Date :Friday, November 30th, 2018 | Time : 21:08 |ID: 79400 | Print

Aid groups urged US to end military support in Yemen’s civil war

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SHAFAQNA- The five humanitarian organizations urged the US, as one of the most generous humanitarian donors in Yemen, to end military support to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Yemen’s civil war, warning of 14 million people being at risk of starvation if conflict continues.

A joint statement by the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, CARE US, Save the Children, and the Norwegian Refugee Council said that 14 million people are at risk of starving to death in Yemen if the parties to the conflict do not change course immediately.

The warring sides have undermined Yemen’s economy with policies and practices that have caused rampant inflation while the value of currency plummets, it added.

“Starvation must not be used as a weapon of war against Yemeni civilians,” the statement said.

“All warring parties, and those fuelling the conflict through arms transfers, are implicated in this totally man-made humanitarian crisis”, ALJAZEERA reported.

“We are pleading with the United States to back up its recent call for a cessation of hostilities with genuine diplomatic pressure, and to halt all military support for the Saudi/UAE coalition in Yemen in order to save millions of lives,” the groups said in a joint statement Monday.

“It pains us to write these words, but we cannot escape the truth: if it does not cease its military support for the Saudi/UAE coalition, the United States, too, will bear responsibility for what may be the largest famine in decades.”

If the United States doesn’t use all its leverage to force the parties in the war to take the steps the groups outlined, they said, “responsibility for the deaths of many more Yemeni civilians will lie not only with the parties to the conflict, but with the United States as well”, The Hill reported.

International outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in October in Turkey has also focused attention on Yemen’s civil war.

In recent weeks, moves to find a solution to the conflict have picked up pace, with international pressure mounting against Saudi Arabia, the most powerful player in what started as a civil war but evolved into a proxy conflict .

While the Trump administration has said that ending the war in Yemen and relieving the humanitarian crisis are top national security priorities, the statement says, “US policies tell a different story. By providing such extensive military and diplomatic support for one side of the conflict, the United States is deepening and prolonging a crisis that has immediate and severe consequences for Yemen, and civilians are paying the price.”

Yemen’s war of three-and-a-half years has killed at least 10,000 people and pushed the nation to the brink of the world’s worst famine in 100 years, leaving 14 million people — about half the country’s population — at risk of starvation, according to the United Nations.

Weddings, funerals, schools and hospitals, as well as water and electricity plants, have been hit, killing and wounding thousands.

Save the Children said Wednesday that an estimated 85,000 children under the age of 5 may have died from extreme hunger or disease since the war began, CNN told.

The National Committee to Investigate Human Rights Violations in Yemen said on Monday that 883 women have been subjected to direct violations since the outbreak of the war in 2015.

Committee spokeswoman Eshraq Al-Maqtari said  the indirect violations suffered by women included the destruction of more than 1,000 homes as a result of military operations and the bombing of 307 houses.

Al-Maqtari added that 4,244 women lost the family’s breadwinner during the war, Middle East Monitor reported.

Senate resolution on Yemen war

In recent weeks, the U.S. has stopped refueling Saudi jets and pressed both sides to negotiate an end to the conflict. But critics in Congress say those steps are not enough, and Khashoggi’s murder has galvanized opponents to press for a complete U.S. withdraw.

“It has exposed the Saudi government to be a brutal, despotic regime which will do anything to anybody to maintain its influence and power,” Sanders told USA TODAY. Sanders said Khashoggi’s death has won him additional “yes” votes on the Yemen resolution, though he declined to say how many or identify the lawmakers.

The Senate voted 63-37 on Wednesday to advance the resolution, which, if passed, would end United States military support for the Saudi-led coalition in the war.

The advancement sets the stage for a possible final vote on the measure in coming days. The Trump administration has threatened to veto the resolution if it passes Congress.

Several senators, speaking to reporters after the briefing, said they were not satisfied with the administration’s stance on its support for Saudi Arabia in the war on Yemen, and called for Prince Mohammed to be held accountable for Khashoggi’s death.

Some who had opposed the Yemen resolution in an earlier vote now support it, including Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, who said on Wednesday that “it’s time to send Saudi Arabia a message both on its violation of human rights and the incredible humanitarian catastrophe it’s creating.”

Pompeo called the vote “poorly timed” as diplomatic efforts to end the conflict were under way.

But Senator Bernie Sanders, who is sponsoring the bill, said the time to end the US involvement in the war is now.

One of the most toxic pairings of international leaders

The partnership between Trump and the (Saudi) crown prince has proven to be one of the most toxic and dangerous pairings of international leaders in recent history,” Daniel Larison wrote in The American Conservative, the web magazine of the American Conservative Union. “Trump has staked his entire regional policy on backing Saudi Arabia, and as the architect of the disastrous intervention the crown prince is deeply invested in continuing the war on Yemen.”

“Between the two of them, the administration won’t put any meaningful pressure on Saudi Arabia, and the Saudi government won’t give up on a war they can’t win. Congress will have to apply the pressure Trump won’t, and the only way the Saudi government will abandon its failed war is if there is much more international pressure than there has been.

“Administration officials feigned interest in bringing the war to a conclusion, but their actions tell a different story. If they wanted to see the war brought to an end, they would not be worried Congress is acting to withdraw all U.S. support from the Saudi coalition, but that is exactly what worries them.”, peoples world told.

 

Read more from Shafaqna:

OCHA-UNICEF joint statement on the Situation in Yemen

Yemen: The Houthi group said it is ready for a broader ceasefire

UN envoy: Warring parties in Yemen agree to meet in Sweden

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