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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/11/21

Hunting in Yemen

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From LA Progressive

It's not normal for people to live like this," says Iman Saleh, now on her twelfth day of a hunger strike demanding an end to war in Yemen.

Stop the war on yemen!
Stop the war on yemen!
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Since March 29th, in Washington, D.C., Iman Saleh, age 26, has been on a hunger strike to demand an end to the war in Yemen. She is joined by five others from her group, The Yemeni Liberation Movement. The hunger strikers point out that enforcement of the Saudi Coalition led blockade relies substantially on U.S. weaponry.

Saleh decries the prevention of fuel from entering a key port in Yemen's northern region.

"When people think of famine, they wouldn't consider fuel as contributing to that, but when you're blocking fuel from entering the main port of a country, you're essentially crippling the entire infrastructure," said Saleh, "You can't transport food, you can't power homes, you can't run hospitals without fuel."

Saleh worries people have become desensitized to suffering Yemenis face. Through fasting, she herself feels far more sensitive to the fatigue and strain that accompanies hunger. She hopes the fast will help others overcome indifference, recognize that the conditions Yemenis face are horribly abnormal, and demand governmental policy changes.

According to UNICEF, 2.3 million children under the age of five in Yemen are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021.

"It's not normal for people to live like this," says Saleh.

Her words and actions have already touched people taking an online course which began with a focus on Yemen.

As the teacher, I asked students to read about the warring parties in Yemen with a special focus on the complicity of the U.S. and of other countries supplying weapons, training, intelligence, and diplomatic cover to the Saudi-led coalition now convulsing Yemen in devastating war.

Last week, we briefly examined an email exchange between two U.S. generals planning the January, 2017 night raid by U.S. Navy Seals in the rural Yemeni town of Al Ghayyal. The Special Forces operation sought to capture an alleged AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula) leader. General Dunford told General Votel that all the needed approvals were in place. Before signing off, he wrote: "Good hunting."

The "hunting" went horribly wrong. Hearing the commotion as U.S. forces raided a village home, other villagers ran to assist. They soon disabled the U.S. Navy Seals' helicopter. One of the Navy Seals, Ryan Owen, was killed during the first minutes of the fighting. In the ensuing battle, the U.S. forces called for air support. U.S. helicopter gunships arrived and U.S. warplanes started indiscriminately firing missiles into huts. Fahim Mohsen, age 30, huddled in one home along with 12 children and another mother. After a missile tore into their hut, Fahim had to decide whether to remain inside or venture out into the darkness. She chose the latter, holding her infant child and clutching the hand of her five-year old son, Sinan. Sinan says his mother was killed by a bullet shot from the helicopter gunship behind them. Her infant miraculously survived. That night, in Al Ghayyal, 10 children under age 10 were killed. Eight-year-old Nawar Al-Awlaki died by bleeding to death after being shot. "She was hit with a bullet in her neck and suffered for two hours," her grandfather said. "Why kill children?" he asked.

Mwatana, a Yemeni human rights group, found that the raid killed at least 15 civilians and wounded at least five civilians -- all children. Interviewees told Mwatana that women and children, the majority of those killed and wounded, had tried to run away and that they had not engaged in fighting.

Mwatana found no credible information suggesting that the 20 civilians killed or wounded were directly participating in hostilities with AQAP or IS-Y. Of the 15 civilians killed, only one was an adult male, and residents said he was too old, at 65, to fight, and in any case had lost his hearing before the raid.

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Kathy Kelly is a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and a co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, a campaign to end economic sanctions against Iraq. She and her companions helped send over 70 delegations to Iraq, from 1996 to (more...)
 

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