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Attacking Hodeidah Is Trump's Deliberate Act of Cruelty
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The Trump administration is guilty of many acts of deliberate cruelty, such as taking away the children of immigrant parents at the US border. But just as the world was watching the lead up to the Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting in Singapore last Monday, the US may have done something even worse by quietly announcing a decision that threatens to kill millions by starvation or disease.

The potential death sentence came in a short press statement by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, effectively giving a green light for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launch an offensive in Yemen aimed at capturing Hodeidah on the Red Sea. The port city is the point of entry for 70 per cent of food and medical supplies for the eight million Yemenis whom the UN says are on the brink of starvation out of the 22 million in need of humanitarian aid.

The eagerness of US officials to avoid accusations of complicity in the Hodeidah attack is a sign that they suspect the outcome may be calamitous. Pompeo was deliberately low-key in his three sentence statement about Hodeidah: “I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports.”

Absent from this message for the first time was any call for Saudi Arabia and the UAE not to attack Hodeidah, a city with a population of 600,000 who are already hearing explosions in the distance. The US and UAE have been working hard on a smokescreen of misinformation about who is responsible for what is happening and why they are launching the offensive now.

The 25,000 Yemeni fighters advancing on Hodeidah are not an independent force but are paid for and under the control of the UAE. “We take our orders from the Emiratis, of course,” a Yemeni field commander in the front line told Iona Craig of The Intercept earlier this month as he called in airstrikes. This air support is provided by the Saudis and the UAE with the US providing essential services such as mid-air refuelling and target intelligence. The US is denying that it has a direct role in the assault on Hodeidh, but it would not be happening without its assent.

The UAE has made it clear privately to US officials that it would not attack Hodeidah without the permission and support of the Trump administration. The White House has decided to escalate the Saudi and UAE-led campaign against the Houthis, whom it denounces as Iranian proxies, though without providing much evidence of this. A justification by the UAE for attacking Hodeidah is that it is used by the Houthis to import Iranian-made missiles and other weapons. “Should we leave the Houthis smuggling missiles?” asked a UAE ambassador. But a UN panel of experts concluded earlier in the year that no weapons were coming through the port from Iran because ships are randomly inspected and must be authorised by the UN.

A crude attempt by the UAE to pretend that it is not acting in concert with the US is to announce publicly that its request to the US for satellite imagery, reconnaissance and mine-sweeping had been turned down. Given that countries do not normally put such rejections up in lights, this is clearly another attempt to play down the US role.

Why is the US doing this? Trump is closer to Saudi Arabia and UAE than any another US president and they have put a vast effort into cultivating him. The White House sees Yemen as one front in a broader campaign to put pressure on Iran. But the most important motive for escalation by Saudi Arabia, UAE and their foreign backers such as the US, Britain and France is that their war has not been going well for them.

When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began the Saudi air war against the Houthis in March 2015 it was over-confidently named “Operation Decisive Storm”. It turned out to be anything but decisive and is still going on three years later. The Houthis, a Shia minority sect, control the capital Sanaa along with almost all of highly populated north Yemen and remain capable of firing the occasional missile into Saudi Arabia.

The US is encouraging the UAE and its allies to take Hodeidah to break the deadlock, by tightening encirclement of the Houthis. But this is a long way from taking Sanaa and forcing the Houthis to surrender.

What the Hodeidah operation may do is turn a humanitarian disaster, which the UN is already calling the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, into complete catastrophe. Three quarters of the 27 million Yemenis already require aid to survive and this may be cut off in the next few days as the fighting moves into Hodeidah and closes the port.

The Saudis and the UAE are trying to defuse international concerns, particularly in the US Congress, about an impending famine by saying that they are ready and waiting to send in supplies once they have taken Hodeidah. That sounds good, but last year Saudi Arabia even banned chlorine tablets being sent to Yemen though it was suffering from a cholera epidemic in which, according to the World Health Organisation, 500,000 people have been infected and 2,000 children have died. The epidemic started because the Saudi-led coalition had bombed the main electric power station and not enough fuel was getting through to keep the sewage and water purification plants working.

Even if Hodeidah falls, the Saudi and Emirati-backed Yemeni forces will be unable to fight their way into the rugged highlands of Yemen where the terrain favours the defender.

ORDER IT NOW

Pretensions of humanitarian concern from Yemen by the US, Britain and France reek of hypocrisy, shedding copious tears for the victims of war while supplying the arms and advisers with which that war is being waged. The largely ineffective Houthi missiles fired at Riyadh are furiously denounced, but scarcely a squeak is heard about the relentless bombing of Sanaa and every other population centre in the country. The US and Britain opposed a demand by Sweden at the UN Security Council on Thursday that Saudi Arabia and UAE declare an immediate ceasefire. Some cynics suspect that the Saudi-UAE offensive is timed to sink peace efforts by the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths whereby the Houthis would withdraw from Hodeidah and the UN would take over the port city.

