This is our chance to finally end US complicity in Yemen’s humanitarian crisis

By Brian Milakovsky, Special to the Bangor Daily News

At a time when genuine bipartisan action seems almost impossible, there is one issue in Congress uniting libertarian Republicans and liberal Democrats: opposition to the brutal war in Yemen.

For humanitarian and constitutional reasons, this war is a catastrophe that the U.S. must end as soon as it can. The House of Representatives will soon debate a motion that would do just that, and we as Mainers must do everything we can to ensure our Reps. Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree cast a “yes” vote.

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Saudi's arming of radical terrorist groups in Syria

In this short video, former US Vice-President Joe Biden tells the truth about Saudi Arabia's arming of radical terrorist groups in Syria in order to oust Assad.

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The Guardian view on Yemen and UK arms sales: immoral, whatever the law decides

Article by The Guardian

The case for halting British arms sales to Saudi Arabia has been evident, not only on moral grounds, since civilians started dying in the conflict devastating Yemen. It is illegal to license such exports if there is a “clear risk” they could be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law. Over a year ago, a leaked UN report recorded “widespread and systematic” breaches of the laws of war. This week has exposed the indefensibility of weapons sales so clearly that the need for a suspension seems undeniable, except to the government.

First, the United Nations warned that 12 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine, while 19 million – more than two-thirds of the population – need assistance and protection. An already impoverished country has been devastated by a conflict fuelled by arms sales and political and military support from the UK, the US and others. The UN seeks $2.1bn to stave off the worst, while the UK alone has licensed more than £3.3bn of arms sales since the war began almost two years ago. Earlier hopes of a peace deal have faded and the US suspension of some exports to Riyadh – a token gesture by the departing Obama administration – is likely to be overturned by the new regime in Washington.

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Rex Tillerson wants to provide Saudi Arabia with more help to bomb Yemen

Article for The Intercept by Zaid Jilani

FOR 21 MONTHS, a coalition of nations led by Saudi Arabia has been relentlessly bombing Yemen, using U.S.- and U.K.-produced weapons and intelligence in a war that has devastated Yemen and killed well over 10,000 civilians.

There is abundant evidence that the high civilian death toll in Yemen is the result of deliberate — not accidental — strikes by Saudi Arabia. During its air campaign, Saudi Arabia has bombed endless civilian targets — including homes, farms, markets, factories, water infrastructure, hospitals, and children’s schools — and has even gone so far as to use internationally banned cluster weapons, which are designed to inflict damage over a wide area and often remain lethal years after being dropped.

But when secretary of state nominee and former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson was asked about Saudi Arabia’s use of cluster weapons during his confirmation hearing Wednesday, he declined to answer, and suggested that the way to discourage Saudi Arabia from hitting civilians in Yemen is to provide them with additional targeting intelligence.

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Boris Johnson's Saudi 'proxy wars' comment 'not UK's view'

BBC News article

Downing Street has said Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's comments on Saudi Arabia do not represent "the government's position".

Footage has emerged from an event last week at which Mr Johnson said UK ally Saudi Arabia was engaging in "proxy wars" in the Middle East.

The PM's spokeswoman said these were the foreign secretary's personal views.

She said a forthcoming visit to the region would give him a chance to set out the UK's position on Saudi Arabia.

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Belhaf battle helps to rebuild Yemen

National Editorial, UAE

Even as the war in Yemen continues in the western parts of the country, there is a second war happening in the eastern and southern parts.

In the west, along the Red Sea coast, the Saudi-led Arab coalition continues to fight to restore the legitimate Yemeni government to power and remove the Houthi rebels from Sanaa. That endeavour has been complicated by extensive support from the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and forces loyal to him, and from Iran. In the past week, the Houthis and Mr Saleh’s factions announced they would form a new "government", called the Supreme Political Council. This group has no democratic mandate, nor is it clear if it has any popular support. It has simply been enforced on those parts of Yemen that remain controlled by the Houthi rebels.

While the battle for the capital continues, there is also a second, parallel, battle taking place, one in which the UAE has played a major role. It is in the wide expanses of Yemen’s east, towards its border with Oman, that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have made their stronghold.

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Saudi ambassador laughs off cluster bomb question with 'wife beating' answer

Article by Middle East Eye

Riyadh's man in US says asking whether his country will end the use of cluster bombs in Yemen is like asking 'Will you stop beating your wife?'

