In an important new article, award-winning journalist Gareth Porter notes that US and Western media are using the term “proxy war” as “a way of softening the harsh reality of Saudi aggression” against Yemen.
A proxy war by definition, Porter explains, uses third parties. Therefore, it is [mind-numbingly] “obvious that the Saudi bombing in Yemen, which has killed mostly civilians … is no proxy war but a straightforward external military aggression.”
Since Iran, billed by the US government and media as the other side in the so-called “proxy” war, has (unlike Saudi Arabia) not attacked Yemen, it would theoretically be possible that Iran was engaged in proxy war, while the Saudis are engaged in a naked, illegal attack.
However, Porter notes, while Iran does have minor ties with the Houthis, the nature of the Houthis’ current campaign in Yemen is the precise opposite of an Iranian proxy campaign: the Houthis directly disobeyed Iran’s advice, which said not to take control of the Yemeni capital.
Further, US spy agencies themselves told Huffington Post unequivocally that “Iran does not exert command and control over the Houthis in Yemen”, and “It is wrong to think of the Houthis as a proxy force for Iran”.
But, since the US is massively supplying the Saudis with lethal weapons (Obama sent them thousands of banned cluster bombs and the biggest shipment of lethal weaponry in US history), coordinating the bombings, and refueling and rescuing Saudi bombers (while refusing to rescue US citizens trapped in Yemen, though 8 other countries including India, China, and Russia are rescuing their own and foreign nationals), there is what in the real world would be an undeniable argument that the US is using Saudi Arabia as a proxy to wage war of aggression against Yemen.
Indeed, Obama has been bombing Yemen for his entire time in power, including with banned cluster bombs (cluster bombs have been outlawed by a strong democratic majority of the world’s governments, though the US, in its signature anti-democratic fashion, simply flouts international norms and ignores this, with its cluster bomb use and proliferation being a typically ugly example).
Though Porter writes that US media is using the term proxy war, in reference to Saudi aggression, to “soften” the news of what US-backed Saudi Arabia and its axis of dictators are doing, he errs in writing that, in doing this, the media is “miss[ing] the point” of the term.
While it may be true that some people in US/Western mass/corporate media (and, for that matter, agenda-setting government spokespeople) are ignorant enough not to know what the term “proxy” means or care enough to look it up, an argument that a majority of them are simply “missing the point” of the term is untenable.
What they (media and government) are doing is, as Nobel-winning Physicians for Social Responsibility put it in their recent report, “laboriously construct[ing]” a perception of the events that allows Western, corporate-linked governments (ie oligarchies) to commit crimes unimpeded by public opposition. And this works. Hitler, for one, was highly envious of the achievements of US and British propaganda. The US and UK are pioneers in the field of engineering public opinion and consent through what was previously openly referred to as “propaganda” but is now referred to as “news”.
As another example of this, one would be hard-pressed to find a corporate or US government characterization of Saudi Arabia as an extremist Wahhabi, Sharia-law dictatorship linked to both al Qaeda and ISIS, though this is all elementary. And forget about complete, let alone prominent, reports, with historical context, of how the US and Obama have been and are assisting the Wahhabi despotism, which represents an extremist form of Sunni Islam we are otherwise told to oppose.
Red Cross and other aid groups have noted that attacks on Yemen are forcing Yemenis to “drink unsafe water and children die of preventable causes”, as “checkpoints” set up by members of the US-backed, Saudi-led axis of dictators are obstructing the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid.
But this is nothing new (indeed, it is small-time) for a US campaign. Just new to anyone who doesn’t read/view outside of the realm of murderous US propaganda.
Author and his UK-based colleague @_DirtyTruths.