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The War on Yemen Resumes

Last week’s five-day cease-fire ended Sunday, and Saudi airstrikes on Yemen began again:

According to Yemeni security officials, the coalition airstrikes hit rebel positions and tanks in several of Aden’s neighborhoods.

The truce which expired at 11 p.m. local time (2000 UTC) on Sunday was intended to facilitate desperately needed humanitarian aid to the southern port city.

The U.N. envoy pleaded with the warring parties to extend the cease-fire for another five days, but his appeal appears to have been ignored. The Saudi-led coalition has gone through the motions of feigning concern for the victims of their war, and can now get back to the business of creating more. As I noted last week, the pause in the bombing has been entirely too brief to do any lasting good. There has not been enough time to bring sufficient aid into the country after a month and a half of war and deprivation. While aid organizations have done an impressive job over the last week to bring food, medicine, and fuel into Yemen, they have not and could not have addressed the country’s many needs in such a short time:

The humanitarian pause in recent days has enabled aid groups to address some of the most critical problems facing residents but does nothing to solve the broader crisis.

“Humanitarian assistance cannot replace the needs of 26 million people who have been cut off from a regular supply of commercial imports of food and fuel,” said Julien Harneis, a UNICEF representative in Yemen.

One of the reasons why the humanitarian “pause” has not been able to do more to address Yemen’s extraordinary humanitarian needs is the severe damage done to the country’s infrastructure from the bombing thus far. The Wall Street Journalreported on Friday:

Nearly two months of Saudi-led airstrikes and fighting with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels has pushed one of the world’s poorest countries deeper into poverty, destroying economic lifelines vital for delivering emergency food and medical supplies.

Three airports, at least eight hospitals and several food depots have been destroyed or damaged, according to two international aid groups. Three seaports also are damaged and struggling to handle relief shipments from Djibouti, aid groups said.

Until the Saudi-led campaign ends and the blockade is lifted, Yemen can’t begin to rebuild or recover from the damage of the last seven weeks. The U.S. continues to back the wrecking of an impoverished country. Unless the U.S. withdraws its support from the war, our government continues to contribute to this indefensible war at the expense of Yemen’s civilian population.

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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