- Saudi Arabia is America’s No. 1 weapons buyer. Between 2013 and 2017, the Saudis accounted for 18 percent of total U.S. arms sales or about $9 billion
- There is a potential $110 billion on the table related to purchase of U.S. military weapons
- There are concerns that Saudi Arabia may weaponize crude to silence critics
On November 29, 2018, the U.S. Senate voted to advance a resolution to remove U.S. armed forces from Yemen. In a vote of 63-37, the Senate agreed to bring the issue to a floor vote. Agreement to advance the issue to the floor places the Trump administration and the allied coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on notice that bipartisan members of the Senate are growing weary of U.S. engagement with what has turned into a humanitarian crisis of historic and horrific proportions. Senators also want to send a signal that they have serious concerns about the circumstances surrounding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist killed in Istanbul, including the potential connection to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman.
An estimated 8.4 million people are starving, out of about 22 million people who live in Yemen. In a statement published in May, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs at the U.N., Mark Lowcock says that if conditions do not improve the number can increase to another 10 million by the end of 2018. In a statement released on December 1, 2018, Lowcock called for peace in Yemen. The under-secretary-general stated that Yemen is on the brink of catastrophe, but it is not too late. Lowcock also stated, “Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian operation, but in 2019 it will need to be substantially bigger.” He reports that donors this year provided $2.3 billion for the 2018 response plan, or about 80 per cent of requirements.
Recent reports by Sky and PBS News Hour provide disturbing glimpses into the pain and suffering inflicted on innocents. Women and children are suffering disproportionately. A story published by Middle East Monitor (MEMO) shares reports from UNICEF that confirm more than 11 million children have needed humanitarian assistance since the war began. Five children are injured or die each day.
Journalist Jane Ferguson went undercover recently and was smuggled in to Yemen dressed as a Yemeni woman. Ferguson’s story was aired on PBS News Hour. In the video below, she provides disturbing videos matched with compelling narratives that make clear a coordinated global response to end the suffering is needed now.
The world’s largest humanitarian crisis is a man-made disaster of historic proportions. In fact, the hunger crisis (and associated cholera outbreak) is the result of a Saudi-led blockade of the Yemen’s biggest port in the city of Hodeidah. Yemen imports almost 90% of its food supply. About 70-80% of imports pass through the port that has been under blockade. Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world. The Saudi-led coalition is in Yemen to defeat Houthi rebels, a group that overthrew the government in 2014. The Houthi’s have reported ties to Iran.