Alright, so I’ve neglected to touch on this subject for a very long time.
I did cover it in March 2015 when the catastrophe started (and sporadically since then), but I’ve generally neglected it. Not because I don’t care: but because I find this subject so upsetting, so dispiriting, that I can’t bring myself to look at it.
But… Yemen. How the hell is that situation still going on?
I mean, it’s a massacre, right? That’s been going on in plain sight for over three years at this point.
Where is the international community? What’s the UN doing? Where’s the emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation?
Where’s the halt on arms sales and logistical support to Saudi Arabia? It’s pretty clear that the US and UK are continuing to enable and support the Saudi-led ‘operation’ even now, as they’ve done for the duration of the war.
Isn’t it odd how all of NATO was tripping over itself to rush in to Libya in 2011 to ‘protect civilians’, but no one gives two shits about Yemen? They went militarily into Libya after about five minutes of deliberation and no investigation or fact-finding mission – the UN even gave it official sanction. Yemen has been under bombardment for over three years.
Where is everyone? What happened to all those principles of ‘humanitarian intervention’?
Where’s the mass media coverage?
I mean, 85,000 children may have already died of hunger? An unprecedented humanitarian crisis? A military campaign seemingly without end? And the UN Security Council – which convenes an ’emergency session’ every time Bashar al-Assad sneezes – is nowhere to be seen.
Why was Nikki Hayley never in the UNSC waving around photos of dead or starving Yemeni children? Why was Trump never lamenting the “beautiful, beautiful babies” in Yemen?
The answer can only be that we’re in a world of total hypocrisy where there are no universal standards or principles: only vested interests and agendas, and only money and power. The ‘principles’ or moral justifications only arrive when they happen to coalesce with the vested intersts and agendas, the money and power.
This is obvious. President Trump literally spelled it out without embarassment: when put under pressure about repurcussions for Saudi Arabia over the brutal murder of Jamal Khassoghi, he literally said that the US couldn’t afford to lose Saudi money and investments. Which was very honest – and I respect Trump’s honesty a lot more than the reticent double-speak of British politicians when discussing the matter.
But it lays bare the true state of affairs.
The people in Yemen – children included – just don’t matter very much.
Even a brutal murder carried out in an embassy on foreign soil wasn’t enough to turn MBS’s or Saudi Arabia’s allies against the regime. Meanwhile, the massive death-toll and humanitarian disaster in Yemen barely registers as a blip.
They literally don’t care about all those people. None of them do: the Saudis don’t, the Iranians don’t, the Arab states don’t and neither do any of the Western governments.
Is the Iranian regime too involved in Yemen? Yeah, probably. And the Iranian regime is hardly engaged in saintly behaviour either: nor are the Houthi rebels on the ground – their extra-judicial killing of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh (see more here) proves that.
But… nearly four years of military bombardment, devastation of infrastructure and towns, mass civilian casualties, blockades of humanitarian aid, and an enormous humanitarian crisis? Is that the best way to resolve the dispute? And all these other governments and high-and-mighty powers have been okay with this?
And what precisely is the point of the United Nations if it isn’t to bring governments and feuding alliances to the negotiating table?
I mean, in theory, what would Saudi Arabia have to do to have crossed any kind of line?
All the bluster about MBS being penalised for the Khassogi murder has amounted to nothing: as was always going to be the case. Saudi money is still flowing into the West and American and British support for the Saudi regime and its military activities remain unabated. And the civilian population of Yemen – which broadly doesn’t care about Iran, Saudi Arabia or the geo-political chessboard – is stuck firmly in the kill zone and with no way out.
If it isn’t the bombs and bullets, it’s the malnutrition, lack of medicine and lack of food.
Tufts University scholar Alex de Waal describes Yemen as “the greatest famine atrocity of our lifetimes.” It was caused, writes de Waal, by the coalition “deliberately destroying the country’s food-producing infrastructure”. He describes it as warfare by deliberate starvation.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres describes Yemen as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis”, saying that more than 22 million people out of a total population of 28 million are in need of humanitarian aid and protection, with eighteen million people lacking reliable access to food and not knowing “how they will obtain their next meal.”
Three-quarters of Yemen’s people require life-saving assistance and more than 8 million are at risk of starvation. The deaths from the fighting are said to be in the tens of thousands.
American activist Pamela Bennett has engaged in starvation as a protest against the lack of help or coverage being given to people starving in Yemen. In one statement, she described her hunger strike as a protest not just in solidarity with the Yemeni civilian population but a protest against “corrupt people in my complicit media hiding what’s happening, and my culpable government preventing them from having good water and electricity with a blockade that decimated their economy, and bombs that destroy their world“.
If she had been doing this for the ‘children of Aleppo’ or of Idlib or for people in Donbass, there is absolutely no question that she would have been given mass media coverage, put all over the news networks and newspapers to ‘raise awareness’.
As it is, her protest – like the suffering of people in Yemen itself – has barely registered as a blip on the radar.
Natalie Bennett’s Facebook page ‘Yemen Rising’ is here.
Something similar could be said about the Rohingya in Myanmar: the ethnic cleansing in parts of that country by the military regime has generally gone unchallenged, largely because the regime is seen as being propped up by China. In Yemen, the interests of Saudi Arabia appear to be inviolable: either because of all the money and the economic ties or because everyone’s priority is in quelling Iranian influence in the region.
Either way, the population is obviously seen as expendable.
Read more: ‘Ali Abdullah Saleh’s Interview on Yemen, the Arab Spring Conspiracy & the Muslim Brotherhood‘, ‘Yemen – A Tale of Two Murdered Children & an Unending War on Terror’, ‘MBS, Saudi Arabia & the Khasoggi Murder‘, ‘The End of International Law‘, ‘The Middle East & the Unending Conflict Equation‘…