Omnicide, No Thanks!

What has the U.S. done to respond to the “slow emergency” of global warming?  The short answer is not much. Even though the United States has been the world’s largest polluter over the past hundred years, our nation has done almost nothing of significance on the political level to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In 1997 Clinton failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and shamefully walked away from the problem. At the key moment when we were in a position to help curtail the worst impacts of global warming, we simply turned our backs on the responsibility. In 2003 the U.S. invaded Iraq, hijacked that nation’s oil supply, commandeered transportation and distribution routes for oil, and ensured American hegemony in the region for years to come. On the domestic front the U.S. increased natural gas extraction from Colorado to Pennsylvania, making it cheaper and more abundant than it has ever been in our nation’s history.

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About the Houthis and the Saudi War on Yemen

The war in Yemen has most often been described to us either as a civil war between the government of Yemen and its supporters, and a Houthi tribal militia. It is also represented as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia backing the Sunni government of Yemen and Iran backing a Shia insurgency led by the Houthis, a Zaydi tribe from northern Yemen.   Neither description is entirely accurate.   To understand what is happening in Yemen, it is useful to understand the factions who are fighting, and specifically, the Houthis.

The ‘correct’ title of the political movement we call the Houthis is Ansarullah.   They are not a tribal organization but rather a revolutionary movement. They are also not a Shia movement.   Zaydi Islam, though referred to by the Saudis as a Shia Islam, is in practice, much closer to Sunnism and in the north of Yemen, Sunni and Zaydi often worship in the same mosque.   In fact, Ansarullah, the group we know as the Houthis, has broad popular support because they espouse populist values.

The reason Ansarullah came to be called Houthis is that in 2004, they informally took the name of Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, who died while fighting in an insurrection against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.   Al Houthi was so beloved that the members of the organization began to call themselves ‘Houthis’ or ‘the Houthi Movement’.   But you may ask, why was a Houthi leading this movement and in what context did they emerge?

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