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The Yemen War Death Toll Is Five Times Higher Than We Think
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One reason Saudi Arabia and its allies are able to avoid a public outcry over their intervention in the war in Yemen, is that the number of people killed in the fighting has been vastly understated. The figure is regularly reported as 10,000 dead in three-and-a-half years, a mysteriously low figure given the ferocity of the conflict.

Now a count by a non-partisan group has produced a study demonstrating 56,000 people have been killed in Yemen since early 2016. The number is increasing by more than 2,000 per month as fighting intensifies around the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. It does not include those dying of malnutrition, or diseases such as cholera.

“We estimate the number killed to be 56,000 civilians and combatants between January 2016 and October 2018,” says Andrea Carboni, who researches Yemen for the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), an independent group formerly associated with the University of Sussex that studies conflicts and is focusing attention on the real casualty level. He told me he expects a total of between 70,000 and 80,000 victims, when he completes research into the casualties, hitherto uncounted, who died between the start of the Saudi-led intervention in the Yemen civil war, in March 2015, and the end of that year.

The oft-cited figure of 10,000 dead comes from a UN official speaking only of civilians in early 2017, and has remained static since. This out of date statistic, drawn from Yemen’s patchy and war-damaged health system, has enabled Saudi Arabia and the UAE – who lead a coalition of states strongly backed by the US, UK and France – to ignore or downplay the loss of life.

Casualties are rising by the day as Saudi and UAE-directed forces try to cut off Hodeidah – the last port controlled by the Houthi rebels – from the capital, Sanaa. Oxfam said this week, a civilian is being killed every three hours in the fighting, and between 1 August and 15 October, 575 civilians were killed in the port city, including 136 children and 63 women. An airstrike on Wednesday killed 16 civilians in a vegetable market in Hodeidah, and other strikes this month have hit two buses at a Houthi-held checkpoint, killing 15 civilians, including four children.

Little information about casualties in Yemen reaches the outside world because Saudi and the UAE make access difficult for foreign journalists and other impartial witnesses. By contrast to the war in Syria, the American, British and French governments have no interest in highlighting the devastation caused in Yemen – they give diplomatic cover to the Saudi intervention. But their deliberate blindness to the death of so many Yemenis is starting to attract more negative attention, as a byproduct of the flood of international criticism of Saudi Arabia in the wake of the premeditated murder of Jamal Khashoggi – now admitted by Saudi officials – in Istanbul on 2 October.

The absence of credible figures for the death toll in Yemen has made it easier for foreign powers to shrug off accusations they are complicit in a human disaster. That is despite frantic appeals from senior UN officials to the organisation’s Security Council to avert a manmade famine which now threatens 14 million Yemenis – half the population.

The crisis has worsened because of the siege of Hodeidah – with the city a lifeline for aid and commercial imports – since mid June, a situation that has forced 570,000 people to flee their homes. UN humanitarian affairs chief Mark Lowcock warned on 23 October “the immune systems of millions of people on survival support for years on end are now literally collapsing, making them – especially the elderly – more likely to succumb to malnutrition, cholera and other diseases”.

Just how many people die because they are weakened by hunger is difficult to know accurately, because most of the deaths happen at home and are unrecorded. This is particularly true of Yemen, where half the meagre health facilities no longer function, and people are often too poor to use those that do.

Loss of life from fighting should be easier to record and publicise, and the fact this has not happened in Yemen is a sign of the lack of interest by the international community in the conflict. Carboni says ACLED has been able to tally the number of civilians and combatants killed in ground fighting and bombing by drawing on the Yemeni press and, to a lesser extent, international media. ACLED has used these sources, after carefully assessing their credibility, to calculate the number of fatalities. Where figures differ, the group uses lower estimates and favours the claims of those who suffered casualties, over those who say they inflicted them.

It is difficult to distinguish between civilian targets that are deliberately attacked, and non-combatants who died because they were caught in the crossfire, or were close to a military unit or facility when hit.

A study by Professor Martha Mundy – Strategies of the Coalition in the Yemen War: Aerial Bombardment and Food War – concludes the Saudi-led bombing campaign deliberately targeted food production and storage facilities. Some 220 fishing boats have been destroyed on Yemen’s Red Sea coast and the fish catch is down by half.

ACLED began counting casualties after the war was under way, which is why it is only now researching loss of life in 2015, with its findings due to be published in January or February.

Carboni adds, the trend is for the number of people being killed to rise. The monthly total before December 2017 was fewer than 2,000 casualties, but since then it has always been more than 2,000. Almost all those who died are Yemenis, though the figures also include 1,000 Sudanese troops killed fighting on behalf of the Saudi coalition.

The Khashoggi affair has led to greater international focus on the calamitous war in Yemen, and the role of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the conflict. But there is no sign of the US, Britain or France curtailing military assistance to the kingdom and the UAE, despite the likelihood the coalition will fail to win a decisive victory.

