Yemen: Our Complicity Lies Bare

The Guardian’s Editorial

18-06-2018 | 12:50

Even if the UK warned against attacking the vital port of al-Hudaydah, we bear responsibility for the horrors of this war.

The fig leaves covered little to start with, and withered long ago. Now the excuses for our role in Yemen’s misery have fallen away entirely. The assault on al-Hudaydah by the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition can only deepen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis; 70% of the country’s imports pass through the port. Britain and France urged Saudi Arabia not to launch the attack, but the UK has now “said its piece”. The US rejected a UAE request for a minesweeper for the operation, but as an Emirati official observed: “Not giving us military assistance is not the same as telling us not to do it.”

So they are doing it. They are conducting this war with British-, American- and French-made arms. They are conducting it with western military training and advice; British and US officers have been in the command room for airstrikes, and this weekend Le Figaro alleged that there are French special forces on the ground in Yemen. They are conducting it with diplomatic shelter from the west. On Friday, the UK and US blocked a Swedish drive for a UN security council statement demanding a ceasefire: “Britain, as the ‘penholder’ on Yemen at the UN security council, nevertheless takes a nakedly pro-Saudi approach to the conflict,” the former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell notes. Arms sales and security interests dictate.

The war has already claimed tens of thousands of lives, the oft-cited toll of 10,000 being highly conservative when reached and now hopelessly out of date. Many more stand in peril. International law obliges the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian aid… Relief groups have had to flee al-Hudaydah. Twenty-two million Yemenis need aid. Eight million are at risk of starvation.

The assault appears to be an attempt to pre-empt the presentation of a peace plan by the UN envoy Martin Griffiths, who had previously warned that an attack on al-Hudaydah could “take peace off the table in a single stroke”. He is due to brief the Security Council on Monday, following emergency talks, and the UN’s humanitarian coordinator, Lise Grande, has said that talks on the UN taking over the port’s administration are at an advanced stage. But even if Griffiths can manage an agreement against the odds, the chances of it sticking are poor, given both sides’ record of acting in bad faith. The complexities of a handover are immense.

The coalition backs the internationally recognized president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, driven out by the Houthis [Ansarullah revolutionaries]. But the campaign appears largely driven by two forces. First, rivalry with Iran, and other strategic interests. Second, the prestige of its leaders – notably Mohammed bin Salman, who led the charge to war and is now Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader. The coalition has calculated that after a lengthy stalemate it may be in its best position since the war began more than three years ago; it hopes to change the facts on the ground and appears to have convinced itself that al-Hudaydah will be a relatively easy win, if far from painless for civilians. This is familiar stuff, as an International Crisis Group report pointed out this week: “The warring factions are overconfident in their military prospects, almost always press for military advantage when there is an opportunity for negotiation, and are all too often starkly indifferent to the humanitarian impact of their actions and the plight of ordinary citizens.”

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi may be of one mind in their loathing for Tehran, but the crowded and increasingly complex field is exposing divergence in their interests. A few months ago, Emirati-backed forces were fighting and killing Saudi-backed forces in Aden… The entrenchment of a war economy is another significant obstacle to peace.

So it goes on, the suffering mounting, further unsettling this unstable region and breeding cynicism and rage towards the west and its talk of human rights and international law. If the complicity ever looked deniable, events of recent days have laid it bare.
Source: The Guardian, Edited by website team


UN: Assault on Yemen’s Hodeidah Port could Cost 250,000 Lives


 June 8, 2018

Hodeida strike

A long-feared assault on Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah by the Saudi-led coalition could cost up to 250,000 lives, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the country, Lise Grande, said in a statement on Friday.

“A military attack or siege on Hodeidah will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians,” she said.

“In a prolonged worst case, we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything – even their lives.”

Yemen has been since March 25, 2015 under a brutal aggression by Saudi-led coalition, which also includes UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Kuwait, in a bid to restore power to fugitive former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been injured and martyred in Saudi-led strikes, with the vast majority of them are civilians.


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It’s Time to Stop US Involvement in Yemen War

By Kelly Choate

09-03-2018 | 11:45

Now entering its fourth year, Yemen’s horrific war has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis – and the United States is actively helping to fuel the fire. But legislation put forth by a bipartisan group of senators can put an end to the US role in this horrific war…


The United Nations has stated that US-supported airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition are the leading cause of civilian casualties in Yemen. The ongoing war has killed more than 10,000 Yemenis and wounded more than 40,000. The majority of them are civilians and, as always in war, women and children are disproportionately affected.

