So much ink and breath have been spent on Yemen since 2011 that one can easily get lost in the labyrinth media built up … while I will concede that opinions largely differ when it comes to what should and needs to happen in Yemen in order for “order” to be restored: ie – political direction, I’d like to believe that facts are immovable.
Facts actually are absolutely vital when it comes to understanding Yemen’s current state of affairs. In true imperialistic fashion Saudi Arabia and Western powers have worked to manipulate truths and redact history to better rise tyrants over a people.
At the epicentre of it all lies one important, crucial truth:
The Houthis did NOT overthrow former President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi – hell this man was not even democratically elected.
I still recall with which ridiculous pomp Western diplomats and GCC stooges paraded their congratulations before the Yemeni people in the face of such a “democratic victory”.
How on and on they went on detailing the breakthrough Yemen had secured against despotism and nepotism now that “real” presidential elections were taken place.
Yemen was always a democratic state – maybe not a functioning one, but semantically speaking Yemen has been a democracy since 1962.
Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi was elected in 2012 in one-man farce election which aimed to herald and facilitate Yemen’s political and institutional emancipation. Yemen was never given the courtesy of a choice. Instead it was made to suffer the rule of a man whose allegiance was not to his people but his own pocket.
President Hadi resigned, not once, but twice under his own volition – this idea Saudi Arabia has floated that Hadi’s presidency was stolen by the devilish Houthis is nothing short of a fantasy. It needs to be noted that while Hadi was never ousted, his mandate had in fact long expired anyway.
His presidency was meant was no more than a 2-years period – his stay in office was actually the infraction, not the Houthis’ calls for constitutional accountability.
Those facts alone put this war on Yemen in a different light.
Riyadh cares absolutely not for Hadi’s presidency, or even the sanctity of his office – it cares for control over Yemen – which control was denied by the arrival of the Houthis on the political scene.
Let me clear a few things too when it comes to the Houthis:
1). The Houthis are tribesmen from northern Yemen whose allegiance is to their Sheikh: Abdel-Malek al-Houthi. As a tribal faction, the Houthis have no political ambitions of their own, only a desire to defend their clan’s rights. It is Ansarallah which carries political ambitions – and while of course many Houthis are members of Ansarallah, the two represent very distinct entities.
2). The Houthis never besieged Sana’a, nor did they impose their diktat onto the capital. I recall very clearly President Hadi ordering for his ministers to relinquish all authorities to the Houthis since they were the carrier of popular legitimacy. Yes, you read correctly, it was Hadi who ordered all state offices to open up to the Houthis – both police and military were then ordered to stand down.
3). The Houthis are not fighting Saudi Arabia alone! In fact, they are but one factions within the Resistance.
4).The Houthis are NOT carrying, representing or implementing anyone’s agenda – certainly not Iran – in Yemen. The assumption that the Houthis are necessarily agents of Iran on account they both share religious ground is so beyond the sectarian pale I actually refuse to get into it. Ludicrous and slanderous is all I will say on the matter.
Yemen Resistance movement is a rainbow coalition of tribes and political factions united against imperialism.
The Houthis and Ansarallah are but members of this movement.
Understand this and you will understand that this fight against the kingdom is one people’s stand against oppression and not the manifestation of one tribe’s ambition.
Another thing worth pondering over – Why is it that under Riyadh’s rule, Aden has been turned into a festering radical hotspot?
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. The Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She authored Arabia’s Rising – Under The Banner Of The First Imam.
World Report 2016: Ken Roth summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide.
The politics of fear led governments around the globe to roll back human rights during 2015.
Wikipedia Bio: Kenneth Roth has stated that Jimmy Carter’s introduction of human rights as an element of US foreign policy in the late 1970’s further inspired Roth to take on human rights as a vocation. Roth worked in the private practice as a litigator, as well served as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the S.D. of New York. In 1987, he accepted a position with Human Rights Watch as deputy director. Roth was made the executive director in 1993, and has traveled extensively on behalf of Human Rights Watch, reporting human rights concerns and defending human rights worldwide.
The document, prepared by one of Bin Zayed’s team and dated 12 October (2015), contains two key quotes which describe the frustration bin Zayed feels about Sisi, whose military coup the Crown Prince bankrolled, pouring in billions of dollars along with Saudi Arabia. It says:
“This guy needs to know that I am not an ATM machine.” Further on, it also reveals the political price the Emiratis will exact if they continue to fund Egypt.
Future strategy should be based on not just attempting to influence the government in Egypt but to control it. It is summarised thus: “Now I will give but under my conditions. If I give, I rule.”
The real amount of aid Sisi got from the Emiratis is thought by analysts to be closer to $25bn, around half of the total Gulf aid to Egypt.
Only $16.4bn remain, and of those only $2.5bn are in gold, according to a former Egyptian official who spoke to MEE on the condition of anonymity. The rest is in the form of loans. This is insufficient for covering the import of basic commodities for two months.
The document, seen exclusively by (Middle East Eye), questions whether bin Zayed is getting a proper return on his investment. It also reveals unhappiness with the Egyptian officials the Emiratis thought they had recruited, because it became clear to them afterwards that they were not as loyal to the Emirates as they were to Egypt.
The strategy paper says that in future the Emiratis should select their partners in Egypt with more care. In a reference to the current campaign in the Egyptian media against the new Saudi ruler, King Salman, and his son Mohammed – which has seen the Kingdom attacked for its role in Syria and allegedly over-bearing control of Egypt – the document says they will have to stop the war of words because it hurts Emirati interests.
