The truth about the war in Yemen

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SHAFAQNA – On March 25, 2015 Saudi Arabia, arguably one of the richest countries in the world, unilaterally declared war on Yemen, in a last ditch attempt to impose both its religious and political diktat.

Unruly, and fiercely independent, Yemen has resisted with utmost steadfastness, an island onto itself, the last free folk of Arabia standing up to an imperial power of almost demonic proportion. Determined to break Yemen to its rule, and thus force an entire people to bow to Wahhabist imperialism – this new politico-religious trend Western powers have toyed with, for they imagined they could re-manifest their lost colonial dominion in the Middle East; the kingdom has deployed all manners of barbarism.

From the use of chemical weapons, to the systematic targeting of civilian infrastructures, the killing of innocent, unarmed civilians and one inhumane humanitarian blockade, Yemen has been thrown in the midst of a violent battle – very much alone … very much abandoned by a self-absorbed world community.

So far, the world has known of Yemen only what corporate media have allowed journalists and so-called experts to tell. So far, Yemen has suffered the great injustice of misrepresentation, and propaganda.

A country interrupted, a nation sold out to the violence and atrocities of Wahhabi imperialism, Yemen has been a nation in resistance – a hardened, and iron-willed people ready to sacrifice all in the name of Freedom.

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If Yemen has little to stand on since most nations have chosen to look away as Riyadh has commanded crimes and punishments, a few brave souls have defied tyranny with a vengeance – unburdened by fear, motivated only by an imperious sense of responsibility towards those made most vulnerable by war.

A grand-battle field, a bleeding scar, Yemen has become our compounded shame … Over 10,000 people, the majority of which non-combatants, have died since 2015, tens of thousands have been injured and millions have been displaced.

But that is not all … of Yemen 26 million souls, over 22 million stand to die of starvation. Over 2 million children suffer chronic severe malnutrition, and hundreds of thousands will not make it past the end of February. Those numbers are harrowing … those numbers you will not find at the United Nations for they betray a reality officials would not be capable of rationalizing any longer.

Instead, the public has been sold a fantasy civil war pitting the Houthis against pro-Hadi loyalists. THIS is the propaganda story … there is no civil war in Yemen, only the attempted occupation of an imperial power against a sovereign nation.

But Yemen has many great sons and daughters to defend its territories. More than that, Yemen has many great friends willing to stand for the truth and offer resistance to abject propaganda.

Such effort to alleviate Yemen’s suffering can be found in the actions of the Mona Relief Organization (MRF). The MRF has been on the ground in Yemen since the beginning of the war. A small but powerful charity, the MRF has held on to its independence from the NGO complex with stubborn conviction – very much aware of the pitfalls “foreign” funding entails these days – mainly allegiance to Riyadh’s sectarian humanitarian profiling.

The Saudi-run NGO complex

A generous donor to great many NGOs, including UN affiliated agencies, Saudi Arabia has de facto imposed its will on the world community, by way of blackmail and promises of financial largess in exchange for complete oversight over Yemen’s humanitarian aid distribution.

For months Riyadh has held Yemen hostage, preventing food, medicine and other essentials to enter … except for those militias the kingdom has exploited to sow further chaos and discord – you might know them under the terror acronym: al-Qaeda.

A fait accompli, Riyadh’s blockade was never challenged at the United Nations even though it flies in the face of international law. Many legal experts such as Kim Sharif in the UK, and Mohammad Hadi Zaker, PhD in International Criminal Law in the Netherlands have argued such violations constitute in fact crimes against humanity.

In September 2015, the Independent reported: “Fuel and vital medical supplies will run out in a matter of weeks in some of the hardest-hit areas of Yemen, aid agencies have warned, amid a blockade by the Saudi-led coalition that has been conducting bombing raids over the country for months.”

In November 2015, Open-Democracy warned against the kingdom’s rationale of war, noting: “The ongoing blockade by the Saudi-led coalition combined with escalating violence risks pushing the country towards a famine. The economic blockade, originally designed to stop Iranian supplies from reaching Houthi rebels, began in March 2015. It is backed by five of the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states—Oman being the only exception.”

