Nizwa, the ancient capital of Oman, beckons the interloper with a plethora of authentic Arab charms (Photo by Anthony C. LoBaido)

Nizwa, the ancient capital of Oman, beckons the interloper with a plethora of authentic Arab charms (Photo by Anthony C. LoBaido)

(Editor’s note: Journalist Anthony C. LoBaido has traveled to Saudi Arabia and other nations in the Middle East. He has explored Arabic and Islamic culture and art, studied Shariah law, Sufism and the Arabic language and calligraphy. In the first installment of his series “Arabiana,” LoBaido investigated Saudi Arabia’s alleged links to terrorism, the Wahhabi branch of Islam, and Saudi Arabia’s treatment of Christians, among other issues. Part II of his series touched upon Saudi Arabia’s quest for nuclear weapons via Pakistan. In Part III, LoBaido examines Saudi Arabia’s multidimensional interests in Yemen, the ongoing war gripping that beleaguered nation, as well as Saudi Arabia’s (and the UAE’s) grand design to connect Arabia and North Africa with a land bridge – the Bridge of Horns – spanning Yemen and Djibouti. This vital and strategic maritime chokepoint, the “Bal Al Mendeb,” means “The Gate of Tears” in Arabic. Development of the energy resources of the vast Empty Quarter nestled between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, as well as the rich oil fields of Ethiopia, is also part of this scenario in a broader context.)

“The truth is like a lion. The lion doesn’t need to be defended. Set the lion free and the lion will defend itself.” – Saint Augustine

NIZWA, Oman – The sun, the sand, the mountains, the ocean and the indigenous population are all striking and delightful – a sweeping canvas and educational space upon which the intrepid can paint their own Arabian tale.

There seemingly isn’t one piece of litter in the entire nation. Not a single public space has been defaced by graffiti, which is widely viewed in Oman as an assault on normal life in an ordered community. The nation’s defining palace is nothing short of breathtaking and a constant reminder of the country’s energy riches. Some say the leader of Oman is a cut above other monarchs in this incredibly diverse region of tribes, cultures, languages, sects and political factions. The complexity of the Middle East’s demographics can be investigated through a definitive collection of maps.

Oman is a “can’t miss destination” – the new “Pearl of the Middle East.” The nation represents an oasis of sanity in an Islamic civilization gripped by internal strife, Sunni versus Shiite sectarian animosity, the war in Yemen, the rise of ISIS, the implosion of Iraq and Libya (after the removal and summary execution of their respective and erstwhile ruling dictators), unemployment, archetype female chattel oppression, genetic deterioration and birth defects from depleted uranium, and the inability to reconcile the 7th century with the 21st century.

A billion Muslims seek a Redeemer, while many of them also fear the arrival of the Daijal, or one-eyed Islamic Antichrist. Others wonder if a Martin Luther-style Reformation will ever sweep across Islam to usher in a new era of peace and harmony – meaning peace inside of each believer, between Islamic, Arab and Muslim nations, with the West, with other faiths and with the rest of humanity. One can only imagine a world in which the entire Islamic civilization reflects and parallels life in Oman – this as opposed to the unmitigated disaster now unfolding in Yemen. The Wall Street Journal published a thoughtful piece on the need for a Reformation in Islam.

Oman is located in a strategic position near Iran, and borders the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Despite this rough neighborhood, Oman is stable, peaceful, beautiful and safe – even for Western visitors

Oman is located in a strategic position near Iran, and borders the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Despite this rough neighborhood, Oman is stable, peaceful, beautiful and safe – even for Western visitors

Can we all get along?

The elites calling the shots in Oman won’t be sending troops to Yemen. This will be applauded by many who claim to love humanity, and those seeking peace and goodwill among men. Mercenaries romantically touted as “soldiers of fortune” and hailing from Colombia, Argentina, Sudan, the U.K., France and Australia have been sent to fight Yemen’s rebellious Houthis. Blackwater, aka Academi, is involved, and this fact was detailed by Forbes Magazine in an excellent piece of journalism.

In early December of 2015, reports emerged that many of these mercenaries were killed, along with their elite commanders. The situation in Yemen is indeed fluid, requiring daily monitoring to stay up to date.

