How Yemen’s ‘asabiyya’ is reshaping geopolitics

The Arabic word Asabiyya, or ‘social solidarity,’ is a soundbite in the west, but taken very seriously by the globe’s new contenders China, Russia, and Iran. It is Yemen, however, that is mainstreaming the idea, by sacrificing everything for the world’s collective morality in a bid to end the genocide in Gaza.

When there is a general change of conditions,

It is as if the entire creation had changed

and the whole world been altered,

as if it were a new and repeated creation,

a world brought into existence anew.

— Ibn Khaldun

Yemen’s Ansarallah resistance forces have made it very clear, right from the start, that they set up a blockade in the Bab el-Mandeb and the southern Red Sea only against Israeli-owned or destined shipping vessels. Their single objective was and remains to stop the Gaza genocide perpetrated by the Israeli biblical psychopathy.

As a response to a morally-based call to end a human genocide, the United States, masters of the Global War Of Terror (italics mine), predictably re-designated Yemen’s Houthis as a “terrorist organization,” launched a serial bombardment of underground Ansarallah military installations (assuming US intel know where they are), and cobbled together a mini-coalition of the willing that includes its UK, Canadian, Australian, Dutch, and Bahraini vassals.

Without missing a beat, Yemen’s Parliament declared the US and UK governments “Global Terrorist Networks.”

Now let’s talk strategy.

With a single move, the Yemeni resistance seized the strategic advantage by de facto controlling a key geoeconomic bottleneck: the Bab el-Mandeb. Hence, they can inflict serious trouble on sectors of global supply chains, trade, and finance.

And Ansarallah has the potential to double down — if need be. Persian Gulf traders, off the record, have confirmed insistent chatter that Yemen may consider imposing a so-called Al-Aqsa Triangle — aptly named after the 7 October Palestinian resistance operation aimed at destroying the Israeli military’s Gaza Division and taking captives as leverage in a sweeping prisoner swap deal.

Such a move would mean selectively blocking not only the Bab el-Mandeb and the Red Sea route to the Suez Canal, but also the Strait of Hormuz, cutting off oil and gas deliveries to Israel from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE – although the top oil suppliers to Israel are in fact Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

These Yemenis are afraid of nothing. Were they able to impose the triangle – in this case only with direct Iranian involvement — that would represent the US-assassinated Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani’s Grand Design on cosmic steroids. This plan holds the realistic potential of finally bringing down the pyramid of hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives — and consequently, the whole western financial system.

And yet, even as Yemen controls the Red Sea and Iran controls the Strait of Hormuz, Al-Aqsa Triangle remains just a working hypothesis.

Welcome to the Hegemon’s blockade

With a simple, clear strategy, the Houthis perfectly understood that the deeper they draw the strategy-deprived Americans into the West Asian geopolitical swamp, in a sort of “undeclared war” mode, the more they’re able to inflict serious pain on the global economy, which the Global South will blame on the Hegemon.

Today, Red Sea shipping traffic has plunged in half, compared to the summer of 2023; supply chains are wobbly; ships carrying food are forced to circumnavigate Africa (and risk delivering cargo after its expiry date); predictably, inflation across the vast EU agricultural sphere (worth €70 billion) is rising fast.

Yet, never underestimate a cornered Empire.

Western-based insurance giants perfectly understood the rules of Ansarallah’s limited blockade: Russian and Chinese ships, for instance, have free passage in the Red Sea. Global insurers have only refused to cover US, UK, and Israeli ships — exactly as the Yemenis intended.

So the US, predictably, changed the narrative into a big, fat lie: ‘Ansarallah is attacking the whole global economy.’

Washington turbo-charged sanctions (not a big deal as the Yemeni resistance uses Islamic financing); increased the bombing, and in the name of sacrosanct “freedom of navigation” – always applied selectively — placed its bets on the “international community,” including leaders of the Global South, begging for mercy, as in please keep the shipping lanes open. The goal of the new, reframed American deceit is to elbow the Global South into ditching its support for Ansarallah’s strategy.

Pay attention to this crucial US sleight of hand: Because, from now on, in a new perverse twist of Operation Genocide Protection, it is Washington that will be blockading the Red Sea for the entire world. Washington itself, mind you, will be spared: US shipping depends on Pacific trade routes, not West Asian ones. This will ratchet up the pain on Asian customers and especially on Europe’s economy – which already took the heavies blows from Ukraine-associated Russian energy sanctions.

As Michael Hudson has interpreted it, there is a strong possibility that the neocons in charge of US foreign policy actually want (italics mine) to have Yemen and Iran implement the Al-Aqsa Triangle: “It will be the main energy buyers in Asia, China, and other countries that are going to be hurt. And that (…) will give the United States even more power to control the oil supply of the world as a bargaining chip in trying to renegotiate this new international order.”

That, in fact, is the classic Empire of Chaos modus operandi.

Calling attention to “our people in Gaza”

There is no solid evidence the Pentagon has the slightest clue about what its Tomahawks are hitting in Yemen. Even several hundred missiles won’t change a thing. Ansarallah, which has already endured eight years of nonstop US-UK-Saudi-Emirati firepower — and basically won — will not relent today over a few missile strikes.

Even the proverbial “unnamed officials” informed the New York Times that “locating the Houthi targets has proven more difficult than expected,” essentially because of lousy US intel on Yemeni “air defense, command centers, ammunition depots, and drone and missile storage and production facilities.”