The strategy document outlines three phases of investing in Egypt which will start early next year. In the third phase, the Emirates will seek to move from financier to “full partner“.
The Emirates should recruit and finance Egyptian think tanks, universities, and media outlets, the document says. It goes on to state that these direct investments should have a clear strategy and vision and that every down-payment should be tested for the benefits it will bring Abu Dhabi.
The paper spells out in blunt terms Emirati ambitions to control Egypt.
This aim is inherent in a section recommending three conditions for continuing the bailout of Sisi’s government. Each of these are domestic policies.
Those conditions are: removing the petrol subsidy over the next three years by respectively cutting it by 30 percent, 30 percent and then 40 percent annually; demanding that the Emirates should set the strategy for the price of the Egyptian pound in comparison with the US dollar, which would be tantamount to controlling Egypt’s monetary policy; and cutting bureaucracy.
The document further reveals the extent to which Sisi has let down his paymasters.
One analyst who has been studying the deteriorating relationship between the two countries said: “The criticism indicates that they are not happy with Sisi and that he is not serving their purpose. The main idea the Emiratis have is that MBZ [bin Zayed] should be the real ruler of Egypt and whoever is in charge must do what he is asked to do by them.”
Cause for concern
There are three reasons for Emirati concern.
First, the Emiratis think the media war that has broken out between Egypt and the Saudi Kingdom is hurting Abu Dhabi’s interests. Last month the Egyptian newspaper al-Youm al-Sabea reported a row between the chairman of the state owned al-Ahram media group Ahmed el-Sayed al-Naggar and the Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Ahmad Qattan, which ended with al-Ahram claiming that “even a building in central Cairo” is older than the Kingdom.
A pro-government TV anchor, Ibrahim Eissa, accused Saudi Arabia of funding terrorist groups in Syria, called on Sisi to stop being “a captive to Riyadh,” and urged Egypt to be liberated from the relationship of gratitude to Saudi Arabia.
Second, the Emiratis are unhappy about Sisi’s broken promises to send ground troops for the Saudi-led campaign against the Houthis in Yemen, a war in which the UAE was forced to commit troops. Sisi used the expression in Egyptian Arabic “masafah as-sikkah,” meaning it would take him the time it needs to cross a road to come to the aid of the Gulf States if they needed military aid.
So far, no Egyptian troops have materialised on the ground in Yemen.
Third, they complain that Sisi is not listening to them when they ask for economic and administrative reform or when they demand that good governance be used as the basis of a stable state.
“From Abu Dhabi’s point of view, Sisi has not performed. He does not have a strategy for economic reform. Services are very bad. So from the Emirati perspective Sisi is not doing what he is told to do,” the analyst, who spoke to (Middle Eastern Eye) on condition of anonymity, said. “In the coming phase, starting early next year, the Emirates are planning this extensive campaign. They are not deserting him [Sisi] and he is still their man, but nor are they happy with him. They want total submission, so that they are the real rulers.”
Relations with Riyadh
Sisi’s relations with Riyadh also worsened after he discovered that a rival Egyptian army general has been in the kingdom for the past two weeks holding private talks.
Sources close to the kingdom reveal that Egyptian military intelligence asked the Saudis why Sami Anan, a former chief of staff, was there. They were told Anan was there on a private visit and in an individual capacity and there was nothing the government in Riyadh could do to stop it.
Anan was second only to Mohammed Hussein Tantawi when Mubarak was ousted in 2011. He was sacked by Mohammed Morsi when the latter became president in 2012. However, when Morsi was in turn ousted by a military coup a year later, Anan announced his ambition to be a presidential candidate. He is 70 and is regarded as close to Washington; he was in the US at the time of the 25 January revolution.
According to theinformed Saudi sources,Anan is one of three names being considered to replace Sisi. The others are Ahmed Shafiq, a former general who is at present in exile in Abu Dhabi, and Murad Muwafi, a former head of the General Intelligence Directorate, who like Anan was sacked by Morsi. Both Shafiq and Muwafi are regarded as close to the Emirates.
In his conversations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, King Salman has made no secret of his wish to keep the military in charge of Egypt. Saudi Arabia regards the Egyptian military as the only guarantor of the country’s stability, and it is stability rather than democracy that concerns Riyadh.
However, that calculation has changed in the past three months to the extent that Salman no longer regards Sisi as a stable leader of Egypt.
They think Sisi’s term as leader has expired, so they are examining who within the military could take over, as well as reaching out to all sections of the Egyptian political opposition, most of whom are in exile.
Anan, regarded as a calm but wily leader who is naturally risk averse, is a leading candidate for Saudi favour.
He has a strong claim to represent the Egyptian military, although those very credentials render him suspect to Egyptian opposition forces, who recall his time in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which ruled Egypt from Mubarak’s overthrow to Morsi’s election and oversaw the country while the blood of protesters was being spilled in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
“If they are looking for a military figure, Anan is the best option. But someone accepted by the military is not going to be accepted by the majority. That is where Anan’s problem would be,” said one member of the Egyptian political opposition.
The UN Charter, in its Preamble spoken by Sir Lawrence Olivier in 1945 set an objective: “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained“.
United Nations Charter: “Ever since, the development of, and respect for international law has been a key part of the work of the Organization. This work is carried out in many ways – by courts, tribunals, multilateral treaties – and by the Security Council, which can approve peacekeeping missions, impose sanctions, or authorize the use of force when there is a threat to international peace and security, if it deems this necessary. These powers are given to it by the UN Charter, which is considered an international treaty. As such, it is an instrument of international law, and UN Member States are bound by it. The UN Charter codifies the major principles of international relations, from sovereign equality of States to the prohibition of the use of force in international relations.”
