Home/Daniel Larison/Yemen’s Humanitarian Catastrophe and Saudi ‘Aid’

Yemen’s Humanitarian Catastrophe and Saudi ‘Aid’

The Saudis are trying to distract attention from their crimes in Yemen by talking up the aid they have provided:

Saudi Arabia’s campaign at the United Nations to emphasize its humanitarian generosity in Yemen has been led by Abdallah Y. al-Mouallimi, the Saudi ambassador, and Abdullah al-Rabeeah, an adviser to the Royal Court and head of the country’s leading charity.

At a briefing last week at the Saudi Mission to the United Nations, the two men stressed to representatives of the organization’s humanitarian agencies that Saudi assistance to Yemen had exceeded $8 billion since the conflict began.

The Saudis are doing this because they are eager to avoid having the coalition included on the U.N. blacklist of forces that harm children, and this is part of their larger propaganda effort to deflect criticism for the many war crimes that coalition forces have committed in their indiscriminate bombing campaign. While this may sway some gullible members of the Senate, I doubt that the Saudis will succeed this time. For one thing, the amount of aid is a pittance compared to the amount the kingdom has expended on the war to date, and it is nothing compared to Yemenis’ enormous needs. More to the point, the Saudis and their allies continue to pummel and starve Yemen, and their blockade is a major factor in creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The Saudis can’t seriously expect us to believe that they want to alleviate Yemenis’ suffering when they are the ones causing much of that suffering and then impeding the delivery of aid. If the coalition were genuinely interested in combating that crisis, they would stop actively contributing to making conditions worse inside the country. Devastating the country and then offering some money without halting that ongoing devastation is a pitiful attempt to pretend that the government most responsible for causing the humanitarian disaster is some sort of benefactor.

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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