The NAAS calls for the protection of our soldiers against grave mistreatment by Saudi authorities
The Saudi authority announced the execution of three active-duty soldiers charged with high treason. The announcement was followed by what seems to be state-directed celebration of the execution.
Considering the suspicious nature of both the execution and the celebration that followed, the National Assembly Party reiterates its stance calling for the end of the war, which has caused nothing but loss to all sides, and a great harm to both our homeland and to our brotherly Yemeni people. It has led to the death of many innocents on both sides, and pushed Yemen to a situation which the UN has described as the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today.
This announcement and the celebrations that followed come after demoralization has become widespread among active-duty Saudi military personnel. Considering the systemic absence of the minimum requirements for a fair and just trial, and the circumstances of this case being shrouded in secrecy, we fear that more executions are on the way. We fear that Saudi authorities are targeting conscientious objectors who refuse to participate in the war, bomb Yemeni civilians and infrastructure, or who oppose the scorched earth strategy casually utilised by the Saudi authorities, among many other reasons.
After six years of pointless war, after so many lives were lost (including Saudi soldiers who are being killed without much reporting by state-controlled media), we reiterate that this war – alongside many other rash decisions – was not decided by the people through their elected civilian institutions, nor was the military or its officials and experts consulted. With complete disregard to national interest, the stability of the region, the sanctity of life, and widespread objection to involvement in wars, especially with neighbouring countries, the Crown Prince and his father waged war in service of their own personal interests. They did so to boost the image of the Crown Prince and portray him as an important regional player.
This has led to widespread demoralization among Saudi soldiers, withdrawal of the allies of the Saudi authorities, and complete loss of support for Saudi involvement among Yemenis themselves, after having witnessed first-hand the intentions of the Saudi authorities. Saudi soldiers now stand between a rock and a hard place; they can either become cannon fodder in a war they do not believe in, or face the consequences of objection, which could include the death penalty and charges of high treason.
This comes after years of mistreatment towards Saudi soldiers, who have been public in their complaints about low wages, and awful living conditions which were only exacerbated by pay cuts implemented during the war effort. They have voiced complaints about worsening healthcare, lack of housing support, widespread corruption, and favoritism in promotions and assignments.
But the Saudi authorities’ transgressions against Saudi soldiers did not end there. We have witnessed Saudi soldiers rushing back from the frontlines to try to prevent Saudi authorities from demolishing their homes and displacing their families. We have witnessed the egregious medical neglect of the injured, including amputees.
Instead of attempting to provide help for these soldiers in their hard time, the Saudi authorities responded by arresting complainants. This has eviscerated the military institutions of any national character. It no longer serves the homeland – only the King, his son, and their personal interests.
The National Assembly Party condemns this systemic mistreatment of our soldiers and the ongoing humiliation of our military institutions.
We call for an end to the disregard for the lives of our soldiers of all ranks and sectors; an end to sending them to risk their lives in pointless wars; an end to using the army institutions to make corrupt arms deals; an end to subjecting the army to the whims of an incompetent political leadership.
We call for strengthening our military institutions; for the leadership of the armed forces to be given the opportunity to build them into a national institution in the service of the homeland and the protection of the people; for proper healthcare and housing provisions; for the meritocratic provision of promotions and appointments; and for a respectful treatment that improves their morale and strengthens their sense of national belonging.
Finally, we call upon the military leadership to stand by their soldiers, defend them, enshrine their rights, and support them in order to build effective, robust, and truly national military institutions.