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8 million people in Yemen are in urgent need of medical help

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From the article: In a statement on Wednesday, the World Health Organization said that nearly 2,000 people had been killed in the fighting since March, including “hundreds of women and children.” Out of a population of 24 million, the organization said, some 8.6 million people “are in urgent need of medical help,” both for war-related injuries and for common medical conditions.


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U.S.-Backed Saudi War in Yemen Continues as Aid Groups Describe "Catastrophic" Humanitarian Crisis



US-backed Saudi forces Committing War Crimes in Yemen – action is needed



US Saudi Attempt to Block Humanitarian Aid to Yemen

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, May 14, 2015


The Blockade continues preventing enough vital humanitarian aid from reaching millions of needy Yemenis. Amounts permitted in are woefully inadequate.

Iran’s cargo ship “Rescue” is en route with food, water, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid. Washington wants it blocked.

US-Saudia Arabia wants it diverted to Djibouti where they control UN aid for Yemen. An Iranian Defense Ministry statement warned of dire consequences if attempts are made to block its efforts, saying:

“The US and Saudi Arabia will be responsible for the consequences of any provocative moves.”

“The US is an accomplice to the war criminals by supporting genocide in Yemen. and the Iranian people’s food and drug aid is a humanitarian move to soothe the oppressed Yemeni people’s pains.”

Aid diverted to Djibouti may prevent its “deliver(y) to the oppressed Yemeni people, and if the international organizations, especially the UN, really want to help the oppressed Yemeni people, they should adopt the necessary measures to prevent the (US-orchestrated) Saudi regime’s savage attacks and fully stop them.”

On Tuesday, Deputy Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Brig. General Massoud Jazzayeri warned: “Attacking the Iranian Red Crescent aid ship will spark war in the region.”

“And this fire may not be put out or brought under control. The US and Saudi Arabia should know that Iran’s self-restraint is limited.”

In April, the Iranian Red Crescent Aid Society blasted Saudi Arabia for blocking Tehran’s humanitarian aid efforts.

Its deputy managing director for international and humanitarian affairs, Shahabeddin Mohammadi Araqi, said “(t)he IRCS humanitarian aid consignments are ready to be dispatched to Yemen, but unfortunately Saudi Arabia prevents their delivery to Yemen.”

On Thursday, Fars News reported the Iranian destroyer Alborz accompanying Iran’s humanitarian cargo ship to Yemen “locked its missile systems on an invading vessel in the Gulf of Aden after a high-speed boat left Yemen’s coasts and rushed to attack it.”

“(T)he vessel changed course and returned to the coast after the Iranian destroyer warned it would target the vessel in seconds.”

According to Iranian destroyer captain Commodore Hassan Maqsoudlou: “If the terrorists ignored our warning, they would be killed with the first bullets of Alborz.”

He stressed Iranian naval forces are prepared to defend the Islamic Republic’s interests – including preventing anyone from provocatively inspecting its ships.

What follows remains to be seen. Iran intends supplying Yemenis with desperately needed humanitarian aid. US/Saudi attempts to block it could lead to regional war.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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  • 1 month later...

US-Saudi Man-Made Famine Threatens 20 Million Yemenis


80 percent of people in the Arab world’s poorest country are in danger of starving to death under a US-backed and US-enabled blockade and bombing campaign

  • Have the CNN, BBC, NBC, Fox, Sky, etc told you about that?



No "We are the children" for the children of Yemen

Obviously a news that doesn’t directly touch on Russia. However, obviously an enormously important one - this is the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world right now - but it’s getting barely any attention because the US is contributing to it in a mayor way. (The Saudi campaign in Yemen wouldn’t be possible without American diplomatic, intelligence and logistics backing.)

