More than seven years after the first airstrikes were launched on Yemen by the U.S.-supported Saudi-UAE coalition, a two-month truce with Yemen’s Ansar Allah (also referred to as Houthis) was announced at the beginning of this month. This UN-mediated truce comes after weeks of negotiations in Oman and marks the first pause in airstrikes on Yemen since March 2015. As part of the truce, the first fuel ships were allowed entry into the port of Hodeidah, and limited flights were allowed to enter Sanaa airport from Egypt and Jordan. Despite these positive developments, however, Saudi Arabia and the UAE remain entangled in Yemen — militarily and politically. Days after the truce was announced, the Saudi-led coalition dismissed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who had hitherto been touted as justification for occupying and intervening in Yemen’s conflict, and replaced him with a Presidential Leadership Council.
The US government has increased its military support for Saudi Arabia as the Gulf monarchy's war on Yemen marks its seventh anniversary. This is a clear violation of President Joe Biden's promise to end the US-backed Saudi war - a pledge he reiterated on the campaign trail in 2019 and 2020, and then again after he entered office in January 2021. With US weapons and military assistance, Saudi Arabia has relentlessly bombed Yemen, the poorest country in West Asia, since March 26, 2015. More than one-third of Saudi Arabia's airstrikes have hit civilian areas. The United Nations estimated that at least 377,000 Yemenis have died as a result of this war, in a conservative estimate as of the end of 2021.
The United Nations’ goal was to raise more than $4.2 billion for the people of war-torn Yemen by March 15. But when that deadline rolled around, just $1.3 billion had come in. “I am deeply disappointed,” said Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council. “The people of Yemen need the same level of support and solidarity that we’ve seen for the people of Ukraine. The crisis in Europe will dramatically impact Yemenis’ access to food and fuel, making an already dire situation even worse.” With Yemen importing more than 35% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, disruption to wheat supplies will cause soaring increases in the price of food.
On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported Saudi Arabia was in "active talks with Beijing to price some of its oil sales to China in yuan". Much of the world is looking to bolster oil reserves amid what the International Energy Agency warned on Wednesday could be "the biggest supply crisis in decades", as evidence mounts that US and EU efforts to keep Russian gas out of Western vehicles and residences may ultimately backfire. Sasse, who demanded on Fox that the US "rearm" the Ukrainian regime "constantly", and insisted that "defeating Vladimir Putin" is the only way to stop China from being able to "displace the dollar", is just one high-ranking American politician expressing alarm over the continuing de-dollarisation process encouraged by the wide-ranging sanctions on Russia.
Yemen-Saudi Border – Under the scorching midday sun, Hakem Matari Yahya al-Buttaini’s brother was on the cusp of finally being able to purchase the 40 liters of diesel fuel for which he had been waiting in line for seven days, when he got the call. Hakem had been executed by Saudi Arabia and the news had just spread through local media. Hakem was among seven Yemenis executed by Saudi Arabia on Saturday. As much of the world’s attention remained focused on Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Saudi regime carried out a mass execution, killing 81 people in a single day, including the seven Yemenis and civilians from the Kingdom’s eastern provinces. According to Saudi state media, the condemned were accused of various crimes, including terrorism, kidnapping, rape, and traveling to a regional conflict zone.
Hajjah, Yemen – “We’re brutally bombed every day. So why doesn’t the Western world care like it does about Ukraine?!!… Is it because we don’t have blonde hair and blue eyes like Ukrainians?” Ahmed Tamri, a Yemeni father of four, asked with furrowed brows about the outpouring of international support and media coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the lack of such a reaction to the war in Yemen. Over the weekend, a member of Tamri’s family was killed and nine relatives injured when their family home was targeted in a Saudi-led Coalition airstrike in the remote al-Saqf area in Hajjah Governorate. Tamri claims that al-Saqf has been subjected to a brutal Saudi bombing campaign for the past seven years – more so, he says, than all of Ukraine has endured since it was invaded by Russia.
Last week, Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for the Middle East, boiled down the millions suffering in Yemen into a false binary in which Washington has done everything it can for peace. He claimed that the Houthi rebels in Yemen are to blame for the continuation of this seven-year conflict that has become the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. With the Houthis launching ballistic missiles at the United Arab Emirates, and a litany of their own war crimes, it’d be easy to fall for this simplistic analysis of the conflict. Yet, in suggesting that reaching a ceasefire and ending the war is simply up to the Houthis, rather than the Saudi-backed government, McGurk reveals his misunderstanding of the conflict.
