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The Atrocious War on Yemen Must Be Ended

The Financial Timescalls for an end to the war and an international effort to aid Yemen:

The US, UK and France, the major suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as well as permanent members of the UN Security Council, need jointly to insist on a ceasefire and huge influx of humanitarian aid. Russia should intercede with its ally Iran, which has already called for a ceasefire. International peacekeepers may eventually be required; a global development package to refloat Yemen will certainly be needed.

What Yemenis need now, above all, is an end to their misery. They should be forgotten no longer.

I agree that Western patrons of the Saudi-led coalition should insist on a ceasefire and an influx of aid. Along with lifting the Saudi-led blockade and halting support for the war, these are things I have recommended in one form or another for the last two years. Unfortunately, none of the governments that could do these things has ever shown the slightest interest in doing any of them.

The U.S. and Britain in particular have offered unstinting support for the war since it began, and they have been able to do so because their involvement and responsibility are so often obscured from view in media coverage. Because there is little pressure on or scrutiny of U.S. and U.K. support for the war, it has been able to continue with minimal criticism and opposition, and in the absence of any pressure on our governments they have felt no need to put pressure on the Saudis and their allies. Until the Trump administration and May’s government begin paying a political price for backing this war, it is doubtful that they will press the coalition to end its war and blockade.

The war on Yemen is sometimes called the “forgotten war” because it is so neglected and ignored by the outside world, but the trouble isn’t that the rest of the world has entirely “forgotten” Yemen. If Yemen was simply forgotten, it wouldn’t be under attack by its neighbors with the help of major Western governments for over two years. On the contrary, the governments responsible for bringing Yemen to its current state are excessively attentive in the worst way, and most of the rest of the world is oblivious to this or chooses to look the other way. If the Saudi-led coalition and their Western backers had left Yemen’s conflict alone or sought a political compromise two and a half years ago, the country would not be on the verge of famine and its people would not be suffering from the world’s worst cholera epidemic. The editorial calls for “global intervention” to help Yemen, but the truth is that global intervention against Yemen is what has brought the country to its terrible condition.

The governments that have done so much to wreck and starve Yemen should be responsible for funding the reconstruction and development of the country, but first they have to stop inflicting death and destruction on its people.

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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