Four Years of Hell: To Crush Yemen’s Independence, US-Saudi War Created World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis
By Ben Norton
March 26, 2019 marked the fourth anniversary of the US-Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen. These four years have unleashed Hell on Earth for millions of civilians. It would be impossible to overstate the devastation, destruction, and death they have experienced.
For 1,460 days, Saudi Arabia, one of the richest countries on the planet, has relentlessly bombed the poorest nation in the Middle East, with crucial help from the United States and United Kingdom.
The United Nations has repeated for more than two years that Yemen is suffering from the “largest humanitarian crisis in the world,” due entirely to this war.
Yet the US government, through the administrations of both Donald Trump and Barack Obama, has said strikingly little about the catastrophe in Yemen, which it is directly responsible for creating and continuing to exacerbate. (Contrast Washington’s muted response to the calamity it created in Yemen with the exaggerated claims of a “humanitarian crisis” it has deployed to justify a right-wing coup attempt in Venezuela.)
The UN World Food Program (WFP) warned on the fourth anniversary of the war on Yemen, “Today 20 million Yemenis – some 70 percent of the population – are food insecure, marking a 13 percent increase from last year.”
Nearly 10 million Yemeni civilians “are one step away from famine,” WFP said.
This hunger is not natural. It has been created, artificially, intentionally, by an international coalition hellbent on putting Yemen back on the leash, unseating the Houthi movement that presently governs most of the country, and crushing any attempt at independence.
Since March 2015, the Royal Saudi Air Force has, with US assistance, launched nearly 20,000 air raids in Yemen — an average of more than 13 per day, for four years straight. This bombing has targeted civilian homes, schools, hospitals, funerals, food facilities, and even buses full of children.
While corporate media outlets have invariably described the war as “Saudi-led,” systematically whitewashing the role of the United States in overseeing war crimes in Yemen, it has been quietly admitted that Riyadh could not wage the war without Washington. President Trump himself even boasted that the Saudi monarchy would collapse in “two weeks” were it not for American patronage.
Most of the bombs, missiles, planes, and other military equipment used in Yemen have been made in America and Britain. The US and UK have sold tens of billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates as they wage war on Yemen, profiting handsomely from the slaughter and ruin.
American and British military officials have been physically present in the Saudi command and control center and enjoyed access to the lists of targets, directly assisting Riyadh with the bombing. The US Air Force has also provided in-air refueling for Saudi bombers. (Washington eventually halted this policy for public relations reasons, in a decision that the Associated Press noted had “little impact”).
Many thousands of Yemeni civilians have died in the violence — the exact number is impossible to calculate. And well over 100,000 Yemeni children have died from preventable causes due to the war. In 2016 alone, 63,000 Yemeni children died of hunger, malnutrition, and disease.
US-Saudi coalition intentionally bombing civilians
Corporate media outlets have paid very little attention to the war, despite the key role of Western governments in waging it. Instead, MSNBC and other corporate media spent their resources and time obsessively spreading the Russiagate conspiracy theory.
This left independent journalists and scholars to do the hard work documenting the devastation. The Yemen Data Project has shown how Saudi Arabia has systematically, intentionally targeted civilian infrastructure in its bombing campaign.
According to data meticulously compiled by the Yemen Data Project, Saudi Arabia has launched 19,511 air raids in Yemen, as of March 2019.
Only one-third of Saudi airstrikes have hit military targets. Another third have hit civilians. The targets of the final third are unknown.
US-Saudi bombing has ravaged the impoverished country’s infrastructure, specifically targeting Yemen’s food system.
The Western-backed coalition has used hunger as a weapon, punishing millions of Yemeni civilians for their government, plunging them into what a famine monitor created by the US government admitted in 2016 was the “largest food security emergency in the world.”
The Yemen Data Project has documented — in a very careful, conservative estimate — Saudi attacks on at least 1,968 residential areas, 640 farms, 237 schools, 185 communication buildings, 129 water and electricity plants, 70 healthcare facilities, 64 food storage units, 38 universities, 21 radio and TV stations, seven refugee camps, and even seven UN buildings.
This post originally published on MintPress.