With Remembrance Day happening recently in commemoration of the lives lost and sacrificed during war it begs the question, what is happening now!? At the moment the world's worst humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Yemen as thousands stand in favour of peace. To me the hypocrisy of politicians saying “lest we forget” as they continue to sell arms to oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia who are leading the air strikes across Yemen is astounding.
A short history of the conflict
The conflict began in 2015 following the Saudi Arabian led military intervention in Yemen. Since then, UN agencies state that around 14 million people are faced with famine within the country. However, hope for Yemen was postponed as UN peace talks were pushed back recently to the end of the year just as the World Food Programme (WFP) stressed that it is the final call for Yemen. WFP state that “The violence must stop now to give Yemen a chance to pull back from the brink. Unless it does, this will become a country of living ghosts, its people reduced to sacks of bones.”
Humanitarian Aid, although extremely helpful, can only go so far in the case of this conflict. WFP draw attention to the fact that “Humanitarians can only do so much in the face of relentless bombing and unconscionable war tactics that spare no one.” Yemen is already blockaded by the Saudi intervention and with Britain being one of it’s biggest arms suppliers the UK is complicit in this attack and the block of humanitarian assistance.
While politicians attended the various memorial ceremonies this weekend, the UK continues their arms business as normal. Since the war began in 2015, the UK has supplied nearly 5 billion worth of arms trade to Saudi and the relationship does not seem to be threatened, despite the growing humanitarian emergency and the recent controversies involving the murder of journalist, Jamal Khashaggi.
Jamal Khashaggi was brutally dismembered and killed by a 15- man hit squad at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul which caused an international stir and applied immense pressure on those members supplying Saudi to withdraw. To date, only Germany has halted their arms deal with Saudi due to the misconduct. Some viewed the current pause from the US in refueling the aircrafts currently bombing Yemen civilians as a success, However, this was at the request of Saudi Arabia who claim they can handle it themselves now. Although this cuts of the US from any direct connection with the Yemen War, The US still values Saudi as an ally and they continue to be a major supplier of munitions to the Saudi Air Force and provide military intelligence. Despite encouragement from Germany, Britain, France and Spain remain locked in with their arms deals with Saudi.
UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is hopeful for peace in Yemen. Recently addressing the UK relationship with Saudi he tweeted that there was a “vital need to seize the moment in Yemen and stop the famine and cholera intensifying”. However, despite this there seems to be no immediate urgency from the UK government to end their arms deal with Saudi Arabia, nor from any other country.
How can you help ease the Yemen Crisis?
Sign the Campaign Against Arms Trade petition:
Donate to the World Food Programme Today:
Unicef, Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee are also groups working directly within Yemen and can use your support!
Spread the message and encourage others to join the campaign today!