Sana’a (GPA) – This is part and parcel of Saudi Arabia’s plan to isolate Yemen from the international community and suffocate the population into submission.
Saudi coalition airstrikes have struck Yemen’s main airport over 160 times in the past three years. The airport hasn’t operated for commercial travel in nearly three years.
The Sana’a airport remains closed as part of the Saudi-led blockade of Yemen. Warplanes pounded the sieged airport with 12 airstrikes just in the past day. According to the Sana’a International Airport Director, Khalid Al-Shayef, this brings the total to 160 raids since 2015.
Like many other Yemeni officials and diplomats, al-Shayef blamed the United Nations and the international community for allowing the aggression to continue against his country and vital civilian infrastructure. Although the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition occasionally allows U.N. planes to land at the airport, the facility closed for commercial and civilian travel in 2015.
Isolating Yemen from the International Community
The recent round of 12 raids targeted a recently constructed building. This destroyed the entire third floor and triggered a massive fire. Prior rounds of airstrikes have targeted control panels, operator rooms, runways, and just about everything else.
This is part and parcel of Saudi Arabia’s plan to isolate Yemen from the international community and suffocate the population into submission.
Closure of the airport has likely killed tens of thousands already and will continue to take the lives of many others. Thousands upon thousands of people require immediate medical care that the strained Yemeni healthcare system simply cannot provide. Patients with renal failure, diabetics, pregnant women, and cancer patients are some of the most vulnerable.
The land, air, and sea blockade severely restricts all imports, exports, communication, finances, and flow of movement. Numbers show that the military assault has killed or injured over 35,000 people but the deaths from the blockade are more difficult to track. Yemenis rely on imports for 80% of foodstuffs so 8.4 million people currently face direct famine. Another 2.2 million require some form of humanitarian assistance.
Due to lack of medical supplies and sanitation equipment, Yemen experiences a cholera epidemic globally unprecedented in modern times. Nearly 1 million people came down with the deadly disease in the past nine months and several thousands lost their lives. Cholera is an extremely fatal yet very preventable illness caused by contaminated water.
Public service workers like doctors, nurses, teachers, and sanitation workers haven’t received salaries in months due to the sanctions and blockade so they’ve had to find other employment to survive.
Skirting the Blame for US Warcrimes
Far from a mere passive observer, the United States provides both military and intelligence support to Emirati and Saudi-backed forces. Saudi airstrikes and ground operations have killed and injured over 35,000 people in the past three years.
US forces provide intelligence support for selecting airstrike targets. Riyadh’s airstrike campaign frequently targets markets, homes, cars, media crews, farms, factories, prisons, and even ambulance crews entering bomb sites. This affirms Washington’s direct participation in gruesome war crimes and arguably genocide against the Yemeni people.
United States Navy ships enforce the siege and blockade throughout the Red Sea by prohibiting aid and cargo ships from docking in resistance-held territory such as Hodeidah port. (It’s also worth mentioning that Saudi airstrikes destroyed the port’s cranes a while back.)
Over eight million Yemenis face direct famine due to the land, air, and sea blockade which severely restricts food, aid, salaries, flow of movement, and vital medical supplies. Saudi Arabia demanded the closure of Yemen’s main airport in Sana’a and subsequently destroyed its infrastructure.
The United States also helped the United Arab Emirates operate 18 black site detention centers and flood the country with foreign mercenaries through Blackwater.
Ansarullah (aka. “the Houthis”) recently submitted a six-point peace plan to the United Nations and launched a diplomatic tour to spearhead the peace process. So far, the international community has ignored their efforts while continuing the airstrike campaign, sanctions, and siege.
Founder and editor of Geopolitics Alert, Randi Nord is a US-based geopolitical analyst and content strategist. She covers US imperialism with a special focus on Yemen, Iran, and Lebanon. Born in Detroit, Michigan, she started learning about the media’s pivotal role in selling “humanitarian” interventions as a teenager during the aftermath of 9/11 and Iraq war. Randi Nord has lived in the Empire’s neoliberal tropical paradise (Kingdom of Hawai’i) and Lebanon. She frequently participates in the UN Human Rights Council as a guest of NGOs speaking about Yemen.