Calling for a political settlement, as Britain has done, sounds better than calling for more war, but the outcome will be much the same so long as Saudi Arabia and UAE try to gain through diplomacy what they have failed to win on the battlefield over the last three years. If the Houthis do not withdraw, then the Saudi-led coalition is likely to rely on bombing to batter their way in. The city will end up looking like Raqqa, West Mosul or East Aleppo where ground troops act as a mopping up force after airstrikes have obliterated everything in front of them. It is only when the US, Britain and France begin to exact a political price from Saudi Arabia and UAE for continuing their disastrous foreign venture in Yemen that the end of the war will be in sight.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, Yemen 
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  1. “The Trump administration is guilty of many acts of deliberate cruelty, such as taking away the children of immigrant parents at the US border.”

    Those poor immigrant parents, they have no agency and can’t be held responsible for the consequences of their decisions.

    • Agree: Roderick Spode
  2. 22pp22 says:

    This might be a good article. I don’t know because I stopped reading after the second sentence.

    Illegals throw away their rights when they cross the border illegally.

    Solution: keep immivader families together by deporting them all, no exceptions.

    • Agree: mark green
  3. @22pp22

    Exactly what I did. The 2nd sentence instantly destroyed anything this person had to say.

    If you commit a crime in the United States, you get separated from your kids.

    And exactly why should anyone feel anything because an illegal immigrant gets separated from their kids?

    If you are so concerned about parents getting separated from their kids, why wouldn’t you be concerned aboout United States citizens being separted from their kids when they get arrested for crimes?

    I sincerely do not understand this stupidity. How could someone point the finger at one thing while the same thing is happening everyday to other people in the society? The people who actually are citizens of the society?

    And what would your remedy be in any event? Say you were arrested for suspicion of some crime. You are going to be separated from your kids. Like those who cross our borders therefore committing a crime.

    So you are arrested. And you are going to be separted from your kids. So, since you are in jail and are going to be going to trial, then you can’t be released to be with your kids. Therefore, the only solution is for your kids to be moved into the jail with you. Since liberals are so concerned about separating kids from their parents.

    You get the gist here? The liberals are more concerned with having kids separated from their parents, than they are with the well being of the kids.

    The system as it is now, is more concerned with the well being of children. That is why they separate the kids from their law-breaking parents, and then place the kids in a caring environment.

    The insanity of not knowing this is the way things work is truly mind-blowing. Truly. What is wrong with these lunatics writing articles like this?

    It is the definition of insane. Insane. Truly. Sincerely. Insane.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  4. @22pp22

    In other words, you don’t know what you are talking about.

    • Replies: @22pp22
  5. 22pp22 says:
    @ploni almoni

    Silly comment from you.

    I don’t need another lecture on how I should have been drowned at birth and that every immivader from every sh1th0le country is more deserving than me and mine.

    (PS I’m not American)

    If you are white, jump of a cliff to prove how much you really believe what you say.

  6. If this is true, and unfortunately it appears to be, the US is aiding and abetting what is probably the most significant war crime of the 21st century. The official opposition, meanwhile, is, if anything, even more keen on this. It is the final failure of “responsibility to protect” type interventions, the proof of which is the fact this is a bipartisan policy which was started under Obama. The long term result of the Nazi regime, creation of Israel as a result in large part of western guilt for Nazi crimes, meanwhile is indirectly fueling this, since Israel has an unofficial alliance with the Saudi barbarians and their emirate allies. The fact is, the Russians are supporting the civilised element in the middle east while the yankees, their satellites, and their controlling influence, are backing the wahabi barbarians.

  7. anonymous[204] • Disclaimer says:
    @restless94110

    [If you are so concerned about parents getting separated from their kids, why wouldn’t you be concerned aboout United States citizens being separted from their kids when they get arrested for crimes? I sincerely do not understand this stupidity. ]

    Are ignorant people have ever asked themselves, why these people had to leave their countries in the first place?

    When the USG criminals and their rapists, ‘soldiers’, extension are invading country after country ILLEGALLY or sending their fucking criminals and provocateurs, NGO’s, to destabilize the targeted countries, Venezuela and many others, to put a US behind licker, as ‘head of state, then these criminal acts bring millions of people DEATH AND DESTROY THEIR LAND. ILLEGAL SANCTIONS and proxy wars using CIA/Mossad trainted terrorists funded by Saudis to topple governmets around the world, if you are not stupid then you know brings, HUNGER, DESTITUTE for millions of people in that country. When you are trying to change the geopolictial of the region in order to have FULL CONTROL using foreign policy and zionist stooges in the congress or senate, to force the indigenous people out of their country to steal their land for the zionist mass murderers like yourself, then you leave many people no OTHER CHOICES except to flee their own countries and seek protection. Idiots

    If you don’t want people to seek protection, where is part of UN charter, dummies, then you should stop your ILLEGAL INVASION OF OTHER COUNTRIES AT ONCE, ILLEGAL SANCTION, RAPE, LOOTING AND KILLING other people, dummies. Is this clear.

