The evidence of just how destructive the UK-backed Saudi war on Yemen has been continues to flood in. Last week, two separate reports outlined the scale of brutality unleashed on the Yemeni people. A United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report concluded that nearly one-hundred civilians were killed or injured in Yemen every week in 2018 whilst the preface of the Days of Judgement report from US-based University Network for Human Rights (UNHR) and Yemeni monitoring group Mwatana spells out just how dire the situation is:
“In a country that was already among the poorest and most fragile in the region, 14 million people are now threatened by famine and even more depend on humanitarian assistance. While precise figures are lacking, an estimated 50,000 people have been killed as a direct effect of the war and 85,000 children may have died of hunger and preventable diseases.”
The report goes on to detail how UK weapons, almost £5 billion of which have been sold to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since the war began, are responsible for huge numbers of deaths. In the 27 cases of unlawful airstrikes they investigated it was found that 203 people had been killed, including over 120 children, and 750 had been injured. When you consider that the total number of KSA strikes on Yemen totals over 16,000 the scale of lives lost to UK made weapons is simply unbearable.
Not so for the Tories whose unambiguous support for the war continues unabated following Jeremy Hunt’s ‘PR stunt’ trip to Yemen which has done precisely nothing to bring peace to the country. Last week, Defence Minister Mark Lancaster revealed in a written reply to Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP that 282 MoD and civilian staff provide support to BAE Systems which is the largest profiteer from UK-Saudi arms sales. This revelation leaves beyond doubt the fact that this war would be impossible without British support and that this government is directly responsible for civilian casualties in Yemen.
In a sign that the tables may be beginning to turn on the Saudi regime the US Senate voted last Wednesday to suspend US support for the war on Yemen. This may lead to an unprecedented clash with Donald Trump in which he may choose to use his presidential veto for the first time. Bernie Sanders, one of the bill’s sponsors said it provided an “opportunity to take a major step forward in ending the horrific war in Yemen and alleviating that terrible, terrible suffering being experienced by the people in one of the poorest countries in the world”.
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