Another interesting (albeit in the light of 20 million lives in danger far less key) angle is that despite repeatedly causing such tragedies (260,000 people died in 2010-12 Somalia famine after a sustained US-Ethiopian military intervention there made an even greater mess of that country and up to a million who died in the 1990s due to sanctions on Iraq passed after US destroyed chunks of the country’s civilian infrastructure) the US still thinks it can take the moral high ground against Russia.

Preposterous! Even if Russia actually did everything the US accuses it of (and it doesn’t) it would be far, far cleaner than the US, which is the world’s premier killer today.

This article originally appeared at Foreign Policy in Focus

Twenty million people in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, are at risk of dying from hunger or thirst. That’s 80 percent of the country’s population, which according to UN agencies badly needs emergency supplies of food and water, along with fuel and medicine.

This almost unimaginable crisis sounds like something out of a disaster movie. But the cause isn’t an earthquake or a tsunami.

The main reason for all this suffering is months of merciless bombardment and blockade led by the richest Arab countries — Saudi Arabia and its neighboring petro-princedoms — and backed by the United States. Washington’s providing the attackers with technical assistance, intelligence, and top-shelf armaments.

The countries bombing Yemen are targeting a rebel group they claim is a proxy for Iran. The evidence for that is very thin.

In fact, the conflict in Yemen is rooted in internal disputes. Try to stay with me…

In 2011, a nationwide uprising akin to those in Tunisia and Egypt deposed the country’s autocratic leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh. There was no democratic election before his successor, the Saudi- and U.S.-backed Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, took over — he ran unopposed. And there was no relief from the terrible poverty, unemployment, and government corruption that brought about the popular revolt.

So a few months ago, a reformist movement and militia called the Houthis — which had launched a handful of rebellions against Saleh in the past — took advantage of widespread discontent to conquer the capital, Sanaa. Hadi fled into exile, and the Saudis started bombing shortly thereafter.

Since then, local militias in central and southern Yemen have fiercely resisted the Houthis and army units still loyal to Saleh, who is now allied with his former foes. Meanwhile, a local franchise of al-Qaeda is fighting everybody.

In short, it’s terribly complicated, and the bombs aren’t helping.

The Yemenis caught in this crossfire were already thirsty and hungry before the war — unlike their Saudi neighbors, they don’t have a lucrative oil supply. Now, with Yemen’s borders closed, its airports shut down, and Arab navies enforcing an embargo at sea, the situation is breathtaking in its desperation.

Saudi Arabia and its friends, including the United States, support Hadi. Yet they have no discernible plan for winning beyond reducing Yemen to rubble and besieging civilians in the hope of securing the Houthis’ surrender.

The Obama administration probably doesn’t believe the Saudis’ nonsense about the Houthis and Iran, but it’s shown no interest in stopping the war.

In fact, the United States has even announced a full suspension of aid to Yemen for a year, undercutting its occasional murmurs of humanitarian concern. By endorsing this Saudi-led shooting match, Washington may hope to calm the Saudis’ nerves about the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran, which Saudi Arabia opposes.

Is that what it’s come to, soothing a bully’s nerves just because it pumps a lot of oil?

Instead, the Obama administration should withdraw its support for the bombing, lift the blockade, and broker a power-sharing agreement between Yemen’s competing factions. For the people of Yemen, it’s beyond urgent.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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Yemen: The world’s newest humanitarian catastrophe, and how Britain helped to create it
Published: July 24, 2015
Source: Middle East Eye Britain has actively contributed to the creation a humanitarian disaster in Yemen, and potentially helped turn the Middle East’s poorest state into the new Syria. Not hyperbole or rhetoric, just a bald statement of fact. I’ll leave it to others to try to explain the near total silence on this issue throughout the British media and across the political spectrum. For now, it will suffice simply to tell the story.

This week the UN declared its highest level of humanitarian emergency in Yemen, with more than 21.1 million people (over 80 per cent of the population) in need of aid, 9.4 million with little or no access to water, and 13 million facing “a food security crisis” as the country teeters on the brink of famine. A fortnight ago the World Health Organisation confirmed an outbreak of potentially lethal dengue fever as a result of the general collapse of the state, civilian infrastructure and health services, with over 3,000 cases recorded since March. The total number of internally displaced people has now reached a million, with a quarter of a million made refugees.