The last month has seen a drastic escalation in the war in Yemen. According to the UN, January will most likely be the month with the highest ever casualties reported since the war began in 2014. The January 21 strike on a prison in Sa’ada which killed 91 people marked the highest death toll in a single strike in the last three years. The number of airstrikes carried out by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition last December was already the highest in years. In all likelihood, this figure will be even higher by the end of January. On the other hand, the Houthis have demonstrated their capacity and willingness to retaliate against members of the Saudi-led coalition by sending drones and missiles hundreds of miles away to Abu Dhabi. Exactly at a time when decisive international intervention to find a political solution to end the war is needed, the UN and the international community have shown their unwillingness to take the extra efforts required.
Journalists Benjamin Norton and Alan MacLeod join Mnar Adley to discuss how the mainstream media spent the last week beating drums of war with Russia over Ukraine with headlines and talking heads funded and sponsored by Lockheed Martin and NATO. Meanwhile, there wasn’t a single article covering how the US-Saudi-UAE coalition cut off the internet to Yemen for several days while dropping hundreds of bombs on civilians resulting in hundreds dead and over a thousand injured. Guess which story CNN covered? Both conflicts were brought to you by weapons manufacturers.
Saada, Yemen – In a scene rife with chaos and crying, volunteers and a rescue squad pulled the bodies of 91 prisoners from the rubble of the Sa’ada City Remand Prison in southern Yemen on Tuesday. Early last Friday morning, United Arab Emirates (UAE) warplanes supported by the United States targeted the overcrowded prison, which houses up to 3,000 inmates from across Yemen and Africa. The attack was one of the deadliest since the war began in 2015. At least 91 people were killed and more than 236 seriously injured in the attacks, which left bereaved families in shock across Yemen and Africa. Witnesses describe the scene of the attack in its first minutes as chaotic and tragic. Fighter jets were heard over the skies of Saada while people were sleeping, before three violent explosions were heard from the prison, red fires mixed with dust and smoke illuminated flying rubble.
A Saudi coalition airstrike on a prison killed at least 60 people and wounded at least 100 more in northern Yemen as part of the coalition’s reprisal attacks after the Houthis claimed drone and missile attacks that hit targets in Abu Dhabi earlier this week: At least three children are among the dozens of people killed Friday, the humanitarian organization Save the Children said in a statement on Twitter. It noted that “the true number is feared to be higher.” This follows coalition airstrikes in Sanaa that killed at least 20 civilians. The coalition response to the Abu Dhabi attacks has been consistent with the way they have waged the war from the beginning: reckless and indiscriminate bombing that slaughters civilians. The AP reports on the aftermath of the bombing: “The initial casualties report from Saada is horrifying,” said Gillian Moyes, Save the Children’s country director in Yemen. “Migrants seeking better lives for themselves and their families, Yemeni civilians injured by the dozens, is a picture we never hoped to wake up to in Yemen.”
A small English village is hardly the first place that comes to mind when mentioning the war in Yemen. Yet Warton in the northwest of England is playing an oversized role in what the United Nations has repeatedly called “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” The Lancashire village is home to an airfield and a manufacturing site where weapons dealer BAE Systems maintains, repairs and rearms Saudi jets responsible for much of the worst destruction in Yemen. Today, Lowkey speaks to Phil Miller, an investigative journalist and producer who is currently a staff reporter for Declassified UK. He has just released the documentary “Warton’s War on Yemen,” which exposes how BAE Systems is playing a key role in the carnage in the Middle East.
In an about-turn from its stated policy, the Joe Biden administration on Thursday, November 4, approved USD 650 million worth of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. The deal marks the first major arms sales deal with Saudi Arabia since Biden announced the end of US involvement in the war in Yemen and the sale of “offensive” weapons to Riyadh in February.
In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – along with other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – began to bomb Yemen. These countries entered a conflict that had been ongoing for at least a year as a civil war escalated between the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the Ansar Allah movement of the Zaidi Shia, and al-Qaeda. The GCC – led by the Saudi monarchy – wanted to prevent any Shia political project, whether aligned with Iran or not, from taking power along Saudi Arabia’s border. The attack on Yemen can be described, therefore, as an attack by the Sunni monarchs against the possibility of what they feared would be a Shia political project coming to power on the Arabian Peninsula.
Unarmed protesters affiliated with Hezbollah and Amal were gunned down by the Saudi-backed Lebanese Forces militia in Beirut on Thursday, October 14, provoking a sectarian gun battle that risked igniting a civil war. Why did this happen? Why are some trying to pin the blame on Hezbollah? And what's with the media obscuring the fact that it was a fascist group behind the violence, the same group responsible for the 1982 massacre of hundreds of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps? Rania Khalek, journalist and host of the Breakthrough News program Dispatches, breaks it all down.