“Some have called Afghanistan ‘the graveyard of empires,’ and it probably is the graveyard of empires.” James G. Stavridis
Indeed, many great empires over the centuries came to crash against the stubborn will of Afghanistan, only to drive this one people to think their land an extension of their national identity – the very air in their lungs. A warning against imperialism, we may soon learn to look upon Afghanistan as the one cautionary tale our modern-day neocons should have paid attention to, if not to lose their shirts in endeavour they could not possibly have succeeded in carrying out.
Assuming that any one particular country will fall to the will of those deemed greater and mightier does not always make it so. History has taught us too many times that numbers matter little in the face of victory for any of us to entertain the idea that might is in fact always right.
I would personally argue that might carries very little in the face of stealthy determination.
Resistance as it were, is a far greater power than that of military superiority. A minority can defeat the majority when that minority is animated by conviction – whatever the impetus behind it. Maybe here western powers should have brushed up on their study of the Scriptures and remember that once upon a time David stood before Goliath but a boy with a slingshot … and yet it is the giant who fell, and his reign of terror with him.
Geopolitics and historical references aside, Afghanistan ought to be seen as the perfect anti-neocolonial storm. I will venture as far as saying that Afghanistan was the harbinger of a grand trans-national resistance movement against covert imperialism and western military interventionism.
The first country to have fallen to the American-made deity that is US national security, Afghanistan has not been alone in suffering the wrath of western hunger … from the shores of Libya, to Syria, Iraq and of course Yemen, a litany of independent and sovereign nations have been exploded so that western capitals could carve out zones of influence while arguing democracy building.
And yet before a deluge of lead, political manipulations and grand media deception campaigns Resistance came rising – made stronger for every new attempt to lay waste people’s right to political self-determination.
Let us not be fooled by the rhetoric of tyrants when they posit humanitarian intervention against sovereign nations so that they could sell wars to increase control. The Greater Middle East region was turned into a violent and bloody cesspit to incept a covert geopolitical realignment that aimed to empower the elite.
If you so much as bother to look beneath the “accepted” narrative you would see that whether in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq or Yemen, it is control … control over demographic, control over natural resources, control over financial access, control over political ambitions that has really motivated nations to wage wars.
Forget the War on Terror – learn to see instead a rabid form of globalism versus the people. But for all the military violence that was thrown at those independent nations earmarked for destruction, Resistance came to rise together a shield and a weapon.
And though Resistance is still looked on as an aberration that cannot possibly be sustained against this new order many world nations are architecting, Resistance is nevertheless sweeping the region, inspiring people to find resolve beyond reason. Resistance is what has animated, inspired and forced Yemen to move beyond the intolerable cruelty of war to find national dignity in the rejection of imperialism.
If Afghanistan was the first domino to drop, Yemen might be the one war theatre to bury imperialism altogether. For all the great many efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s very own Resistance Movement has yet to lose its traction.
Amid absolute devastation, looming famine and the threat of a Wahhabist takeover courtesy of the Black Flag Army, Yemen is fighting tooth and nail to affirm its right to political self-determination and anchor its territorial sovereignty independently from foreign diktat.
At this particular juncture in time – in the third year of this war the kingdom unilaterally declared so that its will would manifest, Yemen sits on top. How and why?
Quite simply because Yemen has nothing to lose. There is no ground today that has not been ravaged, no crime that was not perpetrated against the innocent … when a people is left with no room to retreat it is often that resistance becomes it.
Yemen now lives in a state of perpetual resistance, and THERE lies Yemen’s victory. Let us not be as arrogant as to believe that the will of a people matters not before the will of tyrants.
No government, system or complex can survive without some degree of popular legitimacy – whether born in coercion or in allegiance, compliance is required for any one power to be sustained and its hold asserted.
Yemen’s Resistance Movement most definitely rigged Saudi Arabia’s imperial power grab.
So much so in fact that Riyadh is actively looking for a way out. It now remains to be seen whether Riyadh’s pursuit of political and military salvation will manifest. Do not confuse Saudi Arabia’s ferociousness vis a vis Yemen as proof the kingdom has the upper hand.
For all its billions, powerful friendships and media access, the kingdom is losing its footing in Yemen … to the point where Yemen could in fact bring the powerful House of Saud to its very knees.
By enacting Resistance Yemen laid bare Saudi Arabia’s very own faultlines. By refusing to bow Yemen inspired others to speak a different political tune, reviving the concept of national sovereignty as an inherent right.
Behind closed doors Riyadh has already admitted defeat.
Sources in Yemen have confirmed that secret negotiations have taken place in between the Resistance Movement – headed by Ansarallah, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the United States and Saudi Arabia to establish a workable truce and a way forward politically.
The head of Monitoring and Information in former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s office, Ali El-Shabani confirmed that under the proposed agreement power would be transferred from twice-resigned-runaway President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi to Sheikh Mohammed Abulohoom who would sit as vice-president for the duration of his mandate.
One of Yemen’s political heavy-weight Sheikh Abulohoom, who heads the Justice and Building Party could indeed act a powerbroker in between Yemen’s many factions while ensuring a degree cohesion.
El-Shabani said that under the terms of the agreement, Ansarallah, aka Yemen Resistance Movement will form half the government which will be headed by former Foreign Minister Abdullah Al-Saidi or former Prime Minister Khaled Bahah.
Should it comes to be implemented this agreement would anchor Resistance in Yemen’s political and institutional landscape and essentially mark the end of imperialism as a form of governance.
Catherine Shakdam is the Director of Programs of the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies and a political analyst specializing in radical movements, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.