In addition to these mass casualties, more than half of Yemen’s hospitals have been closed or damaged. Clean water is scarce, causing upward of 500,000 cases of cholera and leaving 2,000 dead from that alone. The UN’s Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, which aims to raise $23 billion to help 12 million affected people, has only received 39.6 percent of its target amount.

The United States has been actively facilitating this crisis by selling arms to Saudi Arabia, providing military intelligence for airstrikes led by the Saudi military, and providing refueling support, which has actually increased in the past year.

The Trump administration has also increased the sale of US weapons to Saudi Arabia, introducing a new $10 billion arms deal and lifting a ban on the sale of extremely dangerous weapons such as precision-guided munitions. Upgraded weaponry like that which the United States is supplying the Saudi-led coalition makes it easier to target civilians.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., has said, “There’s a US imprint on every civilian death inside Yemen that’s caused by the Saudi bombing campaign. The Saudis simply could not operate this bombing campaign without us. Their planes can’t fly without US refueling capacity. They are dropping munitions that we’ve sold them.”

He, along with Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced S.J.Res. 54 on Feb. 28, invoking the 1973 War Powers Resolution in order to force a vote in the Senate on this unauthorized war and end US support for Saudi Arabia and its involvement in Yemen.

In the coming days, the Senate is expected to vote for the first time on withdrawing US armed forces from a war that Congress has never authorized, marking an important step forward in restoring congressional authority over war-making. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire should join this rare opportunity to protect civilians and restore congressional oversight by cosponsoring and voting in support of S.J.Res. 54.

Now is the time to end US complicity in this devastating war.

Source: Sentinel Source, Edited by website team

US Senators ask to end US support for Saudi war on Yemen

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (20:15 PM) ) – Independent senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Republican senator Mike Lee have introduced a bill that asks Congress to put an end to US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. This is reported by Yemen Press and the Washington Post.

The bill seeks to invoke the so-called War Powers Resolution, a federal law gives Congress the power to limit or end any acts of war or hostility ordered by the US president.

“Congress hereby directs the President to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen, except United States Armed Forces engaged in operations directed at al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or associated forces,” the bill reads.

Bernie Sanders, senator for the state of Vermont, introduced the bill, saying: “If you look at the War Powers Act, what America is currently involved in constitutes a military action… That’s pretty clear.”

Many members, both Democrats and Republicans, have voiced dissatisfaction with United States military and intelligence support for Riyadh’s conflict with Yemen, which has killed at least 13,600 people, most of them civilians, since March 2015. Whether the bill will be passed in Congress however, is unclear at this moment.

The United Nations says at least 22.2 million people in Yemen are in need of food aid, with 8.4 million under imminent risk of famine, making the Yemeni conflict the single biggest humanitarian disaster in the world.

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Britain’s Red Carpet for the Saudi Ruler Is Shameless

Emily Thornberry

07-03-2018 | 15:23

They call diphtheria the “strangling disease”. Parents have to watch helplessly as it slowly clogs the throat and chokes the life out of their children. Thankfully, vaccination has wiped it out in most parts of the world. But not in Yemen. Not this past year. Hundreds of children have been infected, and dozens have died that cruelest of deaths.

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They join the hundreds of other Yemeni children who have died from the worst cholera outbreak in modern history, the thousands who have succumbed to malnutrition, and the untold number of civilians killed by airstrikes on homes, streets, weddings and funerals. This has been the human price of the three-year war in Yemen, in which all parties have shown a callous disregard for life, but where the large majority of civilian deaths lies irrefutably at the door of Saudi Arabia.

Yet today the architect of that Saudi intervention in Yemen – crown prince Mohammad bin Salman – will visit Britain, and will receive the red carpet treatment from the Tory government, as if he were Nelson Mandela. This is the man behind the rolling blockade of Yemen’s ports, preventing the supply of essential food, medicine and fuel to Yemeni civilians, and – on all the available evidence – breaching international law by using starvation as a weapon of war.

The man who, in an equally flagrant breach of the Geneva convention, authorized the destruction of Yemen’s agricultural and food infrastructure in the early stages of the war, with systematic air strikes on farms, dairies, food factories and markets.

