"My father says he will buy me toys and get me a new school bag. But I don't want a new school bag. I hate school bags…I don't want to go anywhere near a bus. I hate buses, I hate school and I can't sleep. I see my friends in my dreams begging me to rescue them. So, from now on, I'm going to stay at home."
Those were the words of eight-year-old Mokhtar al-Jaradi to Al Jazeera news. Mokhtar was one of the survivors of the horrific bombing of a school bus by Saudi fighter jets in Yemen’s Saada province in 2018.
August 9, 2019 will mark a year since this horrendous attack by the Saudi-led coalition. What was supposed to be an exciting field trip full of fun and learning for the kids turned into bloodshed when a Saudi airstrike hit their school bus as they stopped by a busy market for snacks and water. According to local authorities, 51 people were killed, including 40 children, and 79 were injured, 56 of them children.
This atrocity committed by the Saudi-led coalition is far from being an isolated incident. As the war in Yemen enters its 5th year, the death toll is approaching 100,000 people, according to data from the U.S.-based research group Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED). The U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition war on Yemen has caused what the United Nations calls "the world's worst humanitarian crisis.” Millions have been displaced from their homes. Schools, hospitals, roads and all sorts of vital infrastructure have been destroyed by constant bombing. The UN estimates that over 80% of the population, 24 million Yemenis, are “in immediate need of humanitarian assistance” with over 15 million living on the brink of starvation.
In addition to the scarcity of food and water, the health care system in Yemen continues to deteriorate, with more than half of Yemen's health facilities closed and a cholera outbreak that has infected more than 1.2 million people since October 2016.
The humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen shows no signs of slowing down. On June 14, 2019, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported that “one woman and six newborns die every two hours in Yemen from complications during pregnancy or childbirth”.
Imperialists Hands Off Yemen
Saudi Arabia started its war on Yemen with the false pretense of defending legitimacy and stability in Yemen and the region. Fast forward to today, Yemen is far from seeing any sort of stability, the country is engulfed in a humanitarian crisis and there is no hope in sight!
The Saudi-led coalition never had the well-being of the Yemeni people or the stability of the country at heart. Saudi Arabia and its allied Gulf monarchies have been acting as agents of imperialism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The war on Yemen is another imperialist driven war against an independent government in the MENA region.
The United States and their imperialist allies, aside from Yemen’s vast natural resources such as oil and gold, more importantly need the strategic location of Yemen to expand their domination and hegemony which would serve their economic and military interests in MENA. Yemen’s coast borders the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a strategic narrow waterway between the Horn of Africa and the Middle East linking the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, with the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. According to the CIA World Factbook Bab el-Mandeb Strait is one of the world's most active and strategic shipping lanes. Hiding in plain sight is the largest permanent U.S. military base in Djibouti - just across from Bab el-Mandeb in the Horn of Africa, adding to a strong strategic network of all the U.S. military bases in the Indian Ocean and the Middle East. This gives the U.S. and its imperialist allies perfect leverage against Iran, even though Iran controls the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a tiny important chokepoint waterway between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. With the U.S. dominating Yemen, the process of strategically circling Iran - which began with the 1979 Iranian revolution, and was reinforced from 2001 with the new era of war and occupation - will be complete.
The United States’ biggest fear is the formation of an independent state in Yemen chosen by the people of Yemen, governed by Yemenis and not by Washington, London, Paris and Berlin. What imperialists want is a puppet corrupt regime in Yemen like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) that will follow their colonial orders, serve their interests and tip the balance of forces in MENA in favour of U.S. and European imperialism.
U.S., Saudi and UAE Stop the War on Yemen
This imperialist war on Yemen is being conducted by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their coalition on behalf of the U.S. and other imperialist countries including England and France. While Saudi-led coalition fighter jets are directly responsible for the bloodshed, killing and destruction against Yemen, the United States and their European allies have been providing logistics, training, weapons, military and material support from day one of the war. Saudi Arabia might be committing the crime, but imperialism is providing them with the weapons, the bullets, the targets, the motives and the cover and protection to do so.
The Intercept, a U.S. based online news publication, reported in an investigative article published on April 14, 2019 that “a highly classified document produced by the French Directorate of Military Intelligence shows that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are overwhelmingly dependent on Western-produced weapon systems to wage their devastating war in Yemen… The Saudi-led bombing campaign in North Yemen primarily relies on three types of aircraft: American F-15s, British EF-2000 Typhoons, and European Tornado fighters... And the coalition blockade…relies on U.S., French, and German models of attack ships”.
End the Blockade of Yemen!
All Foreign Troops Out of Yemen Now!
In addition to causing death and destruction against the Yemeni people, the Saudi-led coalition has been imposing a cruel air, land and sea blockade of Yemen, stopping commercial goods and humanitarian aid from reaching the most needed.
In a recent press release by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on the consequences of the blockade and the airport closure in Yemen, Mohammed Abdi, NRC’s director in Yemen said, “As if bullets, bombs and cholera did not kill enough people, the airport closure is condemning thousands more to a premature death…There is no justification for preventing very sick civilians from leaving the country to get life-saving medical treatment.” Here again, Saudi Arabia and their masters in Washington DC have shown a complete disregard for human life.
As long as imperialist domination, war and aggression continue against Yemen there will be no solution to the political or humanitarian crisis in the country for the people of Yemen. Any real solution needs to be local, without any foreign interference or war imposed on the people of Yemen. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their imperialist masters must respect the right to self-determination of the Yemeni people and not interfere in their internal affairs. Hence, the first steps for a truly viable and lasting peace will start with all foreign troops out of Yemen immediately.
Follow Azza on Twitter: @Azza_R14
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