What's it like living next door to War-Torn Yemen? (Part 4): The Sequal 2-plus years-On: Famine & Endless War
by Kevin Stoda, Salalah, Oman
Several years back I felt that I needed to type out a set of documents from the silent side of the border of Yemen--namely the Dhofar region of Oman. This is the region where I live and work and which borders Yemen. However, mo there is still a buffer of many hundreds of kilometers from this region and most of the ongoing war or conflict led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. These human catastrophes are mostly now being carried out largely (but not exclusively) in the far-distant Houthi held regions of Yemen.
Now, again I feel a new set of documents need to be published on: What's it like living next door to War-Torn Yemen? The following is the first of this new series as yemen faces the worst famine in its history.
Two factors lead me to again tackle this topic. First, the United Nations has called on all countries of the world to aid the famine victims in Yemen. The youngest of the Yemeni population are the hardest hit and are dying at an alarming rate even as bombings continue in Yemen. One recent visitor to Yemen on behalf of peace groups noted, "The U.S. is arming the Saudis, that have led to the catastrophic situation in Yemen where one child is dying every single 10 minutes." So, this story must be told and retold until Americans comprehend it.
Second, President Trump appears to be expanding and accelerating the USAs involvement in the region. Just look at what he did in Syria last week. One long-time Middle East observer has noted: "The U.S. has been incinerating people for years with drone strikes, killed over 200 people in Mosul just recently." Meanwhile, he same has been going on in Yemen--first in the last months of the Obama Administration (who set an armament selling record with the Saudis) and now under the new Trump administration.
In January of this year, Trump okayed an ill-thought-out and ill-carried-out mission to Yemen which led to the deaths of 13 or more children--and dozens of other family members (and this was not even a Houthi-supporting village). On recent visitor in Yemen explains, "T hat village has essentially been abandoned now, because not only--after that raid happened, not only was the entire village strafed and more than 120 livestock were killed, but the U.S. went back a month later, at the beginning of March, and bombed it for four consecutive nights, both with drone strikes and helicopter gunfire, and killed two more children and several more adults. So the last person that I spoke to who was living there, Sheikh Aziz al Ameri, he then left the village and is now living under trees several miles away."
SHOCK AND AWE & WAR CRIMES OR REMAKING AL-QAEDA
Such shock-and-awe tactics eventually got America no-where with Iraq in the 2004-2010 period. Such shock-and-awe tactics are similarly not likely to end this civil war in Yemen--a war that both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been bungling through for over two and a half years now. Yet, with a record 700 billion dollar defense budget, Trump's administration appears ready to raise the stakes and sell the Saudis more weapons than ever in 2017. [Please, readers, put pressure on your government to stop this criminal non-sense.]
Meanwhile, the USA's policy is simply to continue marching quagmire-like foreward in Yemen. For example, with the January 2017 US Marine fiasco, the USA appears dead-set (along with its KSA and UAE cohorts) on helping Al-Qaeda to gain more and more recruits in Yemen.
Iona Craig reported on Democracy Now after she had visited the site of the bungled Trump Marine Attack in January of this year. Craig stated, "So, the impact on the local population, who were essentially on the same side as U.S. in the civil war in Yemen at the moment [of the misguided attack on January] --they were fighting against the Houthis, which is exactly what the U.S. has been doing over the last two years--they've not only alienated the entire local population around there, but caused to huge amount of anti-American sentiment. And now tribesmen, who were not al-Qaeda, who are not even al-Qaeda now, but were not before, but are now quite willing and wanting to fight the Americans as a result of this and a result of them killing their children and their wives."
Craig disputes the claims by Trump's White House that the raid, which had left nearly 30 dead, was in any way successful in gathering intelligience. She claims this because it is not even clear that the USA marines involved even got into the houses they were shooting into.
Meanwhile, weapons shipments by the USA into the Middle East are increasing greatly under Trump. Craig notes, "In Yemen, [the USA's influence] it's huge. The U.S. is the biggest exporter to Saudi Arabia, and it's big business for the U.S. But, of course, we know that the majority of civilian casualties in the war in Yemen have been caused by Saudi-led airstrikes. And the U.S. has a huge influence over this. They were--those precision-guided weapons were suspended at the end of last year, and now we're looking at a resumption of that, where the U.S. does actually have influence over Saudi Arabia--not just over Saudi Arabia, but also the continuation of this war, for the weapons that it sells to them and to the logistical support it gives to the Saudi-led coalition in the terms of refueling and in the terms of targets, as well."
AUSTERITY AND LABOR-MARKET FORCES IN OMAN TODAY
Here in Oman, the government continues to accept the treatment of casualties from the Yemeni civil war in its hospitals, but at the same time it is expelling many illegal workers in Oman. Among some of these workers targeted for expulsion are included Yemeni nationals, some whom have been working here for years.