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Yemen: Political Stalemate, Mercenaries Prosper and the Population Disintegrates
by Rene Wadlow
2018-07-01 08:05:40
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The Saudi and its United Arab Emirate allies have launched on 13 June an attack which continues on the Red Sea port of Hodeidah.  Hodeidah is a city of some 600,000 people, some of whom are recent residents displaced by fighting in other parts of Yemen.  The port receives some 70 per cent of food and medical aid being sent to Yemen by the United Nations and non-governmental relief agencies.

yem002_400The population of Hodeidah faces a wide-spread wave of cholera, lack of medical supplies, lack of food and clean water. The situation grows worse by the day as heavy bombardments by the Saudi air force continues to destroy what civilian infrastructure still exists.

The United Nations Security Council has been discussing the situation in both public and private meetings without any visible impact. The new U.N. envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffith, first suggested that an international team or a third party could assume the administration of the city.  As that suggestion fell on "deaf ears", he then proposed the obvious: a ceasefire between the Saudi and United Arab Emirate forces and those of Ansar Allah, more commonly called the Houthis.  This suggestion also fell on deaf ears, and the fighting continues.

The only people who profit from the fighting, in the literal sense, are the mercenaries, US and Australian at the higher levels of the Saudi and United Arab Emerite forces and Sudanese at the lower level. 

There have been discussions in the United Nations since the 1960s when European mercenaries were active in the conflicts in the  former Belgium Congo if there could be ways to stop or limit the use of mercenaries. These discussions also fell on deaf ears. In practice, though less often called mercenaries today, the practice has grown and is likely to continue growing.

wc00The Yemen conflict can become  even more complicated.  Iran has just sent two war ships, a helicopter carrier and a destroyer, toward the area. It is not enough to lift the Saudi blockade, but war ships have a habit of inviting trouble.

The Association of World Citizens has been advocating negotiations in good faith for the Yemen conflicts, but good faith is in short supply.  The Association has also been stressing the need to develop appropriate forms of governmental structures for Yemen, probably a confederation which would balance regional autonomy within the country while keeping a single State.  Again, whatever else the Saudis and their allies, the Houthis and the outside countries involved are thinking, constitutional reforms does  not seem to be high on the list of priorities.

Probably, as Martin Griffiths somewhat reluctantly decided, calling for a cease fire is a necessary first step.


Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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