Sunday 9 April 2017 - 05:06

The US is Deeply Complicit in a Humanitarian Catastrophe in Yemen

Story Code : 626051
Jamal Mujalli al-Mashriqi, 4, who suffers from malnutrition, sits on a bed at a hospital in the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen April 4, 2017.
Jamal Mujalli al-Mashriqi, 4, who suffers from malnutrition, sits on a bed at a hospital in the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen April 4, 2017.
Despite US efforts to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table, and being the largest donor of humanitarian aid to assist suffering Yemenis, the Saudi coalition are bombing Yemeni targets with billions of dollars’ worth of American bombs, refueling their fighter jets from American tankers, and receiving American intelligence for their air raids.

It is high time for the US to understand the ethical consequences of its policy in Yemen, and to explain their support for the war knowing its consequences.

An earlier UN report attributed at least 60 % of civilian casualties to airstrikes from the Saudi coalition and concluded that the airstrikes are either planned with total incompetence or deliberately target noncombatants. Many appear to be war crimes. 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Yemen-based Mwatama Organization for Human Rights have documented dozens of airstrikes on civilian targets with no military target nearby. These included hits on weddings and other public gatherings. One such strike “double tapped” a crowded funeral hall, first bombing the mourners and then those who ran to help them, killing more than 100 civilians.

HRW documented destruction of factories, food warehouses and power plants, which “raise[s] serious concerns that the Saudi led coalition has deliberately sought to inflict widespread damage to Yemen’s production capacity.”

Amnesty International (AI) accuses the coalition of deliberately targeting schools. 

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reports that four hospitals it supports were hit, indicating a systematic denial of emergency health care.

But, the deaths because of these airstrikes show a fraction of the suffering as Yemen is on the edge of a catastrophic famine and the blame is overwhelmingly with the Saudi coalition.

They have imposed a naval blockade on a country that imports 90 percent of its food and fuel. Its jets have pounded public infrastructure needed to move food in the country’s interior, including two strikes on a bridge to the capital Sanaa, despite US warning not to bomb it for humanitarian reasons.

Their latest target is the al-Hudaydah port where cargo handling cranes were bombed and are now blocking a UN ship with replacements. 

Save the Children has accused the Saudi coalition of blocking three ships full of medicine needed to serve 300,000 urgently ill civilians. 

They said: “These delays are killing children. Our teams are dealing with outbreaks of cholera, and children suffering from diarrhea, measles, malaria and malnutrition. With the right medicines these are all completely treatable — but the Saudi-led coalition is stopping them getting in. They are turning aid and commercial supplies into weapons of war.”

The top UN official for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief said: “Seven million people in Yemen do not know where they will find their next meal. They urgently need food assistance to survive. Almost 500,000 children under 5 years of age suffer severe acute malnutrition. A child dies every 10 minutes of preventable causes.” 

Four months remain until famine begins…