Yemen’s Humanitarian Calamity
Almost seven months since the Saudi-led war on Yemen began, the humanitarian crisis in the country is only getting worse:
More than half a million children in Yemen face life-threatening malnutrition as a risk of famine grows, a senior official of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday.
The figure, a three-fold jump since fighting erupted in March [bold mine-DL], reflects depleted food stocks compounded by a failing health system unable to care for hungry children or vaccinate them against disease, said Afshan Khan, director of UNICEF emergency programs worldwide.
The main cause for these appalling conditions is the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade. It can’t be stressed enough that the blockade is largely responsible for the severity of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, and it is doing even more widespread damage to the civilian population of the entire country than the bombing campaign. The U.S. enables and supports the Saudi-led war, and it approves of the coalition’s blockade and permits it to continue with no consequences for the U.S.-Saudi relationship. The starvation of Yemen with U.S. help is an enduring blot on the administration’s record and deeply shames the United States. Our government supported this war when it had no need to do so, and it is responsible for many of the war’s evil effects.
When sanctions on Iraq reportedly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children in the 1990s, then-Secretary of State Albright said that she thought the suffering inflicted on Iraq’s civilian population was “worth it.” Albright’s statement was a perfect example of the monstrous indifference to the staggering human costs of our misguided policies. Today no administration official is forced to justify the cruel and indefensible policies of U.S.-backed clients in Yemen, because there is so little attention being paid to the war or the coalition’s actions. Secretary Kerry might or might not publicly endorse the starvation of Yemen that the Saudi-led coalition is carrying out right now, but then no one from a major media outlet would ask him the question that would put him in the position of having to endorse it. The administration has enjoyed the luxury of avoiding serious criticism or scrutiny for one of its most horrible policies, and in the meantime Yemen’s civilians endure an extraordinary humanitarian calamity.