Sana’a (AM) – Soon after the US called for a ceasefire in Yemen frontlines, the US-Saudi Aggression launched an air and ground assault on the port city of Hodeida. This escalation is considered to be largest since the attempt by the US-Saudi aggression to take Hodeida. The military operation targeted everything including infrastructure, homes, and civilians. The US-Saudi bombings have been the main cause of civilian causalities and destruction during the three-and-a-half-year-old conflict in Yemen.
Recently, The United States and Britain stepped up their efforts for a cease-fire in the Yemen war, under the pressure of the reports of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian disaster. The calls for a halt to the conflict — by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, his British counterpart, Jeremy Hunt and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — came as criticism of Saudi Arabia has surged over its bombing campaign in Yemen and the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi writer.
“It is time to end this conflict, replace conflict with compromise, and allow the Yemeni people to heal through peace and reconstruction,” Pompeo said.
While the United States, Saudi Arabia’s biggest arms supplier, could halt its assistance for the Saudi-led coalition implements aggression and blockade of Yemen by halting arms sales, US president Donald Trump has warned that such a move “would be hurting them”, confirming more than once that he would oppose stopping arms sales.
The United States announced halting mid-air refueling of jets of the Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen. On November 9, the United States and Saudi Arabia said that it was as ending one of the most divisive aspects of U.S. assistance to the Saudi war effort. The United States’ decision to end airborne refueling support to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen means nothing militarily. It is cost-free virtue signaling by the Trump administration.
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It’s an opportunity to appear a little bit cross over the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi while making sure that the Kingdom’s strategic trajectory stays on course. And it’s a way to distract attention from the fact that the French and British, just like their US allies, are continuing much more important military support for the Saudi side in the aggression against Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s efforts in the war, which the United Nations says could lead to 14 million people facing famine, will be unaffected by the US gesture. In fact, the Saudis even claimed ending the refueling was their idea.
There is much more that could be done. The US is the major supplier of munitions to the Saudi Air Force, and also supplies military intelligence. The United Kingdom and France also provide weapons to Saudi Arabia. In addition, the United Kingdom has been helping with what the military calls “battle damage assessment” (the aftermath of fighting and bombing), while France has sent specialist naval warfare advisers to the coalition side to help prevent seaborne attacks and mining operations by the Yemeni Army and Popular Committees.
The US-Saudi Aggression and Siege on Yemen is ugly. Reports are emerging of starving children, fears of a cholera epidemic, and it’s hard to drum up support in Washington for air strikes prosecuted by oil-rich Arab monarchies against Yemen tribesmen. Speaking in Geneva in response to reports that fighting had intensified around Hodeida, UN Refugee Agency chief Filippo Grandi said that it would make aid access “more difficult”. “It’s not just the humanitarian access which has been on and off but is also more important, access of goods through trade. Fuel, food, medicines, at least these three big areas. And I think that fighting will make it more difficult for that access to happen,” he explained.
This post originally ran on Almasirah and was republished here with permission.
Also published on Medium.