Kamilia Al-Eriani https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/25899/all cached version 08/02/2019 16:23:20 en Against solidarity of the powerful https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/kamilia-al-eriani/against-solidarity-of-powerful <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Is it true that western powers’ silence over Yemen stands in opposition to their solidarity for the Syrians? Or, or do they both acquire the same quality?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-36053270.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-36053270.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>United Nations Security Council meeting on Yemen, on April 17, 2018. Picture by Li Muzi/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>Friends and acquaintances often ask me, as a Yemeni living in Australia, about the situation in my own country. The conversation usually concludes as follows: “We do hear about atrocities in Syria, but rarely do we hear anything about Yemen!”&nbsp;</p><p lang="en-AU">Such remarks are also voiced by my family and friends living in Yemen, who too often lament that “no one cares about us, the world has ignored us.”</p><p>Many concerned academics, activists, and journalists also worry over the “world’s silence” demanding “the world” to “speak” against atrocities inflicted on civilians in Yemen. &nbsp;</p><p>Yet curiously, mainstream media and academia have not been short of reporting on brutalities and the violations of the international humanitarian law in Yemen.&nbsp;</p><p>This, then, begs the question: whose silence is evoked here?&nbsp;</p><p>Perhaps this suggests that the “world” appealed to in such demands refers to the powerful&nbsp;western nations and International community. To those who desire the world to “come out of its silence,” it seems, condemnation uttered by leaders’ of the world powerful nations and institutions has a special quality that makes it highly desired.&nbsp;</p><p>It indicates that their condemnation and solidarity has the capacity to ward off injustices and atrocities in the world; for they are the guardians of global justice and since WWII they vowed: “never again.”&nbsp;</p><p>But is it true that&nbsp;western powers’ silence over Yemen stands in opposition to their solidarity for the Syrians? Or, or do they both acquire the same quality? Are the effects of their silence on carnages in Yemen different from their frequently pronounced solidarity with the Syrian people?&nbsp;</p><p>The recent response by Donald Trump to atrocities in Syria and Yemen is quite telling. In a recent alleged use of chemical weapon by Assad against his people, Trump seemed passionate about showing solidarity with Syrians,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1493600/us-allies-strike-syrian-targets-in-response-to-regimes-chemical-attacks/source/GovDelivery/">stating</a>&nbsp;that this “evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not actions of a man; they are crimes of a monster instead.”</p><p>However, Trump said nothing about Saudi Arabia’s continuing bombardment of Yemen for three years. Yet, in response to a Houthie’s missile attack on Riyadh, the Trump administration and European allies&nbsp;<a href="http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-and-european-allies-condemn-iran-over-yemen-2058894256">condemned</a>&nbsp;the Houthies and blamed Iran for the attack.&nbsp;</p><p>Indeed, Trump and the European leaders appeared to be showering Saudi Arabia with solidarity against Iran by signing arms deals worth billions of US dollars during Mohammad Ben Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, recent tour in the US and Europe.&nbsp;</p><p>As Trump decided to wage a war against Syria “in solidarity” with the Syrian people, Russia Today (RT), a media platform funded by Russia, condemned&nbsp;western leaders by publishing an op-ed entitled “<a href="https://www.rt.com/news/425437-airstrikes-syria-chemical-attack/">Strikes on Syria as Yemen atrocities ignored</a>”.</p><p>A year and a half into the Saudi collation’s war against Yemen, and in what seemed as a gesture of solidarity with Yemen,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.rt.com/news/365096-yemen-cluster-bombs-question/">RT</a>&nbsp;caught the Saudi Ambassador to the US (Prince Abdullah al-Saud) responding to a journalist asking if Saudi Arabia is going to stop using cluster bombs in Yemen.&nbsp;</p><p>The Prince’s answered laughingly: “This is like the question ‘will you stop beating your wife’.” The seemingly out of proportion answer only echoedthe Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth AffairsBoris Johnson, who once averred that the Saudi’s brutish war in Yemen, backed by the UK, US, and France, is “<a href="https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-10-26/debates/61DFF92D-1BE0-4909-8020-76FC80CA5136/Yemen">not only justified, but legally sound</a>.”&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-right">What we see are instances of solidarity of violence<em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></em></p><p>Interestingly, Johnson’s silence approval of the Saudi collation’s killing of civilians, as well as,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Saudi-Coalition-Bombs-Another-Hospital-in-Yemen-Killing-11-20160815-0019.html">bombarding of hospitals</a>&nbsp;and schools in Yemen, exhibited&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/02/boris-johnson-russian-complicity-in-war-crimes-precludes-syria-talks">outrage</a>&nbsp;when he condemned the boombing of schools and hospitals in Syria by the Syrian regime aided by the Russians.