This particular war is a microcosm of the wider (and aforementioned) Sunni versus Shiite battle, pitting proxy allies of regional powerhouses Saudi Arabia and Iran against one another. Yemen is one of the world’s poorest nations, along with Afghanistan, Somalia and Haiti. Yet Yemen has been called “The best country you’ll never get to see.” These days, some of Yemen’s grandest and most ancient treasures are being bombed into oblivion. UNESCO’s director-general is outraged by the seemingly senseless carnage aimed at erasing Yemen’s glorious archaeological past.

Beyond archaeology, there are the human costs to be considered. This graphic offers a succinct summation of the humanitarian disaster inside Yemen as of October 2015. More than 2.3 million people have been internally displaced. Approximately 500,000 children under the age of five are facing extreme malnutrition. The BBC details this very sad human catastrophe in Yemen. The BBC also published an excellent primer on “Who is fighting whom in Yemen.” The BBC’s “Meeting the Houthis – and their enemies” is another first-rate overview.

LoBaido-BBC-map

We’re told Yemen is turning into Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam. There can be no doubt that Saudi Arabia has caught the ire of journalists around the world for waging this vicious war against her impoverished southern neighbor.

One wonders exactly what’s at stake in Yemen for the Saudis, and at what cost to Riyadh morally, politically and economically. It must be a pearl of great price. Some claim Saudi Arabia will be completely bankrupted in five years if it continues to wage this war, if the price of oil remains exceptionally low, and if other ancillary internal and external Saudi budgetary expenditures are not readdressed. CNN detailed this conundrum in an eye-opening article. Others wonder if Saudi Arabia has already been bankrupted morally by destroying Yemen, its relentless domestic human rights abuses, its hatred, mutilation and crucifixion of Christian converts, and various ancillary geostrategic imperatives.

Arabia Felix

In the most basic sense, since March of 2015, Saudi Arabia has provided the genesis for a coalition of Gulf Arab nations and Yemeni warriors seeking to drive out pro-Iranian rebels (the Houthis) who brazenly took the capital, Sana’a, and large stretches of land within the nation.

Yemen sits at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula. ... [cut]

Yemen sits at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula.

Some might say the war on Yemen’s tribes is simply a page out of a larger book of anti-tribal campaigns waged against the Incas, Aztecs, Mayans, American Indians, Hmong of Laos, Karen of Myanmar, Montagnards of Vietnam, Kampas of Tibet and the Zulus of South Africa. Some claim these tribes, and others in places ranging from Afghanistan to the Australian Outback, are in possession of higher esoteric knowledge, a strong connection to the Earth and to the Supreme Being, which doesn’t fit in with a technocratic, globalist paradigm. In terms of the tribes in Saan’a, legends abound in Yemen that the city was founded by none other than Shem, the son of Noah and builder of the biblical ark that saved Noah’s family.

Whatever one believes or does not believe about the fate of tribes on planet Earth, the fact remains that Saan’a is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And an emergency plan to save Yemen’s cultural treasures is on the agenda at the United Nations. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that civilian deaths have spiked in Yemen, which is depressing if humanity is considered to be the world’s greatest treasure and resource.

That said, the Saudis are well known for destroying their own historical treasures, so few are surprised at the damage Saudi Arabia has caused in Yemen. This bloody laundry list includes the bombing of various weddings and hospitals, and – in an act that would trouble even the lowest oxygen-stealing parasite – Yemen’s center for the blind. The bombing of the Medicines Sans Frontiers hospital in Yemen represents another low point.

The Arabian Peninsula and adjactent North African nations have been immoralized by the legend of the Queen of Sheba, depicted here as meeting King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived

The Arabian Peninsula and adjacent North African nations have been immortalized by the legend of the Queen of Sheba, depicted here as meeting King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived

Searching for the Casus Belli

The Arabian Peninsula and North Africa are fabled for the mystery of their beautiful and exotic women, exemplified by the biblical Queen of Sheba

The Arabian Peninsula and North Africa are fabled for the mystery of their beautiful and exotic women, exemplified by the biblical Queen of Sheba

Reuters published a primer on Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference that explains an extremely complex scenario. Basically, Yemen’s most recent troubles began when the Houthis took control of Saan’a back in September of 2014. By March of 2015, (as noted) a coalition rallying behind Saudi Arabia began launching airstrikes in an effort to overturn the gains of the Houthis. The main actors in this drama are the erstwhile dictator of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh (the ruler of Yemen between 1978 and 2012), and would-be ruler Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. In 2012, Hadi won a “single-candidate election” for a two-year term. Hadi, on his own, then decided to extend his mandate, before resigning in January of 2015. For his part, Saleh battled the Houthis during his time in power, and he retains influence over the Yemeni regular army.

