It is not hard to see that our brother countries killing civilians in Yemen are little more than pieces of chess being played by the blood-drenched hands of the US. Yet our leaders of opinion in the parliament and media don’t seem ready to reckon with this uncomfortable reality. They’d rather pontificate endlessly about the Iran-Saudi rivalry and its sectarian dimensions, painting the uniqueness of Yemen in broad strokes of trending themes, all within the imperial narrative of course. Surely, there is a better way to talk about Yemen and to understand the barbarity of the attack on its people.

Mouthing misleading rhetoric about the brotherhood of Muslim countries will not get us anywhere. Do we care only about our rich Saudi brothers because they sent us dollars and free barrels of oil in difficult times? Should we care only about them even when they start bombing our poor Muslim brothers in Yemen? Why must we treat Yemen as a step-brother? And why should we be smitten senseless by the tainted favours of our two-faced royal brothers who are wreaking havoc in their neighbourhood and generally all over the brotherly Muslim world?

For decades, the House of Saud has partnered with the US to manufacture monster proxies and mercenary militias, unleashing them in the name of Islam on targeted societies. It is nothing like our one-off flirtation with the Afghan mujahedin. We were but a tool in the hands of our royal Muslim brothers and the empire in its war against the Soviet Union, executing a suicidal policy for small rewards. We did not come up with the policy nor did we fund it. What about the masterminds and financiers?

It turns out they’ve honed their tool of terrorist proxies to perfection. If anything, it seems to have become their favourite and most commonly used tool of endless war. They are unapologetic about the death and destruction they orchestrate. In recent years, we have seen this partnership at work in Syria in tandem with Israel and other Muslim brothers to topple the Assad regime, butchering and displacing millions of innocent civilians on the way, turning beautiful cities and villages to rubble. Is Syria a step-brother as well? And Iraq and Libya who were similarly destroyed by the two-faced super power and our two-faced royal Muslim brothers.

Under the watch of this barbaric Saudi-US alliance, and with its blatant assistance and support, large swathes of territories in the region are in the violent grip of its proxies, the various brands of so-called Islamic terrorists. The US droning of weddings, funerals and houses in Yemen on the pretext of countering terrorism was obviously not enough. So a coalition of brother Muslim countries has been assembled to rain bombs on Yemen and, consequently, to strengthen the hands of these barbaric hordes in the country by attacking those resisting them. Remember the air cover provided to the so-called Libyan rebels?

Since the air-strikes on Yemen commenced, the Al Qaeda thugs are reported to have gained territory and taken over a military base there. A large consignment of US arms destined for Yemen has conveniently gone missing. Remember the Nato containers that vanished in thin air on their way from Karachi to Torkham? Or the weapons dropped in the lap of IS in Iraq by US planes, by mistake of course. These are not unfortunate fallouts of a genuine war on terror. This is what the war is about. And poor Yemen is its next target.

With more than a little help from its Israeli friends, the US is directing the attack on Yemen from a joint coordination planning cell in the Coordination Center its forces have set up with the Saudis. To add fuel to the fire, the exceptional super power has accelerated arms shipments to the aggressors. In the empire’s topsy turvy world, a popular movement with political demands cutting across sectarian divides is described as Iran-backed Shia militants while rabidly sectarian militants manufactured by the empire in collaboration with our royal Muslim brothers, proxies butchering civilians and destroying cities, are billed as Syrian rebels fighting against Assad’s dictatorship.

Unless we are willing to look at the problem with our two-faced royal brothers and their shady alliance with the US and Israel squarely in the face, we will keep going round in useless circles, mired in faulty notions about Muslim brotherhood or in the equally misleading imperial narrative. The deathly footprints of the empire and its royal puppets are all over the Middle East and even our neighbourhood. And we must not lose sight of this most important dimension to the mounting problems in the region.

We have suffered enough for our mistake of facilitating the Afghan jihad and, thank God, we have survived to regret it. Today, there is a national consensus against terrorism under any brand name and the state institutions are confronting militant proxies. The military is our strongest bulwark against these proxies and it is successfully leading the assault with some crippled support from the other pillars of state. If you really think about it, Pakistan is actually at war with the same stock of subversive proxies that are being manufactured and supported by the House of Saud and the US as we speak.

The deviousness of this alliance can be gauged by the fact that though Pakistan has not joined the coalition bombing Yemen, our flag is prominently displayed behind the military spokesman deputed by the House of Saud during his press briefings. Has the government of Pakistan protested about this? Or is it too burdened by gratitude for the favours bestowed upon it by the House of Saud to object?

Should we indulge the Saudis because some 2 million Pakistanis work there? Even if they are treated like slaves with no rights and exploited? Does it not matter that they labor to construct Saudi cities and provide useful services to its citizens? Should we ignore the fact that Saudi Arabia is killing our Muslim brothers in Yemen because of the 200 tons of dates that they’ve sent us?