12.04.2022 Author: Viktor Mikhin

US-Saudi Coalition has Placed a Stranglehold on Yemen


According to the Al Masirah news network, on the morning of April 4, the Saudi coalition Air Force, whose actions are actively supported by the United States, attacked the city of Hayes in northwestern Yemen and also launched a missile strike on areas in the province of Al-Hudaydah. Saudi coalition fighters flew 27 times in the airspace of Marib, Hajjah, Saada and Lahj provinces, and coalition helicopters attacked the homes of citizens, positions of the Yemeni army and people’s committees 16 times in the area of Al-Balq Al-Sharqi in Marib province, Al-Fahir in Al-Dhali province and Shamkh Kaban in Lahj province. In total, the Saudi coalition violated the ceasefire regime in the Yemeni province of Al-Hudaydah 119 times in just one day.

The attacks occurred shortly after the UN Secretary-General’s envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, the US envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, and representatives of the “official” government of Yemen “solemnly” announced a two-month ceasefire on April 2 in connection with the onset of the holy period of Ramadan. They have officially warned that all ground, air and sea offensive operations will be stopped.

One of the parties to the conflict, namely, the Houthi rebel movement, in the address of the official representative of their military command Yahya Sari stated: “By implementing a humanitarian and military ceasefire, we reaffirm our commitment to a comprehensive cessation of hostilities as long as the other side adheres to these conditions.”

But less than two days later, the US-Saudi coalition grossly violated the terms of the truce and began fighting. The question arises: how can one take the word of outright liars (the United States), as well as international officials from the UN, who are increasingly becoming dependent on Washington and are now obediently performing the “American aria”? It is not surprising that the UN Security Council is increasingly following orders of the current Joe Biden administration and does not fulfill the will of the peoples of the world, but only what the United States wants.

The bloody war unleashed in 2015 by the Saudi coalition and actively supported by the United States directly or indirectly cost hundreds of thousands of lives in Yemen. To this should be added the crippled fate of millions of displaced persons, which gave the United Nations reason to call the sad events in Yemen “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.” About 80% of the country’s population of almost 30 million people depend on some form of assistance for survival. UN agencies have warned that the number of hungry people in the country is projected to rise sharply this year to 161,000 amid fears of a serious shortage of rescue aid. The UN has repeatedly warned that aid agencies are running out of funds, which forces them to cut “life-saving” programs. Last year, the UN asked for USD 3.85 billion in aid, but raised only USD 1.7 billion, and the least generous donors were the rich countries of the West, the ones who actually unleashed the Yemeni crisis.

Since 2015, the Saudi coalition has not only bombed Yemen with conventional ammunition, but has also repeatedly used chemical and cluster bombs, which Western countries, primarily the United States, willingly and for a lot of money supply to Riyadh, of which there are numerous testimonies and documents. Cluster munitions, phosphorous, chemical and vacuum bombs, as well as nerve gas and mustard gas are among the prohibited weapons used by the Saudi Coalition against the Yemenis. Over the past seven years, more than 3 million cluster munitions have been collected in 15 Yemeni provinces and 70 cities, Brigadier General Ali Safra, head of the Yemeni Mine Action Center, told Al-Masira TV channel. “We are facing a catastrophe. Cluster bombs of various types manufactured by different countries have been used against Yemen, with 15 used for air strikes alone,” he added.  General Safra sharply criticized the false statistics of international and human rights reports under the direct control of the United States on the number of cluster bomb victims in Yemen in an attempt to justify Washington and the Saudi coalition and to distort the facts. For example, in just one week, about 150 civilians were killed and wounded by cluster bombs in Yemen’s Al-Hudaydah province alone.

According to the Yemeni press, representatives of the United Nations Development Program in Yemen said that 1,800 Yemeni citizens, including 668 women and children, were killed and injured by mines and bombs left over from the aggressors’ attacks since 2018.  According to the Yemeni Mine Clearance and Mine Detection Center, more than 3 million cluster bombs have been collected in 15 Yemeni provinces over the past seven years. The Implementation Center also reported the identification of 15 types of cluster bombs dropped from fighter jets. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States has been the largest supplier of military equipment to Saudi Arabia since 2015 and accounts for 73% of the country’s arms imports.