Yemen has concerned both the American Empire and the British Empire since the days of Woodrow Wilson. The U.S., self-styled champion of “democracy,” is interested in maintaining stability in Yemen so counter-terrorism operations can continue unabated. (They are guided in large measure by pre-Magna Carta era kill lists and drone strikes.) America’s foreign-policy elites understand that Yemen has always been a mishmash of tribes, regional rivals, political hacks and random stakeholders. In the early 20th century, Yemen was divided between the Ottoman and British Empires. The Kingdom of North Yemen was created in the aftermath of World War I.

South Yemen remained a part of the British realm until 1967, when the rise of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, along with the drug movement, the arrival of Eastern religions from India, and the final eradication of traditional Christian culture from national life in Britain all coincided with the final death throes of the British Empire. Rhodesia would soon fall to Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, and Hong Kong would be returned to mainland China over the ensuing decades. South Yemen’s independence from Great Britain was just another step in the empire’s ultimate dissolution. The Soviet Union stepped into the void for a while in South Yemen. A 1986 New York Times article details how the United States wanted the Soviets to stay out of Yemen’s affairs. Nevertheless, North and South Yemen were not reunited until 1990.

It should be noted that Hadi served as Yemen’s vice president and seemed a probable successor patiently biding his time. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Saudi Arabia, picking up where America and the U.K. could or would not, sought to exert control over Yemen’s succession crisis through the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC. The GCC tried to manage the transition from Saleh to Hadi as a “regional initiative.” The Houthis, meanwhile, were a thorn in everyone’s side via their “September 21st Revolution.” The Houthis understood that Saleh (and perhaps Hadi) had wanted to anoint himself “president for life.” Selah’s son, Ahmed, a likely political heir, was the commander of Yemen’s Republican Guard.

Saudi Arabia’s attack on Yemen forced Saleh to align himself with the Saudis. In retrospect, Saleh brought much of this trouble upon himself. When he sought to unilaterally amend the nation’s constitution to eschew term limits, throngs of ordinary citizens of Yemen turned out to protest. (Imagine if Jimmy Carter remained president of the United States through the two terms of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush’s term, all eight of the Clinton years, then two terms for George W. Bush and Obama’s first term. That gives you an idea of Saleh’s reign over Yemen.)

Yemen is one of the world’s most corrupt nations and could rival Nigeria or post-Soviet Russia for governmental criminality. In fact, Yemen’s government was anything but traditional in the Western sense. Rather, it is a triangulation of informal power sharing between Saleh, who held sway over the state; Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar, leader of the Islamic al-Islah party; and Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, one of the main military leaders. Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar was the local human ATM machine dispensing cash sent from Saudi Arabia to various tribes in Yemen.

The Saudis, as tribal people themselves, sought to empower various tribes in Yemen, and by doing so, weaken the central government. Money from Saudi Arabia flowed into and throughout Yemen, and this allowed Riyadh to influence Yemeni politics and national life. In general terms, Saudi Arabia is able to buy people, technology, military equipment, access, public relations expertise and influence because of its alliance with the United States and the preponderance of the petrodollar. Saudi Aramco is the richest transnational corporation in the history of mankind, rivaling even the British East India Company at the apex of its glory. Some might argue that without Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia would not have achieved its current financial, economic, political, military and diplomatic heights.

Why is all of this carnage gripping Yemen and the region? We’re told the killing of Moammar Gadhafi, the tactics and strategy of the Arab Spring and the resultant removal of like-minded dictators has unleashed terror across the region. Some claim the grand strategy of the United States weaponizing the inherent chaos in the “Arc of Instability” (ranging from Morocco through Central Asia and into the nations formerly comprising British India) is being used to deconstruct Israel’s enemies (Iraq, Syria, Libya), as well as to push Islamic jihad to the borders of southern Russia and western China. The fate of “The World Island,” China’s desire to build a “New Silk Road” connecting Berlin with Beijing and control of the region’s energy resources are all prime considerations. Eurasia is “in play.” Who will emerge victorious in this de facto “Great Game” is anyone’s guess.

