Friday, November 09, 2018

Who cares about the Yemen?

According to the Yemen Data Project, Saudi and Emirati aircraft have conducted over 18,500 air raids on Yemen since the war began—an average of over 14 attacks every day for over 1,300 days. 

They have bombed schools, hospitals, homes, markets, factories, roads, farms, and even historical sites. Tens of thousands of civilians, including thousands of children, have been killed or maimed by Saudi airstrikes.

But the Saudis and Emiratis couldn’t continue their bombing campaign in Yemen without U.S. military support.  American planes refuel Saudi aircraft en route to their targets, and Saudi and Emirati pilots drop bombs made in the United States and the United Kingdom onto Yemeni homes and schools.

By escalating the war and destroying essential civilian infrastructure, Saudi Arabia is also responsible for the tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians who have died from preventable disease and starvation brought on by the war. The United Nations concluded that blockades have had “devastating effects on the civilian population” in Yemen, as Saudi and Emirati airstrikes have targeted Yemen’s food production and distribution, including the agricultural sector and the fishing industry. Yemenis are being starved to death on purpose, with starvation of civilians used by Saudi Arabia as a weapon of war.

To be clear, there is no party in this war is without blood on its hands; our organization, Mwatana, has documented violations against civilians by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, not only Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have killed and injured hundreds of civilians through their use of landmines and indiscriminate shelling, while militias backed by the United Arab Emirates, Yemeni government-backed militias, and Houthi militias have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, and tortured civilians. But the de facto immunity that the international community has given Saudi Arabia through its silence prevents real justice for violations by all sides.

The people of the Middle East have long and bitter experience with international double standards when it comes to human rights, as purported champions of universal rights in the West regularly ignore grave violations by their allies in the region. This double standard was on display during the crown prince’s recent tour of world capitals and Silicon Valley, where he was generally praised as a “reformer,” and media figures recited his vision for Saudi Arabia in the year 2030 without asking what will be left of Yemen.

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