It is quite natural that the most affected by the hostilities are the least protected group of the population, such as children, women, and the elderly. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said dozens of children have been “killed or maimed” in the war in Yemen in just two months since the start of the year as the war “continues to escalate.”  In a statement, Philippe Duhamel, UNICEF’s representative in Yemen, said that “in the first two months of 2022, 47 children were killed or maimed in several places across the country.”  Since the conflict escalated in Yemen almost seven years ago, the UN has confirmed that more than 10,200 children have been killed or injured. But the actual number is quite likely much higher.  Duhamel called on the parties to the conflict to take all possible measures to protect civilians, saying that “it is time to reach a sustainable political solution so that people and their children finally live in the peace they so deserve.”

These remarks come against the backdrop of UNICEF’s annual report, which highlights the scale of the humanitarian crisis in the country and the devastating impact it has had on children.  In shocking details published by this international organization, nine attacks on schools and five attacks on hospitals in 2021 were reported, as well as six incidents of military use of educational or medical institutions. 386 children have been killed or maimed by various parties to the conflict, which raises numerous questions, primarily to the West.

As the United States and Europe impose one of the toughest sanctions regimes against Russia and Russians for Moscow’s special denazification operation in Ukraine, a broad discussion has unfolded about the gross double standards cynically practiced by Washington. The US supported the richest Kingdom in the region by waging war with the poorest country in the region. Washington has provided Riyadh with weapons worth hundreds of billions of dollars, which were all used against poorly armed Yemenis, whose only fault is that they wanted to live by their own laws, without worshipping the West and Saudi Arabia. The US provides logistical and intelligence support, and is training numerous militants in Yemen.

One of the worst tragedies of the airstrikes was a rocket that hit a school bus, killing about 50 children and injuring dozens of others. American media found the remains of a bomb with American fingerprints all over it. A Saudi airstrike alone at a funeral with the use of American missiles killed hundreds of civilians, while hospitals, schools, communications facilities, and residential neighborhoods are regularly attacked by American bombs and missiles from Saudi aircraft. Yemeni media notes that now it is impossible to find a resident in the country who would not have suffered from Saudi raids with the use of American weapons.

This war has been going on for seven years, countless children, as UNICEF notes, have been injured, if not killed or maimed. And, according to a UNICEF report, children are dying not only from violence. The total blockade of the country has led to an increase in diseases among children who suffer and die from infections that could be avoided if the country had access to food and medicines.

In 2015, Washington actively supported the Saudi-led coalition in its military campaign against the people of Yemen in an attempt to restore the former government, which was loyal to Riyadh. While Saudi Arabia announced that the military operation would end within a few weeks, the stubborn Yemeni resistance and recently more active retaliatory attacks against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates caught not only Riyadh by surprise, but also the entire US-backed coalition, leading them into panic.

Nevertheless, the war has had a serious impact on the people of Yemen, its economy and many vital sectors. According to international data, Yemen’s economy has shrunk by more than half since 2015, and more than 80% of the population currently lives below the poverty line. The data shows that between January and September 2021, the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (UNCTFMR) documented 2,350 cases of serious violations against children, and 92% of the reported incidents were verified. The number of child casualties remained high, including 386 children killed and maimed (86 girls and 300 boys). Since the beginning of the war, more than 10,000 children have been killed or injured as a result of violence.

This war could have been avoided, but the US military-industrial complex receives too much profit, and does everything so that these hostilities do not end quickly. Other Western arms manufacturers have equal interest in this, even though they shed crocodile tears over Ukraine but have remained silent for seven years about the killings in Yemen. Now it has become clear to the whole world that Washington does not care about Ukrainians or Yemenis, it just wants to destabilize Western Asia and Eastern Europe, hit independent countries with a brutal regime of illegal sanctions, yet it cannot punish itself, and therefore the war in Yemen will continue for a long time.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.