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      Yemen: An Acid Test for the Antiwar Movement
      Stop Killing the Children of Yemen
      Strong and Effective Opposition Needed to U.S./Saudi War on Yemen

      By Azza Rojbi

      With summer ending, parents and kids in North America are shopping for school supplies and preparing for the beginning of the new school year. Kids are getting ready to go back to class and see their friends and teachers. Thousands of miles away in Yemen, children and families are struggling to survive under the U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition war on their country.

      On August 9, 2018, a bus full of excited children on a school field trip in Yemen’s Saada province, was hit by a Saudi airstrike as the bus driver stopped by a busy market for water and snacks. This horrendous attack killed 51 people, including 40 children aged from 6 to 11. Local authorities said that 79 people were wounded, 56 of them children. Pictures of the horrific aftermath of the bombing, and the grieving parents going through the rabbles to find the bodies of their children are beyond heartbreaking. The world also saw pictures of UNICEF school backpacks covered in blood and shattered around what remained of the school bus. The response by Saudi official came as no surprise as they described the bombing as " a legitimate military action, conducted in conformity with the International Humanitarian Law and its Customary Rules." This further reinforces the complete disregard for human life and decency showed by the U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition over the last three years since the start of its' war on Yemen.

      As people in Yemen were still grappling with this tragedy, on August 23, a mere two weeks after, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike killed 30 people, including 22 children, and four women in the Al Durayhimi district in Hudaydah governorate. The targeted families were preparing to evacuate their homes when the Saudi airstrike hit. "Four people were killed in the strike before, that's why they fled. They wanted to save their lives, their children's lives. Is nowhere safe for us?" one survivor told the news after the airstrike.

      22 Million in Need!

      There is no where safe for Yemeni children and families, the 3 years long war on their country by the U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition has devastated Yemen and resulted in the death of over 14,000 people and the destruction of vital infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, homes, roads, water and sanitary facilities, even archeological and historical sites were targeted by coalition airstrikes.

      The United Nations described the situation in Yemen as the "World's Worst Humanitarian Crisis" with over 22 million people — three-quarters of the population — in desperate need of assistance and 8.4 million living on the brink of famine. Yemen has also been suffering from the largest outbreak of cholera in recent history. Children have been the most vulnerable to Cholera and famine, according to the U.K. based charity Save The Children, 130 children are dying every day, that is one child every 10 minute dying from preventable causes in Yemen.

      In addition to the daily bombing and airstrikes, the Saudi-led coalition has imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Yemen, causing shortages in food and medicine and other essentials. The U.S. backed coalition has also launched an offensive on the port city of Hudaydah, a vital lifeline for Yemen through which 90 percent of Yemen's food and most of its medicine and fuel is imported.

      Whose War?

      The Saudi-led coalition started its war on Yemen in March 2015, stating that their goals were to reinstate unpopular former president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and to bring back peace and stability to Yemen and the region. Today, over three years of daily bombing and blockade, the Saudi-led coalition has only inflected death and destruction over the people of Yemen and caused instability, fear and divisions in the region. There is no peace nor stability in sight! They never had the well being of the Yemeni people at heart; their goal is to expand their hegemony in the region and serve the interest of their imperialist masters.

      The United States government supported this Saudi-led war on Yemen since day one, with aerial refuelling, targeting intelligence and military training. The U.S. has also continued selling weapons and military equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Saudi's main ally in the war.

      In August 2018, CNN reported that the bomb used in the atrocious attack on the children school bus by the Saudi-led coalition "was a 500-pound (227 kilograms) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors."

      The government of Canada has been trying to paint itself as a champion of human rights. The reality is far from it, as was printed in Fire This Time volume 12 issue 5, in an article titled "People of Yemen Resisting U.S./Saudi War & Occupation":

      "According to an investigation published recently by the Toronto Star, “Canada has sent $65 million in humanitarian aid to help Yemenis suffering amid a brutal war. It has also exported $284 million worth of weapons and military goods to the countries bombing Yemen. ”

      This number doesn’t include the $15 billion sales of Canadian-made armoured combat vehicles to Saudi Arabia approved by the Trudeau government. How can the government of Canada claim to care about helping the Yemeni people in this humanitarian crisis, while providing weapons to the countries responsible for creating this crisis in the first place?"

      Don't let the rhetoric by Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland fool you. The imperialist government of Canada has no interest in defending the human rights of the Yemeni people. To the contrary, Canada is an accomplice to the crimes committed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. In addition to selling military equipment and arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Canada has offered training support to the Saudi and Emirati military.

      Starting in 2011, Royal Saudi Air Force pilots were being trained by the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program at military facilities in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and Cold Lake, Alberta. The program is run by the Canadian Forces and CAE Inc., a Montreal-based flight simulator company. CAE Inc. also has a training facility in Saudi Arabia and two in UAE. These same air force pilots that were trained in Canada the pilots today executing mission and airstrikes over Yemen. Saudi Arabia and UAE have also been participating in military exercises in Canada with the Royal Canadian Air Force and other NATO members and allies with the latest taking place in June 2018.

      Let's Fight for Human Dignity

      As peace-loving people and anti-war activists in Canada and the U.S., we have the human obligation to expose the complicity of our respective governments in the crimes committed against the Yemeni people. As we witness daily the horrific killings and destruction imposed on Yemenis by the Saudi-led coalition, silence is no longer an option!

      People of Yemen are resisting daily against the aggression on their country and from around the world we need to echo their plight and join them in demanding an end to the Saudi-led war and aggression on their country.

      Here in Canada, we need to continue holding the Trudeau Liberal government accountable for this bloodshed in Yemen and demand the immediate cancellation of the $15 billion arms deal to supply Saudi Arabia with heavily weaponized light-armoured vehicles.

      Let's join our voices together to demand:
      US & Saudi Arabia Stop Bombing Yemen!
      Canada Cancel the Arms Deal with Saudi Arabia Now!
      Lift the Naval, Aerial and Land Blockade on Yemen!

      Follow Azza on Twitter: @Azza_R14

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