Well spoken Sir Olivier, words which once held potent meaning, and the belief that nation leaders would now stand united against the evil of persecution and genocide the world had witnessed in WWII.
Except, the Charter has failed. The United Nations has failed, and world leaders are proven impotent against tyranny.
I sat down this morning and read through the UN Charter of Rights. The result of my research produced the following article, which includes quotes from the United Nations’ website press statements; accompanied by Twitter posts from reliable media outlets and journalists reporting from inside both Yemen and Syria;
where millions of innocent people are being slaughtered under the banner of religion; children are starved; civilians permanently disfigured; and families are forced to flee their homes for fear of being killed – while the members of the UN literally and physically bow to the regimes’ blatantly breaking almost every rule of war outlined in the Geneva Convention of 1945.
The original signatories and subsequent adherents to the Declaration: the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, China, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakiam, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, Union of South Africa, Yugoslavia (subsequent) Mexico, Philippines, Ethiopia, Iraq, Brazil, Bolivia, Iran, Colombia, Liberia, France, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela, Uruguay, Turkey, Egypt,Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon.
What Is The Charter Of United Nations?
Article 1.1 defines the principles of the UN Charter: “To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;”
Article 2.2 and 2.4 state that all members agree to act in accordance with the following purposes:
“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
UN Charter: “International law defines the legal responsibilities of States in their conduct with each other, and their treatment of individuals within State boundaries. Its domain encompasses a wide range of issues of international concern, such as human rights, disarmament, international crime, refugees, migration, problems of nationality, the treatment of prisoners, the use of force, and the conduct of war, among others.”
On December 22, 2015 the UN Security Commission, cloaked with their charters, declarations and treaty agreements held a Council Meeting in regards to safe passage of humanitarian assistance throughout Syria.
United Nations provided nothing but empty words, with no guaranteed of protection for innocent civilians, or promise to uphold and enforce the rules of war it was entrusted to defend by the people of the world:
“Expressing outrage at the unacceptable and escalating level of violence and the killing of over a quarter of a million people, including tens of thousands of child casualties, as a result of the Syrian conflict,
“Gravely distressedby the continued deterioration of the devastating humanitarian situation in Syria and by the fact that urgent humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance, is now required by more than 13.5 million people in Syria — of whom 6.5 million are internally displaced, 4.5 million are living in hard-to-reach areas, including Palestinian refugees, and 393,700 civilians are trapped in besieged areas,”. 
The Security Council and International Law.
UN Charter: “Some of the action of the Security Council have international law implications, such as those related to peacekeeping missions, ad hoc tribunals, sanctions, and resolutions adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter. In accordance with Article 13(b) of the Rome Statute, the Security Council can refer certain situations to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), if it appears international crimes (such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, the crime of aggression) have been committed.”
UN Security Council President, Samantha Power released a press statement in December 2015 that said: “The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern about the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen, which continues to worsen. The members of the Security Council recognized that over80 per cent of the population — 21 million people — require some form of humanitarian assistanceand emphasized that the civilian impact of the conflict has been devastating, particularly for children and the 2.5 million internally displaced persons.”
“The members of the Security Council expressed particular concern at the food security situation, with over7 million peoplesuffering severe food insecurity and a doubling in the number of children under five who are acutely malnourished. They recognized that functioning markets inside Yemen are essential to address the situation, as humanitarian assistance alone cannot overcome a humanitarian crisis of this scale.” 
The United Nations World Food Programme has stressed in a news release. appeals to all parties to the conflict to allow the safe passage of food to all civilians in need in all areas in Taiz,” said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
In many areas of Yemen, devastated by conflict, ongoing insecurity hampers WFP’s efforts to get food to the people in need.
Taiz is one of 10 governorates – out of Yemen’s 22 governorates – that are in the grip of severe food insecurity at ‘Emergency’ level – one step below famine on the five-point Integrated Food Security Phase Classification scale.
An estimated 7.6 million people in Yemen do not have enough food to lead a healthy life, have lost their livelihoods and are facing life-threatening rates of acute malnutrition.
The conflict since late March 2015 has worsened Yemen’s already poor food security situation, adding more than 3 million people to the ranks of the hungry in less than a year. 
Last month, the UN Security Council voiced “deep concern about the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen, which continues to worsen,” stressing that more than 80 per cent of its 21 million people require some form of humanitarian aid. 
The World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered more than 100 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies for more than one million beneficiaries in 8 districts of Taiz governorate, where more than 3 million people, including 392,000 internally displaced persons, are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
“The health situation in Taiz has increasingly deteriorated. Shortages in health staff, medicines and fuel, as well as limited access by the humanitarian community due to the insecurity, have caused many health facilities in the governorate to shut down,” said WHO Representative in Yemen Dr Ahmed Shadoul.
“We are calling on all parties to guarantee unrestricted, long term delivery of humanitarian aid and unconditional movement of health workers.”
WHO is negotiating with all parties to the conflict and advocating for unconditional access of medicines and supplies to these three districts, where 400 000 people are in critical need of humanitarian assistance.
“WHO is deeply concerned about the continuous lack of humanitarian access to Taiz City, depriving people from basic health care and violating their essential human rights. WHO re-emphasizes the crucial need for uninterrupted delivery of health services and calls upon all concerned parties to respect the basic rights of all Yemenis to access health care services,” said Dr Shadoul. 
