Foreign Affairs

How Saudi Arabia sowed the seeds for another crisis in Yemen

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We will soon find out the alarming cost of our relationship with the House of Saud. The international community’s total disregard for the impending crisis in Yemen could be one of the most devastating conclusions of the coronavirus.

This global pandemic might not be Saudi Arabia’s faults, but if it spreads further into the Middle East, as it surely will, the Saudi regime’s policy of total humiliation and the continuing siege on Yemen will result in death and devastation unheard of in recent history. Since 2015 Saudi Arabia’s siege on Yemen, land, sea and air has eradicated what little health care system there was in Yemen.

Some of the richest countries are unable to deal with the global pandemic. What will happen in Yemen? The horror is almost unthinkable. 

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is already a crime against humanity, with 80% of the population requiring some sort of humanitarian assistance, two-thirds of the population cannot afford to buy food, and more than one million people affected with cholera and a quarter of which are children. These statistics show not only how criminal the Saudi-led coalition is but, also invites a horrific question of Prince Mohammad Bin Salman: what will happen when COVID-19 spreads across a country with a population who are already on the brink of mass starvation? 

The five-year war has already killed more than a hundred thousand people, and has displaced more than 3.6 million people. With at least 1.2 million people internally displaced, this hopeless situation that our Shia and Sunni brothers and sisters find themselves in, is the result of calculated strangulation by one man, and a ‘war policy’ that is aimed at the humiliation and total destruction of Yemen Shia population and, if necessary the Sunni’s too. 

If the Houthi’s were not Shia Muslim’s would this have been allowed to happen? This pathological fear and hatred of the Shia opposition in Yemen must be taken into account when trying to come to terms with what is happening in Yemen. Anyone who engages in a war that endangers the lives of twenty-four million people, and anyone who will not end the war and the blockade during a global pandemic must be called what he really is: a war criminal.

On 10 of April, the first case of coronavirus in Yemen was confirmed. Soon this thought experiment will unfold before us with a devastating death toll of ‘500,000 people’ a conservative estimate by the Minister of Health and Population, given that the Saudi blockade that has been in place since 2015, the lack of medical supplies and population already cholera ridden, and on the brink of famine, COVID-19 is going to have a catastrophic consequence. 

The richest country in the world, the United States of America, is struggling with an enormous death-toll. The United Kingdom, the sixth richest country in the world with a National Health Service is being overwhelmed by the daily rising death rate. Yemen has no wealth, and a non-existent health system, what little they had before the war was bombed out of existence by the Saudi-led airstrikes.

The Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, has in effect with the support and arms provided by the UK, US and France, forced the people of Yemen on the brink of man-made famine only comparable to that of Stalin’s Ukraine almost a hundred years ago.  

MBS has also extended his arm into the realm of British sport. Heading up the front to buy Newcastle United, his attempt to engage in ‘sportswashing’ shouldn’t go unchallenged.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rise, as they have risen almost everywhere around the world, the people of Yemen will no longer be ‘on the brink’ but will be dying by the tens of thousands. The situation in Yemen has taken a different turn. It is no longer a war. It is systematic murder. It is ethnic cleansing and a crime against humanity.

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