We were shocked to read in the Saudi daily Arab News,11 May 2015, that Malaysian troops had arrived on Sunday at Saudi Royal Air Force base to participate in the Saudi-led coalition attack on Yemen. Malaysian Army Chief General Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor is reported to have met with Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.
The government has committed troops to participate in a foreign war of aggression without the issue being debated and decided in Parliament. There is absolutely no justification for us to get involved in this war as it is a civil war involving the people of Yemen and has nothing to do with our national security interests. Apparently, the Saudi rulers must have applied petro-dollar pressure to draw us into their war.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states see in the Yemen civil war an opportunity to create a Sunni coalition to confront Iran which is in the forefront resisting U.S. hegemony and the Zionist occupation of Palestine. They are using their petro-dollars to create disunity among Muslims in order to prolong their hereditary rule. They funded the military coup in Egypt which brought down President Mohamed Morsi, the first elected president in Egypt’s history, and ushered in an era of brutal dictatorship.
The conflict in Yemen is not sectarian, pitting Sunnis against Shias, as the Saudi coalition has been trying to project. It is rooted in the abuses of the ruling elite and the denial of social and civil justice to the majority of the people.
Escalating conflict in Yemen is making a dire humanitarian situation worse. The temporary ceasefire agreed to by the parties to the conflict must become a permanent and immediate ceasefire.
Before the current conflict, Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East. Over 10 million people were going hungry, including 1 million acutely malnourished children. This number has increased by nearly 2 million since the conflict began.
Violence has damaged homes, schools and even hospitals. Over 1400 civilians have lost their lives and over 150,000 people have been displaced.
Food and diesel, which is needed to pump clean water, are increasingly in short supply and their prices are rising – putting these basic necessities out of reach for ordinary families. And at a time when people desperately need them, vital supplies can’t enter the country. That could prove disastrous, because Yemen relies on imports for 90 per cent of its food.
We call on the Malaysian government to bring back our troops from Saudi Arabia and work through the United Nations for a permanent ceasefire and end to hostilities The U.N should initiate a dialogue among all involved Yemeni parties in a neutral place to find a lasting solution to the political crisis.
CITIZENS INTERNATIONAL is a global initiative from Penang, Malaysia. It seeks to analyse the causes of increased militarisation of the planet and to work towards an environment of peace and international security including the preservation of social justice, ecology and sustainable development. CI also intends to support the development of traditional knowledge systems.
IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone: (+44) 20 8904 4222