    The criminal is your government and the albino zionist mafia who has occupied many countries in the world, killed millions of people and millions MORE AS REFUGEES. As long as USG/Israel are destabilizing the world for jewish project ‘World government’ or New World Order, and the racist dummies ARE SILENT then you have NO RIGHT TO TELL US THIS GARBAGE.

    People should kill the invaders and force these criminals out of the region where have ILLEGALLY OCCUPIED.

  8. rosemerry says:
    @22pp22

    The USA constantly invades,controls, occupies other countries and destroys lives, infrastructure, buildings, causing people to die and/or flee, then refuses to help any of them, but complains that any refugees are “illegal” and desperate people are unwanted.
    People are not “illegal”-countries like the USA are unfair and cruel.

    • Replies: @mark green
    , @22pp22
    , @22pp22
  9. @rosemerry

    Much of what you say is 100% true. Zio-America has become a nuclear rogue state. You correctly observe that it “invades, controls, occupies other countries and destroys lives…”. True.

    We certainly agree then that Zio-Washington has become a bastion of organized crime. Aggressive, serial warfare is a criminal enterprise. The shoe fits.

    The imperial warlords in Washington do not hesitate to use mass murder to achieve their venal, extra-national goals. Disgraceful. Criminal.

    This ugly fact however does not convey any kind of right for millions of dysfunctional, low-IQ Mexicans/Guatemalans/El-Salvadorans to invade our dynamic, orderly, advanced, English-speaking civilization. None whatsoever. Their ancestors did not dwell here in the past, nor did they contribute to the rise of our English-speaking culture. Their histories are south of the Rio Grande.

    The ongoing and unlawful infiltration of US space by these aliens harms the European-derived citizens who created America. Further, this invasion undermines America’s fragile cohesion–not to mention its standard of living. Lastly, these so-called ‘refugees’ are here primarily for economic gain. What they want is the gringo’s wealth, comforts, and cultural orderliness. Not so fast.

    Besides their undeserved demand for US residence/citizenship (along with subsidized housing, bi-lingual education and food stamps) these ‘refugees’ bring very little to the table. Their unwelcome invitation to join the party must therefore be refused.

    Indeed, the case can be made that these ‘refugees’ actually pose a long-term threat to our nation’s future since they invariably bring their Third World habits/abilities with them.

    Like African-Americans before them, their presence will not likely contribute to American greatness.

    These infiltrators must therefore be rejected. Sorry. Many constitute a rivanchivist fifth column inside the US.

    The solution is to safely deport these gatecrashers to the lands of their birth. What’s so wrong with that?

    Is this common-sense solution really so unreasonable? I don’t think so.

    Incredibly, the liberals who complain so bitterly about ‘separating immigrant children from their parents’ don’t much mind Zio-Washington’s total annihilation and destruction of entire countries as long as these innocent victims are 1) located in the Middle East and 2) pose a potential threat to Israel. That’s the moral fountainhead that permeates Zio-Washington. Unfortunately, it is immoral and it is criminal.

    As for America’s burgeoning Spanish-speaking underclass, why is living amongst the gringo the only way for Hispanics to achieve a better life? Is this really true?

    If it is true, then these dysfunctional wetbacks do pose a long-term threat to American prosperity, cohesion, and orderliness. Out!

    If it is not true, then they must return to their native lands and create wealth and orderliness there. Why not?

    Getting back to your central point, after these illegal immigrants are sent home, let’s go after the globalist war criminals who now occupy Zio-Washington. They surely must be dealt with.

    And they deserve a far harsher fate than these Hispanic gatecrashers.

    • Replies: @artichoke
  10. artichoke says:

    Yeah war is hell. But we’re not going to let the Houthis hold that port.

  11. artichoke says:
    @mark green

    We will have to downsize and simplify the social safety net for working-age able bodied people. Then we’ll see if the magic is really our white culture, or the gibs. In any case, you can’t have a welfare state with porous border.

  12. 22pp22 says:
    @rosemerry

    What you say does not apply to Mexico.

    It applies to Yemen, because your country is a client state of Israel and KSA.

  13. 22pp22 says:
    @rosemerry

    Syria is a convenient battleground because it is a multi-funky society full of people who don’t much like each other. Sound familiar? Modern America is taking the politics of division to a whole new level with previously unheard of victim groups like the transgendered. Even men and women are encouraged to hate each other,

    Desperate people deserve our help, but not here. We will not improve anywhere by turning our own countries into dystopic hellholes.

    Tell AIPAC and Prince Bandar to go to XXXX and provide funds to help refugees in their countries of origin. That is humane to both us and them and also cost-effective.

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