By Daniel DePetris | Contributor
March 15, 2017, at 1:45 p.m.
The civil war in Yemen has created one of the world’s greatest humanitarian disasters. According to United Nations estimates, more than two-thirds of Yemen’s entire population need some kind of assistance. Seven million people are hungry, 10,000 have been killed in the war and the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator recently reported to the Security Council “the Yemeni people now face the spectre of famine.”
While all parties in the war have violated international law during hostilities, most of the misery Yemenis have forcibly endured over the past two years were perpetrated by Saudi Arabia.
Most important, the U.S. has no vital national security interests at risk in this conflict.
Why, then, is the United States reportedly preparing to assist the Saudis to an even greater extent than when the conflict began?
The State Department recently signed off on a $350 million package of smart bombs to the Saudi-led military coalition currently combating the Houthi rebellion in Yemen. And in the event one thought this was an isolated sale to merely generate business, Foreign Policy magazine reported just last month that the Trump administration is searching for ways to escalate America’s part in the civil war “[t]o counter Iran’s proxies in Yemen.” It continues, “the administration is considering ramping up drone strikes, deploying more military advisors and carrying out more commando raids.”
This would be a mistake with potentially huge ramifications.
Yemeni army soldiers and fighters from Popular Committees have shot down an Apache helicopter operated by Saudi Arabia in the western province of Hudaydah, a report says.
The chopper was brought down in Hudaydah’s Bayt al-Faqih district on Thursday, Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported.
On January 25, the Yemeni forces shot down another Apache helicopter belonging to the so-called Saudi-led coalition in Dhubab neighborhood of Yemen’s Ta’izz province.
Ten Saudi soldiers slain
Separately on Thursday, al-Masirah reported that a Saudi trooper had been killed in the al-Dukhan military base in the kingdom’s southwestern Jizan region.
Nine other Saudi soldiers lost their lives in several places across Saudi Arabia’s southern region, including Jizan’s al-Dafinah village.
According to later reports, one of the slain soldiers came form the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Al Mukalla: The internationally supported Yemeni government has said Al Houthi rebels have intercepted 63 ships and 223 convoys carrying humanitarian aid to areas under their control since ejecting President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi from Sana’a in early 2015.
In a statement carried by the state-run Saba news agency on Friday, Abdul Rageeb Fateh, the minister of local administration and head of supreme relief committee, said rebels seize relief ships immediately after docking at Hodeida and Saleef seaports and supply goods to their fighters battling government forces across Yemen.
Fateh also said hundreds of trucks transporting vital medicines, tents and food heading to rebel-held territories have also been seized by Al Houthis and goods sold in the black market.
The minister accused Al Houthis of abducting 30 aid workers from areas under their control, including several Norwegian Refugee Council staff, in the Red Sea city of Hodeida. He said Al Houthi supporters in Taiz’s Khader district abducted seven aid workers. He said harassment of aid workers and interception of humanitarian convoys by Al Houthis is causing famine in areas under their control. He said humanitarian situation would deteriorate if rebels continued confiscating aid convoys.
Saudi-led coalition’s port op would cut off Yemen from food & aid supplies, Russia warns
The coalition’s “plans to storm Yemen’s biggest port of Hudaydah give rise to serious concerns,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement published on the ministry’s official website.
She added that battles in this area “would not only inevitably lead to a mass exodus of the [local] population but would also de facto cut the [Yemeni] capital of Sanaa from… food and humanitarian aid supplies.”
Zakharova called the humanitarian situation in Yemen “catastrophic,” citing the UN who earlier said that the Yemeni people “face the specter of famine” while their country suffers from “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”