Brussels (GPA) – On February 22nd, 2018, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, Adel Al-Jubeir, took the conflict between truth and politics to entirely a new level. In a speech before the foreign committee of the European Parliament in Brussels, Mr. Al-Jubeir deliberately tried to mislead his audience with obvious lies about the situation on Yemen.
With implausible deniability, Al-Jubeir says that this war was imposed on Saudi Arabia. He says their military intervention came after a request from the Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and that the coalition relies on the U.N. resolution for its military intervention.
Riyadh Fabricates Lies on the International Stage
It is known that a lie occurs when a person intentionally attempts to mislead another. Let’s look at the fact that on February 26th, 2014, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 2140 which underlined the need to implement a political transition in Yemen. They subjected three individuals to a travel ban and an asset freeze. On April 14th, 2015, the council adopted resolution 2216 which aimed to support the political transition and express the concern of the humanitarian situation, peace in the whole region, and the unity and sovereignty of the country.
The military intervention by the Saudi-led coalition and the imposed blockade on Yemen started before this resolution on the 26th of March: three weeks before the last resolution. According to the former U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen, Mr. Jamal Benomar, in his last statement before front of the Security Council, “When this campaign, the Saudi-led coalition started, one thing that was significant but went unnoticed is that the Yemenis were close to a deal that would institute power-sharing with all sides, including the Houthis.”
Not only was the political transition interrupted by the war, the Coalition wanted to re-install as President a person with an expired term and no support among the Yemeni population. This means that the “internationally-recognized” President Hadi is not legitimate as they so claim.
Covering the Coalition’s War Crimes and Humanitarian Catastrophe
Mr. Al-Jubeir again attempted to cover up his country’s misdeeds claiming that Houthis impose a blockade on cities and people which ultimately led to famine in the country. Meanwhile, several reports from the international organizations as well as a report by The United Nations Special Reporter on human rights and international sanctions, Idriss Jazairy, stressed that the aerial and naval blockade imposed on Yemen by the coalition forces since March 2015 is, in fact, the main cause of the humanitarian catastrophe.
This blockade has both restricted and disrupted the import and export of food, fuel, and medical supplies as well as humanitarian aid. The blockade involves a variety of regulatory (and mostly arbitrary) restrictions enforced by the coalition forces – including an unreasonable delay and/or denial of entry to vessels in Yemeni ports.
The coalition bombed the runway of the Sana’a airport many times: after reconstructing the runway, it was bombed several times again and again. Civilian flights to Yemen have also been blocked and even planned aid is sometimes blocked.
After the coalition imposed a closure on Sana’a airport, at least 10,000 people — who are in a need of medical treatments outside the country — have died in Yemen as a result of the Saudi-led coalition’s restriction on airspace. The closure of the Sana’a airport started three years ago, according to Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), and Yemeni Ministry of Health.
These facts and crimes are glaringly obvious no matter what, so Riyadh must orchestrate an excuse for their situation and fabricate lies.
Shamelessly, Mr. Al-Jubeir spoke about Houthis deploying kids to the battlefields and planting mines around the country. The truth and the facts, however, expose such lies. All reports from the U.N. and other international organizations clarify that the most causalities among civilians are due to the coalition airstrikes.
Not only that but according to well-known organizations such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, the Saudi-led coalition used — and is still using — internationally-banned cluster bombs over several inhabited areas and distributing mines all over the country.
Isolating Yemen from the International Community
Saudi Arabia and their international backers believe they can fabricate such lies and mislead the entire international community by wielding their power and influence to achieve their ultimate goal of isolating Yemen from the world.
To further achieve this, Riyadh has initiated an international media blackout by imposing a ban denying entrance of journalists and foreign media into the country. Through the so-called legitimate Yemeni government — which is loyal to the Saudis-led coalition — they either grant or deny ‘entrance permissions’ to the entire country.
Another method used to isolate Yemen while gaining impunity for the ongoing war crimes and systematic rights violations is to sabotage the international community’s efforts of establishing an Independent Commission of Inquiry. This proposed inquiry would investigate these allegations and provide redress to those whose rights have been violated.
And on the other hand, the national commission of inquiry doesn’t adequately investigate the war crimes in Yemen. In fact, it is described by the last report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as a partial commission with a lack of mechanism. That is obvious, of course, because it is formed by the Yemeni exiled president — who resides in Riyadh and loyal to the Saudi-led coalition.
Riyadh’s War in Yemen Undermines the Human Rights of All World Citizens
The international community has turned a blind eye to these serious crimes committed by the Saudis and all members of the coalition — all of which are famous for disrespecting very basic human rights law.
Unfortunately, these entities lead the show in Yemen. The coalition claims they adhere to international law and norms. Not only that, but the international community provides them a platform to tell lies, fabricate false stories, and deny reality entirely. These actions are undermining Yemenis’ human rights, and as a consequence, are also undermining the human rights of all world citizens.
Abdulsalam Al-Dhahebi is a Swedish citizen from Yemen. He is a human rights activist in Sheba Rights for Democracy and Human Rights. (www.shebarights.org) He is following the Yemeni situation and working on promoting the idea of establishing an international commission of inquiry in Yemen.