Sectarian Hatred to Never Die for Salafi-Driven Saudi Arabia: British Activist

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A political expert and activist based in the UK slammed the Riyadh regime for its ongoing war crimes against the Yemeni people and said that sectarian hatred would never die for "Salafi-driven Saudi Arabia".

"Saudi forces are committing war crimes, and violating the Geneva Conventions and its protocols with impunity," Hannah Smith said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.

"Sectarian hatred will never die for Salafi-driven Saudi Arabia and they are using every means of oppression at their disposal to subjugate the Yemeni people," she noted.

Smith is a community activist based in Birmingham, UK. She is involved with grassroots and nationwide UK-based activities inspiring movement towards Islamic objectives. Hannah has written dozens of articles covering the relationship between Islamic religion, culture, human rights, education, politics, and science. She has worked in scientific research, human rights, political campaigning, and education, and currently works as a high school teacher of Physics. Hannah holds a Master’s degree in Geophysics, a post-graduate teaching certificate and has completed one year of Arabic and Islamic Studies.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Tasnim: Monday, March 26, marked the anniversary of the start of an ongoing devastating war on Yemen mounted by the Saudi-led coalition that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and driven the country to the brink of famine. In the meantime, the Saudi onslaught on Yemen has also led to a cholera epidemic in the Arabian Peninsula country, which is one of the worst ever recorded in the world. What do you think about the heinous crimes committed by the Riyadh regime and its backers, mainly the US? In a recent vote, the US Senate rejected an effort to end support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen, according to media reports. The vote coincided with a White House meeting between Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, at which Trump lauded US arms sales to Saudi Arabia. What is your assessment of the Senate vote and the meeting?

Smith: US support of the Saudi Arabian war on the Yemeni people is causing the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world today. The US is using the Saudis to fight a proxy war on their behalf in reality. As usual military bases, oil and geopolitical control over the region are its reasons for wreaking more conflict, death and destruction - this time in one of the poorest countries in the world.

The US Senate will inevitably sanction economic interests over any moral consideration and the Saudi regime will be asked to foot most of the bill for the US imperial agenda in the Middle East -as per usual.

Saudi desperation for "regime change" of the freedom movement of Ansarullah in Yemen is largely about control of their oil reserves, but most importantly to be able to control Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Gulf of Aden. Also at play is the nationalistic ego of Saudi Arabia, hurt that their puppet president was ousted in Yemen by the choice of the People (only some of whom are Shiite). Sectarian hatred will never die for Salafi-driven Saudi Arabia and they are using every means of oppression at their disposal to subjugate the Yemeni people.

Nearly one million people have been affected by the ongoing cholera epidemic, largely attributable to the destruction of the country’s infrastructure: schools, hospitals, homes, mosques, heritage sites, media and journalists’ centers, funerals, weddings and all other vital civilian targets have been destroyed in the Saudi-led aerial bombardment. Saudi forces are committing war crimes, and violating the Geneva Conventions and its protocols with impunity.

Tasnim: The Islamic Republic of Iran has always expressed deep concern over the ongoing tragedy in Yemen and reiterated the need for implementing the four-point peace plan that Tehran submitted to the United Nations in 2015, which urges an end to conflicts, sending humanitarian aid, lifting the unjust blockade of Yemen, and launch of political dialogue with the aim of formation of a national unity government. What do you think about the peace plan and the role that the UN can play in this regard?

Smith: Where Iran comes in, is fueled by Saudi fear and paranoia of losing regional power, and their hatred of the Shiite. They accuse Ansarullah of using Iranian supports but there is no evidence of such. Of course, they will scapegoat the Yemen situation to further instigate war with Iran. But the blockade, the famine, and all of the suffering in Yemen were because they NEED geographical control to maintain their flow of resource theft.

The UN peace plan cannot be implemented unless the flow of arms to Saudi Arabia is not curtailed and international economic sanctions should be imposed on the Saudi despots to force them to stop the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians with their incessant bombing. Only then might the UN peace plan be worth discussing.

Tasnim: How do you assess the political situation in Yemen? What is your prediction about the future of the country's crisis? In your opinion, how can the Yemeni groups end the power crisis through dialogue and negotiation?

Smith: The US will attempt to drag out the war on Yemen as much as possible and perhaps the best hope of an early end to the war would be their capacity to inflict losses on Saudi soil with their ballistic missile threat to the Saudi cities which are within their range. Ansarullah's recent increase in such attacks upon Saudi airbases may have signaled a new counter-offensive on their part and I suspect this will increase. On the ground, Ansarullah cannot and will not be defeated by the Saudis in a conventional war as they have the resolve of a steadfast popular resistance movement as evidenced by millions turning out in their support in Sana'a recently.

The UAE and Saudi financing of Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) terrorists and Al Qaeda linked mercenaries is propping up their ground forces in and around Aden and the vicious barbaric strain of Takfirism will be sustained in the region by this war on Yemen. Curious because publicly they are supposed to be the object of America's war on terror.

The continued economic sanctions and failure to allow the free flow of medicines has led over 20 million people to become aid dependent, UNICEF figures indicate that 130 children die per day due to malnutrition and disease occasioned by the illegal blockade. This despicable tactic of causing a humanitarian disaster is threatening a true genocide of biblical proportions and it could be likely atrocity too far is what will force the international community to act decisively to rein in the US and Saudi onslaught.

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