Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Chinese-Iranian Axis for Peace in Yemen

This is a pretty remarkable infographic released today by Al Jazeera outlining the forces for and against Saudi strikes on Yemen, which have been met with something akin to universal animosity in Yemen. NPR had a commentator describe Saudi Arabia as "the one thing that all Yemenis will agree on as being an evil for their country" this morning, and the report goes on to describe protests planned immediately after the strikes and speculation that the strikes may unite Yemenis against foreign intervention.

This is an excellent case study question any sane observer of geopolitics will have wondered: 'which states are working toward peace, and how?'. Saudi Arabia surprised the US government by carrying out tactical, self-interested strikes without US notification or approval. This flagrant violation of US international supremacy, coupled with a yet-undeveloped US media narrative on the situation in Yemen have produced a succinct image: the US-led international commitment to use force against the wishes of civil society in subjected states, for security / strategic interests foreign to the victim state:
-Al Jazeera

Once again, China acts as a unique force for peace and moderation. Sober analysts - from State Dep't researchers to corporate fixers - consistently cite the hope that these kind of counterbalances to US power will succeed, and in their success secure peace and stable, non-destroyed markets with which the non-sociopathic elements of civil society can interface for enhanced international economic and diplomatic integration. The failure of this Chinese conspiracy means liquidated human rights & delegitimized international law enforcement furthering unrestrained US military depth. Commentary which resembles sanctimonious calls for respect for human rights and international law belong in a repository to be dusted off and used as emotional blackmail to muster support for the next attack on these same standards:
"In the 1980s, it was in their interest to support the Halabja and al-Anfal massacres, to provide substantial aid and support for their friend Saddam, and to invite nuclear engineers from Iraq to the US in 1989 for advanced training in nuclear weapons production. A few years later, it was in their interest to provide protection for Iraqi Kurds -- while at the same time pouring huge amounts of advanced armaments into Turkey to support a monstrous assault against the Kurdish population there. If we open our eyes, we see exactly the same pattern right now. One of the few Western correspondents to have done serious and sympathetic work on the Kurds commented bitterly that Mt. Qandhil how has "freedom fighters on the eastern slopes and terrorists on the western slopes." Kurds should know why, and should understand what this implies, even if Westerners prefer to keep to official propaganda." -Noam Chomsky, Leven (

Mainstream analysts (incidentally opposing mainstream pundits) have a known history of looking to China as a peaceful counterbalance to US and allied militarism. In 2001, Rumsfeld spearheaded a campaign to extend US strategic depth to space in the form of weaponized satellites. In 2002, the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, paving the way for future arms research and buildup to this end. In 2008, Chomsky described the following response by US strategic analysts to Chinese weapons systems meant to effectively destroy satellites should it be necessary:
"The Chinese have been trying to block it and that is well understood. You read the most respectable journal in the world, I suppose, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and you find leading strategic analysts, John Steinbrunner and Nancy Gallagher, a couple of years ago, warning that the Bush administration's aggressive militarization is leading to what they call "ultimate doom." Of course, there is going to be a reaction to it. You threaten people with destruction, they are going to react. These analysts call on peace-loving nations to counter Bush's aggressive militarism. They hope that China will lead peace-loving nations to counter U.S. aggressiveness. It's a pretty remarkable comment on the impossibility of achieving democracy in the United States. Again, the logic is pretty elementary. Steinbrunner and Gallagher are assuming that the United States cannot be a democratic society; it's not one of the options, so therefore we hope that maybe China will do something." -Noam Chomsky, Znet ( (my emphasis)
The known influence of Iranian strategic depth as it co-opts Yemen's Shia Houthis is cynically used in US media narratives to accumulate the conflict into the broader Saudi/Israeli-Iranian conflict. This will no doubt lead us to our refined media position: Yemen deserves autonomy only from the influence of our rivals (just like Ukraine), against their wishes, and it is an autonomy that Yemenis deserve so much, we are willing to let them die for it. If they are unfortunate enough to suffer from an Iranian-Chinese conspiracy, they may not be able to enjoy foreign airstrikes.

Military action in Yemen: Who's for, who's against? - AJE
After Foreign Intervention, Yemen Faces Additional Uncertainty - NPR
Chomsky on The Kurds - Namo Abdulla, Noam Chomsky,
2007 Chinese anti-satellite missile test - Wikipedia, retrieved March 26, 2015
We Own The World - Noam Chomsky,

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