It’s quite enlightening to listen to how Yemeni Prime Minister Abdulaziz bin Saleh Habtoor frames Ansarallah’s Israel-blockade initiative decision as “based on humanitarian, religious and moral aspects”. He refers, crucially, to “our people in Gaza.” And the overall vision, he reminds us, “stems from the vision of the Axis of Resistance.”

It is a reference smart onlookers will recognize as General Soleimani’s ever-lasting legacy.

With a keen historical sense — from the creation of Israel to the Suez crisis and the Vietnam war — the Yemeni prime minister recalls how “Alexander the Great reached the shores of Aden and Socotra island but was defeated (…) Invaders tried to occupy the capital of the historical state of Shebah and failed (…) How many countries throughout history have tried to occupy the west coast of Yemen and failed? Including Britain.”

It’s absolutely impossible for the west and even the Global Majority to understand the Yemeni mindset without learning a few facts from the Angel of History.

So let’s go back to the 14th century universal history master Ibn Khaldun — the author of The Muqaddimah.

Ibn Khaldun cracks the Ansarallah Code

Ibn Khaldun’s family was a contemporary to the rise of the Arab Empire, on the move alongside the first armies of Islam in the 7th century, from the austere beauty of the Hadramawti valleys in what is now southern Yemen all the way to the Euphrates.

Ibn Khaldun, crucially, was a precursor of Kant, who offered the brilliant insight that “geography lies at the basis of history.” And he read the 12th century Andalusian philosophy master Averroes – as well as other writers exposed to Plato’s works and understood how the latter referred to the moral strength of “the first people” in the Timaeus, in 360 B.C.

Yes, this boils down to “moral strength” — for the west, a mere soundbite; for the east, an essential philosophy. Ibn Khaldun grasped how civilization began and was constantly renewed by people with natural goodness and energy; people who understood and respected the natural world, who lived light, united by blood or brought together by a shared revolutionary idea or religious drive.

Ibn Khaldun defined asabiyya as this force that binds people together.

Like so many words in Arabic, asabiyya exhibits a range of diverse, loosely connected meanings. Arguably, the most relevant is esprit de corps, team spirit, and tribal solidarity – just as Ansarallah exhibits.

As Ibn Khaldun demonstrates, when the power of asabiyya is fully harnessed, reaching way beyond the tribe, it becomes more powerful than the sum of its individual parts, and can become a catalyst to reshape history; to make or break Empires; to encourage civilizations; or force them to collapse.

We are definitely living an asabiyya moment, brought about by the Yemeni resistance’s moral strength.

Solid as a rock

Ansarallah innately understood the threat of eschatological Zionism — which happens to mirror the Christian Crusades a millennium ago. And they are virtually the only ones, in practical terms, trying to stop it.

Now, as an extra bonus, they are exposing the plutocratic Hegemon, once again, as bombers of Yemen, the poorest Arab nation-state, where at least half the population remains “food-insecure.”

But Ansarallah is not heavy-weapons-free like the Pashtun mujahideen who humiliated NATO in Afghanistan.

Their anti-ship cruise missiles include the Sayyad and the Quds Z-O (range up to 800 km) and the Al Mandab 2 (range up to 300 km).

Their anti-ship ballistic missiles include the Tankil (range of up to 500 km); the Asef (range of up to 450 km); and the Al-Bahr Al-Ahmar (range of up to 200 km). That covers the southern part of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, but not, for instance, the islands of the Socotra archipelago.

Accounting for roughly one-third of the country’s population, Yemen’s Houthis, who form the backbone of the Ansarallah resistance, do have their own internal agenda: gaining fair representation in governance (they launched Yemen’s Arab Spring); protecting their Zaydi (neither Shia nor Sunni) faith; fighting for the autonomy of the Saada governorate; and working for the revival of the Zaydi Imamate, which was up and running before the 1962 revolution.

Now, they are making their mark on The Big Picture. It’s no wonder Ansarallah fiercely fights the Hegemon’s vassal Arabs – especially those who signed a deal to normalize relations with Israel under the Trump administration.

The Saudi-Emirati war on Yemen, with the Hegemon “leading from behind,” was a quagmire that cost Riyadh at least $6 billion a month for seven years. It ended with a wobbly 2022 truce in a de facto Ansarallah victory. A signed peace agreement, it should be noted, has been disallowed by the US, despite Saudi efforts to seal a deal.

Now, Ansarallah is turning geopolitics and geoeconomics upside down with not just a few missiles and drones but also oceans of craftiness and strategic acumen. To invoke Chinese wisdom, picture a single rock changing the course of a stream, which then changes the course of a mighty river.

Epigones of Diogenes can always remark, half in jest, that the Russia-China-Iran strategic partnership may have contributed with their own well-placed rocks in this path to a more equitable order. That’s the beauty of it: we may not be able to see these rocks, only the effects they cause. What we do see, though, is the Yemeni resistance, solid as a rock.

The record shows the Hegemon, once again, reverting to auto-pilot mode: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb. And in this particular case, to bomb is to redirect the narrative from a genocide committed in real time by Israel, the Empire’s aircraft carrier in West Asia.

Still, Ansarallah can always increase the pressure by sticking firmly to its narrative and, driven by the power of asabiyya, deliver to the Hegemon a second Afghanistan, compared to which Iraq and Syria will look like a weekend at Disneyland.

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