Yemen? Where on Earth is Yemen?

Photo by Gerry & Bonni | CC BY 2.0

At the end of last week the United Nations humanitarian chief warned that unless the blockade of Yemen was lifted, the country woul face “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims”.

The fact of the matter is that the U.S. -Saudi war in Yemen is a tragedy of epic proportions that has caused thousands of civilian deaths, mass starvation and a cholera epidemic  that is worse than any the world has witnessed in the past 50 years.

The latest estimate of Yemeni cholera victims is well over half a million and growing.

This disaster is the result of U.S. guided Saudi bombing of roads, hospitals, bridges, water and sewage facilities combined with a naval and air blockade that prevents large scale U.N. assistance from reaching Yemeni war victims.

For good reason we talk about the very real danger of a future holocaust in Korea. The Yemenis are well on their way to that holocaust today. But because we are doing it, and the Russians are not, America doesn’t care. Killing abroad is our way of life, a way of life that is now coming home with a vengeance.

The same day that a U.N. official working on Yemen relief efforts pronounced Yemen to be the worst food crisis in the world today, President Trump was lecturing North Korea on its lack of concern for human life.

A few facts:

1. Our war in Yemen is illegal. President Obama and President Trump are in open violation of their oath to defend the U.S. constitution. When president Obama ordered U.S. participation in the war it was not covered by the 9/11 Authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda. The group we are fighting – the Houthis – are not affiliated with Al Qaeda or any entity associated with the attacks of 9/11. Al Qaeda is their mortal enemy.

2. The Houthis are not Iranian proxies. Any Iranian arms that might have reached Yemen were a response to the Saudi air assault, not its cause. Most weapons that the Houthis received came from the United States: weapons that we supplied to Yemen’s previous government. An old story.

3. The U.S.-Saudi war in Yemen has actually increased the security threat to all Americans. The war has opened up space for, and strengthened, America’s most dangerous enemy in the Middle East: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The war and Saudi support to Al Qaeda to fight the Houthis has positioned Al Qaeda to compete for national power in Yemen for the first time. And sectors of the Yemeni population have been radicalized against their tormentors in the U.S. who make sure the Saudis can drop Raytheon’s bombs on them. The Yemenis know very well that the Saudis could not continue their war crimes without American support.

Yemen, of all places. Where on earth is Yemen?

Yemen: a frightening and amazing story. A story that will probably never be told in all its horror here in the U.S.— unless Ken Burns does a documentary on it 25 years from now.

Or  unless we find a way to make Yemen’s killing fields and its people visible and worthy of the attention of the citizens of a country that is wasting them.