Wednesday, August 19, 2015

War Crimes in Yemen

The Gray Lady seems to be paying more attention to Yemen these days. The Saudi-led, U.S.-backed destruction of the poorest Arab nation has received spotty coverage in the "newspaper of record" because it tars the Obama administration as guilty of war crimes.

Today a story by Rick Gladstone, "Amnesty International Says All Sides in Yemen Have Committed War Crimes," makes this quite clear. Amnesty released a report, "Yemen: Bloody trail of civilian death and destruction paved with evidence of war," as did UNICEF, "Yemen Conflict: Over a thousand child casualties so far," which detail the crimes against humanity. As Gladstone says,
The Amnesty and Unicef reports were released as heavy airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition hit Yemen’s Red Sea port of Hodeida, the main gateway for trade and emergency supplies to north and central Yemen.
Jamal Ayesh, the port director in Hodeida, said that the airstrikes hit after midnight, destroying the only five cranes in the port. He said that hangars used for maintenance and storing goods were also destroyed. “We can say that the cranes are out of service now,” he said.
Lloyd’s List, a London-based news service for the insurance industry, said Hodeida had closed because of the airstrikes.
Edward Santiago, the Yemen director for Save the Children, said in a statement that the full extent of the damage to Hodeida was unclear, but that “the impact of these latest airstrikes will be felt most strongly by innocent children and families.”
Mr. Santiago called the Hodeida bombing “the final straw.”
More than 4,000 people have been killed in Yemen, the Middle East’s poorest country, since March, when the Saudis began bombing Houthi rebels who had driven the Saudi-backed government into exile. Saudi Arabia views the Houthis as proxies of Iran, its regional rival.
Yemen is now one of the world’s most acute humanitarian catastrophes, with 80 percent of the population in dire need of food and other emergency relief.
The Houthis have suffered a series of defeats in the past month and have been driven out of the southern port of Aden by fighters aligned with the exiled government.
Although the Houthis still control Sana, the capital, exiled Yemeni officials are predicting that they will reclaim it within weeks.
The important thing to remember here is that the United States is acting as air-traffic controller for the Saudis, not to mention that the U.S. Navy is participating in the blockade of Yemen. Beyond a doubt, the Obama administration is participating in a total war on the Yemeni civilian population. The airstrikes on the port of Hodeida are intended to staunch the flow of aid to territory that the Houthis control. The Obama administration is guilty of war crimes; this should be obvious to all.

Remember this the next time some Western official stands at a lectern and admonishes the Syrian government for insufficient care to its civilian population. Because of the dominant role that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Israel play in the determination of U.S. foreign policy, Obama did a somersault and now fully and openly backs the Egyptian police state of Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. One wonders how Obama is going to explain away the famine he is helping to create in Yemen.

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