Aid agencies have placed the blame primarily on a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, including the likes of Qatar, the UAE and Egypt, and backed by the US and UK, whose air campaign and naval blockade have dramatically worsened the situation in an already desperately impoverished country. The assault began in late March, when the Saudis and their allies waded into a civil conflict on the side of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi against the northern Houthi rebel movement. It is a case of the wealthiest Arab states joining forces to bomb and starve the poorest, with the assistance of two of the world’s richest and most powerful countries.

From the start, Whitehall pledged to back the Saudis “in every practical way short of engaging in combat”. This has involved ongoing logistical and technical support to the Saudi air force (which operates twice as many UK-built jets as the RAF), as well as the continued supply of munitions, while Royal Navy liaison officers work alongside their Saudi counterparts enforcing the blockade.

Media reports offer occasional unattributed intimations that the British have been urging restraint on the Saudis, but the PR value of this is limited given the material support that continues to be provided irrespective of the human cost. The recent announcement of a £40m UK donation to the UN’s $1.6bn humanitarian appeal for Yemen was practically an insult. A drop in the ocean of what was needed to heal a disaster that Whitehall had itself helped to create.

The official death toll since March now exceeds 3,000, higher than last summer’s conflict in Gaza, although in a country like Yemen with many remote and inaccessible areas, the true number could be higher still. In the first days of the war, Amnesty International accused Saudi-led forces of “turning a blind eye to civilian deaths and suffering,” in the wake of airstrikes on a factory and a refugee camp that killed around 80 people. By early May, Human Rights Watch had identified “credible evidence” that the Saudis were using banned cluster bombs, which pose an inherently indiscriminate, long-term threat to civilians.

Last week, both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International published reports accusing Saudi-led forces of carrying out airstrikes on civilian targets that amounted to potential war crimes. The parallels with other religious fundamentalists murdering and terrorising civilians in the region do not end there. The archaeologist Lamya Khalidi has accused the Saudis of deliberately targeting Yemen’s rich array of priceless historic sites, in a campaign of “vandalism” that is “hard to distinguish from the Islamic State’s” in Iraq and Syria.

Like so many other countries across the Middle East, Yemen was the scene of mass protests from early 2011, triggered both by political repression and severe economic grievances. The Saudis and their Gulf allies moved to defuse the situation while preserving the existing order by engineering the replacement of President Ali Abdullah Saleh with Hadi, his deputy, who subsequently ran unopposed for a short term presidency which officially expired last year.

The failure of the transitional process to address the country’s deep-seated problems left space for the Houthis to move on the capital, allying themselves with forces still loyal to Saleh.

What Yemen needed at this point was a negotiated settlement to halt the descent into violence. Instead, Britain along with other members of the UN Security Council passed a heavily biased resolution supporting the Saudi intervention, as though the monarchs of the Arabian peninsula were credible protectors and midwives of Yemen’s transition to democracy, with the best interests of its people at heart.

The Saudis’ war has only succeeded in escalating the violence and instability further, turning negotiated peace into a far more distant prospect. As has been the case in Syria, the involvement of international actors using Yemen’s internal problems as a battlefield for their own geopolitical agendas and rivalries has poured fuel on the flames, and helped to expand an anarchic space which extremists from al-Qaeda and now Islamic State itself have rushed to fill.

In the interests of maintaining its long-term strategic alliance with Riyadh, and protecting its investment in a conservative regional order, London has not only helped to create a humanitarian disaster in Yemen, but also enabled an alarmingly aggressive foreign policy turn under the new Saudi king. The destruction of Yemen is many ways a message from King Salman to Iran, whose backing for the Houthis has been seriously overstated by an increasingly paranoid Saudi regime.