&nbsp;</p><p>One could simply feel perplexed about how the world’s powers are responding differently to what is happening in Syria and Yemen. They are mobilized to end the suffering in one country while turning a blind eye on injustices in another. However, the effects of these seemingly different responses are the same. Here, what we see are instances of solidarity of violence.<em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></em></p><p>On one hand,&nbsp;western leaders’ condemnation of the Syrian regime and the Russian involvement comes at the expense of the lives of innocent Syrians since their condemnation and gestures of solidarity are invoked only to justify further violence and more military intervention in Syria.&nbsp;</p><p>On the other hand, their silence on atrocities against Yemen has the same effect. It authorizes the continuance of Saudi Arabia’s violence against Yemenis. Likewise, Russia condemns the Saudi collation war in Yemen, but it does that to silence condemnation on its involvement with the Assad regime in perpetuating atrocities against Syrians.&nbsp;</p><p lang="en-AU">So, there might be some truth in the assumption that there is a special effect of the&nbsp;western leaders’ condemnation, but it’s not distinct from their silence since both harbour&nbsp;thesame violent effects. Both have been garnered certainly not to end human suffering but only to prolong it.&nbsp;</p><p>Perhaps, this should be an invitation to stop fantasising&nbsp;about the solidarity of the powerful. Being the guardians of global justice does not mean that their solidarity will allow Yemenis, Syrians, Palestinians, Rohingya, and dehumanised people elsewhere, access to justice. &nbsp;</p><p>Meanwhile, those brutalised societies can only wait for justice. As we are watching them, we can only hope for them that while waiting, they will have the strength to re-invent novel ways of existence and co-existence to mitigate the devastating effects of injustices bestowed upon them.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/kamilia-al-eriani/has-yemeni-state-ceased-to-exist">Has the Yemeni state ceased to exist?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/helen-lackner/on-wretched-third-anniversary-of-international-intervention-in-">On a wretched third anniversary of the international intervention in Yemen, is the rise of the Huthis irresistible? Part 1</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/afrah-nasser/is-sweden-complicit-in-war-crimes-in-yemen">Is Sweden complicit in war crimes in Yemen?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yemen </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North Africa, West Asia North-Africa West-Asia Yemen solidarity war Kamilia Al-Eriani Wed, 09 May 2018 08:23:17 +0000 Kamilia Al-Eriani 117760 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Has the Yemeni state ceased to exist? https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/kamilia-al-eriani/has-yemeni-state-ceased-to-exist <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Is it the disappearance of the Yemeni state that has resulted in the suffering of Yemenis?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-35516460.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-35516460.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>People stand on the ruins of a building destroyed in an airstrike in Sanaa, Yemen, Aug. 25, 2017. Picture by Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>Last month,&nbsp;<a href="https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/N1800513.pdf">a 329-page report</a>&nbsp;tabled at the UN Security Council by a panel of experts on Yemen was made publicly available. The report announces that “after three years of conflict, Yemen, as a State, has all but ceased to exist”. “The authority of the legitimate Government of Yemen has now eroded to the point,” the report continues, “that it is doubtful whether it will ever be able to reunite Yemen as a single country.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The existing&nbsp;<a href="https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/N1800513.pdf">“threats to peace, security, and stability of Yemen</a>” listed in the report hint to the Hobbesian “state of nature.” The authority of the legitimate government is not only challenged in the north. It is also struggling to assert itself in the south, where the Southern Transitional Council (STC) has recently been formed. The STC seeks an independent South Yemen. And of course, the Huthis in the north “<a href="https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/N1800513.pdf">have now taken unilateral control of all State institutions within their territory</a>.” The report goes on to mention the proxy groups funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in addition to terrorist outfits such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State.