Saudi Blockade on Yemen – A Catastrophe on Humanity
Mohammad Iqbal Mir
Saudi Arabia imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Yemen which is catastrophe on humanity. “It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades,” Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, told the media in Nov 2017, after briefing the Security Council.
Saudi Arabia has justified the blockade that it is imposed after a long-range missile from Yemen was intercepted near Riyadh airport in the beginning of November. Saudi Arabia says that blockade was aimed at preventing the Houthi rebels from smuggling in weaponry. More than ten thousand people have been killed, three million Yemenis have also been displaced and 17 million people depending on external aids. Living situation in the impoverished country is very challenging, where millions of Yemenis are threatened with the fatalistic challenges of diphtheria, and other preventable diseases.
Some 2,100 people have died of cholera since April as hospitals struggle to secure basic supplies across the country. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said that the Saudi blockade has left five cities in Yemen running out of clean water due to a halt in the import of fuel needed for pumping and sanitation, warning of “a renewed cholera outbreak.” Saudi Arabia’s ongoing blockade on Yemen drives 500 children into malnutrition every week, and creating humanitarian misery for millions of Yemenis.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, has reported that a total of 32 flights to Yemen have been canceled since the regime in Riyadh ordered a tightening of the blockade of the impoverished country. It is absolutely essential that the operation of the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) should be allowed to continue without any impediment. It requires intervention of not merely the International Community but also the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) simultaneously to be pragmatic with regard of Yemen blockade, irrespective of sectarianism and regionalism. India who is not a member of OIC but has a right to intervene and ease the escalation of situation as it also gets influenced by this blood-shed war. Recently 51 Yemenis came to India for treatment.
IRAN, SAUDI ARABIA AND USA
The ongoing tussle of regional supremacy between Iran and Saudi Arabia escalates the line of sectarianism supportive to their belongings, loyalty cards are being distributed and assured of. With the advent of King Salman who is known by his internal reform initiatives simultaneously his external power is seen to be declining be it, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Yemen or now Lebanon. Saudi is still a failure, because it only controls a little Aden, South of Yemen where the Sunnis are in majority and Saana its capital is under Houthi control. Yemen lacks a functional government. The Houthi movement, which champions Yemen’s Zaidi Shia Muslim minority and fought a series of rebellions against Mr. Saleh during the previous decade, took advantage of the new President’s weakness by taking control of their northern heartland of Saana province and neighboring areas. They are loyal to the internationally-recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement. Mr. Hadi struggled to deal with a variety of problems, including attacks by Al-Qaeda, a separatist movement in the south, the continuing loyalty of many military officers to Mr. Saleh, as well as corruption, unemployment and food insecurity.
Former US President Barack Obama offered support to Saudi Campaign against Yemen and its inscrutable legacy is still being carried out by the Donald Trump giving nod of genocidal war against the later. Israel is also not lagging behind to avail the benefits of the rift between the Tehran and Riyadh, by coming and forming an alliance of Anti-Iran brazenly. The former has left no stone unturned to destabilize the West Asia and especially tried harder to strangulate Iran entirely but the later’s potential and strategic power is unequivocal. The USA is excusing itself by not ratifying the historic Nuclear Deal which was signed between the Islamic Republic of Iran and P5+1 in 2015, where the former pledged all sanctions will be annulled against later. Probably the world knows that it is Saudi’s and Israel’s influence upon which Trump dances accordingly. There is also a formidable alliance of Iran-Russia-China and perhaps the welcome of lateral entry Pakistan forms the nuclear power alliance. Geo-politics is hardly a zero-sum game. American influence is declining and China with global ambition has a capacity to replace USA. Coming back, Saudi though eventually announced to ease the blockade but easing is no more a solution but a prolonging suppression for Yemen.
The reopening of the Hudaydah port and the Sana’a airport for humanitarian aid is not merely required to be eased but Riyadh should keep itself away from any kind of intervention and act to conciliate the Houthis in internationally recognized country’s internal affairs. Indeed Politics without morality becomes a dirty game.
Author is pursuing Masters in Sociology
at Jamia Milla Islamia New-Delhi and can be reached at email@example.com.
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