Civilian Deaths in Yemen Won't Stop a Billion-Dollar US Arms Deal With Saudi Arabia

Vice News article by Samuel Oakford:

The US State Department has signed off on the sale of $1.29 billion worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia, including tens of thousands of bombs that will restock a Saudi arms stockpile depleted by the country's air campaign in Yemen, which has been linked to civilian deaths.

Human rights groups have repeatedly criticized Washington's support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, where the UN says coalition airstrikes have killed more than 1,000 civilians. Monday's announced deal, which still requires rubber stamping from Congress, indicates those concerns have had little effect on weapons sales.

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Philip Hammond says he wants UK to sell even more weapons to Saudi Arabia

Article for The Independent by Jon Stone:

Britain should sell more weapons to the Saudi Arabian regime despite the fact they are being used by the country as part of its military operations in Yemen, the Foreign Secretary has said.

Philip Hammond said he was aware that human rights violations by Saudi Arabian forces operating in the country had been reported but said the Saudis denied these allegations.

Saudi Arabia has been blockading Yemen since March this year and is launching airstrikes in the country’s territory.

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Yemen: A Time to Heal

Article for by Nabeel A. Khoury, former US diplomat and senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Hariri Center for the Middle East

The old Arab proverb, “Ba’da Kharab al-Basra” (“After the destruction of Basra”), is used in situations when help comes too late. In Yemen’s context, should the guns fall silent at this point, the proverb may be apt to describe stopping the war only after tremendous destruction to the country. The English version, “Better late than never,” is a more positive way of looking at the same phenomenon. The war in Yemen should never have taken place, but it did. Now, it is time for an outside power to stop the insanity. The United Nation’s Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, is valiantly trying to corral all sides to peace talks in hopes of ending the war. However, such talks are not likely to succeed without strong support from the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (P5).

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the Houthis are the main adversaries, despite the multiplicity of players on both sides of this equation. Both sides now have come to realize that neither one can achieve absolute victory. The Houthis have been ousted from Aden and much of the south and are under serious threat in Sana’a. They can fight on in Ta’izz but their forces will eventually be isolated and out-gunned. Their traditional home city, Sa’dah, has been severely damaged to the point where life has become difficult, if not impossible for the majority of its population. The Houthis no longer have anything to gain from continuing this war.

On the other hand, KSA has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars a month on this war effort and has imported about as many foreign fighters as are willing to come to Yemen. But as the Saudis, allied with the popular resistance, isolate the Houthis and push them back to the North, the latter have responded with a counter attack inside the Kingdom, threatening not only Saudi cities and military bases but, more importantly, Saudi’s internal stability. If Saudi leadership wants a stable relationship with its southern neighbor, this is the time to end the operation in Yemen. Complete victory through the total humiliation of Yemen’s northern tribes would leave KSA with an angry, impoverished neighbor, severing the diplomatic ties much needed in peacetime.

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Blog article by Dr Judith Brown

I would like particularly to dwell on the suffering of children in this ghastly war, as this week children are returning to school after an 8 month gap in their education since March. When children stopped going to school because of the aerial bombardment, people thought it would be a short time until the war was over. Now, 224 days later, they are still subject to a barrage of bombs, but people want to get on with their lives. Education will still be difficult. Many schools are destroyed or damaged, and in some areas the remaining intact schools are so far away that it will not be possible to send children to school, such as in Saada governate. Most schools do not have electricity or water, and also lack basic equipment such as paper because of the blockade. So despite the fact that the pace of the war has not diminished and the blockade stops educational equipment from arriving, the people of Yemen do not want their children to be a lost generation and they have decided that they must go to school, whatever happens. This will not be easy, as bombs can still be heard day and night, and many children are suffering from stress because of it. But congratulations, mabruk Yemen, on getting your schools up and running. And what courage those teachers must have.

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