government has been shifting due to civil war conflicts among local warlords, Saleh supporters, Houthi tribal groups, and small al-Qaeda enclaves. It’s a huge mess for US foreign policy because US foreign policy is a mess. Saudi Arabia supports al-Qaeda. The US claims, falsely, to be fighting ‘Islamic terrorism’, which it is not doing. The principle goal of the US in Yemen is to install anyone, any dictator, who will take orders from Washington. Saudi Arabia has been attacking Yemen in an effort to block Houthis from seizing state control. As in Syria, the US supports anyone and any group that will take up arms against any political force that claims independence from US control. Thus, the US is against everyone, including the people, in Yemen. The allegiance of putative President Hadi to either Saleh or Saudi Arabia is questionable. The US does not want Saleh, or the Houthis because they won’t take orders from Washington or Saudi Arabia. Concomitantly, the US is facing opposition to al-Qaeda. The Houthis create intense fear in US administrations because they would be friendly toward Iran. “Friends with Iran” means the US cannot give orders to Yemeni peasants. Stepping away from the local political details, one finds a rational objective in US foreign policy in Yemen. The US doesn’t care who runs the country as long as the local boss answers phone calls from Washington with, “Yes sir!” The US is supporting the Saudi attacks on Yemen because the Saudi dictatorship/monarchy is a client state of US foreign policy.
Tasnim: Since the start of its war on Yemen, the Saudi regime has failed to reach its objectives. In 2015, the kingdom had a record budget deficit of almost $100 billion, prompting it to rein in public spending in a bid to save money. Why is the regime continuing its heinous attacks on the Arab country despite its failures and cash-strapped economy?
Mason: The Saudis are destroying their own economy because the Saudi ruling elites are told what to do by the US government, to no limit, not even self-destruction. There are two kinds of countries in this world: 1) those that are obedient to US power, and 2) those few who have the military power to say “no” to Washington. Unfortunately, the US has no idea what a friend is. The US has imperial subjects, and anyone else is boxed as an enemy. There is a method to this madness. The insane plan is for Saudi Arabia to continue glutting the world oil market, driving down the price of oil, and thus driving the Saudi oil business into negative cash flow— zero or worse profits— for the purpose of driving Russian, Venezuelan, and Iranian economies which are heavily dependent on oil exports, into collapse. The purpose for collapsing these economies is to create political chaos. Out of political chaos, the US intends to seize political control of Russia, Venezuela, and Iran. No doubt, the US government has promised the House of Saud a fine reward for destroying the economy of Saudi Arabia. All this is sheer madness as there is no way oil prices can ever go up again because the world economy, the entire world economy, the entire capitalist system of banking and commerce would collapse. Perhaps global climate chaos (also created primarily by the US) due to the combustion of oil will crash the planet first. It’s all an insane plan that could only have been cooked up in Washington. Meanwhile, the Yemeni people ask only to return to farming and fishing.