Socialist Worker

Disaster in Yemen shows brutality of imperialism

Issue No. 2632

A woman holds her child in Yemens port city Hodeidah

A woman holds her child in Yemen's port city Hodeidah (Pic: Mohammed Awadh/Save the Children)


Despite massacres, disease, impending famine and tens of thousands of deaths, the US “can’t support” even a limited ceasefire in the war on Yemen.

According to reports on Tuesday, the US had “slammed the brakes” on attempts to negotiate a ceasefire through the United Nations (UN) this week.

It’s a damning example of how the interests of the US, Britain and their ally Saudi Arabia are wrecking the lives of millions of people.

Some 14 million people are on the verge of famine. That’s largely down to a Saudi-led, Western-backed blockade on Hodeidah, a vital port city held by Yemeni rebels known as Houthis.

The blockade has drastically reduced commercial food imports by 55,000 metric tons a month—enough to feed more than four million people.

Some 85,000 children in Yemen under the age of five are thought to have died of hunger or disease in the last three years, according to charity Save the Children.

Its estimate comes as the Western-backed coalition wages an intense assault on Hodeidah—a city of hundreds of thousands of people.

The charity says its figure is a “conservative estimate” based on data collected by the UN. The real figure could be much higher.

For the US and Britain, keeping their dominance in the Middle East is more important than the lives of millions of ordinary people

Aid workers say many deaths go unreported because only half of the country's health facilities are functioning. Many people are too poor to access the ones that remain open.

The UN says more than 1.3 million children have been affected by severe malnutrition since the conflict began.

The horror could be stopped if Saudi Arabia’s biggest backer—the US—wanted it to. But US president Donald Trump promised last week to remain “a steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia. And that means backing its war on Yemen.

The Saudi regime broadly acts to protect the interests of the US in the Middle East.

It attacked Yemen in 2015 to restore a regime friendly to the West’s interests after it had been overthrown by a Houthi uprising.

Saudi Arabia is also Britain’s largest buyer of weaponry—it has bought almost £5 billion worth of arms since the war began.

The sales aren’t just about cash. They shore up Saudi Arabia’s close relationship with Britain.

So even though Tory foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has called on Saudi Arabia to “stop famine” he won’t stop the arms sales.

For the US and Britain, keeping their dominance in the Middle East is more important than the lives of millions of ordinary people.

And that means defending Saudi Arabia as it creates the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world.

Stop the War Coalition public meetings—Stop Bombing Yemen, Stop Arming Saudi. Go to bit.ly/STWYemen to find a meeting near you

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