When my friend drew my attention towards the war in Yemen, I hardly knew anything about it – I have read about it once or twice but mostly because of the rescue operation carried out by the Indian Armed Forces to evacuate Indian citizens and foreign nationals from Yemen in 2015. The western media for some reason has chosen not to cover the War in Yemen and the atrocities of the Saudi led coalition which has affected millions of lives.
While researching about the crisis in Yemen the name Mohammed Bin Salman kept coming up – He is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the defense minister – Salman is affectionately known as MBS among policymakers in Washington and London.
He oversees all Saudi military forces and has served as the commander of the international coalition in the “Decisive Storm” operation – the alliance operating in Yemen – since March 26, 2015.
The Washington Post wrote the following about Salman on April 2nd, 2018 – “The crown prince commenced his visit to America on March 19th. The visit was followed by a successful visit to Egypt and England. It was reported that the crown prince had a very warm and productive meeting with president Trump in the white house on March 20.” The paper goes on about how Salman has grabbed the world’s attention by successfully implementing political and social reforms in Saudi Arabia. He was welcomed, during his visit, by both Harvard and MIT and lauded for his wisdom.
Three years ago, in March 2015 under the crown prince’s leadership, the Saudis and its Sunni allies in the region attacked Iran backed Houthi armed group which controlled most of Yemen. The coalition ever since with U.S. support has continuously bombarded the country killing thousands of Civilians in violation of international laws. It has also unlawfully imposed naval and aerial blockade which worsened the humanitarian situation in Yemen. The coalition continues to impose restrictions on aid and essential goods including food, medicine, and fuel.
A resident has this to say in an interview to Amnesty International – “My son was 14 hours old when he died, the doctors told us he needed intensive care and oxygen – We took him to every hospital we possibly could before he died. I wanted to take him outside the city, but there was no way out.”
My son was 14 hours old when he died, the doctors told us he needed intensive care and oxygen – We took him to every hospital we possibly could before he died. I wanted to take him outside the city, but there was no way out.
Amnesty International has recently documented 36 air strikes by Saudi Arabia led coalition that appears to violate the International humanitarian law. This has been attacks which deliberately targeted civilian objects such as hospitals, schools, markets and mosques which amount to war crimes. The coalition has also used cluster ammunition and banned explosives – Imprecise weapons are used indiscriminately almost daily in the residential areas causing civilian causalities.
The United States has supported Saudi Arabia in Yemen since the very beginning. During the Obama Administration the U.S. provided intelligence and aerial refueling for air raids, as well as bombs and material – Even when it was clear that many attacks were carried out on civilian targets without any regard for the laws of war, the support was not withdrawn. Donald Trump on his recent visit to Saudi Arabia bragged about finalizing a deal on sale of weapons to the Saudis which amounted to billions of dollars. He also went on to say “Many people, have their jobs because of the Saudis” while conveniently forgetting the thousands that have died – The United states congress for the most part has also remained silent on the issue of Yemen.
The numbers are appalling – At least 22.2 million Yemenis of all ages are in serious need of humanitarian support. 11.3 million children are on the verge of starvation. At least 5000 children have been killed – 53000 civilians were wounded, and 1.9 million children will never see the insides of a school. At least a million cholera cases have been recorded and another outbreak is imminent.
I wanted to write a good and thought-provoking conclusion for this article, but somehow, I find it hard to do, I would rather put forward the questions that came to my mind during my research in simple words – Is the war in Yemen different than the war in Syria? or do the Yemenis matter less to the western media and governments because of the
Saudi oil money ? Why aren’t the American and British ambassadors to the UN raising their voices over the crisis in Yemen as they do regularly about Syria? – And finally, how long are we going to ignore the human rights violations of Saudi Arabia?
I end this article with a picture of Donald Trump and the Saudi crown prince, which speaks volumes about American double standards.