Saudi Arabia has been killing Yemeni Muslims.
The story is difficult to piece together. However, it appears to have started with:
a rebel attack on a border post a day earlier that left one Saudi border guard dead and 11 injured.
The Yemeni Muslims also appear to have been launching missiles at Saudi civilians:
The Saudi statement said it was responding to an incursion into its territory and attacks on its citizens, and said the counter attack was necessary to prevent the rebels from being able to fire into Saudi territory.
The London-based Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported that four Saudi women were killed when their border region home was shelled.
According to the Telegraph, the Saudis decided that enough was enough:
“After what happened yesterday, it is clear they have lost track of reality and it has got to a point where there is no other way. They have got to be finished,” said a Saudi official.
Accordingly, the Saudis unleashed impressive firepower on the Yemenis:
Six locations were said to have been hit in Yemen, including one that received about 100 missiles in one hour.
“Saudi jets dropped bombs on a crowded areas including a local market in the northern province of Saada,” Hawthi spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Salam told The Associated Press. “They claim they are targeting al-Hawthis, but regrettably they are killing civilians like the government does.”
Who are these Yemenis? Apparently, they are the Huthi, or Hawthi or Zaidi tribe, which has rebelled against the Yemeni government. They are not Al Qaeda – they are separatists. The Yemeni government is, however, also fighting a civil war against Al Qaeda-inspired jihadists.
The toll of the Yemeni civil war on the Huthis has been terrible:
Yemen launched Operation Scorched Earth in August to crush the rebellion led by the Huthi tribe. Aid groups say around 150,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, which first broke out in 2004.
The Huthi people are arguably engaged in a national liberation struggle. They are enormously out-gunned by the well-armed Saudis. The Saudi response certainly seems to have been “disproportionate”.
Yet, there hasn’t been much coverage, still less outrage, over these attacks. Indeed, the Gulf Cooperation Council applauded Saudi’s action:
The Gulf Cooperation Council, the region’s main diplomatic forum, condemned what it called the “violation and infiltration” of Saudi Arabia’s borders. “Saudi Arabia is capable of protecting its lands,” it warned in a statement.
This is why nobody cares.
First, dead Muslims only provoke outrage if they’re killed by Jews or Christians.
Secondly, these particular Yemeni Muslims are Shias. Most of the groups which campaign around the slogan of “The War on Islam” are Sunni.
Finally, Yemen is a dangerous and nasty place. We simply don’t know how many were killed. Reuters say 40. Other sources speculate that the death toll is higher. Nobody really knows, because no reporters are is on the ground in Yemen.
There is one Shia led group in the United Kingdom that one might expect to have something to say about this battle: the unconvincingly-named Islamic Human Rights Commission, which is aligned with Iran.
But even they are silent on this matter.
However if Iran turned out to be involved in this proxy conflict with Saudi, I wonder where they would stand?
One final snippet:
On October 28 Yemen said it had arrested five Iranians on a boat loaded with weapons allegedly destined for the Zaidis.
The informed word is that this is doubtful, but Yemen is adamant that it is so.