The Riyadh-Tehran rivalry is fundamentally about regional power rather than religion, but it is inevitably now playing out in both violent and explicitly sectarian ways. By supporting the Saudis’ war in Yemen, Britain is helping to drive both that country and the wider region deeper into the abyss.

Since last week’s atrocity at a beach resort in Tunisia, politicians and commentators have been discussing how the British state can best tackle the problem of terrorism in the Middle East. Well here’s one suggestion. Stop fuelling it, and stop participating in it.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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U.N. and aid groups paint bleak picture for Yemen
By Tom Murphy on 14 August 20150
Boys stand around the wreckage of a vehicle at the site of a car bomb attack next to a Shiite mosque in Sanaa, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Humanitarian groups sounded the alarm this week, warning that people in Yemen are suffering on all fronts as the armed conflict there grinds on. Hundreds of thousands of civilians face steep food shortages, diseases like dengue and malaria, and a breakdown of health and safety systems, forcing many to flee the country.

On Tuesday, an official with the U.N. warned that armed groups were deliberately starving Yemenis. U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, also said that more than 6 million people are severely food insecure and more than 850,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition.

“The deliberate starvation of civilians in both international and internal armed conflict may constitute a war crime,” said Elver.

The conflict began in March when Iranian-allied Houthi rebels took control of capital city Sanaa. Since then, the rebels launched a campaign south to reach the city of Aden. Support from Saudi Arabia helped beat back the advances made by the Houthis, but took a toll on Yemeni citizens. The World Health Organization estimates 4,345 people died and 22,110 were injured since March 19.

The change seen in the country is stark, said Dr. Tammam Aloudat, deputy medical director at Doctors Without Borders. His recent visit to the country was his first return since 2011, and it is very different from that last visit.

“For me, the biggest difference was that the general sense of optimism had turned into desperation and fear for the future. It is sadly a justified fear, as Yemenis are today living through one of the worst armed conflicts MSF has ever seen,” Aloudat wrote on a blog.

International Committee of the Red Cross President Peter Maurer visited Yemen earlier this week. And like his colleague at the U.N., Maurer is deeply concerned, calling the situation “nothing short of catastrophic” in a released statement.

“Medicines can’t get in so patient care is falling apart. Fuel shortages mean equipment doesn’t work. Insecurity means vaccination campaigns don’t happen. And of course, the fighting makes getting to hospital a dangerous venture. It’s a terrible downward spiral that puts thousands of lives at risk,” he said.

The humanitarian group Mercy Corps said this week that accumulating trash in city streets is contributing to rising numbers of malaria and dengue cases. Mosquitoes flourish in pooled water in the filthy streets. More than 8,000 dengue cases have been recorded since the beginning of the conflict.

Humanitarian actors involved in Yemen made a fresh push to bring attention to the desperate circumstances. It comes at a time when resources to support refugees across the Middle East are already stretched thin. The 3 million Yemeni refugees represent just a slice of the total in the region – coming from Syria, Palestine, Iraq and elsewhere.

World Food Program Executive Director Ertharin Cousin made a plea yesterday for more financial support to deliver food aid across the region.

“How much assistance we provide will depend on how much money we receive. How many people will we serve will depend on how much money we receive. How long we serve them will depend on how much money we receive,” she said.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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Why Are We Ignoring the War on Yemen?

Posted on Aug 19, 2015

By Sonali Kolhatkar

Yemen has been the target of a brutal U.S.-backed war led by Saudi Arabia. While ordinary civilians are suffering horrific violence and starvation, there is deafening silence from the U.S. and others who claim to be defenders of human rights.

The situation is so bad now that nearly every major global human rights organization has issued dire warnings of the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the Persian Gulf’s poorest nation.

Since the Saudi regime began a bombing campaign in March, the situation has deteriorated rapidly as access to food and other aid has been stymied. In response, the United Nations in early July declared a Level 3 humanitarian emergencythe highest level possible. U.N. Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed described Yemen as "one step away from famine."