Other journalists and academics look for answers via the Sykes-Picot Agreement, in which the French Empire and the British Empire carved up the region with the approval of Czarist Russia after World War I. The Smithsonian Magazine published one such piece along with an interactive map.

Some say the battle for the control of Damascus is the crux of regional instability, and a pipeline running from Qatar through Syria and into Turkey and then Europe is the real prize. Regarding Syria, journalist Sam Gerrans writes, “Syria has been anathema to the self-appointed arbiters of righteousness: the ‘international community,’ that coterie of hypocrites which arrogates to itself the monopoly on meting out death to those who won’t get with the program.

“This group dislikes Syria which has had an uncompromising stance toward Israel and an independent financial system, and is using the chance to destroy it to flood Europe with refugees, thus further debasing the makeup of its constituent nations, and simultaneously justifying a lockdown in those countries.”

Lovers of Syria might enjoy the website Syria Deeply and this amazing interactive map of the conflict.

The role of ISIS and its recent operations in Paris are explored in “The Management of Savagery” by Abu Bakr Naji. To be certain, they are not simply “mindless terrorists” as London’s Guardian recently reported. ISIS released a new manual calling upon faithful Muslims to don crosses, shave and “pretend to be Christians” to help disguise their “lone wolf attacks.” This concept in Islam is called “taqiyya.” There are even ISIS recruitment agencies paying top dollar to lure the most violent jihadists, as London’s Express has documented.

A Saudi Aramco bus burns after a recent terrorist assault. It can be fairly argued that without Saudi Aramco, modern Saudi Arabia, and the economic influence of Riyadh, would not exist

A Saudi Aramco bus burns after a recent terrorist assault. It can be fairly argued that without Saudi Aramco, modern Saudi Arabia, and the economic influence of Riyadh, would not exist

Tales of the Arabian Nights come to life on the Arabian Peninsula as this man riding on horseback proves at an evening bazaar (Photo: Anthony C. LoBaido)

Tales of the Arabian Nights come to life on the Arabian Peninsula as this man riding on horseback proves at an evening bazaar (Photo: Anthony C. LoBaido)

These maps display a grand vision to redraw the Middle East into various realms constituting a major paradigm shift in human history

These maps display a grand vision to redraw the Middle East into various realms constituting a major paradigm shift in human history

lobaido7

The map depicts a new vision for the Middle East and other nations like Afghanistan and Pakistan. The broad architecture aimed at transforming the nations depicted on these two maps has created tremendous instability

Into the breech

While we lack definitive answers, we do know that history has not been kind to Yemen. Beyond friendly visits and notoriety ranging from Saint Thomas the Apostle to Marco Polo, the British Empire saw the strategic location of Yemen as one of the gateways to India. In fact, during World War II, Aden was the second busiest port in the world after New York. The French Empire also took note of Yemen from its perch in French India – known as “Pondicherry.”

More recently, the shifting sands of history saw the citizens of Yemen play a dangerous game of national poker with Communism during the Cold War, as well as with a resurgent Islamic jihad. Ishmael’s descendants now see “every man’s hand raised against another” in a Hobbesian war of “all against all.” AQAP, or “al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” is considered to be one of America’s foremost enemies (when the U.S. is not arming and helping al-Qaida in Libya and Syria in a schizophrenic cul de sac that’s equal parts deranged and dangerous). Yet when the Houthis fight AQAP and ISIS, this doesn’t win them any favors in London, Paris or Washington, D.C., or garner overwhelming and accumulated outrage at the United Nations. An analysis of Yemen’s military strength can be found here. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s leading weapons buyers, and its military strength is considerable. An analysis of AQAP can be found here.

