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Yemen: The Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World

Scott Paul of Oxfam recently visited [1] Yemen and testifies about what he saw there. You should read all of it, but I’ll quote the concluding paragraph here:

There are more people in need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen than anywhere else in the world, but thanks to the relatively small number of refugees fleeing the country and the difficulty of entry for journalists, most people – even policy experts and government officials – aren’t able to relate to the scale of suffering there [bold mine-DL]. As I left Sana’a, I couldn’t help but think that the international community’s approach to Yemen would be markedly different if world leaders were able to see what I saw. For a start, they would urgently help stabilize Yemen’s Central Bank, remove restrictions on the transport of hard foreign currency out of the country, and enact a new Security Council Resolution demanding peace. For its part specifically, the US government would withdraw its support for the parties fighting this cruel and unnecessary war.

This is something that I have tried to emphasize in as many of my posts on the war as possible: the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen is the worst one in the world today, and it is among the worst disasters of its kind in decades. Tens of millions are in serious need of food, and they have mostly been driven to this point by the coalition’s blockade. This is a massive crisis, and one that didn’t have to happen. It is all the more severe because it is not receiving the publicity that other crises have, and because the international response to it has been limited and woefully inadequate.

I would like to think that the main reason so few people pay attention to the suffering of Yemen is simply lack of information, but that can’t really excuse the behavior of major governments including our own. The Obama administration had no confidence that the Saudis and their allies’ intervention would succeed, but backed it anyway to satisfy them. Our government knows as well as anyone what the coalition is doing to the people of Yemen because they are helping them to do it. U.S. complicity in wrecking Yemen isn’t the result of a lack of knowledge about what the war is doing to the civilian population, but rather the indifference born of a desire to keep despotic client states happy.

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3 Comments To "Yemen: The Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World"

#1 Comment By no light in august On August 17, 2016 @ 7:20 pm

“The Obama administration had no confidence that the Saudis and their allies’ intervention would succeed, but backed it anyway to satisfy them.”

Think about that cost-benefit analysis a moment. The calculation that Obama and Clinton made. How much weight to assign the whim of this nasty little Saudi princeling? And as against that, how much to the lives of millions of innocent Yemenis?

Our presidents have dealt with monstrous characters in their time, Stalin and Mao among others. But Stalin and Mao had irreducible weight, representing great powers whose cooperation we required for great purposes.

That Obama and Clinton would assign this meaningless little thug that kind of weight shows how fundamentally contemptuous they are of human life, how readily and abstractly they make their clumsy, pointlessly destructive calculations.

I don’t want to hear another word about the putative dangers posed by Donald Trump, thanks. Not while wars are raging that bear the fingerprints of his opponent. Not while an atrocity of historic proportions, enabled by Clinton and the president she served, goes largely unremarked, unchallenged, and continues unchecked.

Clinton’s husband merely watched, slinking in the shadows, as the genocide in Rwanda took place. Clinton herself, however, enabled the Yemen catastrophe.

#2 Comment By SaintRhon On August 18, 2016 @ 12:26 am

Noone in the west has been all that inconvenienced so its not really a problem. Maybe if some yemenis wash up up on the shores of the Mediterranean or show up in cologne to grope some german women then maybe the west’ll take notice. Though they’d likely just accelerate the bombing rather than take any real look at the situation.

I mean the GCC effectively did the same thing only a few years ago in Bahrain and noone gave a crap. After they’re done breaking yemen beyond repair i’m sure they’ll try and get something started in lebanon. The crisis in syria and flood of refugees has already done half the job for them.

#3 Comment By RR On August 18, 2016 @ 10:18 am

Most Americans probably can’t even find Yemen on a map. And due to the media’s silence, are also probably completely unaware of the crisis in Yemen. It is frightening that our government has supported the Saudis on Yemen. Eventually there will be “blowback” from all this.