Yemen: end this war!

Submitted by Matthew on 13 December, 2017 - 11:07 Author: Dan Katz
Yemen bombing

Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen, which began in 2015 in an effort to prop up the regime of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi against internal rebellion, is a disaster for Yemen's people.

The Saudis put together a coalition of Gulf States, and with US and UK support began a brutal, pulverising war on Yemen.
There have been over 13,000 victims of Saudi bombing, but many more have died as a consequence of the coalition's strategy. Hospitals, schools, factories and basic infrastructure have also been destroyed, and there is a major humanitarian crisis in the country. The Saudi have damaged the airport in the capital, Sanaa, and blown up the cranes at the port of Hodeida.

The biggest, fastest spreading cholera outbreak in modern history is now sweeping across Yemen. By the end of the year one million people are expected to have contracted cholera, including 600 000 children. Thousands have died already and the crisis is due simply to the destruction of Yemen's water and sanitation systems.

Yemen's government stopped funding healthcare in 2016, meaning those local health centres that do survive are staffed by workers who are not being paid; most healthcare is now provided by international agencies.

The Saudis have contempt for the rules of war, bombing forty health centres during the first six months of their military campaign and, at one point, declaring the entire city of Saada, home to 50 000 civilians, a military target. The Gulf states have also stopped boats with humanitarian aid and medicine docking at Yemen's ports.

Twenty million people in the country now need humanitarian assistance. One million have fled Yenem and over 2.5 million are internally displaced.

The core of the anti-Hadi forces is the Shia Houthi movement which has its base in the country's north. The Houthis, until recent weeks, were in an alliance with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Previously, in a series of wars between 2004 and 2010, Saleh - president during this period - had been in conflict with the Houthis. However Saleh, an utterly corrupt opportunist who continued to control some of Yemen's armed forces, allied himself with the Houthis to oust Hadi.

The Saudis are paranoid about Iranian backing for the Houthis. Although Iran does not control the Houthi movement, it is arming it with missiles and mines.

Both the Houthis and Saleh had negotiated, privately, with the Saudis. The Houthi leader, Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, is seen as a "moderate", and Saleh was worried about being cut out of any deal the Houthis would make.

This led to battles in Sanaa in August between Houthi and Saleh's forces.

A renewed burst of fighting between Houthis and Saleh's forces took place over the past week after Saleh switched sides. Saleh and the Secretary-General of Saleh's political party, the GPC, Aref al-Zouka, were killed by the Houthis on 4 December and the Houthi forces now have complete control of the capital.

When US President Trump visited Saudi Arabia in May he agreed to sell them $110 billion of weapons. The UK is also selling arms to the Saudis.

UK armaments firms sold £836m of arms and military hardware to Saudi Arabia between April and June 2017, up from £280m between January and March. It is shameful that the UK has sold itself to the disgusting Saudi regime and is backing a war in which every side is reactionary and venal and the human cost is so terrible.

The US and UK have also blocked UN investigations into war crimes.

None of the contending parties involved in the war in Yemenshould be supported. The war and Saudi blockade should end.

Britain should stop its political support for Saudi Arabia, and stop weapon sales to the Saudis and their Gulf allies.

Britain should send aid to alleviate the humanitarian disaster in Yemen.

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