It went on stressing: “This Saudi-led coalition is also responsible for airstrikes against the population, backed by intelligence from the USA. The UK has expressed its support for the Saudi-led assault “in every practical way short of engaging in combat”, as Philip Hammond, UK Foreign Secretary stated. In so doing, all parties involved in the airstrikes, including the US and UK, are tacitly supporting the economic blockade. The blockade may have succeeded in stemming the flow of supplies to Houthi rebels but at an unacceptable cost to the civilian population. Keep in mind, Houthis represent at least a quarter of the Yemeni population; even if the blockade was more targeted, depriving a quarter of the population of essential goods like food—leading to starvation—is not only unreasonable, but also inhumane. In August 2015, the World Food Programme said Yemen was “one step away” from famine.”

 

destructionWe are now in February 2016!

On July 27, 2015 Human Rights Watch unequivocally slammed Saudi Arabia for a litany of human rights violations … still Yemen was allowed to further fall into the precipice of war and humanitarian desperation.

Still, no world powers called for oversight, still no world powers spoke in defence of Yemen’s civilians.

The work of King Salman and his allies to sabotage UN-organized aid to Yemen started on April 17, 2015 in the wake of a UN emergency flash appeal for $274 million to respond to the most pressing humanitarian needs over the following three months.

Speaking on Yemenis’ hardship, Humanitarian Coordinator Johannes Van Der Klaauw stressed:

“The devastating conflict in Yemen takes place against the backdrop of an existing humanitarian crisis that was already one of the largest and most complex in the world … Thousands of families have now fled their homes as a result of the fighting and airstrikes. Ordinary families are struggling to access health care, water, food and fuel – basic requirements for their survival.”

Saudi Arabia immediately volunteered the exact amount requested. But the aid would come with strings attached.

Vice News reported in June 2015 that Saudi officials leaned on U.N. officials to sabotage aid deliveries, threatening to close the kingdom’s checkbook should U.N. agencies deny Riyadh’s requests.

Based on a UN memo obtained by Vice, the media outlet reported that the Saudi government imposed unprecedented conditions on aid agencies, demanding that assistance be limited to Saudi-approved areas and confined to strictly Sunni civilian populations.

Down the rabbit hole we go

Saudi Arabia has taken war crimes and abuses to a whole new level. Still the world keeps mum, conveniently hiding behind claims that Yemen Resistance movement in fact stands to promote Iran’s interests in the region.

Even if such claims were true, which they are NOT, even if Iran was actively rooting for the Yemeni Resistance to defeat the kingdom and reclaim its independence away from King Salman’s Wahhabi clergy, can we in all good conscious justify the millions of lives shattered? Are we seriously considering siding and defending the very monarchy which gifted the world with terrorism? Only a few weeks ago, Saudi Arabia’s former most senior Imam admitted on live television that Daesh (aka ISIL) in fact follows the kingdom’s state religion. Are we still under any illusion as to the real nature of Saudi Arabia’s inner workings?

Yemen has suffered a million terrible deaths. Worse still, Yemen has suffered the infamy of terror, for world powers have been too cowardly in the face of Riyadh’s financial and political lobby.

Dr Riaz Karim the co-founder of the Mona Relief Organization, one of the few truly independent charities left in Yemen has worked tirelessly from his office in London, acting both a humanitarian lifeline, and a war crimes accountant for Yhumanitarianemen.

“Our team of volunteers in Yemen has worked around the clock to counter Riyadh’s abominable military campaign … we are living through difficult times indeed when the truth has been dressed as a lie and criminals hailed as heroes,” said Dr Karim.

He added, “So far we have distributed over 2 million meals, and assisted tens of thousands of families by organizing weekly run against Saudi Arabia’s blockade. We received death threats, our team was shot at and our aid convoys were targeted by al-Qaeda militants after our positions were found out … BUT we will not stop, we refuse to!”

Under the pretense of “liberating” Yemen, Saudi Arabia has allowed for radical cells to embed themselves deeper into Yemen, putting the country at great risk of a terror takeover.

Yemen’s fall to terror would be absolutely catastrophic as radicals would essentially have an opening into Europe, Africa, and Asia – granting them control over the world oil route via Bab al-Mandab.

The international community desperately needs to review its friendship and ties with Saudi Arabia – the grand promoter of terror, the birthplace of Wahhabism.

By Catherine Shakdam

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