The Washington Post condemned the Saudi-led coalition decision to tighten its blockade of Yemen:
Saudi officials say the siege is meant to prevent what they claim was the smuggling of missile parts into Yemen from Iran. It has offered no proof of the rocket’s origin, and experts point out that Yemen is known to have imported Scud missiles from North Korea before the war [bold mine-DL]. In any case, the blockade will not deter either Iran or the Houthis, but it could trigger a full-blown famine among innocent children[bold mine-DL]. The Trump administration, which has blithely backed Crown Prince [Mohammed bin] Salman in his reckless adventures, should consider the cost.
Yemen’s humanitarian crisis would not already be the worst in the world if it weren’t for the Saudi-led coalition blockade that has been in place for the last thirty months. The severe plight of millions of Yemenis has been public knowledge for years, and yet it has not spurred the U.S. under the Obama or the Trump administrations to change its policy of backing the coalition war effort.
Now that the coalition has shut all ports in an illegal and cruel act of collective punishment, there is even greater urgency in pressuring the Saudis and their allies to lift the blockade, but the coalition’s Western patrons have offered no meaningful response. Confronted with the potential mass starvation of millions of people by its clients in a war that it is supporting, the U.S. is doing nothing to stop it.
Despite the warnings of U.N. officials, the U.N. response appears to be no better. A draft statement being circulated at the U.N. Security Council never mentions the looming famine, and certainly has nothing to say about the blockade’s role in causing it:
Here is the draft Presidential Statement on Yemen circulated to UN Security Council members by Egypt. I’m told it was drafted by Saudi Arabia. There is no mention of the humanitarian situation in Yemen. UN says largest famine in decades looms unless blockade is lifted. pic.twitter.com/40M7uUgDHU
— Samuel Oakford (@samueloakford) November 10, 2017
The cost of the war and blockade will continue to be paid by millions of innocent Yemenis who have done nothing to the U.S. or to any member of the Saudi-led coalition. Instead of considering the cost, the Trump administration has written the Saudis a blank check, and so far it has not encountered much opposition. U.S. support for this is a completely indefensible policy, and yet there is still not much pressure on the administration to change it.
If nothing changes, the blockade will cause massive loss of life, and the weakest and most vulnerable members of the population will be among the first to perish because of it. The deliberate starvation of a civilian population is a monstrous crime that should be condemned and opposed as vigorously as possible. The fact that it is being done with Washington’s support makes it even more important that members of Congress and the public demand that the U.S. pressure the coalition to stop starving Yemen.