Please help save a child’s life, it only takes a few minutes, a few dollars, and one child can live another day.
The Mona Relief Charity Organization is making a difference, and they are reaching the Yemeni families literally dying without the food delivered by their brave staff and volunteers. Donations can be made on their website or at our Go Fund Me Campaign.
Following months of a merciless Saudi Arabia-led military campaign against its own land and people, Yemen stands at the very edge of an apocalyptic humanitarian crisis, an institutional and economic black hole, and an open wound on the map of Southern Arabia.
Exhausted by war and abandoned by those powers which claim to represent the so-called “free world” Yemen is cracking under the pressure of neo-imperialism, a lamb earmarked for slaughter on the pyre of Wahhabi Saudi Arabia – the designated hengemen of the United States of America in the Middle East.
Of Yemen’s 29 million people, over 20 million now require immediate humanitarian assistance. [In less than one year] Over one-million children have (been) registered by UNICEF as chronically malnourished, and millions have been left destitute by war.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing?
The United States of America has over the past decades become a grand master of deception – the promoter and instigator of abject violence in the name of neo-imperialism and its sister in arms, capitalism.
To better carve itself an empire and assert its hegemonic ambitions, the USA has exploited its regional alliances in the Middle East, calling on its vassal states: Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries to play by its rule and to its tune.
Whether directly or indirectly, Washington has had a hand in the demise of Yemen and its people, slowly engineering this poorest country’s sectarian remapping, while advocating democracy-building and the war on terror.
Just like in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Libya, Yemen has been selected for socio-political and ethno-sectarian engineering.
Hussain Al Bukhaiti, a pro-Houthi activist said, “With the help of Washington, Saudi Arabia is working to destroy Yemen’ social and religious fabric, systematically targeting Zaidi Muslims, all the while telling the world they want to help Yemen become more democratic. This is a lie! The US wants to control Yemen and it is using the Saudis to do destroy all resistance.”
While USA officials continue to school the international community on democracy and international law, advocating political self-determination and civil liberties as the foundations of modern civil states, Washington has sold Saudi Arabia billions of dollars worth of weapons, in the knowledge its bombs, warplanes and other weaponry would be indiscriminately used against civilian populations in Yemen.
Barry Tighe, activist with CODEPINK in Washington said, “Yemen is the Gaza Strip of the Arab Peninsula. It is inconceivable that the United States would help the largest violator of human rights to destroy the poor people of Yemen but it is also inconceivable that the United States would be arming and logistically helping and scientifically helping the regime in Tel Aviv to destroy the poor people of the Gaza Strip and to keep the people in the West Bank in such turmoil. I believe that the United States is responsible for what is going on right now, allowing Saudi Arabia to murder these people in Yemen.”
The USA has also turned a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian blocks on Yemen.
Putting 26 million souls at risk of starvation, disease and abject misery. In the face of international law, and in negation of all human rights conventions and treaties, USA has quietly condoned the massacre of an entire people, while watching from afar as schools, hospitals, residential areas and charitable organizations have burned under Saudi fire.
“International humanitarian law is clear that belligerents must take all possible steps to prevent or minimize civilian casualties. But the cases we have analyzed point to a pattern of attacks destroying civilian homes and resulting in scores of civilian deaths and injuries. There is no indication that the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition has done anything to prevent and redress such violations,” said Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Advisor at Amnesty International.
More troubling still the USA has provided Saudi Arabia with illegal weapons of war.
Signing off for the sale of cluster bombs and white phosphorus. By 2015, the Obama administration sold weapons to Saudi Arabia worth $46 billion. Some sources have estimated this figure to be closer to $60 billion.
Over 4000 civilians – mainly women and children have died in Yemen, killed by weapons made in the USA, tens of thousands have been injured, and hundred of thousands have been displaced.
Leah Bolger, a US Navy veteran, and president of Veterans For Peace said, “It’s really been quite some time that the US has been violating international laws and committing war crimes and now Saudi Arabia is doing the same thing [in Yemen]. I’m afraid that because Saudi Arabia is a strong ally of the United States, it is not receiving the critical attention and response that it should receive and would receive if another nation committed the same kind of acts.”
But Yemen is fighting back!
For all the lead Saudi Arabia has rained on this impoverished nation, men and women have risen to oppose tyranny; determined to reclaim their lands and their traditions from the radical and reactionary ideology of Wahhabism.
As the Resistance movement, under the banner of the Houthis continues to bravely push back the Saudi-led coalition, forcing foreign mercenaries to retreat before their advances, civilians have organized their own movement – one which stands against engineered poverty.
Led in Yemen by Fatik Al Rodaini, the Mona Relief organization has run Saudi Arabia’s blockade, distributing humanitarian aid in those areas the kingdom purposely locked out in the name of sectarianism.
Several millions of Yemen’s poorest and most vulnerable have been profiled by Riyadh, condemned to starve and wither away for their faith does not meet Wahhabis’ religious seal of approval. Those are the stories mainstream media has refused to run as they paint a reality the public will unlikely tolerate.
Ostracized by imperial Saudi Arabia for they dared remain true to their traditions.
The Zaidis (Shia Muslims) of Yemen are fighting for more than just their land. They are fighting for their spiritual survival. No longer just another power-hungry colonial power, Saudi Arabia has become a genocidal monster, a force which intends to annihilate Shia Islam by systematically targeting its people, exploiting its political alliances, and immense wealth for cover.
