The children that you see in there are just completely skin and bones.
October 30, 2018 6:30 AM   Subscribe

The Tragedy of Saudi Arabia's War - "In Yemen, an economic war has pushed millions to the brink of starvation." [cw: starving children] (via)
In 2016, the Saudi-backed Yemeni government transferred the operations of the central bank from the Houthi-controlled capital, Sana, to the southern city of Aden. The bank, whose policies are dictated by Saudi Arabia, a senior Western official said, started printing vast amounts of new money — at least 600 billion riyals, according to one bank official. The new money caused an inflationary spiral that eroded the value of any savings people had.

The bank also stopped paying salaries to civil servants in Houthi-controlled areas, where 80 percent of Yemenis live. With the government as the largest employer, hundreds of thousands of families in the north suddenly had no income.
Yemen Faces Massive Famine - "The United Nations warned this week that about half of the people in Yemen - 14 million people - could soon be at risk of starving to death. It's a number so big it can obscure the desperation that so many Yemenis face in daily life. To try to understand these challenges, we're now joined by Sukaina Sharafuddin from Yemen's capital, Sanaa. She grew up in the city, and she's now a communications officer for Save the Children."
posted by kliuless (22 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Heart-wrenching and infuriating. A completely avoidable, Saudi made tragedy. Unbelievable that so many are starving to death, not because there is no food, but only because of artificially induced inflation and wage theft. The NY Times has printed so much verifiable crap lately (the ridiculously sympathetic profiles of racists) , but I commend them for publishing this story and including the photos of dying babies. Perhaps now America will pay attention and public opinion will force the administration to stop supporting this completely immoral war.
posted by pjsky at 7:25 AM on October 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

Has the world stopped selling arms to the Saudis yet? The media can go on and on about Jamal Khashoggi all it likes, but not covering the tragedy in the Yemen and the causes thereof is, hmm, a slightly bigger scandal.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 7:54 AM on October 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

But the Saudis our are allies! We give them weapons and reactors, we get money and religious extremists.

Surely them having a little training war before they fight Iran for us (with us) is OK. Famine and death? As long as it doesn't happen here it's fine.

And Khashoggi? Junior officers have taken things too far all the time, they will be punished.

With the US on their side, the future of the Shia/Sunni civil war looks bright.

Sorry for my cynicism, it's been a bad day.
posted by Marky at 9:20 AM on October 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

From July: Matt Taibbi - Why We Know So Little About the U.S.-Backed War in Yemen.
What the U.N. calls the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” is an unhappy confluence of American media taboos.
posted by adamvasco at 10:17 AM on October 30, 2018 [6 favorites]

Nobody should be selling these people weapons. That money is soaked in blood. I really think that American culture has a fundamental break down of logic and causality when it comes to weapons. It's this: you'll sell a gun, and then whatever happens next has nothing to do with you. There's a well known movement that defends this attitude as a sacrosanct right.

Trump boasts about his big money arms deal. And you can draw a direct line from that to what this post is about. Blood on his hands.

It's a complete failure of causal logic. The best thing you can do about it is VOTE.

And here's what Pat Robertson has to say:

“You’ve got one journalist — who knows? Was it an interrogation? Was he assassinated? Were there rogue elements? Who did it?...You’ve got $100 billion worth of arms sales...we cannot alienate our biggest player in the Middle East.”

Ok, christian, tell me what your faith says about the death of just one man for the sake of thirty pieces 100 billion dollars? And before you say it, whatever you do to them, you do to him. Now multiply that sin by 14 million.

People like Pat like to say America is a christian nation, but with this he reveals an ugly truth. Americans will look beyond some spilt blood as a sacrifice to the money god Capitalism.
posted by adept256 at 10:26 AM on October 30, 2018 [8 favorites]

It's not just Trump's hands though. Obama and Clinton both provided massive arms deals to the Saudis, even selling them the cluster bombs and fighter-bombers they are currently using in their war crimes.

Their aides even celebrated it.