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US brushed off a question on whether his country will stop using cluster bombs the Yemen war, with the answer: "This is like the question, ‘Will you stop beating your wife?’"

Prince Abdullah al-Saud was asked the question by a reporter at The Intercept during the annual Arab-US Policymakers Conference in Washington last week.

“This is like the question, ‘Will you stop beating your wife?’” Saud replied while laughing. “You are political operators… I’m not a politician.”

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The man who lost 27 family members in an air strike

BBC article by Sumaya Bakhsh

The war in Yemen had been going on for just two months when Abdullah al-Ibbi sat down for a late-night meal with his two wives, their children and grandchildren. It was then, in an instant, that his world shattered.

The air strike that hit Abdullah's home killed 27 members of his family. He survived, but only learnt about their deaths six weeks later when he woke up in a hospital bed.

"If I didn't fear God, I would have committed suicide at that moment," he recalls. "I would have jumped off a building... but God gave me patience."

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War pushes Yemen to partition, thwarting peace efforts

Reuters article by Noah Browning

Yemen has endured thousands of air strikes and the deaths of more than 10,000 people in a 19-month war that has also unleashed hunger on the desperately poor country - but its biggest challenge may be yet to come.

The conflict has led to Yemen's de facto partition, with rival armies and institutions in the north and south, and could mean the map of the Middle East will have to be redrawn.

A three-day truce to allow in more humanitarian aid and prepare a political settlement collapsed last week, reflecting deadlocked efforts to end the stalemated war.

But behind the combatants' disagreements over how to share power, Yemen's future as a unified state appears increasingly in doubt.

Such a possibility appeared remote when a coalition of Arab states began launching air strikes in March 2015 to restore to power President Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi, driven from the capital, Sanaa, by the Iranian-allied Houthi movement in 2014.

It seems less fanciful now.

The Houthis' rise to power in the north has provoked a revival of southern separatism, a movement that sees the fracturing of state power as its moment to break away.

At the same time, the south and its major city, Aden, serve as a base for the internationally recognized government, which is trying to take back national control even as it manages an uneasy alliance with the secessionists.

Yemen was once split between a pro-Soviet state in the South and a republic buttressed by armed tribes in the North. A southern bid to secede failed in 1994 when the north restored unity by force.

Many southerners now believe their time has come after two decades of what they see as marginalization within the unified state, and the plundering of mostly southern oil reserves by corrupt northern tribal sheikhs and politicians.

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Air strike kills 17 in Yemen, exiled president rejects peace plan

Reuters article - Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Maha El Dahan; editing by Richard Balmforth

At least 17 civilians were killed in Yemen's southwestern province of Taiz on Saturday by a Saudi-led coalition air strike that struck a house, local officials and residents said.

The raid targeted a house in the al-Salw district, the sources said, an area of Taiz where Houthi rebels and government forces backed by the coalition are fighting for control. Taiz is Yemen's third largest city with an estimated pre-war population of 300,000.

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Houthi rebels and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who hold much of the north of Yemen including the capital Sanaa, since March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.

The exiled Hadi on Saturday rejected a U.N. peace proposal to end the turmoil saying the deal would only be a path to more war and destruction.

Speaking after meeting U.N. envoy Ismail Ould Cheickh Ahmed in Riyadh, Hadi said the agreement would "reward the rebels and penalize the Yemeni people and legitimacy," according to the government-controlled Saba news agency.

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Time is running out to pay attention to the crisis in the Yemen

Article by Yemeni journalist Rafat Al-Akhali for NewStateman

The West must turn to the world's "forgotten crisis" - before it becomes too big to forget.

The horrifying images of starving children, women, and men coming out of Yemen tell a story to the world that we Yemenis have known for a while: the country is sliding into a wide-scale famine while all sides of the conflict turn a blind eye to the suffering of millions of innocent civilians.

While an alliance of the Houthi rebel movement and the ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh continues to persecute their opponents in the areas they control, and besiege and shell Taiz, the country’s third-largest city, in an effort to consolidate their control over the central part of Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition besieges most of the country and indiscriminately targets civilian areas and infrastructure. The worst single incident took place earlier this month when an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition on a funeral hall in Sana’a left an estimated 140 dead and 525 injured. With a crumbling health system unable to cope, the majority of the injured were not able to travel abroad for treatment as the Saudis have forced the closure of Sana’a airport for nearly two months.

