The West’s two key allies in the Middle East are the region’s biggest violators of the laws of war: Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Both Yemen and southeastern Turkey have endured brutal attacks from two larger, more powerful, and wealthier states.
The official claims from both capitals in their propaganda wars on their neighbours rest on the big lie that they are defending themselves from terrorism.
But the resistance activities of the Houthis and the PKK do not constitute terrorism. They only target the police, military, and other institutions of the state. The Saudi Arabian government and the Turkish government are the real terrorists because they target civilians as a matter of government policy.
The fact that more than half of Yemen is on the brink of famine shows that the Saudi strategy to win back influence in Yemen is principally directed at the civilian population. Maybe they think the less people there are to rule over then the easier it is to rule, but they would be wrong in thinking that.
What will they achieve by implementing a policy of mass famine on the Yemenis? Victory? That’s not victory. That is just killing on a mass scale. The Saudis are building a mountain of bones in Yemen because they’re too weak, immoral, and stupid to devise a winning political and military strategy.
Turkish and Saudi leaders believe waging a collective war against Shiites and Kurds is in their long-term security and geopolitical interests. But which country in the world wants to support their racism and sectarianism in an open public forum? Israel? America? England? Russia? China? None of them do.
They falsely believe that America and the Western powers are in their corner because of their shared history as Cold War allies, their strategic location, and their ability to inflict harm against the West.
Saddam thought that once too and then he got stabbed in the back by his American and Western backers when he invaded Kuwait after being promised by Bush that there would be no consequences.
The simple rule of thumb is things change so it’s never a good idea to piss off your most immediate neighbours.
The peoples of the region won’t live in a state of peace, without the threat of ISIS at their throats, until both Ankara and Riyadh face serious consequences for their support for ISIS terrorism. States that support terrorists have to pay a price or else they will continue doing it.
Western sanctions, like the ones put upon Iraq, Iran, and Syria, are obviously not in the cards, but why should they be? It is not the West’s job to regulate every bad actor in the world.
And international condemnations of Saudi and Turkish behaviour against their neighbours is not enough. Muslims themselves have to take care of the crimimal monarchy of Saudi Arabia and check Erdogan’s rotten ambitions.
Arming the Houthis and the PKK should be the obvious first step. Both groups have their ideological and political flaws, but at least they’re not causing famine, leveling cities to the ground, and blowing up mass funerals.
If nothing is done to challenge the crimes and transgressions of Saudi Arabia and Turkey then the region will continue to suffer the blows of Jihadist terrorism from the Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush.
And to look to Washington, Moscow, or Brussels for leadership in the war against terrorism has already proven to be a big mistake.