Yemen Can't Wait Webinar 4/21/2022
National Coalition Demands End to Military Support of War on Yemen
When the Music Stops: Yemen, Art and War
This January, [Saudi] jets killed over 90 people in the bombing of a migrant detention centre. It was one of the worst atrocities of the entire Yemen war, which has been marked by countless war crimes and civilian massacres – like we are tragically now seeing in Ukraine.
Amnesty International says a missile fragment found in the detention centre wreckage showed the weapon responsible was made by Raytheon, a US company with factories in Britain. Their equipment has been repeatedly linked to atrocities in Yemen, including the bombing of a wedding.
From Friends Committee on National Legislation-
Saudi Arabia’s War and Blockade on Yemen
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, with the support of the United States, have been conducting a military campaign in Yemen aimed at ousting the Houthi faction.
Indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, including hospitals, schools, and water treatment plants, as well as the blockading of Yemeni ports—committed largely with U.S. weapons and logistical support—have resulted in what the UN has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with millions of Yemenis pushed to the edge of famine.
The ongoing Saudi blockade and thousands of gruesome air strikes have left the country’s population vulnerable and its vital infrastructures in ruin. The independent Yemeni organization Mwatana for Human Rights reported that 35 coalition air raids on 32 health facilities occurred between 2015 and 2018. Despite Congress passing legislation to end U.S. military support and block arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United States continues to provide intelligence sharing and maintenance support for Saudi-led coalition warplanes and billions of dollars in weapons sales.
Congress must pass legislation to end military support and weapons sales, restore humanitarian aid funding, and promote robust diplomacy to bring the war to an end.
The situation in Yemen has grown increasingly dire with the spread of COVID-19. Yemen is one of the most vulnerable countries to the coronavirus, given that nearly 80 percent of Yemenis are considered immunosuppressed. Yemenis who do contract the virus have limited access to the country’s health care facilities, since 50 percent have been destroyed or shut down.
The situation has been compounded by a 50% cut in aid to most of the country by the World Food Program, the reduction or closing of three quarters of all major UN aid programs, and a rollback of World Health Organization programming. As Lise Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, has previously said, “Yemen needs support now—literally, right now. There are shortages of absolutely everything that’s needed to treat the people who are likely to become ill.”
FCNL’s work in Yemen is far from over, and we continue to seek federal policies and practices that avoid violence and embrace peace. Congress must pass legislation to end military support and weapons sales, endorse diplomacy and restore humanitarian aid funding, and use robust diplomacy to pressure the Saudi-led coalition into bringing the war to an end.
The People of Yemen Suffer Atrocities, Too
By Kathy Kelly, World BEYOND War, March 21, 2022
The United Nations’ goal was to raise more than $4.2 billion for the people of war-torn Yemen by March 15. But when that deadline rolled around, just $1.3 billion had come in.
“I am deeply disappointed,” said Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council. “The people of Yemen need the same level of support and solidarity that we’ve seen for the people of Ukraine. The crisis in Europe will dramatically impact Yemenis’ access to food and fuel, making an already dire situation even worse.”
“Since the onset of the Ukraine conflict, we have seen the prices of food skyrocket by more than 150 percent,” said Basheer Al Selwi, a spokesperson for the International Commission of the Red Cross in Yemen. “Millions of Yemeni families don’t know how to get their next meal.”
The ghastly blockade and bombardment of Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, is now entering its eighth year. The United Nations estimated last fall that the Yemen death toll would top 377,000 people by the end of 2021.
The United States continues to supply spare parts for Saudi/UAE coalition war planes, along with maintenance and a steady flow of armaments. Without this support, the Saudis couldn’t continue their murderous aerial attacks.
Yet tragically, instead of condemning atrocities committed by the Saudi/UAE invasion, bombing and blockade of Yemen, the United States is cozying up to the leaders of these countries. As sanctions against Russia disrupt global oil sales, the United States is entering talks to become increasingly reliant on Saudi and UAE oil production. And Saudi Arabia and the UAE don’t want to increase their oil production without a U.S. agreement to help them increase their attacks against Yemen.