The mud skyscrapers of Hadhramaut are known as "The Manhattan of the Desert." Yemen lovers, and all lovers of antiquity, are concerned that the ongoing bath of blood in Yemen will destroy Yemen's cultural heritage, as in the case of Iraq and Syria

The mud skyscrapers of Hadhramaut are known as “The Manhattan of the Desert.” Yemen lovers, and all lovers of antiquity, are concerned that the ongoing bath of blood in Yemen will destroy Yemen’s cultural heritage, as in the case of Iraq and Syria

American journalist, political commentator and former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan puts much of the blame on Saudi Arabia. He writes, “The Saudis went AWOL from the battle against [Daesh] and al-Qaida in Iraq and Syria. Yet they persuaded us to help them crush the Houthi rebels in Yemen, though the Houthis never attacked us and would have exterminated al-Qaida. Now that a Saudi coalition has driven the Houthis back toward their northern basecamp, [Daesh] and al-Qaida have moved into some of the vacated terrain.”

Some media reports state, “In the lesser populated parts of Yemen, Islamic State and al Qaeda are making gains and seeking to perhaps make a flanking strategy on Aden.” Furthermore, Reuters reports, “Infighting within the Hadi camp, the martial prowess of the Houthis and a growing Islamist menace have given the UAE armed forces, which have deployed in international operations from Kosovo to Afghanistan, their biggest challenge yet.”

Famine has come to Yemen along with the killing of many innocents. This has brought global condemnation against the House of Saud. For example, the United Nations claims that cluster bombs have been found in Yemen.

As CounterPunch stated:

“How is the conflict explained to us? Spokesmen of Western governments state that a militia movement (Ansarallah) took over the capital forcing out the legitimate government. Thus, as upholders of ‘legitimacy,’ the UNSC (minus Russia) judged it vital to reinstate the earlier government, even though the bulk of the Yemeni national army came over to the side of the Ansarallah, itself with a substantial popular base in Sanaa and the north. This is evident.

“But rarely are we reminded that a year ago, under UN auspices a political agreement (‘Peace and National Participation’) was co-signed by the Ansarallah and other Yemeni parties, only for the UN representative to be fired, another appointed, political discussions with the Ansarallah movement terminated, and a military Coalition assembled to reinstate ‘legitimacy’ inside Yemen. As the Coalition has gone on to destroy not only Yemen but law itself, surely continuing political negotiation would have been a lower price to pay?”

We’ve learned that Saudi cities like Najran and Jizan had been surrounded by Yemeni forces, and that an attack on the cities – both located in Saudi Arabia’s southwest – was awaiting a “political decision” to be launched. The rebels in Yemen aren’t cowering. Instead they’re attacking Saudi Arabia on Saudi soil.

We’re also told that the war in Yemen serves as some kind of “laboratory.” Martha Mundy’s journalism in this regard is shocking with its brutal truths:

“So what else is at stake that the Coalition has been left to bomb for six months to the sound of world silence? Is it just money? Obviously Saudi Arabia (with more British airplanes than the British army) and the GCC can buy a lot of media, weapons, and people. Yet the support of the US, France and the UK to the Coalition goes beyond what money can buy, even today. So what else is at stake?

“A tentative answer: The French, who are facilitating the naval blockade, still have a base in Djibouti. It allows them to continue as players in a global network (Diego Garcia and 1400 US overseas bases) expanded from the days of the Cold War. Today, Djibouti’s major function may be not just above, but under, water: to watch the communication cables, which pass between China, Asia and the West that lie on the sea bed. Although all that visitors to Djibouti may see are French army frogmen diving to check the cables, there must be wider coordination with the Israeli submarines patrolling in the Red Sea.

Yemen as a laboratory for new wars? It seems bizarre since, compared to Gaza, Yemen is far larger, intelligence mapping of the population far poorer, and there is still something of a ground army standing. But if one remembers how Yemen has served as a laboratory for US drones, including targeted assassination of a US citizen, perhaps it was so marketed.

“Indeed there is something glossy about the way the war was sold to the GCC leaders (GCC minus Oman which refused to participate) even if we, the general public, haven’t seen the brochures. For the Emiratis it was to lead to ‘the City of Light’ (al-Noor Yemen) of booming commerce on the Indian Ocean and open to East Africa but subject to the management choices of Dubai. To the Saudi very much more was promised: unified control of ‘The Empty Quarter’ and its fabled unexploited quantities of oil and gas which the US guarded in the ground so long as the government was Yemeni; practice in making and unmaking societies and governments by precision bombing of a population dependent on food imports; and a victory so stunning, the Arabian Peninsula becoming effectively theirs, that peace with Israel could soon be publically celebrated.”

