Opinion Pieces Discuss Humanitarian Crisis In Yemen, Need For International Action To End War
New York Times: U.S. Tax Dollars Help to Starve Children
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist
“…Both the Obama and Trump administrations have supported the Saudi war in Yemen with a military partnership, arms sales, intelligence sharing, and until recently air-to-air refueling. The United States is thus complicit in what some human rights experts believe are war crimes. The bottom line: Our tax dollars are going to starve children. … What is most infuriating is that the hunger is caused not by drought or extreme weather, but by cynical and failed policies in Riyadh and Washington. The starvation does not seem to be an accidental byproduct of war, but rather a weapon in it. … But in Yemen the most common war casualties are children … who suffer malnutrition. … The war and lack of health care facilities have also led to outbreaks of deadly diseases like diphtheria and cholera. Half of the country’s clinics and hospitals are closed. … To avert a catastrophe in Yemen, the world needs to provide more humanitarian aid. But above all, the war has to end. … One step to a solution: Congress should suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia so long as the Saudis continue the war…” (12/7).
CNN: U.N. humanitarian chief: It’s not too late to save Yemen from apocalypse
Mark Lowcock, U.N. under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator
“…Yemen’s crisis is entirely man-made. It will not be solved by Mother Nature. But we can stave off the looming apocalypse if we take action now. Here is the U.N.’s five-point plan. First, we need an immediate ceasefire to protect people but also the essential infrastructure without which a great famine is guaranteed. … Second, the U.N.’s humanitarian response plan for 2019 has to be fully funded. … Third, urgent and ongoing measures are needed to stabilize the economy. … Fourth, work needs to start now on recovery and rebuilding, including for the key state institutions. … And fifth, the parties attending the talks set to begin in Sweden — convened by Martin Griffiths, the U.N. special envoy for Yemen — need to stay until they have agreed to the first meaningful actions towards peace. Rebuilding the battered economy and creating jobs and livelihoods to a point where Yemen can sustain itself will be the work of decades. But piecing back together Yemen’s fractured society and overcoming the anger and grievances the war has amplified will take generations. None of this is going to get better until it stops getting worse. Better get on with it before it is too late” (12/6).
Washington Post: Yemen’s looming famine has been a long time coming
Peter Salisbury, consultant analyst at the International Crisis Group and senior consulting fellow with the Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Program
“Analysts have long argued that, if left unchecked, Yemen’s political, economic, and fiscal crises were all but certain to cause a massive, debilitating famine. As Yemen barrels toward this worst-case scenario, what is most disturbing is that there is no indication the trend will be stopped, even when people start dying in unprecedented numbers. … Unless a planned assault on the Red Sea port of Hodeida is prevented and the war ended, says Mark Lowcock, the United Nations humanitarian chief, a ‘great big famine’ will follow soon, and Yemen will endure what Lowcock believes will be the worst humanitarian disaster in our lifetime. … Calls for peace talks unaccompanied by concrete action and debates on the [U.S.] Senate floor are likely to be too little, too late — if they amount to anything at all. … When the famine comes, the United States will not be alone in its culpability. Yemen represents a long-term failure of the international system and the U.N. Security Council in particular. As the country slips into unimaginable, desperate hunger, it’s important to understand that what is happening was utterly, tragically predictable. The people who should have known knew. They just had other priorities” (12/5).