Over the past months the Mona Relief organization, Yemen’s very own blockade runners have successfully distributed over 1.7 million meals to families across Yemen.
Despite the many threats of retaliations made against them, those dedicated activists have braved the odds, risking their lives to provide relief to those most vulnerable.
Yemen is indeed fighting many fronts, not least of all hunger and destitution.
At such a time when even the United Nations has bowed to Saudi Arabia in exchange for its financial largess – Yemenis face famine and death – all of which could be avoided if only the international community would care to abide by the rule of (International) law.
While UN agencies and other NGO’s give in to greed, there are still many of those which have not. Everyday men and women fight to give Yemen’s sons and daughters hope; relentless in their belief that before tyranny one should never bow – not without becoming that very evil they despise.
And so Yemen’s blockade runners will continue to defy Saudi Arabia’s embargo on their own people… and they will do this until poverty is defeated, and all Yemenis are given the opportunity of a better life.
“Children are terrified by noises. Finding food is a challenge. There’s rarely power. Many people in Yemen and beyond dream of an end to the fighting. As the civil war in Yemen continues, many families say they are living in constant fear.
“Parents say that their older children have been wetting their beds at night, and that younger ones are so traumatized that they are sent running for cover by the sound of a door slamming,” writes Hanna Ingber in her article titled ‘The Many Miseries Of Yemeni Families’, published in the New York Times.” 
“They described destruction to cities they love and their own homes, airstrikes shattering their windows and blowing out doors. Some have tried to make repairs. Others said the damage to their houses and the continuous fear of bombings had forced them to leave.
“Uprooted, Yemenis wrote that they had moved in with extended family members or friends. One man described how all the young cousins hide in the basement of their house. And even the safer areas, they wrote, still face shortages.
“Families have also been divided, with some members fleeing the country. Others have tried to flee, but have been stopped. A young woman said she and her husband had taken their baby boy and made two trips to the border. Once they were turned away by the Saudis, and once by the Houthis.
“Yemenis said they felt ignored, and they pleaded for those outside of the country to pay attention.”
Photos with sub-paragraphs added by Alistair Reign, and do not depict any of the individuals quoted in the following interviews.
Below is a condensed selection of the interviews originally published in The New York Times version.
Helmi al-Hamadi, 39, originally from Taiz in southern Yemen, has been living in Sana since 1997. He has three children, and his wife is seven months pregnant.
My 6-year-old daughter is the most affected person in the family. She can’t sleep, always alert to any sounds; even the sound of a door closing terrifies her. If a door slams, she thinks it’s an attack on us or an airstrike. She is losing weight. If anyone wants to go outside, if I have to go get groceries, she says: “I don’t want to lose you, father. I don’t want you to die.”
They have been out of school since March 26. When the airstrikes started, everything kind of stopped here. None of the residents of Sana can go to school.
My pregnant wife is in a bad condition, especially, because she is diabetic and at risk that we could run out of insulin at anytime. She can’t receive proper medical care.
My children wish that they could go back to school; my pregnant wife dreams of a peaceful night to sleep without one of our children screaming in their sleep every time there is an airstrike. I pray every day that when I go to the markets I can still find food for my family; this is decreasing on a daily basis.
Arwa Naaman Saiid, 23, is a teacher and information technology student. Her family fled a rented house in Sana and moved to Taiz and then to the village of Moaser.
The children in our family are terrified even by the sound of thunder, thinking it is from airplanes coming to bomb them. Their fear and continued crying forced us to leave our house. We paid $50 per person to leave Sana. I sold my jewelry just to escape.
We have been affected materially, morally and psychologically because of airstrikes and earthshaking explosions that prevent us from sleeping.
We are six members in the same house, including my sick mother who broke her back more than two months ago. We couldn’t afford paying her treatment expenses. Now she’s home and can’t move. We have no food, no potable water, no electricity. We are denied the most basic rights.
We need to put an end to this flagrant aggression. We need the blockade to be lifted. Leave us alone! We are not associated with any political party. We are just Yemeni citizens. We need to be able to sleep, to eat and to drink what God bestowed upon us, without blockade and without killings.
Maali Jamil, 25, moved to Michigan as a young child before returning to Yemen as a teenager. She and her husband, who were both working as English teachers in Sana before the airstrikes began in March, have a 2-month-old son, Yusuf.
My husband and I let our apartment go because all the windows shattered in the Faj Attan bombing. And since we are now both unemployed, rent was too high, so we’re living with family. My 9-year-old cousin vomits when the explosions are too loud.
With the problems and everything, nobody is working. Everybody is at home. Who is going to pay for classes? It’s not important right now. People need to eat.
My father has heart disease and is very ill. Every few days, he needs to run some blood work so the doctor can adjust his dose. When there is no fuel, he cannot go. If there is fuel, but no power, the labs don’t operate. When he doesn’t get the blood work done, the doctor can’t adjust the dose, so my mom is usually at a loss and ends up guessing what he needs.
We tried to leave and were stranded at the Yemeni-Saudi border near Haradh twice, once for five days and once for two days.
The Yemeni people are barely breathing. My family and I are doing really well compared with most Yemenis.
My mom is from Aden, and the horror stories we hear are heartbreaking. One of my mother’s cousins says all they have to eat is cookies. Her children keep asking her when are they are going to have real food, and she just broke down and cried.
Hussam Alshami, 37, lives in Sana with his wife, their daughter and his extended family.