Prince Mohammed was rightly enraged at the Houthis’ attempted missile attack on Riyadh in December, but retaliated with a 10-day barrage of indiscriminate air strikes on civilian areas, killing and injuring hundreds, including dozens of children. And while the UK government publicly insists there can be no military solution in Yemen, he has just sacked his most senior generals in an effort to achieve exactly that, and even now plans his assaults on the capital Sanaa and the port of Hodeidah, both of which will drastically escalate the humanitarian crisis. And all that is before we even mention his disgraceful attempts to subvert Lebanon’s democracy, and his reported funding of groups in the Syrian war, both a part of his wider battle against Iran for hegemony in the Middle East.

If it was his regional rival, the supreme leader of Iran, visiting our capital – with his similar record of domestic human rights abuses, regional intervention and alleged support for terror organizations – the UK government would not dream of rolling out the red carpet. So why is it different for the crown prince?

Theresa May tells us it is about our mutual security and strategic interests. Or about Prince Mohammed’s moves to “liberalize” women’s rights, by which she means Saudi Arabia catching up with the rest of the world by promising to allow women to drive cars.

It is all nonsense. As so often, it is about nothing but filthy lucre, and this government’s desperation to plug the hole that will be left in Britain’s trade and growth prospects by May’s refusal to stay in a customs union with the EU after Brexit.

Most nakedly, it is about the shameless bidding war to persuade the crown prince to include the London Stock Exchange in any international listing of the Aramco oil company, billed as the biggest stock market flotation in history.

Most pertinently, it is about the huge increase in arms sold by Britain to Saudi Arabia since the start of the war in Yemen – a trade so shameful that the government now actively encourages applications for “open export licenses” by UK arms firms, precisely to hide what weaponry Riyadh is receiving, and its true value. It’s clear the government doesn’t care a jot about human rights or breaches of the Geneva Convention if there is a chance instead to boost its balance sheet.

Britain is the official pen-holder for the United Nations Security Council on matters relating to Yemen. In October 2016, our government floated a draft resolution calling for a permanent ceasefire in the country to allow for immediate humanitarian relief and talks on a political solution. Prince Mohammed’s acolytes immediately objected, and 17 months on that draft resolution has still not been formally presented to the council. And so his brutal, murderous war continues, without anyone in our government lifting a pen to stop him. Instead, today they fete the crown prince. But millions of us will be saying: not in my name.

Source: The Guardian, Edited by website team

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UN Slams Stupid Saudi War on Yemen: Save the Children

Local Editor

17-11-2017 | 08:42

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “very much disappointed” that the Saudi-led coalition is refusing to lift its blockade of Yemen and has written directly to Riyadh’s representative, his spokesman said Thursday.


After repeated appeals by UN officials were ignored, Guterres wrote to the Saudi ambassador on Thursday to ask for an end to the blockade which he said “is already reversing the impact of humanitarian efforts.”

“The secretary-general is very much disappointed that we have not seen a lifting of the blockade,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Guterres and his top aid officials are “heartbroken at the scenes we are seeing from Yemen and the risk of continued suffering of the Yemeni people,” Dujarric added.

“This is a man-made crisis,” continued the UN spokesman, adding that Guterres had called it a “stupid war.”

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world’s number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of famine.

Yemen is also battling one of the world’s worst outbreaks of cholera, that has left nearly one million people ill and killed 2,200 people.

In the letter to Saudi Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi, Guterres called on the coalition to allow UN flights to Sanaa and Aden, and to reopen the key ports of Hodeida and Saleef.

The direct appeal to Saudi Arabia’s ambassador from the UN chief highlighted growing frustration and alarm over Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and Saudi’s refusal to open up access to aid.

In the letter, Guterres offered to send a UN team to Riyadh for talks on tightening up inspections at Hodeida port, once the aid shipments have resumed.

Earlier, the heads of three UN agencies warned that without deliveries of vital supplies such as food and medicine “untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die.”

The joint appeal came from the World Health Organization, the UN children’s agency UNICEF and the World Food Program.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

Save the Children: 130 Yemeni children die each day due to Saudi blockade

A Yemeni child receives treatment at a hospital in the coastal city of Hudaydah on November 11, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:30 PM) – According to prominent humanitarian organisation Save the Children, no less than 130 children die every single day in Yemen due to malnutrition and preventable disease caused by the Saudi-led near total blockade of the country. The organisation furthermore warned that the situation will deteriorate even further if the lockdown of Yemen isn’t immediately lifted.

