FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Yemen: the Ravaging of a Country

Recent indiscriminate air attacks by Saudi Arabia on civilians in Harez (northwest of Yemen) have resulted in 33 civilian deaths and 67 people with serious injuries. Those numbers add up to what is increasingly becoming a national tragedy, as coalition forces continue their attacks on Houthi fighters. Cities on the northern border with Saudi Arabia are becoming emptied of inhabitants, whose displacement is saturating the villages further south.

Since the war began, more than 3,000 people have been killed and 14,300 have been wounded, plunging Yemen into a humanitarian crisis of great proportion. The limited success of the brutal air campaign against Yemeni rebels reminds one of the verses of the famous Yemeni poet Al-Baradouni, “They come with iron and fire, but they are weaker than straw”.

Saudi Arabia has been the leading member of the coalition fighting Houthi rebels.

The coalition it leads has been accused by Human Rights Watch of using cluster munitions supplied by the U.S. Although this kind of munitions is not banned by the U.S., Yemen or Saudi Arabia, its use is banned by 116 countries throughout the world. They are considered imprecise weapons that pose a long-term danger to civilians because of the unexploded remnants they leave behind.

“International humanitarian law is clear that belligerents must take all possible steps to prevent or minimize civilian casualties. But the cases we have analysed point to a pattern of attacks destroying civilian homes and resulting in scores of civilian deaths and injuries. There is no indication that the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition has done anything to prevent and redress such violations,” stated on July 2 Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Advisor to Amnesty International.

Amnesty International findings were confirmed by Human Rights Watch, which had documented a series of unlawful air strikes on residential houses, markets, a school and a petrol station in Sa’ada. “The coalition’s aerial bombing of Sa’ada killed dozen of civilians, devastating entire families. These attacks appear to be serious laws-of-war violations that need to be properly investigated,” declared last week Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa Director at Human Rights Watch.

“This war is tearing the social texture in a way that makes it impossible to repair. The double aggression we are under from the outside and the inside is creating cracks. I can see my loved ones watching in pain knowing that things will never be the same even if this war ends, if it ever does. We have survived so many wars. We have been stripped of jobs, security and basic services before; however, this time we are being stripped of home,” Jamal, a Yemeni sociologist, declared to The Guardian.

What Yemenis desperately need now is for the fighting parties to allow the entry of humanitarian supplies and avoid targeting civilians and medical and paramedical personnel. “We have nothing to do with the conflict and who is right or wrong, but every wounded person deserves to get medical care,” said Hisham Abdulaziz, a doctor who treated dozens of wounded people by an air strike in a refugee camp.

According to the U.N., more than 80 percent of Yemen’s 25 million people need some form of humanitarian aid. “It’s more than one million people displaced, 3,000 killed, shortage of fuel, basic public services –health, water, sanitation—that are collapsing, one city after another they are collapsing.” said Antoine Grand, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen, at a U.N. briefing in Geneva.

Increasingly, it is becoming evident that the conflict in Yemen should be solved by Yemenis themselves, without any outside interference. As stated by a  group of Yemeni scholars, residents and nationals of the UK and the U.S., “Rather than contributing to the destruction of the country, the USA and UK should support a UN Security Council resolution demanding and immediate, unconditional ceasefire and use of their diplomatic influence to strengthen the sovereignty and self-government of Yemen. As specialists we are more than aware of the internal divisions within Yemeni society, but we consider that it is for the Yemenis themselves to be allowed to negotiate a political settlement.”

 

 

 

More articles by:

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.”

January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: When Just One Man Says, “No”
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Two
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail