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      Hands Off Yemen!
      Stop brutalizing and torturing the people of Yemen!

      By Azza Rojbi

      March 26, 2022, marked seven years of a cruel and devastating war on Yemen. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and their coalition started their military intervention in Yemen under the pretense of restoring ‘elected government, ’ ‘legitimacy,’ and ‘stability’ to Yemen. We look today after seven years, and we see no ‘legitimacy’ or ‘stability’ in sight, only death and destruction! Yemen today is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

      From day one, the United States government and its imperialist allies, including Canada, provided political, technical, military and training support to Saudi Arabia and other countries in their coalition and, of course, billions of dollars in arms sales. There is no way that Saudi Arabia or the UAE could have started this war without its assistance and direct involvement.

      The Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen is a planned imperialist war for regional domination and hegemony.

      The map in this article is shows Yemen's strategic location. As you can see in the map, Yemen’s coast borders the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a narrow strategic waterway connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. The strait is one of the world's most active and vital maritime shipping routes. Thirty percent of all shipping in the world passes this point. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “In 2018, an estimated 6.2 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil, condensate, and refined petroleum products flowed through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait toward Europe, the United States”.

      Yemen’s strategic location is vital for the United States and imperialists to expand their military and economic domination over the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and the East Africa region. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are doing dirty work for imperialists in the region because they have interests in the region.

      Imperialism today is more and more becoming more vicious and inhuman. Imperialists, especially the U.S., are losing their sole domination worldwide. They are losing their dominating status. They are using wars, occupation, sanctions, and blockades to hold onto their control over colonial and semi-colonial countries. In the case of Yemen, because of its strategic location, they can’t allow the existence of an independent sovereign Yemen. They need another puppet government in the region to serve the interests of the United States and all their imperialist allies.

      The people of Yemen are victims of the brutality of the imperialist war. The same brutality imperialists have shown toward Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and Cuba, to name a few. In this new era of war and occupation which started with the occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. and their imperialist allies have imposed wars, occupations, sanctions and blockades to break the will and to destroy the dignity of sovereign nations for further domination and plundering the wealth of those countries and beyond.

      Effects of blockade and sanctions

      Since the start of the war on Yemen in 2015, the Saudi-led coalition imposed an air, land and sea blockade on Yemen. At the time, Yemen imported 90% of its food, fuel, and medicines.

      According to the United Nations, by the end of 2021, the war in Yemen claimed 377,000 lives, nearly 60 percent of deaths caused by lack of safe water, hunger and diseases. Today in Yemen, a country with a population of 30 million, over 17.6 million people are in immediate need of food assistance, and 16 million are in critical need of water, sanitation, and hygiene.

      The destruction of vital infrastructure, including hospitals, by the Saudi-led war, coupled with the blockade and sanctions, is a death sentence against the people of Yemen. A Yemeni child under five dies every nine minutes because of the war. The US and their imperialist allies have continued to suffocate Yemen for seven years and are responsible for this atrocious humanitarian situation.

      The Saudi-led coalition justifies its blockade on Yemen by referring to a UN Security Council resolution that imposes an arms embargo on the Houthi’s government in Yemen. At the same time, three of the UN Security Council’s permanent members, the US, the UK, and France, continue to profit from making billions of dollars fueling the war and selling arms to Saudi Arabia and UAE.

      The UN security council’s resolution has given the excuse to Saudi Arabia and the UAE to impose an illegal blockade and impede the flow of goods into Yemen. Under the pretense of searching for arms, they delay and detain any ship seeking to enter a Yemeni port.

      The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in Geneva, Switzerland, released its annual report in September 2022 titled “Torture in slow motion: The economic blockade of Yemen and its grave humanitarian consequences.” The report states, "No searches conducted by the coalition have resulted in the discovery of weapons.”… "Instead, restrictions on fuel imports, in particular, keep having a knock-on effect on the provision of food, drinking water, and healthcare."

      The Saudi-led coalition has also imposed air access restrictions on Yemen and Sana’a’s international airport, which has been a lifeline for Yemenis to seek medical treatment abroad. Saudi Arabia bombed and destroyed hospitals and healthcare facilities in Yemen and trapped the population from leaving Yemen to access healthcare in other countries.

      During the recent temporary truce on April 2022 between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi government in Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition eased some aspects of the blockade against Yemen. It allowed limited flights out of Sana’a airport. But this has not been helpful at all since Saudi Arabia has not fulfilled even its minimal commitments in the truce deal. Basically, the humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to worsen, and imperialists continue to starve an entire population for wanting to exercise their self-determination.

      In an article published by Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) in October 2022, Yemeni peace advocate Arwa Mokdad wrote, “the blockade is a war crime and should be lifted immediately. In their painfully slow negotiations, the warring parties in Yemen haggle over a small number of fuel ships and a limited number of flights. What should be our rights as Yemenis—freedom of movement, the ability to leave the country for vital medical care, escaping collective punishment—are instead seen as bargaining chips for the countries that have waged war on Yemen and the foreign powers, like the United States, that have backed them.”

      The Yemeni people have suffered from imperialist domination and intervention in their internal affairs for decades. Today, more than ever, it is important that we continue to expose the warmongers' crimes and the brutalities of Saudi-UAE and imperialist war in Yemen. We must stand with the Yemeni people from here in Canada and across the world. We must demand an immediate end to the war, the complete lifting of the inhuman blockade and sanctions on Yemen and that all foreign troops and mercenaries leave Yemen. The self-determination and sovereignty of Yemen needs to be respected. Yemen's future needs to be decided and built by Yemenis, not by foreign powers fuelling the conflict for their interests.

      Follow Azza on Twitter: @Azza_R14

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