Human rights groups have decried the Saudi/UAE-led coalition for bombing roadways, fisheries, sewage and sanitation facilities, weddings, funerals and even a children’s school bus. In a recent attack, the Saudis killed sixty African migrants held in a detention center in Saada.
The Saudi blockade of Yemen has choked off essential imports needed for daily life, forcing the Yemeni people to depend on relief groups for survival.
There is another way. U.S. Reps. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Peter De Fazio of Oregon, both Democrats, are now seeking cosponsors for the Yemen War Powers Resolution. It demands that Congress cut military support for the Saudi/UAE-led coalition’s war against Yemen.
On March 12, Saudi Arabia executed 81 people, including seven Yemenis – two of them prisoners of war and five of them accused of criticizing the Saudi war against Yemen.
Just two days after the mass execution, the Gulf Corporation Council, including many of the coalition partners attacking Yemen, announced Saudi willingness to host peace talks in their own capital city of Riyadh, requiring Yemen’s Ansar Allah leaders (informally known as Houthis) to risk execution by Saudi Arabia in order to discuss the war.
The Saudis have long insisted on a deeply flawed U.N. resolution which calls on the Houthi fighters to disarm but never even mentions the U.S. backed Saudi/UAE coalition as being among the warring parties. The Houthis say they will come to the negotiating table but cannot rely on the Saudis as mediators. This seems reasonable, given Saudi Arabia’s vengeful treatment of Yemenis.
The people of the United States have the right to insist that U.S. foreign policy be predicated on respect for human rights, equitable sharing of resources and an earnest commitment to end all wars. We should urge Congress to use the leverage it has for preventing continued aerial bombardment of Yemen and sponsor Jayapal’s and De Fazio’s forthcoming resolution.
We can also summon the humility and courage to acknowledge U.S. attacks against Yemeni civilians, make reparations and repair the dreadful systems undergirding our unbridled militarism.
Kathy Kelly, a peace activist and author, co-coordinates the Ban Killer Drones campaign and is board president of World BEYOND War. A shortened version of this article produced for Progressive Perspectives, which is run by The Progressive magazine
National Day of Action to End US Support for the War in Yemen
Tuesday, March 1st - Friends Committee on National Legislation Milwaukee Advocacy Team meeting with WI Rep. Gwen Moore's Aide, Chris Goldsen.
From Friends Committee on National Legislation-
End US Complicity in Saudi Arabia’s War and Blockade on Yemen
- 14,630 children have died so far in 2022, according to the worst-case estimates. In 2022, worst-case estimates are that 400,000 Yemeni children may die — one every 75 seconds or more than 1,100 per day (World Food Program and United Nations
- Since the beginning of the Yemeni Civil War, at least 230,000 civilians have died — some 131,000 from indirect causes such as lack of food (UN), 85,000 children may have died between April 2015 and October 2018 (Save the Children)
- As the situation deteriorates, 16 million Yemenis are on the brink of starvation with 2.3 million children under 5 suffering acute malnutrition; a spike in food prices and a further collapse of Yemen's currency in summer 2021 is driving even more children to hunger (UN, World Food Program, and Save the Children)
Yemen is facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises as the war there enters its eighth year.
The UN estimates the war had killed 377,000 people as of the end of 2021, both directly and indirectly through hunger and disease – 70 percent of those deaths are children.
The United States can stop this — by ending the Saudi blockade of Yemen!
Sponsored by End the Wars Coalition, Peace Action WI, Women’s Int’l League for Peace & Freedom-MKE, Friends Committee on National Legislation Milwaukee, Progressive Democrats of WI, Veterans for Peace Chapter 102, Milwaukee Public Enterprise Committee, United Nation Association of Milwaukee
THE GLOBAL LINKS OF THE RECENT ESCALATION IN THE YEMEN CONFLICT
The failure of the UN to play its primary role of a peacemaker in Yemen affects its humanitarian interventions.
Provides opportunities for the global war industry to make profits out of human misery.
