The U.S. proxy war in Yemen was dealt a setback on Thursday when Houthi fighters defeated troops loyal to ousted President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and captured the presidential Maasheeq palace located on a strategic hilltop in the coastal city of Aden.
Russian sources claim the U.S. is conducting airstrikes in the Saudi intervention in Yemen.
The Washington Post framed the victory within the narrative used by the U.S. government and its corporate media.
The showdown over Aden, a key port and gateway to Yemen’s south, underscores the imperatives on both sides in the widening conflict — in which Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have launched a campaign to beat back the rebels, thought to be backed by Shiite power Iran, and block a perceived bid by Tehran to expand its influence.
While Iran offers ideological support to the Houthi resistance, there is little evidence it is supporting the rebels militarily.
Ahmed Sinan, a political analyst, has said there is not enough evidence to prove Iran is providing financial support to the Houthis.
“The Houthis amassed weapons from the Sa’ada wars and from open markets where weapons are sold. Some pro-Houthi military leaders help the Houthis and provide weapons for them,” he told the Yemen Times.
Ali Al-Bukhaiti, the spokesperson for the Houthis, said the Iran narrative was created by the ousted regime and subsequently adopted by the U.S. and the Saudis.
“The former regime aimed to extort and get international and regional support using the claims of ‘Iranian assistance’ as a scarecrow,” he said.
Additionally, a Wikileaks cable from 2009 cites Mohammed Naji Al-Shaif, a tribal leader closely associated to Saleh and his regime. The leaked cable states the Saudis believe Saleh exaggerated Iranian support for the Houthis to get Saudi support for wars against the rebels in Sa’ada, a governorate in northern Yemen. The corporate media has characterized the revolt in the province against the central government as a Shia insurgency.
Houthis Opposed to Presence of al-Qaeda in Yemen
“The Houthis and their allies are absolutely opposed to both ISIS and Al-Qaeda, which operate primarily in southern Yemen. They accuse ISIS and Al-Qaeda of secretly being agents of the US and Israel – that the role of these groups is to justify US military expansion,” writes Caleb Maupin.
The US media has been ignoring or belittling this key detail about the situation in Yemen. It has focused on the unproven allegation that the Houthis receive funding from the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as highlighting anti-Jewish slogans sometimes displayed at Houthi rallies. While the Houthis have gone out to fight ISIS and Al-Qaeda many times, the US media presents the Houthis as somehow the moral equivalent of these extremist Sunni forces simply because they are a religious organization with political goals.
As Infowars and other alternative media outlets have documented, al-Qaeda is a creation of U.S., British and Pakistani intelligence. The U.S. and its allies have covertly supported al-Qaeda in the effort to topple the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and, in 2011, supported al-Qaeda aligned militias in the successful effort to overthrow and murder Gaddafi in Libya. The attack on the CIA complex in Benghazi by al-Qaeda supported Ansar al-Sharia exposed the depth the U.S. was involved in arming and supporting al-Qaeda mercenaries in Syria, including the Islamic State. IS received military training courtesy of the U.S. military in Jordan.
Al-Qaeda Prison Break in al-Mukallah
The al-Qaeda presence in Yemen received a boost Thursday when fighters attacked a prison in the city of al-Mukallah and freed nearly 300 prisoners, a third said to be al-Qaeda supporters.
A senior al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) commander, Khalid Batarfi, is said to be among those released from the prison in the Hadramawt province, according to the corporate media.
“Observers have warned that Yemen-based AQAP, classified by the United States as the network’s deadliest franchise, could exploit the unrest to strengthen its presence in the country,” the AFP reports.
In March, as the Houthis began their offensive against the U.S.-Saudi supported government in Sana’a, U.S. troops, including Special Forces commandos, pulled out of the al-Annad air base near the southern city of al-Houta. The al-Annad base served as a headquarters for U.S. and European military advisers. The U.S. is conducting a largely covert and illegal drone war against al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Al-Qaeda Will Join Saudis in Proxy War Against Houthis
Al-Qaeda is an important element in the war in Yemen and the release of an influential commander will undoubtedly embolden AQAP in its fight alongside the Saudis against the Houthis.
In November, the AQAP claimed it had killed a dozen Houthi fighters in the central city of Radaa. The Houthis denied the claim.
“They did state that they have control over most of the Radaa province and that they are expanding into the north of the country in order to fight al-Qaeda until the latter is defeated,” Aljazzera reported.