Oh Yemen! – Man It’s Hard Just to Live
There is a war going on in Yemen, just as brutal as the war in Syria. Yet, it has received very little media attention.
“Yemen is a media blackout,” said Jamie McGoldrick, the top U.N. humanitarian official in the country. “It’s not getting the attention it deserves. It’s not Aleppo. We don’t have drones flying over it showing the destruction. We don’t have a Mosul, which has BBC cameras 24-7 on it.”
In order to understand the real tragedy in Yemen, one must turn away from the US mainstream media’s “real news” and seek alternative “fake” media sources. A good start would be the powerful documentary by the BBC “Starving Yemen”, produced by Nawal Al-Maghafi. (www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37423263) This documentary exposes the real causalities of war, the civilian, especially the children.
The chief executive of Oxfam, Mark Golding, stated: “Yemen is being slowly starved to death. First there were restrictions on imports including much need food. When this was partially eased, the cranes in the ports were bombed, then the warehouses, then the roads and the bridges. This is not by accident. It is systematic.”
Before, the current civil war began, Yemen was the poorest country in the Middle East, it still is. Yemen’s food and medicine has to be imported. More than 90 percent of it’s supplies must be imported and come into the country’s by way of it’s ports and airports.
The Yemen civil war can be traced back to the Arab Spring of 2011. Since then Yemen has reeled from one political shock to another. The Arab Spring resulted in it’s authoritarian leader President Saleh being ousted and “agreeing” to a power-transition deal he signed in 2011.
Saleh actually backed out of signing the GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) power-transition deal three times. However, after a June 3, 2011 bomb attack on his presidential palace, which killed 14 bodyguards and government officials, he reconsidered.
From Saudi Arabia Saleh issued a decree, authorizing Hadi, who he had appointed as vice-president in 1994, to assume the role of acting president. Hadi would negotiate with the opposition to sign the GCC-brokered power transition deal.
The deal called for forming a national unity government from the Yemeni ruling party GPC and the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), each accounting for 50 percent representation and a presidential election to be held.
This deal made Yemen the first Arab Spring nation where an uprising led to a negotiated settlement brokered by a foreign coalition, the GCC. The Gulf Co-operation Council is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This deal was also backed by Washington DC, the European Union and the United Nations.
The “open and free” democratic election that followed was a bit suspect. Hadi was the only candidate on the ballot. Two of the most popular factions in Yemen, the Houthis in northern Yemen and the southern Ansar al-Sharia (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula), both called for a boycott of the election. To cast an even larger shadow over the results, Yemeni police reports indicate that they arrested “hardliners” that alleged sought to forcefully prevent people from voting.
Then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed the 2012 Presidential election in Yemen and promised continuous support to the Arab nation as it confronts challenges ahead. She extended her congratulations to the Yemeni people on the “successful” presidential vote, and called the election “another important step forward” in Yemen’s democratic transition process.
Secretary of State Clinton, in a written statement, concluded that, “Today’s election sends a clear message that the people of Yemen are looking forward to a brighter democratic future.” Probable the same message the Secretary sent to Trump after the results of the 2016 US Presidential Election were learned.
Hadi was elected president but he had a country beset by a host of problems. Separatists and rebels rejecting the brokered GCC deal and not acknowledging the legitimacy of the single candidate election.
Reactions soon turned violent. The Houthis movement in the north and a growing threat from al-Qaeda in the south escalated. In September of 2014, the Houthi rebels took power in Yemen and on January 22, 2015, under Houthi arrest, Yemen President Hadi resigned from his office but is was not over.
Ex-president Hadi, escaped the Houthis’ house arrest and fled to Arden. In February 0f 2015, he retracted his January resignation as president and reestablished himself as the President of Yemen.
By March 2015, with the Houthis advancing to the outskirts of Aden, Hadi left Yemen and took refuge in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Today Hadi’s provisional government resides in Saudi Arabia. The GCC countries, the United Nations, the European Union and the US continued to back Hadi as the legitimate leader of Yemen.
By the end of March 2015, a coalition of Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States began an aggressive campaign, known as Operation Decisive Storm, aimed at restoring the Hadi government.
So as of March 2015, the civil war became multi-national when Saudi Arabia took sides in the Yemeni civil war in behalf of “Hadi’s legitimate government.” The results of their intervention has devastated the Yemeni people. The country has imploded even further as the Saudi-led coalition entered the fray with it’s blockades and bombings.
The Saudi’s bombing campaign have laid waste to Yemen’s infrastructure. Their bombs have destroyed bridges, roads, schools, hospitals, water wells and reports indicate that farms and orchards have all been targeted. Saudi Arabian and its coalition partners have also established a naval blockade around Yemen.
The result of Saudi’s actions has shut down imports into Yemen. Thus the 90 percent of food and medicine required by the Yemeni has virtually disappeared. The United Nations estimates that more than 80 percent of Yemen’s population of 23 million are in immediate need of humanitarian assistance.
Why is Hadi government considered the “legitimate government”? Is it because he was “democratically” elected? Or is it because the Gulf Co-operation Council made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates says so? Or is it a way for Saudi Arabia to fight a proxy war against Iran? Or is it just a good market for the Industrial Military Complex?
How ever the legitimacy is rationalized none are addressing the popular sovereignty of the Yemeni people nor their welfare. Two final question about the legitimacy of Hadi’s leadership should be answered.
- What kind of leader would allow a foreign coalition to devastate his country, kill his innocent civilians, starve his defenseless children and deny the Yemeni any medical supplies?
- Do we really think that Hadi could go back to Yemen and gain the support of the Yemeni people?
Oh Yemen! – Man It’s Hard Just to Live.