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      Yemen & The Prospects for Peace After The Ceasefire

      By Azza Rojbi

      As people in North America brace themselves to welcome the new year with their loved ones, families in Yemen are still desperately fighting for their daily survivals against the Saudi-led coalition war on their country.

      “With its bombs and missiles, this war has brought immense fear to our lives. We live under constant threat, we are socially unstable, our chance of education is dead, and our country is politically insecure and economically broken. We are never free of anxiety.” This is how Hadil Al-Senwi, 27-year-old education officer in Sana’a, described life under war to the Guardian Newspaper.

      Hadil’s words and feelings are shared by millions of Yemeni families whose lives have been destroyed by over three years of war and aggression. According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), over 60,000 people have been killed in the war on Yemen. For those that survive the indiscriminate Saudi airstrikes, they have to face the threats of disease and starvation. The United Nations reports that over 20 million people in Yemen, two-thirds of the population, face severe food insecurity. Save the Children, the international children’s relief organization estimates that 85,000 children under the age of five may have died from extreme hunger or disease since the start of the war in March 2015.

      These numbers paint a grim picture of the reality of life in Yemen, as the United Nations (UN) called it “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

      Behind this humanitarian Crisis

      In an article titled “Arms Sales to Saudis Leave American Fingerprints on Yemen’s Carnage” the New York Times (NYT) details the direct complicity of the U.S. in the war on Yemen:

      “When a Saudi F-15 warplane takes off from King Khalid air base in southern Saudi Arabia for a bombing run over Yemen, it is not just the plane and the bombs that are American. American mechanics service the jet and carry out repairs on the ground. American technicians upgrade the targeting software and other classified technology, which Saudis are not allowed to touch. The pilot has likely been trained by the United States Air Force. And at a flight operations room in the capital, Riyadh, Saudi commanders sit near American military officials who provide intelligence and tactical advice,”

      In another investigative article, New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick exposed Saudi Arabia for recruiting children from Sudan’s impoverished Darfur region as mercenaries to fight their war in Yemen. The Saudi government offered Sudanese families as much as $10,000 for their children to join the Saudi-led forces fighting in Yemen. “At any time for nearly four years as many as 14,000 Sudanese militiamen have been fighting in Yemen”, NYT estimates that 20-40 percent of those fighting were children, many are 14-17 years old.

      Saudi Arabia and its allied coalition have shown again and again a complete disregard for any human life and human rights. They have no interest in the well-being of children in Sudan, Yemen or anywhere in the region. They continue to claim their war on Yemen is a war for peace, stability and legitimacy, what a complete farce! Their goal in Yemen is to expand their influence in the region and serve the interest of their imperialist masters in Washington.

      What the Saudi-led coalition failed to account for is the steadfast resistance to their plan by the Yemeni people. With all the support from the U.S. and after dropping over 44,039 bombs on Yemen, Saudi Arabia did not achieve any of its so-called goals in Yemen.

      Has the U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition suddenly acquired a conscience?

      After the latest round of UN-sponsored talks in Stockholm, an agreement was reached for a ceasefire in the city port of Hodeidah. The Saudi-led coalition and its mercenaries have been attacking Hodeidah for the last seven months in an attempt to take control of the city over from the Houthi government, known officially as Ansarullah. This assault intensified the humanitarian crisis in the city and the country as a whole. Hodeidah is a vital entry port for 70% of humanitarian aid into Yemen.

      This ceasefire is not a victory for the U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition nor is it an honest move towards peace, it is a compromise and a necessary crisis management tactic by imperialists. The U.S. and their puppet monarchies in the regions couldn’t crash the resistance of the Yemeni people and failed to take control of the country. They couldn’t win therefore now they have to come to the table, not for seeking a just solution for this catastrophic situation in Yemen, but to buy the time they need for more military preparation and maneuvering against Houthi government with the help from the UN.

      As the humanitarian crisis in Yemen intensifies, they can no longer hide the bloodshed and destruction they are causing in Yemen; they can no longer justify continuing the war. People around the world are becoming aware of the plight of the Yemeni people, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are using ceasefire as a strategy to manage the crisis and counter the growing opposition to the war.

      Is This “Ceasefire” Working?

      We can’t trust the motives of the Saudi-led coalition for the ceasefire, are they really having a change of heart or are they hoping to win more time for their mercenaries on the ground in Yemen? Ahmed AbdulKareem, a local Yemeni journalist, reported to MintPress News in an article published December 17, 2018:

      “Saudi Arabia has violated the Hodeida ceasefire at least 50 times since Thursday when the truce was agreed upon — launching 50 airstrikes as the ink on the deal was still drying. Saudi artillery fired more than 300 mortar shells on Hodeida`s residential areas, and Saudi mercenaries attempted to breach Hodeida’s western defences multiple times.”

      On December 29, 2018, Al Jazeera reported that “Yemen's Houthi rebels have started to redeploy inside the port city of Hodeida as part of the United Nations-sponsored peace agreement signed in Sweden earlier this month, a UN source and a spokesperson for the group said on Saturday.” On that same day, the Saudi-led coalition continued its air raids in Hodeida province and escalated its military offensive in other provinces in Yemen.

      The following day the UN and mainstream media were casting doubts at the Houthis’ start of redeployment from Hodeida, as part of the ceasefire agreement, while completely failing to hold the U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition accountable for not upholding their part of the agreement.

      Another example of the UN and mainstream media bias position in favour of the Saudi-led coalition is the recent investigation released by Associated Press (AP) about food aid being stolen in Yemen. The article states that:

      “The problem of stolen aid is common in Taiz and other areas controlled by Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which is backed by the Saudi-led military coalition. It is even more widespread in territories controlled by the Houthi rebels, the struggling government’s main enemy during the nearly four years of warfare that has spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

      After the release of this article by AP, the mainstream media found another golden opportunity to vilify the Houthis and put the full blame on them, headlines read:

      “Food aid meant for people starving in Yemen being stolen by Houthis” CBC News

      “UN says Yemen food aid being stolen in Houthi-run areas” The Globe and Mail

      “Food aid is stolen in 'Houthi-controlled areas' as Yemen starves” France 24

      In response to all of this, Ansarullah movement welcomed an independent investigation and called on the WFP to back up its accusations with proof. At the same time, there was zero response or accountability from the Saudi-led coalition and their mercenaries, even though the AP investigation mentions the existence of documents and reports proving their involvement in stealing food aid destined to people in Taiz. Why is the WFP or the UN not asking to review these documents?

      Yemenis Deserve Safety and Peace

      It remains to be seen if this ceasefire in Hodeida will alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, a compromise is a viable option for now, but we shouldn’t be deceived by this imperialist’s strategy. We shouldn’t let it deter us from organizing and mobilizing to demand an immediate end to the bombing, and all aggression by the U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition, France and England on Yemen. We must demand the land, sea and air blockade on Yemen immediately be stopped.

      As Hadil Al-Senwi told the Guardian Newspaper "We used to have dreams, but now we live in a nightmare. We are so eager to hear the sound of peace and to rebuild our country. We deserve better than this."

      It is our human responsibility to join Hadil and all the Yemeni people in their fight for peace, freedom and self-determination without foreign interventions and aggression. We need to hold the imperialist countries like U.S., France, England and Canada accountable for their support to the Saudi-led war on Yemen and continue to challenge the mainstream media’s biased narrative from the war. Yemenis deserve real peace!

      Stop Bombing Yemen!
      All Foreign Troops Out of Yemen!
      Lift the Naval, Aerial and Land Blockade on Yemen!

      Follow Azza on Twitter: @Azza_R14

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