The article continues:

“In early June at a Council on Foreign Relations event, retired Major General Anwar Eshki of Saudi Arabia laid out the package. He was joined at the event by Ambassador Dore Gold of Israel. What Eshki said is not news in Saudi Arabia. But it is not often spoken out aloud, and certainly not reported with any measure of diligence in the West. Here is Eshki’s package:

“In the Arabian Peninsula, there is a promising oil field in the Empty Quarter [Rub’al-Khali] that will obligate the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Yemen to cooperate to protect it and its gains. This unity will be modeled – or rather, must be modeled – on the U.S. constitution that united America and granted it its democracy. As for the promising Ogaden [oil] field in Ethiopia, it will unite the Horn of Africa under Ethiopia’s leadership. And a bridge shall be built between the African continent and the Arabian Peninsula: The Al-Noor Bridge that shall connect the city of Al-Noor in Djibouti and the city of Al-Noor in Yemen.”

It should be noted that on Jan. 6, 2016, Djibouti broke off relations with Iran. It would seem Djibouti is walking lockstep in line with the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Ethiopia recently ordered the United States to shut down a lethal drone base in its nation.

The oilfields of Ethiopia will play a part not only in enriching that nation, but in changing the geostrategic important of the Horn of Africa, as well as political and commercial relations with its Arabian neighbors

The oilfields of Ethiopia will play a part not only in enriching that nation, but in changing the geostrategic important of the Horn of Africa, as well as political and commercial relations with its Arabian neighbors

An example of what the "Bridge of Horns" might look like upon completion. The bridge would connect the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa via Yemen and Djibouti. The latter played host to the French Foreign Legion before the arrival of an American garrison at the dawn of the 21st century

An example of what the “Bridge of Horns” might look like upon completion. The bridge would connect the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa via Yemen and Djibouti. The latter played host to the French Foreign Legion before the arrival of an American garrison at the dawn of the 21st century

The proximity of Yemen to Djibouti provides the basis for creating increased economic regional integration between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa

Colliding agendas, weapons of choice

In regard to Djibouti, one might also mention that tiny nation as a lynchpin in the drone operations carried out by the United States in the Middle East and North Africa. Djibouti’s main commercial airport has been cited as a house of horrors. Adding to the mix, Mainland China is currently in negotiations to build a military base in Djibouti.

For those wondering about the willingness to fight vis-a-vis the average Saudi Arabian soldier, apparently Saudi Arabia’s “national guard” is not a part of the regular Saudi army. Rather, it functions as the king’s personal Praetorian Guard.

One particularly noteworthy report states:

“This program gets laid out in a New York Times piece entitled, ‘[United Arab] Emirates Secretly Sends Colombian Mercenaries to Yemen Fight.’ It explains that this is ‘the first combat deployment for a foreign army that the Emirates has quietly built in the desert over the past five years.’ The Emirates had a brigade of 1,800 soldiers from Latin America which provided 450 troops now arriving in Yemen. It seems there are also going to be hundreds of other foreign mercenaries – Sudanese and Eritrean soldiers – brought into Yemen.

“These can be viewed as a second generation of foreign mercenaries hired by the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. In the first generation, still powerful, in 1975 Saudi Arabia brought in Vinnell Corporation, an American defense contractor, to train the ‘Saudi Arabian National Guard.’ This is a force outside the official Saudi military and the Ministry of Defense (and larger than the Saudi military). Instead, the 75,000 man National Guard reports to the King. This makes its main duty to suppress internal political unrest that challenges the state’s authoritarian structure. Vinnell receives $819 million for its maintaining 1000 employees in Saudi Arabia doing contract work with the National Guard and Royal Air Force.

“The little-known Vinnell is now owned by Northrop Grumman. It has undertaken projects in fifty other countries, including for the United States in the Vietnam War, when it ran secret intelligence programs. Its advantages include giving the Saudis the very top-grade American support without any ‘official’ United States involvement.”