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Yemen’s Houthis accused of firing missile at Mecca

AlJazeera News Article

Saudi Arabia says it intercepted ballistic missile heading towards Islam's holy city, sparking denial from Yemen rebels.

Yemen's Houthi rebels have been accused of targeting Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca by launching a long-range ballistic missile from 500km over the border.

The rebels and their ally Iran vehemently denied the allegation on Friday.

The Saudi-led military coalition - which is backing Yemen's pro-government forces in the conflict with the Shia fighters - said the missile was "intercepted and destroyed" before it could do any damage - about 65km from Mecca, home to some of Islam's most sacred sites.

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British Red Cross - Yemen Crisis Appeal

Yemen Crisis Appeal by the British Red Cross

The ongoing conflict in Yemen has devastated millions of people’s lives.

Right now, more than half the population don’t have enough food. Almost a quarter face starvation. Families are living with no water or electricity.

View the appeal here

Save the Children - Yemen Crisis - Donate Now

Yemen Crisis Appeal by Save the Children

This is the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

But not enough people have been talking about it.

Since March last year, brutal fighting has spread across almost all of Yemen.

A staggering 21 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid - that's 82% of the population.

Children are going hungry and thirsty - one third of children under 5 are severely malnourished, and in many parts of the country the water supply is turned on for just one hour every day.

The healthcare system has collapsed, meaning that children and their families can't get the vital care they desperately need.

View the appeal here

Care International - Yemen Emergency Appeal

Care International Yemen Emergency Appeal

Over 80% of Yemen’s population are in a desperate struggle for survival and need your help right now. The conflict has devastated the lives of children and their families, with so many now on the brink of starvation. Please donate now to provide emergency food and water.

View appeal here

OXFAM appeal - Crisis in Yemen

OXFAM appeal for Crisis in Yemen

GIVE NOW. SAVE LIVES.

Deadly clashes and air strikes have killed and injured thousands of people. Millions more have been forced to leave their homes and are struggling to find food and water. Oxfam is there.

You can help.

View appeal here

Unicef: Donate and help protect children in Yemen

Yemen Crisis appeal by UNICEF

View UNICEF appeal here

Millions starving in ‘forgotten war’ as Saudi bombs tear Yemen apart

Article by Bel Trew for The Times

Millions of people in Yemen are starving, including children who will be crippled for life, the UN has warned as new photographs from areas worst hit by the war show teenagers dying of hunger.

Yemen now has one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) said yesterday. More than 14 million people are going hungry, half of them starving. At least ten of the country’s 21 governorates are close to a famine.

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WHAT A REAL REVIEW OF U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO SAUDI ARABIA WOULD SAY

Article by Richard Sokolsky and Jeremy Shapiro

Americans have not paid much attention to the war In Yemen. With all eyes on Syria and the neo-Cold War rivalry there with Russia, Yemen did not come up at all in the presidential debates. Yet according to UN figures, the war has left 10,000 dead and 900,000 civilians displaced — and it arguably implicates the United States even more than the Syrian conflict.

The Saudi Arabian intervention in Yemen, which began in March 2015, has been aided and abetted from the beginning by the United States. U.S.-supplied military aircraft, refueled by U.S. tanker planes and directed by U.S. intelligence assets, are bombing Yemen almost daily with U.S.-made weapons.

America’s responsibility was brought into stark relief earlier this month, when Saudi planes mistakenly bombed a packed funeral in the Yemeni capital, killing 140 and wounding over 500 people. It was only the latest in a series of Saudi attacks that have killed civilians, leading U.N. experts to condemn Saudi actions in Yemen as war crimes. In the aftermath, the White House announced that U.S military assistance to Saudi Arabia does not amount to a blank check and that it would begin an immediate “policy review” of this aid to Saudi Arabia.

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Hundreds protest against UN envoy in Yemen capital

AhramOnline article by AFP

Hundreds of people demonstrated in Yemen's rebel-held capital on Tuesday against what they described as the United Nations' "complicity" in the country's deadly 19-month-old war, witnesses said.

The protesters gathered outside a Sanaa hotel where UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was staying as he tried to convince the warring parties to accept a ceasefire and resume peace talks.

"Leave, leave Yemen," the demonstrators chanted, addressing the UN envoy whom they accused of "sympathising with Al-Saud", the Saudi ruling family.

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