The last month has seen a drastic escalation in the war in Yemen. According to the UN, January will most likely be the month with the highest ever casualties reported since the war began in 2014. The January 21 strike on a prison in Sa’ada which killed 91 people marked the highest death toll in a single strike in the last three years. The number of airstrikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition last December was already the highest in years. In all likelihood, this figure will be even higher by the end of January.
On the other hand, the Houthis have demonstrated their capacity and willingness to retaliate against members of the Saudi-led coalition by sending drones and missiles hundreds of miles away to Abu Dhabi.
Exactly at a time when decisive international intervention to find a political solution to end the war is needed, the UN and the international community have shown their unwillingness to take the extra efforts required. This has encouraged the Saudi-led coalition to push harder to realize their regional ambitions and the war industry to make profits despite the obvious human costs.
Battle For Marib
The recent escalation in Yemen is attributed to the UAE’s increased involvement in ground offensives against the Houthis in Marib and Sabwah provinces located in the southern parts of the country and considered crucial for the future of the Saudi-led coalition’s presence. The regions also have significant natural resources such as oil and gas.
The Houthis lost their advances made after months of being on the offensive on both the fronts earlier this month. The loss is directly attributed to the UAE’s increased intervention on the ground through the so-called Giant Brigade. The advances made by the Saudi-led coalition have helped the forces loyal to Abdrabbuh Masour Hadi and may shatter the Houthis’ hopes to gain control over resources crucial to maintain the economy to serve the majority of the population in the north.
The Houthis’ actions against the UAE, such as seizure of its ship in the Red Sea and attacks on Abu Dhabi, can be seen as a message to the country’s rulers about the consequences of their intervention in Yemen.
Failure Of The UN
The United Nations has failed to play a constructive role to achieve peace in Yemen and has increasingly limited its role as a relief agency. It has refused to reconsider Resolution 2216 adopted in 2015, which imposes sanctions on the Houthis despite the changes in the reality on the ground. It has ignored the fact that the actual government in Sanaa run by the Houthis is a legitimate party in the conflict. The UN has continued to support the Hadi government, which has limited its acceptability and made it appear biased and compromised in the eyes of the Houthis.
As Nabeel Khoury told Al-Jazeera, the UN has failed to convince the parties of the war that all the natural resources in the country – in Marib and elsewhere – have to be shared by all. It has instead repeated the position taken by the Saudi-led coalition that the Hadi government is the only legitimate one in the country.
In October last year, the UN failed to renew the mandate of the Group of Imminent Experts on Yemen, effectively stopping its investigations into the war crimes and human right violations being committed in the country. With the only means of international accountability for the parties involved in the war being removed, they were given a free hand to escalate the war. The rise in the number of the Saudi coalition’s airstrikes in the aftermath of this decision acts as proof.
The failure of the UN to play any significant role in resolving the conflict in Yemen is clear as it has even failed to convince the Saudi coalition to end its criminal air, sea, and land blockade of Yemen, leading to growing disenchantment about the UN’s humanitarian role in the country. In the last two years, using the situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries have reduced their funding to agencies that are working to provide crucial humanitarian aid to millions of Yemenis. This has resulted in an increase in the food insecure population and forced several UN agencies to reduce their role at a time when the people need it the most.
A War For Corporate Gains
The attacks on Abu Dhabi have opened new possibilities for the global war industry. After the January 17 attacks, the US, in addition to expressing solidarity with the UAE, also offered fresh supplies of weapons to the country. This was despite the expressed position of the Biden administration in the months after taking office last year of ending US involvement in the war in Yemen.
The Biden administration decided to sell USD 23 billion worth of armaments to the UAE last year and also vowed to supply so-called “defensive weapons” to Saudi Arabia. The rejoicing among the world’s largest weapon manufacturers following the Abu Dhabi attacks underlines the well-known fact of the profitability of sustained global conflicts. This also raises questions with regard to the dubious role of the Biden administration in the war in Yemen, which has also prevented political resolutions in the UN Security Council.