The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar houses a treasure trove and riches that are almost indescribable (Photo: Anthony C. LoBaido)

The Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar houses a treasure trove and riches that are almost indescribable (Photo: Anthony C. LoBaido)

Wars are won with brave soldiers and elite scientists, but economic warfare also plays a central role in the postmodern world. Along those lines, how sound is Saudi Arabia’s oil strategy in light of recent crude prices. Russia has replaced Saudi Arabia as the leading supplier of oil to China. Saudi Arabia has miscalculated its production capacity in regard to pressuring Iran and Russia, and perhaps attempting to thwart the American oil boom in the heart of the Dakotas.

A major German bank is not bullish on Saudi Arabia’s financial status. Intelligence elites in Germany question Saudi Arabia’s military muscle flexing.

As one article states:

“Germany’s foreign intelligence agency says Saudi Arabia’s ambitious defense minister could endanger the country’s ties with regional allies by attempting to cement his place in the royal succession. The BND spy agency says Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is second in line to the throne, and his father, King Salman, are trying to establish themselves as leaders of the Arab world.

“The BND cited the country’s involvement in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq and Yemen that were meant to prove that ‘Saudi Arabia is prepared to take unprecedented military, financial and political risks to avoid falling behind in regional politics.'”

The U.S. is a major supplier of weapons to Saudi Arabia. Billions of dollars are at stake, and there’s no sign of a letup. London’s Guardian spells out the $60 billion deal here. The U.K. Independent ran a story about how the British government is attempting to keep the details of its own security agreement with the Saudis a secret. Sadly, ABC News posted a story claiming 5,700 have been killed in Yemen since March of 2015.

Meanwhile, global headlines describe stories of disturbed Saudi behavior – such as the man who “accidentally fell into a woman’s vagina” and wound up in court, not to mention the “fart-in-my-face” Saudi prince. One can’t forget the drug-trafficking Saudi prince, either.

Despite these and other foibles and peccadillos, the Saudi public relations juggernaut continues to roll along. We’re told the Saudi spin machine is working full bore via …

“Elements of the charm offensive include the launch of a pro-Saudi Arabia media portal operated by high-profile Republican campaign consultants; a special English-language website devoted to putting a positive spin on the latest developments in the Yemen war; glitzy dinners with American political and business elites; and a non-stop push to sway reporters and policymakers.

“That has been accompanied by a spending spree on American lobbyists with ties to the Washington establishment. The Saudi Arabian Embassy … now retains the brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, the leader of one of the largest Republican Super PACs in the country, and a law firm with deep ties to the Obama administration. One of Jeb Bush’s top fundraisers, Ignacio Sanchez, is also lobbying for the Saudi Kingdom.”

How disheartening is the situation right now in Yemen?

The Intercept reports:

“Since April, the Saudi-led coalition has imposed a crippling siege on Yemen, by far the poorest country in the region. Severe import restrictions on basic goods have led to a deepening humanitarian crisis, with over 21 million people now in need of basic assistance — more than anywhere else in the world.”

Here’s an incredibly detailed primer on the humanitarian disaster in Yemen.

At this point, we might recall the pope’s 2015 speech before Congress, in which the pontiff noted:

“A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a ‘pointless slaughter,’ another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography he wrote: ‘I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers.’

“Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.” The pope’s words have apparently gone unheeded. London’s Guardian published an insightful report listing the nations backing Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. Then on Jan. 15, 2015, the Guardian announced, “British and American military officials are in the command and control center for Saudi airstrikes on Yemen, and have access to lists of targets …”

The British Empire has become irrelevant, save for the British Commonwealth. Perhaps 100 years from now, historians will look back at the American Empire and stand in awe at the silence of the American people (the majority of whom still claim to be “Christians”) while its top military leaders acted as overseers of Yemen’s destruction like greedy and ebullient owners of a teenage video game arcade. Surely this is cruel and barbaric. On July 4, 1821, John Quincy Adams explained that the newly formed United States “… goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” How far we have strayed from our founders’ vision.