&nbsp;</p> <p> Yemen seems to be in a state of disarray. There are multiple enemies fighting the government but also fighting one another, and making the revival of the state almost impossible. The erosion of the Yemeni state and its authority is exemplified by the proliferation of different forces, which in turn have been inflicting death, pain, and suffering on innocent Yemenis. </p> <p> But is it the disappearance of the Yemeni state that has resulted in the suffering of Yemenis? Or was it rather the specter of the Yemeni State, making its presence felt in its most destructive articulation, which came back to haunt their everyday life?</p> <p>Carl Schmitt’s <a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo5458073.html">concept of the political</a>&nbsp;may help us understand Yemen today. To him, the state as a political entity exercises the right to decide on the domestic enemy. When it constitutes the friend-enemy distinction it also affects the “utmost degree of intensity of a union and separation, of an association and dissociation.” This includes calling upon its subjects to be ready to kill or be killed in the name of securing peace and order within its territory.</p> <p> <span class="mag-quote-right">Yemenis have been denied even the right to recognize the brutality brought upon them on a daily basis</span></p> <p> In Schmitt’s rendition, it is not the possibility of war with an enemy that constitutes the political but the nature of the friend-enemy grouping. And it is in the realm of the friend-enemy grouping that the state’s authority is exercised. Should a war materialize out of this grouping, then, according to Schmitt, the war itself is the normal state of the political.</p> <p> In 2015, it was in the name of the Yemeni state, that the Hadi government called upon the regional and international powers to intervene to protect the Yemeni state from falling at the hand of the state enemy: the&nbsp;Huthis, described as the agents of Iran. </p> <p> Earlier, in September 2014, it was the Huthi-Salih alliance who captured the state institutions in Sana’a claiming that they were protecting the integrity of the Yemeni state from the Hadi government which had become an instrument in the hand of the international-regional powers. </p> <p> Both factions declared each other as the ultimate enemy that needed to be liquidated. Both have mobilized their allies internationally, regionally and nationally, and are prepared to kill and be killed.</p> <p> Had the Yemeni state really ceased to exist, why&nbsp;then&nbsp;are both&nbsp;factions inflicting&nbsp;violence on one another and on innocent Yemenis in the very name of protecting the state? Does that not seem to indicate that the spirit of a dead state has been incarnated in its perpetual signification of the public enemy and wreaking of violence on Yemenis?</p> <p> Yemen as a state, with effective legal and constitutional norms, may well have ceased to exist. But its specter continues to haunt the lives and bodies of innocent Yemenis and subjects them to death, loss, pain, and suffering. The so-called international community is complicit in perpetuating this suffering on the Yemenis, and complicit otherwise in this state of affairs in Yemen.</p> <p> Yemenis have been denied even the right to recognize the brutality brought upon them on a daily basis. It is not the state that has ceased to exist. What has really ceased to exist, and perhaps even left behind no trace that would remind humanity that it once existed, is the ethical responsibility of the so-called international community, international law and the international institutions whose responsibility it is to prevent suffering and death. With such a state of indifference to their suffering and pain, Yemenis have been given the brutal gift of a spectral state that thrives and survives through violence, while they have been dispossessed – deprived of hope that a peaceful existence will one day arrive.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/helen-lackner/on-wretched-third-anniversary-of-international-intervention-in-">On a wretched third anniversary of the international intervention in Yemen, is the rise of the Huthis irresistible? Part 1</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/helen-lackner/wretched-third-anniversary-of-international-intervention-in-yem">Wretched third anniversary of international intervention in Yemen: the Saudi-led coalition and humanitarian disaster. Part 2</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/afrah-nasser/is-sweden-complicit-in-war-crimes-in-yemen">Is Sweden complicit in war crimes in Yemen?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-sabbour/how-saudi-arabia-and-iran-shared-rise-and-fall-of-ali-abdullah-s">How Saudi Arabia and Iran shared the rise and fall of Ali Abdullah Saleh</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yemen </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North Africa, West Asia North-Africa West-Asia Yemen Conflict Democracy and government politics war Kamilia Al-Eriani Wed, 28 Mar 2018 12:47:40 +0000 Kamilia Al-Eriani 116924 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Kamilia Al-Eriani https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/kamilia-al-eriani <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Kamilia Al-Eriani </div> </div> </div> <p>Kamilia Al-Eriani holds a Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research interests include state politics, the processes of de-democratization, and modes of ethical politics.</p> Kamilia Al-Eriani Wed, 28 Mar 2018 11:44:48 +0000 Kamilia Al-Eriani 116925 at https://www.opendemocracy.net