Odile Hugonot Haber / Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
(July 4, 2021) — Every ten minutes, a Yemeni child under the age of five dies due to the blockade (brookings.edu) and children make up 25% of civilian casualties in the conflict.
Yemen is considered by the United Nations as one of the most severe humanitarian crises in the world today.
Four million people have been displaced over the course of the last three years of conflict. Over 5 million people are on the brink of famine. According to CARE, 20 million Yemenis are in need of shelter, water, and sanitary aid. A quarter of a million people have been killed.
Despite the recent efforts of the United Nations (UN) and Washington to work on a ceasefire, the battles are still raging and just recently 90 fighters were killed (france24.com). Over the course of the conflict, tens of thousands have been killed, including more than 12,000 civilians.
The last battle by Yemeni loyalists and Houthi rebels was for the Northern town of Marib, a city that is placed strategically for control of the oil-rich region. The Houthis feel that if they control that region and the oil, it will give them more power in negotiations. The Houthis are insisting on opening the ports, especially the Western port of Hudaydah and the airport of Sanaa. But the Saudis are not going far enough in complying with the Houthis’ demands in negotiations (foreignpolicy.com).
President Biden wants to see the war end according to Secretary of State Anthony Bliken. Their US special envoy Tim Lenderking is working nonstop with United Nations envoy Martin Griffiths. But apparently “they are trying to do the same thing over and over again,” says Raphael Veicht, Head of Mission for Doctors without Borders in Yemen. He feels that negotiators in the peace talks are “not able to change the mediation mechanisms, they’re not able to think out of the box and they’re not able to come up with something new” (time.com). Because mediators are not able to be more creative, the conflict continues.
A Foreign Policy article (June 2021) tells us that the Houthis have won the war and that Washington’s policy is backward. And multiple sources have stated that due to United States arms sales, this can be considered a US war.
After big mobilizations all over the world to end the war in Yemen with over 200 organizations mobilizing, marching, and lobbying, President Biden announced that he was going to stop arms sales to the Saudis and he was not going to support “offensive” operations anymore.
Who is going to be the judge of what “offensive operations” are?
The Brookings Institute tells us that in the five years before the war, US arm transfers to the Saudis amounted to $3 billion. From 2015 to 2020, the US agreed to sell over $64.1 billion worth of weapons to the Saudis. According to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute, Saudi Arabia is the largest arms importer in the world.
So the delivery of arms seems to be continuing and it is definitely providing support to the Saudi-led coalition and some maintenance support for the Royal Saudi Air Force, as well as for intelligence and surveillance. The Houthis said they just shot down two US-made drones though Washington denied they were flying drones there.
According to the Friends Committee on National Legislation, there is a renewed campaign to end this war. The main organizer on Yemen says we need to call on our elected officials to do these three things immediately:
- To stop US arms sales to the Saudis and all military aid and military maintenance work and support.
- To unblock the ports and airports to let humanitarian aid through to feed civilian people and children especially.
- To End the War
Please, we urge you to call your congressional representatives!
Odile Hugonot Haberi is the Co-chair,Middle East Peace & Justice Action Committee