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Yemen as Arabian Vietnam

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. The last soldiers and agents of the world’s biggest and deadliest empire, fleeing Saigon with their thorned tails between their legs as a rag-tag army of half-starved guerrillas inched closer by the hour. The last Bell helicopters, stuffed to the brim with bourgeois refugees of the fascist Yankee quisling state of South Vietnam, bumbling about before they scatter like highway vultures interrupted by a semi as they attempt to pick the last bone clean on a withering carcass. This was unthinkable just a decade earlier, when LBJ decided to turn a contentious civil war into a full blown holocaust. We had thrown everything but the White House kitchen sink at those yellow commie savages; bombs, napalm, agent orange, near institutionalized campaigns of rape and slaughter. We had turned the jungles of Indochina into a living hell, just a few Pinkville’s shy of a full tilt genocide. But they just kept coming. Tiny men and women in black pajamas with hearts like lions, throwing their malnourished bodies into the guts and gears of the war machine. At the end of the day, the empire’s efforts were all for nothing. Billions of dollars, millions of lives, and the sterling reputation we had built on the myths of the Good War were gone like dust scattered to the wind. Was there a lesson to be learned here? Was anybody but Charlie interested in learning it?

Flash forward some forty years and tragedy repeats itself as farce. This time it’s one of the now hemorrhaging American empire’s dauphins, a dick-swinging desert upstart called Saudi Arabia, that is rapidly finding itself overwhelmed by the unintended consequences of its own private Vietnam. After another gaggle of impoverished peasants called the Houthis decided to take their once regional conflict from the northern mountains of Yemen to the bustling capital of Sanaa, overthrowing yet another fascist Yankee quisling state, Saudi Arabia’s swarthy young princeling, Mohammed bin Salman, decided to show the world what he’s made of by burying his poorest neighbor in American munitions. Like his fellow psychopath, LBJ, MBS threw everything he could get his filthy hands on at these poor people; bombs, drones, white phosphorous, mercenary death squads of African child soldiers, and a crippling naval blockade, all with more than a little help from their friends back in Washington. Hundreds of thousands murdered in cold blood. Even more starved, diseased, malnourished, most of them children. But just four years into this genocidal campaign and it’s all falling apart. That handsome young Lothario in Riyadh is left drowning in the dunes as his “allies” flee the scene of the crime.

Even after all the death, misery, fear and loathing, those dastardly Shia barbarians known as the Houthi just keep coming. In fact, they now appear to stand stronger, taller, more furious than ever. Galvanized like steel soldiers in the hell-fires of what should have been their Armageddon. Like the Cong before them, these outgunned young renegades have turned the tables on their tormentors with nothing but sheer rage and tenacity. Baseless conspiracy theories about them being Iranian agent provocateurs aside, they weathered this storm alone, buried the bodies of their children, bided their time and are now in the midst of making minced meat of their wealthy would-be Saudi conquistadors. Striking oil lines with homemade drones, Jerry-rigged in crumbling urban garages from the smashed bits of American machines that haunted their villages long before the onslaught. Trapping Saudi soldiers and their hapless local mercenaries in giant valley-wide ambushes, taking hundreds of Salafi chin scalps at a time. Making a bunch of racist colonial pigs belly-crawl through scorpion infested deserts back to the gaudy glass towers from which they came.

The Saudis are fucked and even their one-time friends know it. Half of their fighting force, sponsored by the equally dreadful United Arab Emirates, are defecting from this blood belching quagmire and turning their attention instead towards rebuilding an independent South Yemen. The Emirates couldn’t be happier with a Dalit house-slave’s throat in their hands. The only thing keeping them in this savage farce to begin with is their hope of securing the shipping routes of the southern ports in cities like the now rebel held Aden. The UAE’s goal of becoming the Persian Gulf’s answer to Singapore appears to be pushing them to the brink of opening a second front against their former besties in Riyadh in order to achieve their own petite imperialist objectives. Prince Salman’s blood spattered vanity project is as dead as South Vietnam.

Once again, another imperial blood feast, billions of dollars, millions of lives and the once sterling reputation of the “new” Saudi Arabian empire built on little more than CNN mythology, gone, demolished like a Zaydi schoolhouse, all for nothing, just another Vietnam scattered like a fist full of sand in the breeze of the Arabian Sea. Is there finally a lesson to be learned here? Yes, but only the Houthi, like their Vietcong counterparts, seem to have learned it. The desert holocaust in Yemen mirrors the jungle holocaust in Vietnam because the imperialist antagonists of both battles failed to learn the basic lesson that no amount of money, high-tech military hardware or unbridled savagery can deter a people determined to be free. It appears all empires are damned to remain forever blind to this lesson no matter how many times peasants are forced to teach it to them, from Algiers to Kabul to god knows who’s next, because imperialism itself is defined by its blindness to humanity. It is it’s strength as well as it’s folly.

We must also take note here that the modern concepts of the western style nation state are at best the fickle illusions of an over-privileged class and at worst a fevered nightmare brought on by fumes of the Industrial Revolution. Trying to cobble a nation together from two separate and distinct societies like the Northern Zaydi Tribesman and the Southern Sunni Proletariat has proven to be as asinine and bullheaded as trying to deny the almost metaphysical unity of two nations that have always been one like Vietnam. Nation building is a cruel fool’s errand and it never works. The lion share of America and it’s imperial offspring’s woes in places like the Middle East and Southeast Asia derive from their insistence on modernizing people they have zero respect for with statist contraptions like capitalism and mass borders. The best lesson the Houthis can take from recent events to their south is that their supposed enemies in that region essentially want the same damn thing, to escape western nation building and finally be left the fuck alone. If both sides can realize this, then they can unite to divide and maybe, just maybe, this hopped up nightmare can finally end.

Imperialism is a heavy weapon in the hands of the powerful. But it’s as good as glass against the will of a people who refuse to be ruled. All empires will crumble because they are designed to deny this basic fact of human nature and any system that denies humanity is inherently unsustainable. To put it bluntly, they quite simply cannot kill us all, but united we can destroy them. Houthis, Hezbollah, Southern Separatists, Kashmiri Separatists, Black Lives Matter, Sovereign Citizens, the Vietcong, the Weather Underground; only together are we too heavy to be moved by any imperial behemoth. Let us all join hands and fuck it up, dearest motherfuckers. Why the hell not? Lets fight like a Houthi.

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Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.

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