In Yemen, a place where things couldn’t get worse, things have gotten worse.
85,000 children under the age of five may have died during the war in Yemen, according to the international charitable group Save the Children. This figure was arrived at using data gathered by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Save the Children’s November 20 press release states that the children died from “extreme hunger and disease.” Saudi Arabia’s naval blockade of Yemen’s port of Hodeidah is a huge factor in Yemen’s catastrophic food shortage.
Haven’t we already read this story? It has been only a month since the New York Times ran a series of photos of Yemen’s dead and dying. The lead photo is of a 7-year-old Yemeni girl, Amal Hussain, in a state of advanced starvation. Amal has died since the photo appeared.
The images of dead, starving, and mutilated Yemenis are so horrific that the Times took the unprecedented step of explaining why it was running the photos. The reason: because the world needs to see what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, assisted by the US, are doing to Yemen.
The war has turned Yemen, already the Arab world’s poorest country, into the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” according to UN Secretary General António Guterres. The UN estimates that 14 million Yemenis face starvation. This should be a source of shame and outrage to Americans. It is US assistance, which makes the aggression of the Saudis and Emiratis possible. The US supports the Saudi-led coalition with arms, intelligence, target-spotting, and (until recently) midair refueling of Saudi warplanes. (According to Forbes, “two-thirds of the 365 combat-capable aircraft in the Saudi inventory are of U.S. origin.”)
Revolt in Congress
On November 9, the US and the Saudis announced that the US was ending midair refueling of Saudi warplanes. Great news, right? Maybe not. Experts say this decision probably won’t mean fewer Saudi air strikes on Yemen. In any event, the US was refueling only about 20% of Saudi warplanes, and the Saudis have announced that they can refuel their planes themselves.