Two television actors in Qatar paused to share a delightful moment with an American photographer visiting from Saudi Arabia. While nations like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are well known for supporting Islamic militants, it should be known that ordinary believers in Islam within those nations mostly do not support any form of violence and terrorism (Photo: Anthony C. LoBaido)

Two television actors in Qatar paused to share a delightful moment with an American photographer visiting from Saudi Arabia. While nations like Qatar and Saudi Arabia are well known for supporting Islamic militants, it should be known that ordinary believers in Islam within those nations mostly do not support any form of violence and terrorism (Photo: Anthony C. LoBaido)

This graphic shows the value of petroleum products (and other products such as opium and gold) for every nation in the Middle East and Central Asia

This graphic shows the value of petroleum products (and other products such as opium and gold) for every nation in the Middle East and Central Asia

Final thoughts

Ultimately, the broad strategic architecture of Saudi Arabia’s (and some of her geographical neighbors’) plans for Yemen – including access to energy resources in the Empty Quarter, a land bridge spanning the Asian and African continents, as well as potentially wider linkages via the development of oilfields in Ethiopia – is a bold and audacious strategy worthy of further introspection. Ironically, in antiquity, Eritrea and Ethiopia were loosely linked to the empire of Sheba in Yemen. Perhaps we are witnesses another beginning, or closing, of a very old cycle and circle of globalization.

Journalism in the 21st century is a multidimensional jigsaw puzzle where multiple realities are all simultaneously coexisting. Objective reality suggests that Saudi Arabia’s public relations machine in the U.S. cannot hide the fact that one of the Middle East’s richest nations is destroying one of the poorest. Yemen deserves our pity, like Somalia and Haiti, not more American and British bombs. Pro-life Republicans in the United States might consider standing up for Yemen as allies fighting against ISIS and AQAP. May we as Americans not be blind, like those who used to congregate at the Yemen center for the blind. As the old adage goes, “There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.” Selah, the ousted leader of Yemen who has no doubt seen and learned much during his tenure, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that ruling Yemen is “like dancing on the heads of snakes.”

Whether one is a hesitant “Doubting Thomas,” or a bold adventurer like Marco Polo, the battle for the heart and soul of Yemen is an enigma wrapped inside a riddle in dire need of further deconstruction. As for Saudi Arabia, both the monarchy and citizenry are busy learning the pitfalls of empire building. Yemen is clearly in the way of Saudi Arabia’s master plans for the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. Yet while the karmic wheel of the universe continues to spin around in its mad game of roulette, how long will it be before the transnational elite realize Saudi Arabia is also in the way?

One should not forget that, as noted, Saudi Arabia is an artificial construct composed of various tribes. And as noted, be it the Incas, the Aztecs, the Zulus and Afrikaners, the American Indians, the Hmong, Karen, Montagnards and even the Eskimos have all faced their own private version of Armageddon. If the last 500 years of human history have a constant theme, it’s that tribes simply are not welcomed by the powers that be.

The day will arrive when the weakening of the petrodollar and the unlimited support for Wahhabi jihad by Saudi Arabia no longer serve the plans of the globalist paradigm. Saudi Arabia’s crucifixion and torture of Christian converts (by “the religion of peace”), weirdo support for ISIS, cruelty toward women, lack of basic human rights, rumored assistance to the deranged 9/11 hijackers, summary executions and long-standing quest to finance and acquire battlefield-ready nuclear weapons via Pakistan underscore its nutty national resume.

Yet all of those things, horrific as they may be, can’t compare to the daily carnage Riyadh is currently inflicting on poor Yemen. Sadly, many ordinary Saudis support the war in Yemen, seeing it as a “coming-out party” of muscle flexing. This is what happens when humans choose the pride of life, the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh over pursuing the pure spirit of the Supreme Being.

If Saint Augustine were alive today, he’d calmly explain that the evil wickedness projected by Saudi Arabia onto so many others will eventually make its way back around to its progenitors with a curse that would make a Haitian voodoo priestess blush. Of that salient notion there can be no doubt. Saint Augustine was correct. Despite the cynical support of public relations prostitutes in Washington, D.C., the truth about Saudi Arabia and its war on Yemen is like a lion. The lion doesn’t need to be defended. Let us set the lion free, so the lion can defend itself.

Anthony C. LoBaido has published 356 articles on WND from 53 nations around the world.

Related stories:

Part I: Saudi Arabia: U.S. ally or radical financier of terror? A look at life, culture and darkest secrets of Arab state

Part II: Saudi Arabia’s quest for the atomic bomb

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