My 2-year-old daughter is oversensitive to any sound now, running to hug anyone in front of her when hearing even a door knock. Some other children in my family now urinate while sleeping.
Despite almost every glass in our house having broken, we stay and will stay. We have no other choice. We’ve been raised in Sana. We don’t know another place to live. And moving would cost money that’s not available at this time. But more than money, we love Sana very, very much!
We have only one hour of electricity every three to five days. On the other hand, airstrikes are horrible, indiscriminate. More painful is that the world keeps silent.
Feel our pain, because Saudi Arabia cannot do this to us unless you, the United States, allow it. The blockade must be lifted. Airstrikes must be stopped.
Rawan S. al-Aghbari, 22, was born in Yemen and raised in London. An explosion in Sana in mid-April badly injured her brother and destroyed their home. She returned to Yemen last month to help him get out of the country for treatment.
During the explosion he was inside the house trying to repair a window. The explosion ripped off the top half of the house, and parts of the window cut through his neck. There were shards everywhere; he was bleeding extensively. He basically flew from one side of the room to the other, and he had a concussion. He couldn’t form proper sentences. He wasn’t in good health, so we wanted to get him out.
At the time there was no electricity and barely any generators running for the hospitals. Generators need fuel, and there was practically none at that time. There were fuel lines that would extend for kilometers.
Yemen is suffering from a myriad of problems. At the front line are ordinary civilians, who are paying the price for this unforgiving war.
Hani Yahya lives in Sana with his extended family. He was working for an international democracy-building organization, but the fighting forced it to shut down. He is now unemployed.
We live in fear all the time. There is no electricity. No fuel. Food is becoming scarce, and prices are increasing.
I managed to get my wife and two children out to Egypt after the Faj Attan attack. But my nephews and nieces are still here, and all of them are affected.
They keep asking: “When will this end? Why do they want to kill us?” They are wetting their beds at night; they are depressed all the time and want to leave the country.
I speak to my daughter every day in Egypt. She wants to go back home. When she is in Egypt, she keeps asking, “When will this end?” They just don’t understanding why this is happening. We just tell them: “We pray it will end soon. We pray to God that it will be over.”
Mahdy Abdul Hakeem Mahdy Saleh al-Mutairy is from the western coastal city of Al Hudaydah.
We are terrified and suffered the tragic loss of life of members of our family. My cousin was 23 years old when he died; he was a student. He was walking in the street when jets bombed the area. Dozens of bodies were found on that day.
We don’t have electricity because of the siege, but the hospital is still functioning and receiving patients, especially those suffering from dialysis, from other provinces. But I’m concerned that the only hospital here might close soon if this siege and blackout continue.
What we need is for the bombing to stop and the blockade to be lifted so that shipments of food, medicine and petrol products could be brought into the country.
Fuad Shaif Ali al-Kadas runs a tour company in Sana. He lost thousands of dollars in plane tickets after a tourist group canceled an April trip. After the area near his home was bombed, he moved in with his extended family in another area of Sana.
Even if the war ends soon, and if tourists come back, I don’t know if we can refund this large sum. So my business is defunct. One brother works in the airport — he’s lost his job. Another brother works in an area constantly bombed by the Saudis — Faj Attan — and he now has lost his job. So while my family is alive and well, thank God, we, like most people, are struggling and out of work.
Imagine if this continues and we’ll have an entirely uneducated generation. Plus when the planes fly overhead, or children hear the airstrikes, they cry, and they can’t sleep at night. Now, if a father wants his kids to do something, he says, “Go or I’ll call the planes,” and they move right away.
Assaad Lutf Albarty and his family, who live in Sana, have been affected by the shortages of food, fuel and medicine. His father has not been able to secure his blood pressure medication or get the treatment he needs. He is hoping to travel to Jordan for heart surgery.
Many times we live without electricity for days or weeks. There is a lack of gasoline, which is used for transportation, and diesel, which is used to transport goods and operate factories. We have returned to the Stone Ages by using firewood and charcoal to cook at home. I’m not exaggerating — we’re doing this on a daily basis.
We can’t get water without electricity or diesel, and we can’t get the basic things such as flour and wheat, because of the inability to distribute them to consumers and our inability to go to distribution centers. Also because of the blockade, no merchants can import any new food, fuel or medicines.
Bakil Muttee Ghundol had been taking a course in teaching English in Aden, but he moved to Ibb, where his family lives, shortly before the airstrikes began.
Hundreds of displaced families from different cities come to Ibb because it’s considered a safe place as there are no airstrikes as there are in Aden, Sana or Taiz. But all the people here in Ibb are suffering as there is a huge lack of fuel, water and food. In addition, the electricity has been cut off for months. Only rich people have generators. Sometimes we go to their homes to charge our phones, our laptops.
My family is all safe, but some neighbors were killed in an airstrike. One was a close friend of my brother.
Hanan Ahmed al-Mansor, 23, attends Jinan University in China. Her immediate family is still in Sana, but her extended family managed to escape to Egypt.
Far from everything, I am still affected as badly as my family. I’ve had sleepless nights, nightmares, continuous anxiety and multiple visits to the doctor. My academic level has dropped, and every day, I am either crying or senseless.
My mother is my superhero. She has worked her way through a couple of failed businesses, but she finally was able to stand on her own two feet in her mid-50s and created a successful restaurant in Yemen. This restaurant was recently completely damaged after an airstrike hit a building in front of it. Our dream and our only way to eat and live with dignity was shattered. All I can think of now is, how am I going to finish university?
