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An excellent article on the forgotten war in Yemen and the sad veto by the American president.

Mekonen Haddis, Professor

Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism

President Donald Trump’s recent veto of a bipartisan resolution to force an end to American military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen reminds me of some words by V.S. Naipaul, the Trinidadian author. In his book “A Bend in the River,” Naipaul says, “The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.”

The war in Yemen has reached a level of barbarism as few wars in recent history. It has become a humanitarian nightmare that only a cessation of hostilities by Saudi Arabia and the provision of immediate assistance to the people in Yemen can help solve. The Trump administration, however, has chosen to continue supporting the Saudi regime.

U.S. military assistance takes several forms. It goes from refueling Saudi and Emirati jets leading the bombing campaign in Yemen, to providing targeting and military advice to the Saudi forces, and providing fuel and armaments, including precision-guided missiles for use against the Yemeni Houthis.

The war against the Yemenis by Saudi Arabia flaunts international law and basic humanitarian principles. Years of conflict have all but destroyed the country’s public health system and fueled a humanitarian crisis of dramatic proportions. Since the escalation of the war in 2015, medical personnel and health facilities have been attacked and destroyed. As a result, thousands of people have been cut off from essential services.

Yemenis are forced to travel long distances to reach the few remaining health facilities. As a result, pregnant women with complications arrive late, and those suffering from serious injuries lose precious minutes of care. In addition, the destruction of the health system has led to outbreaks of diphtheria, measles, and cholera.

According to the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment report –which reflects the insights of the U.S. Intelligence Community, including the CIA, the National Security Agency and the FBI, as well as many other federal agencies- of nearly 29 million people in Yemen, about 22 million need some form of humanitarian assistance.

Among them, 16 million don’t have access to food and drinking water, and more than one million Yemenis –mostly children- suffer from cholera. In addition, 5 million people are at food “emergency” level, just short of famine, and there are 2.8 million internally displaced people. In the meantime, emergency life-saving medicines, trauma kits, diarrheal disease kits, and blood banks are urgently needed, while the public health system is under collapse.

The war in Yemen is a flagrant violation of the principle of proportionality. According to this principle, “The harm caused to civilians or civilian property must be proportional and not ‘excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated’ by an attack on a military objective.” The Saudi attacks on Yemeni civilians and military targets make a mockery of this principle of international law.

In his veto message, President Trump said, “This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.” Mr. Trump also said that he agreed with Congress that “great nations do not fight endless wars.” What he didn’t say is that the war in Yemen is a carnage that gives a new meaning to the word “barbarism”.

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

 

 

 

 

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Washington wants to put an end to the war in Yemen

VOLTAIRE NETWORK | 1 NOVEMBER 2018

On 30 October 2018, General James Mattis, the Defense Secretary, spoke at the US Institute of Peace and announced that it was his intention to put an end to the war in Yemen in less than 30 days.

Washington hopes that it will be supported by Martin Griffiths (United Kingdom). He is the Special Representative for the UN, Secretary General, and former director of the European Institute of Peace. The first president of this institution was Steffan de Mistura. He then went on to become the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria. The European Institute for Peace is the sister organization of its US homonym. Ronald Raegan established the US Institute at the same time as NED. The thinking: the US Peace Institute would be a special purpose vehicle for the Pentagon, just as the Ned was for the Pentagon.

Last week Martin Griffiths was received in Washington. He gave a long interview on the Saudi TV Channel, Al-Arabiya . It seems that his mission is to help Saudi Arabia to clamber out of the cesspool a product of its own waste, in which it was drowning in Yemen. Yemen, like Afghanistan, is a country that has always resisted invaders and which has never been able to be occupied.

The words of Jim Mattis were immediately echoed by Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State.

This war is an initiative of Mohamed Ben Salmane who is both the Saudi Crown Prince and Saudi Minister of Defense. Its aim: to enable Saudi to pull the strings of the Yemen government. Why? so Saudi Arabia can exploit the oil reserves to be found in the region between the two countries. It was undertaken with Israel’s help as Israel and Saudi share a joint general staff in Somaliland. It seemed that up until now the Prince’s initiative was integrated into the Pentagon’s general strategy which was to destroy the state structures of the enlarged Middle East (Cebrowski Doctrine).

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