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      In Defense of Yemen
      How Saudi Arabia & its coalition with the help of US
      are imposing war, destruction and famine

      By Azza Rojbi

      “Since we lost our jobs, we have no income and we have nothing to eat…either we die from the bombing or from the hunger.” Fatima told the Guardian Newspaper. She lives in a small village in the Al Hudaydah Governorate, Yemen and struggles to take care and feed her two grandsons. Fatima’s family tragedy is far too common in Yemen today as the impoverished country continue to be the subject of a brutal, devastating and ongoing bombing campaign led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States. The Saudi-led coalition includes United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan.

      Saudi Arabia started carrying out this bombing campaign in Yemen on March 26, 2015, under the pretext of bringing stability back to the country and to reinstate Yemen’s president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Mansour Hadi lost all legitimacy when his presidential term expired and later he resigned from presidency and fled to his masters in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi claims of wanting to bring peace and tranquility to the Yemeni people have been a complete sham! As we mark two years of this cruel and inhuman Saudi-led bombing campaign, Yemen faces one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time.

      Under Saudi bombing, Yemen on the verge of famine

      The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is dire and getting worst by the day. Yemen’s Legal Center of Rights and Development estimates that 12,296 people were killed in the war and over 20,000 others wounded. The center also reported that the Saudi airstrikes have destroyed 763 schools and institutes, 270 health care facilities, 5,596 commercial facilities and 1,577 bridges and roads.

      As the economic infrastructure of the country is destroyed daily by Saudi bombing, Yemen’s only lifeline is the limited imports and humanitarian aid that flows sporadically into the country. The land, sea and aerial blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia has resulted in shortages of food, water, fuel, medicines and the skyrocketing of prices.

      The indiscriminate bombing campaign coupled with the economic blockade against Yemen and the lack of adequate health care facilities, has put the country on the brink of humanitarian disaster and starvation. A new report released by the United Nations (UN), indicates that 17 million people in the country are facing severe food insecurity, meaning that they are on the verge of famine. The rate of child malnutrition is one of the highest in the world with over 3 million women and children under 5 in urgent need of humanitarian support to prevent or cure malnutrition.

      With utmost disregard for human life, the Saudi-led coalition had obstructed the import of vital food, medicine and fuel supply to Yemen. According to the charity group Save the Children based in UK, “In just two months, the Saudi-led coalition has prevented three shipments of medical aid from arriving at the port of Hodeida. The cargo, intended to reach 300,000 people, included essential supplies such as antibiotics, surgical equipment, medicine and equipment to support malnourished children… The delays have prevented 51 healthcare facilities in the region that Save the Children supports from operating fully.”

      Nightmare at land and sea

      An estimate of 500,000 Somali refugees have been living in Yemen for years integrated into local communities. As the Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen displaced millions of people, Somali refugees are once again forced to flee for their lives and catch the first boat heading to the Horn of Africa. On the late hours of March 16, 2017, a boat crammed with 150 Somali refugees sailed out of the port of Al Hudaydah on their way to Sudan. The journey was abruptly cut when their boat came under attack by rockets and gunfire.

      "We heard the sound of the Apache (helicopter) coming toward us. It was maybe 40 or 50 meters above us," said 20-year-old survivor Ibrahim Hussein. "The gunfire did not come from one direction. It fanned back and forth. Each time, it hit many people...People were shot in their abdomen, head, feet."

      A total of 43 people were killed and 30 injured because of this brutal attack. Saudi Arabia continues to deny that they are responsible of this war crime but testimonies from survivors all point to the attack coming from a warship and an Apache helicopter, which is only used by the Saudi coalition in the war on Yemen. “The coalition’s apparent firing on a boat filled with fleeing refugees is only the latest likely war crime in Yemen’s two-year-long war,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director at the Human Rights Watch.

      US accomplice in Saudi crimes

      From day one of the Saudi bombing campaign against Yemen, the US government has offered its political, military and financial support for the mission. In a statement the Obama White House declared that “While U.S. forces are not taking direct military action in Yemen in support of this effort, we are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support.”

      Saudi Arabia would’ve not adventured in such a brutal bombing campaign if it didn’t have the full backing of its imperialist masters like the US and UK. Saudi fighter jets wouldn’t be able to reach their targets in Yemen if it wasn’t for the US air force help with refueling them midair. The US and UK are also restocking the Saudi weapons. According to Amnesty International both countries have sold $5 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the war in March 2015.

      The new Trump administration has continued and increased US support to Saudi Arabia. They have recently approved the resumption of sales of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia worth about $390 million. Trump is also expanding the U.S. drone operations in Yemen with the pretext of fighting against Al-Qaeda. According to The New York Times “So far this month, the United States has also launched more than 49 strikes across Yemen… That is more strikes than the United States had carried out during any other full year on record.”

      The US government can claim that they are not pulling the trigger but they are providing Saudi Arabia with the gun, the ammunitions and the alibi to avoid prosecution. They are accomplice of all Saudi’s war crimes against the people of Yemen. The excuse of fighting terrorism and wanting to restore peace and stability to Yemen is a farce! Since the beginning of the bombing campaign, the country has only seen death and destruction.

      Saudi Arabia and the US have only in mind their own strategic and regional interests. Their goal is to regain their grip over Yemen and further expand their hegemony over North Africa and the Middle East. A strong and independent Yemen is a big obstacle against their influence and hegemony in the region.

      Two years of steadfastness and resistance

      All Saudi Arabia crimes against Yemen have failed to destroy the pride and bravery of the Yemeni people. On March 26, 2017, hundreds of thousands of people defied Saudi fighter jets and took to the streets of the capital Sana’a in a massive demonstration protesting two years of the Saudi led aggression on their country.

      In addition to their resilience on the ground, Yemenis are also waging an online and social media campaign trying to break the media blackout of the Saudi-led bombing campaign on their beloved country. They are sharing their stories and voices to counter all the US and Saudi lies and deceptions.

      As 18-year-old Yemeni girl, Fatima Noman, published in her online blog The Ambiguous Odyssey, “We are going to teach you strength, perseverance, and courage. We will rise again. This is Yemen, we will not kneel down to any country.”

      Let’s join Fatima and millions of Yemeni people in their fighting for their right to life, freedom, sovereignty and self-determination.

      US/Saudi Arabia Hands off Yemen!
      Stop Bombing Yemen!
      Lift the Naval, Aerial and Land Blockade on Yemen!

      Follow Azza Rojbi on Twitter: @Azza_R14

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