The children in my family sleep covering their ears. They only speak of how much they fear death, and one of them told his mom: “I want to die before you. I don’t want to see you die.” And, “In heaven, can I ask for a TV to watch you because I’m going to miss you?”
My cousin told me this about her kids. She was writing and crying at the same time. It’s very hard for me to keep in touch with my family since they usually only open the generator for emergencies, like to pump the water to the pipes. However, I buy calling cards to call them in emergencies, and if they have battery left, they respond.
I need to sleep knowing that I’ll wake up and my family is safe. I need Saudi Arabia to leave Yemen alone.
Yemen Agrees to Cease-Fire With Rebels as Peace Talks Begin. The Yemeni government and Houthi rebels called an immediate halt to hostilities on Tuesday as they started peace talks mediated by a United Nationsspecial envoy at an undisclosed location in Switzerland, a United Nations spokesman confirmed.
Shuaib Almosawa from Sanaa, Yemen, New York Times said, “The cease-fire took effect at midday in Yemen, hours after a Saudi-led military coalition announced a seven-day pause in the campaign of intensive airstrikes it has conducted in support of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen.” [ 01 ]
“Delegates from the government, the Houthi group known as Ansarullah and other parties headed on Monday for the peace talks that will kick off in Geneva on Tuesday. The talks will be brokered by the UN and seek to establish a durable ceasefire, a resumption of the political process and a plan to implement the UN resolutions especially the resolution 2216.” said Yemen Post. [ 02 ]
Yemen’s official website, Saba Net states, “The ceasefire [will last] for a period of seven days starting from the 15th to the 21st of December in conjunction with the launch of consultations, and will be renewed automatically in the event of the commitment of the other party.” [ 03 ]
Saudi Arabia warned that it “reserves the right to respond in case of any violation” by the rebels, in a statement carried by the SPA state news agency. [ 04 ]
“The Saudi aggression pounded on Monday several areas in Sa’ada province with dozens of rockets,” a security official said. “The Saudi rocket launchers launched more than 80 rockets on al-Suh, al-Malil and al-Qama’a in Kitaf district and many areas of Razeh district,” the Saba Net article said.
“The bombardment targeted citizens’ houses and farms and main roads,” said an eyewitness in a report by Saba Net, adding that, “the Houthi army attack on Monday was clearly a blow to the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition.” [ 05 ]
Saba News reports the following attacks have occurred in the past 48 hours:
“The missile force of the army fired on Monday a Tochka missile at the enemy operations center in Bab al-Mandab in Taiz province, killing hundreds of the enemy soldiers. The official spokesman of the armed forces, Sharaf Luqman confirmed to Saba that the rocket hit his target with high accuracy causing large losses in lives and gear to the Saudi-led coalition forces.
“The preliminary information affirmed the death and injury of hundreds of the enemy soldiers and mercenaries in Bab al-Mandab, including foreigners,” the spokesman said.
“Nearly 146 bodies mostly charred were transferred to Aden city and Amran camp, and a medical ship belonging to the aggression coalition reached near the coast of Aden in an attempt to help the evacuation and treatment of the injured,” Luqman added.[ 06 ]
“The army and popular committees cleansed on Monday the north-eastern hill ranges of Kuwfal Mounts in Serwah district of Mareb province, a military official said. A number of the aggression mercenaries were killed during the military operations and many armored vehicles were destroyed by the army and popular committees, the official said.” [ 07 ]
“The army and popular committees destroyed on Monday the command building of the Saudi border guards in Rabuah area of Asir region. In a special operation of the army and popular committees, joint specialized units managed to capture the command building of Saudi border guards in Rabuah area and destroyed it completely, a military official said.” [ 08 ]
According to Euro News, at least 20 people have been killed at a market in the town of Marib, east of Sana’a in rocket fire from Houthi rebels. According to eyewitnesses and medical workers, twenty people were killed and dozens wounded at the packed market. [ 09 ]
Reuters reports the Houthis and Saleh’s former political party, the General People’s Congress, are sending representatives to Switzerland on Tuesday for talks with Yemen’s internationally recognised government under Hadi.[ 10 ]
“The United Nations says more than 5,800 people have been killed in Yemen, about half of them civilians, since March.
“At least 80 people, mostly soldiers and border guards, have been killed in Saudi Arabia because of the Yemen conflict.
“The UAE says it has lost almost 70 soldiers so far.
“Several Bahraini troops, and one Qatari soldier have been killed as part of the coalition operations.” said news site Al Jazeera in a recent article. [ 11 ]
“Nearly 6,000 people have been killed in the conflict, almost half of them civilians. It has also pushed Yemen to the brink of famine,” reports Reuters. [ 12 ]
The Yemen Post has published an appeal by the public health ministry in Yemen to the international community asking them to intervene, as more than 700.000 diabetes patients in the country have completely ran out of insulin. In the statement, the ministry urged immediate action to provide medicines, primarily those being held in Djibouti due to the blockade.
Many hospitals have shut down because of lack of medicines, fuels and electric power.
According to the UN, around 14 million Yemenis are in need of urgent medical help and around 500.000 children are facing acute malnutrition. In some provinces such as Taiz, raging battles have left the people face harsh conditions since there has been no supplies and no access to aid delivery. [ 13 ]
There are ways you can help.
