This is while efforts are underway through an emergency donor conference to support the war-torn country as it faces a coronavirus catastrophe in the sixth year of the Saudi-led military campaign. Aid groups have warned that the fast-spreading virus could wreak havoc after years of war and amid crippling funding shortages. Yemen is already gripped by what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
It doesn’t take a strategic mind to realize that Saudi Arabia, which leads a military intervention against Yemen, also wants to count itself as a top donor to Yemen. The regime is blamed for civilian casualties in bombing raids that campaigners say have pushed the country deeper into crisis. As well, its “virtual conference” is a silly attempt to gloss over its crimes against humanity in Yemen.
Yemenis are susceptible to developing strong Covid-19 symptoms due to malnourishment. The UN predicts soon over 17 million Yemenis will be “dealing with acute food insecurity”, which is more than half of the country’s 28 million population. Yemen is also gripped by a cholera epidemic that is exacerbated by the country’s rainy season, which starts in the Spring and lasts through the Summer.
In the midst of the pandemic, the UN has made major cuts to aid in Yemen. About 75 percent of UN programs in the country have ended or reduced operations. The World Food Programme has also halved its food rations going into the country.
That said, it’s never too late for the UN body to do the next best thing: Introduce a resolution that calls for an end to the war and bans and forces Western countries to stop arming Saudi Arabia and its coalition members. The world body should force Britain and the US to stop backing the conflict and giving weapons to Saudi Arabia for its campaign in Yemen amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Even Amnesty International, UNICEF and Doctors Without Borders agree that most of the civilian casualties are caused by deliberate airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led military coalition. Now that the UN experts and rights groups have concluded that the coalition strikes amount to war crimes, the UN should take further steps to create no-fly zone over the war-torn country. This way the world body can send in medical assistance and stop further airstrikes that it says are in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.
Both the UK and the US are also complicit in these crimes because they supply Saudi Arabia with munitions that are used in Yemen. The coronavirus outbreak should be more than enough for the UN Council and other human rights groups to seize the opportunity and call for the UK and the US to stop arming Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other members of the coalition. The coalition members are committing war crimes and yet the West continues to sell them state-of-the-art weaponry.
The warmongers are required under International Law to consider the UN warning and take reports of International Humanitarian Law violations very seriously, and adhere to International Humanitarian Law. After all, they keep claiming that they are a world leader in human rights, and they also admit that Saudi Arabia and its rogue partners are breaching humanitarian laws in Yemen. Then how could they justify their direct aids and assistance to an actor notorious for its violations of human rights and humanitarian laws.
At any rate, the new Saudi-led airstrikes amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, as the illegal offensive has no international legitimacy. The British government makes no secret of its support for the war, nor that it is providing help in terms of intelligence and logistics. This makes them complicit in Saudi war crimes.
The US is also coordinating closely with its partners in the military action. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both argued that the majority of human rights violations and civilian deaths in the conflict have been committed by the Saudi-led coalition, the side receiving support from the US. This means the US is also complicit in Saudi war crimes.
The warmongers have turned Yemen into a disaster zone, encouraging the fragmentation of the whole country. In the process, they aid and abet the growth of terror outfits. Caught in a depressing scenario, the Saudis have been just sustaining greater and greater defeats, secially in the last two years. The Saudi and UAE-backed militants in the South have found such a wide rift amongst themselves that at times call for ceasefire with the North to open war against each other. Several Saudi army brigades of Sundanese mercenaries have been destroyed in two Ansarullah operations in the last one year, and the practically bankrupt Riyadh has sustained billions of dollars of damage in the Yemeni army and Ansarullah attacks on their oil pipelines and facilities. The Saudi rulers have long been witnessing growing damage to their reputation and cannot accept this very reality that their only way out of this war goes through humiliation. Hence, their last objective seems to be continuing crimes against the Yemeni population until a pandemic of COVID-19 and other grave diseases spread all across Yemen to ruin the population, and meantime give Riyadh a chance to claim a humanitarian end to this war. This is an open crime against humanity, but more surprising is the lack of meaningful action on the part of the UN and other international bodies!