“Without urgent, unhindered access for humanitarian organizations and an increase in funding, Save the Children is warning half of these children will most likely go without treatment,” warned the UK-based group on Thursday, adding that “if left untreated, approximately 20-30 percent of children with severe acute malnutrition will die each year.”

The warning comes less than two weeks after Saudi Arabia announced that it would further restrict all access to Yemen by sea, air and land. The increased lockdown comes after a Yemeni missile was fired at Riyadh in retaliation for the two-year long military campaign the Saudi kingdom has been waging on its southern neighbour.

“The decision to block access entirely to the key entry points of Sana’a Airport and the ports of Hudaydah and Salif puts thousands more children at risk,” Save the Children clarified in the statement. A staggering 10,000 children are expected to die of starvation and disease in the provinces of Hudaydah and Ta’izz alone by the end of the year.

“hese deaths are as senseless as they are preventable. They mean more than a hundred mothers grieving for the death of a child, day after day,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director.

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Along with humanitarian organisations, three UN agencies, the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the WHO, have also made an official plea to Saudi Arabia to lift its blockade of Yemen, stating that unless Riyadh complies,
“untold thousands of innocent victims, among them many children, will die.”
The trio of organisations furthermore pointed out that 3.2 million people are in acute risk of famine, and an additional one million children are being threatened by an outbreak of diphtheria.

In March 2015, Yemen was invaded by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to destroy the Ansarullah movement, also known as the Houthis after its leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, and to return Riyadh ally Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to power in the country. Despite over two years of constant bombardments, the Saudis have failed to meet their strategic goals.

An alliance of Ansarullah fighters, Republican Guard troops and forces loyal to the General People’s Congress fraction of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh are still in control of much of Yemen, including the capital of Sana’a. This alliance has also formed a union government in Sana’a, named the Supreme Political Council, which has been running state affairs for the past two years.

Latest figures show that the war has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis, and has destroyed many of the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories. After nearly three years war, Yemen currently has seven million people on the verge of famine, and a further 900,000 suspected cholera cases in the past six months alone.

الأمم المتحدة: اليمن على شفا أسوأ مجاعة في العالم!

طالب مجلس الأمن الدولي، ليل الأربعاء ــ الخميس، «التحالف العربي»، بوضع حد للحصار الذي يفرضه، منذ الاثنين، على البلد المهدد بـ«أسوأ مجاعة» منذ عقود. وقال السفير الإيطالي، سيباستيانو كاردي، إن الدول الـ15 الأعضاء في المجلس عبّرت، خلال اجتماع مغلق، عن «القلق إزاء الوضع الإنساني الكارثي في اليمن»، مشددة على «أهمية إبقاء كل الموانئ والمطارات اليمنية مفتوحة».
سبق ذلك إعلان مساعد الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة للشؤون الإنسانية، مارك لوكوك، أنه حذر أمام أعضاء المجلس من خطر وقوع «أسوأ مجاعة» في العقود الأخيرة، يمكن أن تذهب بـ«ملايين الضحايا» ما لم يُرفَع الحظر. وأشار إلى أنه طالب، في مداخلته، بأن «يتم فوراً استئناف» نقل المساعدات الإنسانية إلى هذا البلد، وألا يعرقل «التحالف» بعد اليوم وصول المساعدات.

ويوم أمس، رأى المتحدث باسم مكتب تنسيق الشؤون الإنسانية للأمم المتحدة، ينس لايركي، أن فتح ميناء عدن أمام السفن التجارية والإغاثية «ليس كافياً»، مطالباً بفتح ميناء الحديدة والمطارات بشكل عاجل. وكان «تحالف العدوان» قد أعلن، في وقت سابق، إعادة فتح ميناء عدن ومنفذ الوديعة (الحدودي بين اليمن والسعودية)، بشكل استثنائي، أمام السفن والبضائع، لكن لايركي نبّه إلى أن «الملايين في اليمن يتمسكون بالحياة عبر المساعدات القادمة من ميناء الحديدة، وينبغي فتح هذا الميناء قبل أن تصل الأزمة الإنسانية هناك إلى أبعاد خطيرة».

وجاء تصريح لايركي بعدما حذرت 15 منظمة إنسانية، بينها «أوكسفام»، من أن «أي تأخير في استئناف المساعدات الإنسانية يمكن أن يودي بحياة نساء ورجال وفتيات وفتيان في كل أنحاء اليمن».


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