Al Jazeera & Daniel Larison / The American Conservative – 2017-12-23 00:46:13
US: There Is No Military Solution to End War in Yemen
Sixty-day-old Nadia Ahmad Sabri, who suffers from severe malnutrition, lies in bed at a malnutrition treatment centre in Hodeidah (Abduljabbar Zeyad/Reuters)
(December 21, 2017) — The US has said that “there is no military solution to end the war in Yemen” and believes that the best way to end the crisis is through “aggressive diplomacy”.
In a briefing on Thursday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tim Lenderking also said that US President Donald Trump’s administration believes “that there is room for the Houthis in a political settlement” if the rebel group stops attacking Saudi Arabia, a US ally.
“We believe that there is room for the Houthis in a political settlement. We welcome that, but not when the Houthis continue to rocket and — rocket our — a key ally like Saudi Arabia on a regular basis, and also not — not when the Houthis are menacing the border of Saudi Arabia, which is something that goes on very consistently,” Lenderking said.
“We’re pushing everybody to move into a political process as quickly as we can,” he added.
A coalition supported by the United States and led by Saudi Arabia went to war with Houthi rebels — widely believed to be backed by the Kingdom’s regional rival, Iran — on March 21, 2015.
The Houthis have recently fired several ballistic missiles towards Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and the coalition has retaliated with more air raids in Yemen.
Events took a dramatic turn on the ground earlier in December, when the Houthis announced that they had killed Yemen’s overthrown leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had recently publicly broken ties with the rebels.
The Houthis claim to have retaken most of the capital, Sanaa, from Saleh’s forces.
“We’ve called on the Houthis to cease carrying out reprisals against members of Saleh’s party, against his family,” said Lenderking.
“We’re looking to push everybody to the extent we can — and I realise that there’s own rhythm inside Yemen for these things. It’s not necessarily something for outsiders to dictate. There’s a rhythm here for Yemeni parties to come together, and this is — this is the time to do it.”
Currently, the US provides mid-air refuelling for Saudi and UAE warplanes that are conducting air attacks in Yemen, as well as assistance with bomb targeting, according to US officials.
Since the start of the war, more than 10,000 people have been killed and more than three million have lost their homes. More than 80 percent of Yemenis lack access to food, fuel, clean water and healthcare. Millions face the threat of famine.
The Kingdom, in response to a missile fired towards Riyadh by the Houthis in November- said it imposed a blockade as a necessary precaution aimed at preventing weapons being smuggled into Yemen by Iran.
Saudi said it eased the blockade weeks later, but it has refused to allow commercial imports through the port city in Yemen situated on the Red Sea, at the demand of dozens of aid groups such as Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam and UN agencies.
In a White House statement earlier on Thursday, spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the US welcomes news Saudi Arabia will open the port. She blamed missile attacks towards Riyadh on Iran.
“We urge the United Nations Security Council to hold Iran responsible for its repeated and blatant violations of Security Council resolutions,” she said.
In a similar vein to Lenderking, she also called for a non-military solution to the war. “We call on all parties to support a political solution to the war in Yemen, which is the only way to advance long-term stability in Yemen and end the suffering of the Yemeni people,” she said.
A ‘Hideous Milestone’ in Yemen:
One Million Cases of Cholera
Daniel Larison / The American Conservative
(December 21, 2017) — The Red Cross reports that there are now more than a million cases of cholera in Yemen:
It has been roughly eight months since cholera first took hold in war-torn Yemen. In that brief span, the waterborne disease has exacted a staggering toll on the country’s population — and that toll only continues to rise by the day.
The number of suspected cases of cholera has crossed one million, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced Thursday.
The only good news is that the spread of the disease seems to have slowed, but the epidemic has not ended and the policies that have made such a huge outbreak possible remain in place.
Because of the fuel shortage brought on by the tightened coalition blockade, millions of people who were previously able to pump clean drinking water are no longer able to do so. The lack of clean water makes a resurgence of cholera and other water-borne diseases much more likely.
Until the blockade is fully lifted, the civilian population will be deprived of the essential food, fuel, and medicine needed to combat this disease and others like it. Yemeni civilians continue to face an unacceptably high risk of contracting and possibly dying from preventable diseases because of the Saudi-led war and blockade supported by the US and other Western governments.
The conditions that have caused and sustained this epidemic were created by the Saudi-led coalition through their indiscriminate bombing and punitive blockade. This is an ongoing crime against the people of Yemen, it is an outrage, and it has to be stopped.
The Red Cross refers to the millionth case of cholera this year as a “hideous milestone in the 21st century,” and indeed it is. It should be appalling that an epidemic on this scale has been allowed to occur at all, and it is even more disgusting that the coalition and its Western patrons have helped to bring it about.
As if it was not bad enough to subject millions to the threat of death by starvation, Yemenis have also had to endure the worst cholera epidemic on record. If nothing changes, they will also experience the worst famine in decades.
Every day that the US continues to provide arms and fuel to the Saudi-led coalition is another day that the administration shows that it is not serious about addressing the causes of the humanitarian catastrophe engulfing Yemen.
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