“The war destroyed our dreams and [our] future” this was how Yemeni mother Adeeyah described the war in her country in the recently released report by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. According to the report, “at the current rate of decline, it will take 20 years to return Yemen to pre-crisis levels of child hunger.”
Millions of Yemenis share Adeeyah’s experience. The war on Yemen has shredded the country into pieces and turned Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. A report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) assessed the impact of the war on Yemen and gave a picture of the dire humanitarian crisis in the country. The report warned that by the end of 2019, the total number of dead will reach 233,000 “with 102,000 combat deaths and 131,000 indirect deaths due to lack of food, health services and infrastructure.” Devastatingly, 60% of these deaths are children under the age of five.
Those who are fortunate to survive the Saudi-led war on their country, must then face disease, famine, violence, displacement and deteriorating life conditions. According to the UN, 40% of the Yemeni population lives in extreme poverty.
The U.S./Saudi War on Yemen Continues
These grim statistics show the hardships lived by the Yemeni people as the war is in its 5th year. The Saudi-led coalition, with the full support of the United States, started its bombing campaign against Yemen in March 2015. Throughout these years the Saudi-led coalition justified its war by renaming its campaign; giving several pretexts for continuing it; and arrogantly claiming to have the interest of the Yemeni people and the region in mind. Despite being one of the most militarized nations in the world, Saudi Arabia, supported by the U.S. and other imperialist countries – such as France, the UK, and Canada – has failed to achieve any of their so-called goals in Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition is far from declaring any victory in Yemen. All they have achieved is death, destruction, and more destabilization in Yemen and the region.
Faced with a steadfast Yemeni resistance and a growing international opposition to the war – as well as the devastating damage by Yemen’s armed forces’ drone attack at Saudi’s Aramco oil refinery in Saudi Arabia on September 2019 – Saudi Arabia’s ruling elites are having to rethink their losing and cruel war on Yemen.
On November 22, 2019, the UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the UN Security Council that “In the last two weeks, the rate of that war has dramatically reduced: there were reportedly almost 80% fewer airstrikes nation-wide than in the two weeks prior.” While the bombing and military intervention in Yemen might seem lower, the war on the people of Yemen is still very much in full force.
According to the UN, 80% of the population in Yemen needs humanitarian assistance. The bombing destroyed schools, homes, hospitals, water and sanitation systems, roads and countless other vital parts of infrastructure in the country. Added to that, the U.S. and Saudi-led coalition have been imposing a sea, land, and air blockade on Yemen, creating extreme shortages of food, fuel, and medicine. This is severely impacting the country’s access to commercial imports and humanitarian aid. As long as the Saudi-led coalition continues its brutal sanctions and blockade on Yemen, the suffering of the Yemeni people will continue.
Is there fundamentally any difference between death from bombing or starvation? There can’t be real peace in Yemen without a full lifting of the blockade; a full opening of ports and the Sana'a airport; and an end to all sanctions and restrictions on Yemen’s access to humanitarian and commercial goods.
Canada’s hypocrisy on Yemen
Since the start of the war on Yemen in 2015, the Canadian government has been selling weapons and military goods to Saudi Arabia. Canada exported over $2 billion of military goods to the kingdom between 2015-2018 according to Canada’s annual “Report on the Export of Military Goods.” According to the same reports, Canada’s military exports to Saudi Arabia have increased yearly since 2015, and Saudi Arabia was “the largest non-U.S. export destination” of Canadian military goods in 2016, 2017, and 2018. These exports include rifles & carbines, armoured combat vehicles, artillery systems and heavy machine guns. In addition, in 2016 the Trudeau government has also approved a $15 billion deal to supply Saudi Arabia with Light-Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) equipped with heavy guns and cannon.
Several reports, articles, and video footage have been released over the years showing Canadian-made LAVs, being used by Saudi forces and their mercenaries. The most recent videos and photos from September 2019, showed damaged and destroyed Canadian-made LAVs after Saudi forces lost a battle to Yemen’s Houthi forces along the Saudi-Yemen border.
The Canadian government continues to turn a blind eye to the clear evidence. In fact, a September 17, 2019, memo by Global Affairs Canada on the department’s review of military exports to Saudi Arabia has concluded that: “While the overall Saudi human rights record is [REDACTED] problematic, Canadian officials have no information or evidence linking Canadian exports of military equipment or other controlled items to any human rights violations committed by the Saudi government.”
The memo continues, “any Canadian-made vehicles on the KSA-Yemen border are not the LAVs currently being exported by GDLS-C, but older vehicles that were shipped under contracts dating back to the early 1990s.” On the same day that Global Affairs published this memo – September 17, 2019 – Canada officially joined the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The hypocrisy of the Canadian government is incredible!
United to Defend Yemen
#KefayaWar ("enough war" in Arabic), has been the demand of the Yemeni people since the start of the atrocious war. They are continuing to resist against the vicious and criminal Saudi-led war and aggression on their country. They are continuing to share their stories and their struggles with the world, they dream of peace and a better future for themselves and their country.
The war has only brought divisions, poverty, death and destruction to the country. Yemenis deserve to live in peace without any foreign intervention in their country. The U.S./Saudi-led war on Yemen needs to completely end and the blockade on the country must be fully lifted to allow for humanitarian and commercial goods to reach people in need.
As antiwar and peace-loving people in Canada, the United States, the U.K and other imperialist countries it is important to continue to oppose by demonstrating, mobilizing and protesting against our respective governments’ complicity and continued participation in the criminal war in Yemen.
US/Canada/France/UK Out of Yemen, the Middle East & North Africa!
Follow Azza on Twitter: @Azza_R14
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