Shortly after Donald Trump’s unauthorized rocket-attack on Syria in early April, which Trump said he carried out to avenge the deaths of ‘beautiful babies’ killed in an unattributed chemical attack*, Gelhorn prize-winning journalist Gareth Porter noted that Trump, following Obama precedent, is exerting political pressure and giving material aid and physical assistance to help Saudi dictator Salman Abdulaziz implement a blockade to starve the people of Yemen, the poorest country in the region.
Porter pointed out that by “February 2016, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as a result of the Saudi blockade was already worse than Syria’s … United Nations agencies have estimated that 462,000 Yemeni children under five years of age are already suffering severe acute malnutrition, putting them at serious risk of death from starvation and malnutrition-related disease.”
The Saudi-dominated axis of dictators bombing Yemen received “$130 billion in US arms sales during the Obama administration alone”, including internationally banned cluster bombs, and the US further encouraged and “enabled the Saudis … by refueling the Saudi-led coalition planes bombing Yemen” and providing military advisors.
A few days after Porter’s article, Reuters reported on an update by the UN, which said Yemen is reaching the “breaking point”, with “nine million people on the brink of starvation”, making this “one of the world’s worst hunger crises.”
The UN said that now “nearly 3.3 million people, including 2.1 million children” are “acutely malnourished”, far higher than the 462,000 reported earlier by Porter.
“UN special rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions, Idriss Jazairy” said the “naval blockade imposed on Yemen since 2015” is what has led to the unfolding “humanitarian catastrophe”.
“The unwarranted restrictions on the flow of commercial and humanitarian goods and services into Yemen” are “paralyzing [the] nation”.
“The blockade involves grave breaches of the most basic norms of human rights law, as well as of the law of armed conflict”, the UN rapporteur added.
“More than 21 million people, or around 80 percent of Yemen’s population, are in need of humanitarian aid, the United Nations says.”
This week, Porter notes another consequence of the Obama/Trump policy of helping Abdulaziz and other regional despots wage total war on the people of Yemen has been that Al Qaeda, which is sponsored by Saudi Arabia and other states, has emerged in an “unprecedented position of power”, possibly to become the “strongest political force” in southern Yemen.
After Obama showed willingness “to take advantage of the considerable military power of the Nusra Front [Al Qaeda’s Syria branch] jihadist alliance”, Abdulaziz expected, and received, a green light to wage war on Yemen. “A predictable consequence of that decision has been to fuel the rise of AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula], which has “been the biggest winner in the war, taking advantage of state collapse, an open alliance with the Saudi-supported government and a major infusion of arms – much of its provided indirectly by the Saudis.”
Robert J. Barsocchini is an independent researcher and reporter whose interest in propaganda and global force dynamics arose from working as a cross-cultural intermediary for large corporations in the US film and Television industry. His work has been cited, published, or followed by numerous professors, economists, lawyers, military and intelligence veterans, and journalists. He begins work on a Master’s Degree in American Studies in the fall.
*MIT rocket scientist Theodore Postol has issued several analyses of the Trump White House report on the chemical attack in Syria, and has determined “no competent intelligence professional” could have been involved in the White House report, as it is based on “false claims that are totally inconsistent with the evidence”. (Trump, a well-known climate-change denier and torture-promoter, is not generally praised for making careful decisions based on evidence.)