But the bombing has had direct consequences, too. In late July, Human Rights Watch accused Saudi Arabia of war crimes after an airstrike on two residential buildings killed 65 civilians. Ten of the victims were children. "With no evident military target, this attack appears to be a war crime," said an HRW researcher.

Amnesty International also published a scathing report with a title that says it all: "Yemen: Bloody trail of civilian death and destruction paved with evidence of war crimes." Echoing the HRW report, Amnesty researchers found "a pattern of strikes targeting heavily populated areas including civilian homes, a school, a market and a mosque. In the majority of cases no military target could be located nearby."

Children are especially vulnerable. UNICEF called attention to their plight in Yemen, citing the unimaginably high number of 10 million children in need of immediate assistance. Nearly 400 children have been killed and 600 injured since March. According to the report, "Yemen is one of the most terrifying places in the world to be a child."

Overall, more than 4,000 people have been killed in Yemen, more than a thousand estimated to be civilians.

On Aug. 11, Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, added his voice to the chorus of warnings. "The humanitarian situation is nothing short of catastrophic," he said after a three-day visit to Yemen. "Every family in Yemen has been affected by this conflict. … Medicines can’t get in so patient care is falling apart. Fuel shortages mean equipment doesn’t work. This cannot go on. Yemen is crumbling."

The same day, Teresa Sancristóval, who heads up Doctors Without Borders’ Emergency Unit, also warned of multiple crises, including a severe water shortage, lack of medicines and vaccines, and needless deaths exacerbated by the incessant bombing. She wrote, "In some moments, I felt that the conflict in Yemen is much more of a war against civilians than a war against armed groups."

Ignoring the outcry from these high-profile human rights groups, Saudi Arabia just bombed yet another port, a main one used to transport aid to civilians in northern Yemen. In response, Save the Children’s Edward Santiago said, "The bombing of Hodeida port is the final straw. ... The impact of these latest air strikes will be felt most strongly by innocent children and families."

Not only has the United States blessed the brutal Saudi air war on Yemen, it has taken an active role in it. Recently "the Pentagon more than doubled the number of American advisors to provide enhanced intelligence for airstrikes," the Los Angeles Times reported. This has directly contributed to a surge in airstrikes and subsequent civilian casualties. The L.A. Times rightly pointed out that Yemen’s plight has been "vastly overshadowed" by the U.S. war on Islamic State.

In a nutshell, when Yemenis toppled their longtime former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in the wake of Arab Spring revolutions such as those in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, they ended up with Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi as their new leader. But Hadi was pushed out by a Shiite rebel group known as the Houthis, even as a low-level U.S. drone war continued against al-Qaida. Fearing Iranian aid to the Houthis along its southern border, Saudi Arabia punished Yemen with an aggressive air war actively sponsored by the Obama administration.

Adding to the air war, a new, aggressive, ground-based effort began in earnest in early August. The United Arab Emirates, a small but extremely wealthy country, has deployed a major contingent of troops on the ground in Yemen. Like Saudi Arabia, the UAE is a major U.S. ally and a loyal customer of American military weaponry. A recent analysis found that U.S. arms sales to the Middle East exploded under President Obama, peaking at more than $40 billion in 2012, compared with just over $10 billion under George W. Bush. The $60.7 billion worth of weapons during Obama’s tenure went mostly to Saudi Arabia (67 percent) and the UAE (21 percent), the two main aggressors in Yemen.

Among those weapons were cluster munitions, which Saudi Arabia has allegedly deployed against Yemen’s civilians. Cluster bombs are widely banned by most of the world, except for a handful of countries—including the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. They are condemned specifically for indiscriminately affecting civilian populations. But, as so many humanitarian groups are pointing out, the well-being of ordinary Yemenis seems to be a low priority for the warmongers.

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