What you are witnessing today in Yemen is a religious and cultural genocide, Catherine Shakdam, Director of Programs at Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, told RT.
The Saudi ambassador to the United States has called the Saudi-led bombings in Yemen “righteous” and “legitimate” and that they will continue“no matter what.” However, he was less clear over their use of cluster bombs.
The statement was made at an Arab-US relations conference which was bankrolled by US oil corporations and weapons manufacturers, such as Exxon-Mobil and Boeing. Meanwhile, with the strikes unlikely to stop, Saudi Arabia is still rebuffing an independent investigation into the Yemen conflict, despite increasing accusations of war crimes being committed.
Instead, Riyadh has appointed a military lawyer to look into those claims. But the selection of Bahraini Colonel Mansour al-Mansour is being questioned along with his reputation.
RT spoke with Catherine Shakdam about these latest disturbing developments.
RT: Leading politicians may call for Saudi strikes to be reined in, but then arms firms are funding get-togethers like these. How concerned are you at the proximity of weapons-makers to the decision-makers?
Catherine Shakdam: Very concerned. This is a concern that has been ongoing since the beginning of the war since March 2015. The closeness of the war lobby in the US and other capitols in the West and Saudi Arabia is a political reality that we have had to deal with from the very beginning of this onslaught on Yemen. And this goes further to prove that Saudi Arabia has no interest in stopping the wanton murder of civilians. Just as much as I would say the war lobbies don’t have an interest in stopping the flow of weapons to Saudi Arabia. They are making billions of dollars. Why would they stop? The industry of war which has sprung upon Saudi Arabia’s desire to expand its empire in the Middle East is very lucrative indeed. Why would they stop? The problem that we have now is that we are caught in between the political will on the ground trying to broker a workable peace in Yemen and the desire that certain capitalists of war have to make more money on the back of Yemeni blood.
RT: The Saudi ambassador’s comment that the air strikes in Yemen will continue ‘no matter what’. Does that level of hubris surprise you?
CS: No, not at all. I think that is the thing. For a very long time now we have been told by Riyadh that this war on Yemen was a war of political restoration. That what they wanted to do was to restore the real legitimate power of Yemen through President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Quite clearly it was never an issue; this is not why this war has been waged. If anything this war has been waged against Yemen because Riyadh wants to destroy a potential enemy, a potential contender in the region in terms power, in terms of military power, in terms of economic power. Even though Yemen is very poor, it has a great potential. And this is something that the Saudis have tried to rein in and have tried to prevent Yemen to rise to its full potential.
So, the destruction of Yemen is very desired by Riyadh as was actually manifested by the Saudi ambassador (…) What you are witnessing today in Yemen is a religious and cultural genocide. They want to completely eradicate and disappear Yemen as a political entity, as a sovereign nation, as a military power, as an economic contender. There are many layers to this. Unless they are stopped by the international community, Saudi Arabia has no intention in ending its war in Yemen no matter what (…)