The UK’s Leading Role in Yemen’s Man-Made Famine

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Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

Warning: This article contains language of an offensive nature.

A group of the richest countries in the world are putting their efforts and resources into destroying one of the poorest. It is the UK’s and the USA’s de facto mercenary army that is carrying out these mass killings.

In light of this, myself and a group of other students have invited speakers from various anti-war groups to speak in Southampton. The meeting will be held at 18:00 on 10th January in Building 5, Room 2017 and is free to attend. The full speaker list is to be confirmed, although Stop the War national organiser and Morning Star writer Mayer Wakefield will be one of the speakers.

In 1934 David Lloyd George’s mistress wrote in her diary his reaction to other nations efforts to make illegal certain methods of waging war. She wrote ‘At Geneva, other countries would have agreed not to use aeroplanes for bombing purposes, but we insisted on reserving the right, as D. puts it, to bomb n*****!’. Air Commodore Lionel Charlton resigned his post after seeing the effects of this attitude during our bombing of a Kurdish city during the first British occupation of Iraq as, in his words, he ‘knew the crowded life of these settlements and pictured with horror the arrival of a bomb, without warning, in the midst of a market gathering or in the bazaar quarter’. ‘Men, women and children would suffer equally’.

The people of Yemen are currently enduring the continuation of this policy in the Middle East. So far humanitarian organisations estimate that 60,000 people have been killed due to the bombings while 85,000 children have starved to death due to the blockade. Both of these actions are currently being executed by the Royal Saudi Air Force. An air force which is made up of half British and half America manufactured planes, which are also maintained and armed with munitions by our armed forces and contractors. The level of our complicity in Yemen’s suffering was summarised by the former CIA station chief in Riyadh Bruce Riedel who said the war could end overnight with one phone call from the leaders of America and the UK. This is what occurred when our own Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured below) ordered the Saudi Crown Prince to agree to a ceasefire agreement last month. Subsequently, the Saudis and their allies agreed to a ceasefire and to hand control of the port of Hodeidah (which most of Yemen’s humanitarian aid used to come through) over to the UN.

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The conflict began in 2014 when the Houthis, a militia which had been in conflict with the Yemeni government intermittently for over a decade took over the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. They deposed President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi who’d won his position in an election where he was the only candidate back in 2012. In the subsequent talks between the Gulf states over a resolution to the situation, a journalist who spoke to a UN diplomat present at the meeting said:

Saudi Arabia did not want a democracy – this is what these diplomats tell me. They don’t want a democracy in their backyard…They want to control the politics there and impose their terms on this country.

The Saudis and their allies’ next move was to invade Yemen and indiscriminately bomb the country in an attempt to reinstall the deposed president. Analysis of targets they’ve hit show that overall Yemen’s agriculture, fisheries and water sources have been hit disproportionately and with such regularity that the only conclusion is that it’s exactly what they intend to do. These actions match the words of the Saudi Crown Prince, who is alleged to have said:

Do not care about international criticism. We want to leave a big impact on the consciousness of Yemeni generations. We want their children, women and even their men to shiver whenever the name of Saudi Arabia is mentioned.

The coalition was given permission to attack Hodeidah this summer after Mike Pompeo gave them a green light in a press conference. This brought about warnings from the UN that Yemen could be facing the worst famine in 100 years. Humanitarian organisations warn that Yemen could soon experience the largest famine in 100 years, as around half the population is reliant on humanitarian aid which is difficult to get through the blockade.

As previously mentioned, the siege on Hodeidah is scheduled to be lifted, as per the ceasefire agreement. A similar ceasefire was in place after the peace talks in 2016, but it failed and the war went onto its most deadly phase and the ceasefire is only on the Hodeidah front so our bombs are still being dropped on the rest of Yemen. The war is not over yet, nor is the possibility of a huge loss of life.

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