Another miserable data point showing that when Democrats and Republicans agree, it's people of color and the poor who suffer.
posted by Ouverture at 1:33 PM on October 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

Here are the full remarks that were given to the UN Security Council on Yemen by Mark Lowcock a week ago. (Also the IPC scale that the UN uses to declare a famine.)
So, just to be clear, my assessment – my advice to you – is that there is now a clear and present danger of an imminent and great big famine engulfing Yemen: much bigger than anything any professional in this field has seen during their working lives.
Our revised assessment, the results of new survey work and analysis, is that the total number of people facing pre-famine conditions, meaning they are entirely reliant on external aid for survival, could soon reach not 11 million but 14 million. That is half the total population of the country.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:59 PM on October 30, 2018

Ro Khanna has introduced a resolution directing the president to remove US military forces from Yemen under the War Powers Resolution. My understanding is that concurrent resolutions are not binding and there's a bit of a loophole because anything that could be directly tied to fighting Al-Qaeda would fall under the AUMF (which really needs to be repealed too!) and so not covered by the resolution.

But passing it is not nothing and seems to be the best path forward that your average US citizen could rally behind. The US military is providing intelligence and refueling support to the Saudi air campaign that could be stopped immediately and, more generally, it would be helpful if Congress would start reasserting some of those war-making powers that they were assigned in the Constitution.

Resolutions like this have been introduced before but there seems to be some real momentum behind this one. Even the Charles Koch Institute supports it. The resolution is likely to come up for a vote in November during the lame duck session. You can find out if your representative is a co-sponsor here. If they're not, give their office a call and ask why the hell not. Bernie Sanders will also be re-introducing his resolution in the Senate so keep an eye out for that too.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 2:04 PM on October 30, 2018

Remind me again just who are the arms manufacturers & dealers making money from America & China giving Saudis money to destroy Yemen on their way to war with Iran?
Do you or your hedge fund own stock in those companies?
posted by Mesaverdian at 4:22 PM on October 30, 2018

The government of Canada hasn't done much better when it comes to arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
posted by clawsoon at 4:44 PM on October 30, 2018

Remind me again just who are the arms manufacturers & dealers making money from America & China giving Saudis money to destroy Yemen on their way to war with Iran?
Do you or your hedge fund own stock in those companies?

Is...this comment directed at me? I'm, uh, not Charles Koch. The link that I provided that referenced the Charles Koch Institute is a Daily Beast article that is largely about the history of efforts in Congress to end US support for the Saudi-UAE war in Yemen and future prospects for doing the same.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 5:15 PM on October 30, 2018

Interestingly, Facebook had been removing the OP NYT article from newsfeeds.

Also, Saudis demanded good publicity over Yemen aid, leaked UN document shows

US presses Saudi Arabia to agree ceasefire (specifically, Mattis and Pompeo)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:40 AM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately, the child pictured in the OP NYT, Amal Hussain, has died
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:32 AM on November 2, 2018

There is an unconfirmed story that Khashoggi was murdered over 'report on Saudi chemical warfare secrets in Yemen'.
Meanwhile here is an open letter which like most will probably be ignored.
In 2016 US admitted to supplying White Phosphorus to Saudi Arabia who then used it in Yemen.
The appropriate action that the US then stated it would take appears to have been nil.
posted by adamvasco at 8:34 AM on November 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Trump administration considers naming Yemen’s Houthi rebels a terrorist group

Medics: 58 combatants killed in fighting for Yemen's Hodeidah

Shireen Al-Adeimi: "These so-called "Yemen troops" are Saudi- & UAE-paid mercenaries from various countries including the US, Sudan, Colombia, Senegal, El Salvador, Panama, Australia, South Africa, Chile, and Yemen."
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:35 AM on November 9, 2018

Apparently the US is going to stop refueling Saudi planes in Yemen.

(However, it seems that this restriction leaves open a lot of loopholes: the US could still refuel other countries' planes that are part of the coalition; the only change that this announcement may bring is that the refueling planes will be Saudi-flagged instead of US-flagged.)

Also see this WaPo op-ed by a Houthi leader, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi: "We want peace for Yemen, but Saudi airstrikes must stop"
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:18 AM on November 10, 2018

Republicans block vote on war in Yemen
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:34 PM on November 14, 2018

Cato institute via WSJ so way right of centre:
Rather than deepen U.S. involvement in Yemen, the U.S. should drop its support for Riyadh while pushing for multiparty peace talks to bring the conflict to a peaceful close.
posted by adamvasco at 5:57 PM on November 24, 2018

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