Babies, children, youth, fathers, mothers, the elderly, sick, and disabled, all good people are suffering extreme hardship, (under the horrendous display of inhumanity on the part of King Salman, and President Hadi of Saudi Arabia), because of being denied entry to hospitals, denied medical care of any kind, denied delivery of medicine, food or water, and the ultimate blow, the King has denied an entire country from humanitarian aid and medical treatment, thus breaking the Geneva Convention rules of war.
TheColour of War section of the Alistair Reign News Blog is a resource of related information: with links to petitions, stories from survivors, articles with casualty statistics; including charity fundraising groups I have researched, and recommend giving your generous donations to help them personally take aid to orphaned children, and families trapped in war zones.
Risking their own lives to save other people’s lives, on Wednesday a handful of humanitarian workers managed to beat the Saudi blockade of Yemen to deliver food and warm clothing to people in dire need (their homes have been flattened into uninhabitable piles of rubble and mangled rebar), orphaned children sleep in the dusty streets, and it is not an exaggeration to say there is no food to be purchased, nor water to drink or wash.
“In March 2015 Saudi Arabia, the richest country in the Arabian Peninsula and regional super-power declared war on impoverished Yemen. Backed by a grand regional coalition and the tacit agreement of the international community, Saudi Arabia has ravaged Yemen, raining missiles on its people. As weeks turned into months, Yemenis found themselves caught in the eye of a furious storm, the prisoners of a war they did not seek nor did initiate.
Suffocated by an embargo which has defied all humanitarian laws, Yemen has been cut off the world. With no food, no fuel, no access to clean water, no medicine, no shelter and no means to protect themselves from the harsh climate, millions await, completely destitute,” writes Catherine Shakdam.
A few readers have inquired as to why I proudly support and recommend donating to the Mona Relief fundraising campaign. In response I wrote this article, and I dedicate it to all of the unrecognized soldiers of war – the civilians and medical staff fighting, and dying to keep people alive despite the increasing danger to humanitarian workers and medical facilities – where the rules of war meant to protect civilians and hospitals, apparently no longer apply.
In response to the crisis in Yemen, the Mona Relief campaign has ‘Declared War on Hunger.’
Fatik Al-Rodaini is Director and founder of Mona Relief, a Yemeni Registered Charity. He also accompanies the charity’s staff, and helps distribute their lifesaving care packages; always taking time to visit with families, giving some much-needed humanitarian hugs, and reassurance the world has not forgotten them.
A Yemeni journalist for Khabar News Agency recently said of the Mona staff, “…planting smiles on the faces of children… with distribution of blankets, and winter clothing, and food… and some therapeutic aid.“
My interactions with Mona staff has been through social media and email communications, however I feel as though I have met the people whose dedication makes the delivery of aid possible in locations that are almost impossible to reach. I picture the men and women (taking a chance of being shot or imprisoned each time they deliver food), walking humbly down the street, unrecognized as heroes, expecting no adulation for their bravery, yet they have earned a place among the most heroic men and women in humanitarian history.
Despite the overwhelming risk of delivering lifesaving necessities to people under siege, these brave ‘civilian soldiers’ are crossing blockades with a mission to save Yemeni families from starving, or freezing to death.
The consequences of defying the Saudi blockade is always present, but this risk does not stop Mona staff. The following photo is a post from Mona’s Director, Mr. Al-Rodaini’s Twitter account, uploaded during Wednesday’s distribution.
During Rodaini’s interview with Khabar News, he explained how Mona staff are mostly journalists and activists, all working in the cultural and humanitarian sphere. He spoke on how the organization evolved from when the fore-mentioned group began monitoring human right’s violations in Yemen, and witnessed the desperate need for humanitarian aid; by May the group was delivering food to the starving women, children, elderly, and disabled Yemeni people. According to Rodaini the organization is also investigating the targeted houses, as well assessing needs for proper distribution of aid to all internally displaced persons in Yemen.
Rodaini said, “Our work is in many provinces, including Amran, Hajja, Saada and Hodeida, and the secretariat of the capital, with the distribution of basic food aid for the needy who are below the poverty line, and the displaced.” 
While speaking of their trips into the district’s of the capital earlier this month, he commented how staff are faithfully determined to deliver van loads of winter clothes, blankets, food, and medical aid in Senynh and Shoveler in the near future. 
True to his word, they have. Below are posts from the Mona Relief Twitter page showing photos taken by the Mona team delivering food, clothing, blankets, and medicine to people dying under the airstrikes from the Saudi-led War on Yemen.
“With your donation we will make sure that those who lost everything to war have a safe place to stay, a warm meal to eat and the support they need to get back on their feet.“
Without your help millions of innocent people stand to die. If we wait for governments to act, thousands more will die.
“Yemen needs your generosity and we need you to help us save its children. Every penny raised will be used to provide food, medicine and all other necessities to those most in need,” Catherine Shakdam, Mona Relief.
For more information on the Mona Relief Charity and their dedicated volunteers, you can visit their website here, and the Mona Relief Facebook page is located here. Follow their works on Twitter @MonaReliefye. Please donate generously to the Mona Relief ‘War on Hunger‘ campaign on our Go Fund Me – ColourOfWar fundraising page.
Nawal Al-Maghafi breaks down the facts of Yemen’s deteriorating humanitarian situation in a 90-second video.
The conflict in Yemen started in March, after Houthi fighters seized the capital Sanaa from government control. Neighbouring Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, then began an air campaign against the rebels, and the fighting has since escalated into an all-out civil war. The humanitarian situation has become increasingly dire.
Watch rare video interviews and news reports in our Documentaries section.