The Saudis’ Cruel Collective Punishment of Yemen Has Not Ended
The starvation blockade imposed on Yemen by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition remains in place:
There are no signs that a blockade of Yemen’s ports by a Saudi-led military coalition has eased to allow aid to reach communities increasingly at risk of starvation, the head of the US government’s aid agency said on Tuesday.
Thanks to this blockade, more than eight million people are one step away from famine, and over twenty million are in need of humanitarian assistance. At least nine cities cannot pump fresh water and have run out of clean water because of the fuel shortage brought on by the tightened blockade. Millions of people living in those cities are at heightened risk of contracting water-borne diseases. Yemen’s civilian population needs the delivery of humanitarian aid, but more than that they need the full resumption of commercial imports to stave off massive loss of life from starvation and disease. The plight of Yemen’s people has been made worse by the systematic, deliberate coalition campaign to attack the country’s sources of food production. Iona Craig reports:
Research on the pattern of bombing, carried out by emeritus professor Martha Mundy at the London School of Economics, concluded that in the first 17 months of the Saudi-led bombing campaign there was “strong evidence that coalition strategy has aimed to destroy food production and distribution” in areas controlled by the Houthis and allied forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh was killed by Houthi forces in Sana’a last week, days after declaring he had switched allegiances.
Data on coalition airstrikes collected by the Yemen Data Project have recorded 356 air raids targeting farms, 174 targeting market places and 61 air raids targeting food storage sites from March 2015 to the end of September 2017.
Between the ongoing blockade and their targeting of food production and storage, we can see that the Saudi-led coalition has been deliberately trying to starve Yemen into surrender.
The Trump administration has recently paid some brief and halfhearted lip service in calling for an end to the blockade, but it has not backed up this talk with any attempt to pressure the Saudis and their allies to stop their cruel and illegal collective punishment of Yemen’s people. No matter what they may have said recently, the Trump administration continues to enable and support the Saudi-led war and blockade in practice and remains complicit in the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Yemen.