"…Saudi Arabia has one of the most repressive governments in the world and appears to be using its vast wealth to suppress populist uprisings in neighboring (states) lest they serve as an inspiration to its own citizens, whose rights are severely restricted in comparison with those of Western nations,” James Henry Fetzer told the Tasnim news agency.
James Henry Fetzer is an American philosopher of science. He is an editor at Veterans Today and co-founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.
Following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: The Saudi-led coalition has been launching deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement for two years in an attempt to restore power to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. Some 11,000 Yemenis, including thousands of women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign. Why has the international community remained passive in the face of the ongoing Saudi crimes?
Fetzer: The situation is beyond horrific. Saudi Arabia has one of the most repressive governments in the world and appears to be using its vast wealth to suppress populist uprisings in neighboring lest they serve as an inspiration to its own citizens, whose rights are severely restricted in comparison with those of Western nations. The Houthi movement represents the pursuit of democracy and human rights for which America is supposed to stand. Once again, the United States stands on the wrong side of history.
The UN passed a resolution seeking an end to violence in Yemen in 2015, with Russia abstaining. It was, however, directed primarily at the Houthis, demanding their withdrawal from areas they had seized during the conflict and to relinquish their arms. It imposed sanctions, including an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo, leading some observers to conclude that it was not even-handed but instead was, in effect, calling for the Houthis to surrender. Unsurprisingly, it did not have its intended effect and the battle continues.
Tasnim: Certain western countries are continuously claiming that they are champions of human rights. However, it seems that they are pursuing double standard policies on Saudi Arabia's atrocities. On March 10, 2017, the administration of US President Donald Trump approved the resumption of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia which critics have linked to Riyadh’s killing of civilians in Yemen. The $1.15 billion deal was previously blocked by former President Barack Obama after Saudi warplanes targeted a funeral hall in Yemen killing scores of civilians, provoking international outcry. How do you see the role of the US in the regime’s aggression against the impoverished Arab country?
Fetzer: Yes. We now have the absurd situation in which the United States is supplying weapons to a nation that is being sued by American citizens for its complicity in financing the atrocities of 9/11! This would be preposterous but for the domination of the mainstream media in the US, which has been increasingly under the control of the CIA since the assassination of JFK. Indeed, one of the most pressing objectives of the establishment press is to control and, to the maximum extent possible, to minimize the influence of the alternative media.
Trump appears to have become the captive of the neocons and Zionists, exerting influence through his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, among others, who want to continue wars of aggression abroad, especially in the Middle East, for the benefit of Israel. None of this benefits the United States. On the contrary, it squanders the national treasury and brings about the deaths of young American men and women, while weakening regimes, such as that of Bashar al-Assad, which have served to counterbalance Israel's domination of the region.
Tasnim: Since the start of its war on Yemen, the Saudi regime has failed to reach its objectives. In 2015, the kingdom had a record budget deficit of almost $100 billion, prompting it to rein in public spending in a bid to save money. Why is the regime continuing its heinous attacks on the Arab country despite its failures and cash-strapped economy?
Fetzer: Most Americas are poorly informed even about events in Syria and Afghanistan, unless it involves a cruise missile attack as a response to a fabricated chemical event or dropping the largest non-nuclear bomb in the US military arsenal, apparently without having to pass the decision past the Commander-in-Chief. So information about the financial status of the Saudi regime or the slaughter of innocents in Yemen does not make even a blip on the American media. I have been forced to conclude that US citizens are not simply uninformed but are badly informed by "fake news" from the mainstream media.
Many Americans voted for Donald Trump on the basis of campaign pledges to end the wars in the Middle East, cease pursuing "regime change" and no longer assuming the role of being the "policeman of the world". Recent developments in relation to China, North Korea, Syrian and Afghanistan have made a mockery of those promises, where he now appears to be pursuing the same neocon agenda as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Barack Obama. The sense of betrayal by those who supported him has become profound, where many are apprehensive that, instead of ushering in a new era of cooperation with Russia, especially, he may initiate World War III.