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Starving Yemen to Death

The Saudi-led blockade of Yemen has been starving the population of essential goods for years, but the complete shutdown of all ports threatens to cause massive loss of life if it is not reversed immediately:

The head of the U.N. World Food Program is warning that hundreds of thousands of children in Yemen will be “on the brink of starvation” if the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade of air, sea and land access lasts for even two weeks [bold mine-DL].

David Beasley said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press that about 70 percent of Yemen’s 27 million to 28 million people “do not know where they’re going to get their next meal.”

He says his agency is reaching only 7 million Yemenis, “partly because of lack of funds and partly because of lack of access.”

Beasley says if access remains shut down, “I can’t imagine this will not be one of the most devastating humanitarian catastrophes we’ve seen in decades.

Yemen’s humanitarian crisis was already the worst in the world, and the coalition’s decision to close all ports will make it far worse in a short period of time. The Saudis and their allies have been allowed and enabled by their Western patrons to inflict massive suffering on the civilian population of Yemen, and the patrons, including the U.S., rationalize the horrible things being done to Yemen by pretending that it has something to do with opposing Iran. The coalition’s collective punishment of Yemen’s civilian population is a gross violation of international law and the despicable act of a gang of despotic governments. It is to our government’s last discredit that it continues to support this war even now.

The coalition governments are now tightening their grip on a country that they have already been strangling for years, and still the U.S., Britain, and others have nothing to say about it. Trump’s full-throated endorsement of King Salman and Mohammed bin Salman last night makes it clear that there will be no pressure from the administration to change this policy. Embracing the Saudis is bad for the U.S., but it has been absolutely disastrous for the people of Yemen. The famine in Yemen is man-made, and it can still be prevented from claiming more lives, but time is running very short.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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