The true “butcher’s bill” in the Yemen war has taken too long to emerge, but it may help to increase pressure on outside powers to stop the killing.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen 
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  1. anon[405] • Disclaimer says:

    The oft-cited figure of 10,000 dead comes from a UN official speaking only of civilians in early 2017, and has remained static since.

    just like that figure of only 11 million illegal aliens has remained static for over a decade now

  2. Parbes says:

    So… WHERE are/were the Western “human rights organizations”, NGOs, “humanitarian interventionists”, MSM journalists, pundits, etc., who scream to high heaven with every new fake report of “Assad gassing civilians” and the like? Why aren’t they filling our ears with their clamor for “something to be done”, for the Saudis and their mercenaries to be bombed and regime-changed? Yes, WHERE ARE YOU, you selective bleeding heart pieces of shit? What’s the matter, what’s been keeping you back while all this carnage was going on – the fact that your “White Helmet” buddies would be cross at you if you criticized their Saudi masters?

    Just goes to show that the Western “human rights” professional busybodies and carnival barkers are simply a collection of intelligence agency tools, with some naive credulous fools thrown in.

  3. DC could cut off the weapons but the moneys too important ya know? Whats a few thousand dead or soon to be dead starving babies? MIC/Wall St gotta eat too!

    Israel is bombing Gaza again, hospitals a legit target much like school buses chock full o chilluns for the Sauds.
    Wouldn’t want folks with blown off limbs getting stitched up now would we?

    Jew supremacist synagogue gets shot up this morning, after they started bombing Gaza, awful convenient eh? You don’t reckon them Jews would pull off a hoax like this to distract from their holocaust of the Palestinian death camp prisoners do you?
    They would never kill their own or blow up their own buildings to push their supremacist agenda would they? Nah! We’ll hear about this crap for the next two weeks minimum, with no mention of the Palestinians getting waxed I’d bet. Sad!

    Heres a good video on the Yemen holocaust, explains it all pretty well for us dumb goyim cattle.

  4. eah says:

    In modern moral calculus (think ‘Realpolitik’) some lives obviously matter more than others.

  5. Ahoy says:

    @ parbes

    “Yes, WHERE ARE YOU, you selective bleeding heart pieces of shit?”

    They are there monitoring the situation to determine when it becomes a “Holocaust”

  6. With or without Western influence/outrage/weapons for Saudi Arabia, the basic core is that:

    – the population of Yemen grew 7x over the last 7 decades
    – it’s not a nation, but a collection of squabbling clans/tribes aka too much diversity
    – from noon on, nearly 2/3 of the adult men & half of the adult women just sit around chewing khat

    (Khat is a water-intensive plant and Yemenis are soon running out of the pre-historic aquafier. Just 40 years ago, Yemen could cover 90% of its’ food, but now has to import nearly 95% of it.)

    In other words it’s very hard to sell a nation of lazy junkies as a victim of [no supervillian here]. Most people around the world don’t have alot of symphaties for junkies.

    At least in case Syria with a pro-Western government, you could build gas-pipeline from the Gulf towards Turkey onwards to Europe.

    • Replies: @anon
  7. anon[254] • Disclaimer says:
    @Another German Reader

    the population of Yemen grew 7x over the last 7 decades

    wow, worse than african and central and south america

  8. MEexpert says:

    “We estimate the number killed to be 56,000 civilians and combatants between January 2016 and October 2018,” says Andrea Carboni, who researches Yemen for the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED),

    Trump, like Madeline Albright, can say that the 60,000 to 70,000 people killed are worth the $110 billion dollars in weapons sale.

    This number of casaualties does not include the millions of people dying of starvation, cholera, and other illnesses. But hey, they are only Muslims.

  9. Anonymous [AKA "AndrewP"] says:

    56,000 dead in 2 years doesn’t sound like all that much for a major war – not when the population of Yemen is 14 million, and the amount spent fighting them is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. And I couldn’t give a rat’s rear about them any more than I care about Palestinians. If anything, this low death toll shows that the Saudis are incompetent clowns (of course we already know that). They need to up their game and kill ’em faster.

  10. Bianca says:

    And this newly acquired knowledge suddenly springs on us from the brow of Zeus. About same as the UN or NGO estimating bodies that divine the numcers frim the coffee grouns or from the direction if political winds. Naturally, now that MbS is a target — the humanitarian urges will elevate now the noble intention of “international community” will kick in the high gear. Forgetting that it is US that is enforcing blockade (may be with some other Weatern “international community” menber). The rest of the non-western community is yawning at the worn out stage management called demonizing routine. Because if US wanted to stop the war it could have done it during years of the confluct that started way before Kung Salman became King, and while hus son has been learning ropes in an Eastern district bureacracy.
    Then when King Salman appointed Washingtom favorite counterterrorism prince — Muhammed bin Nayef to rule Saudi Kjngdkm as a Criwn Prince and his heir — US could have ended it without trouble. After all, Saudis are not fighting for control of Bab Al Mandeb — US was. So, from April 2015 to June 2017 the war raged, Salafi groups popping up like mushrooms all over the Muddle East, snd ISIS spreading like wildfire — all under the Washington favorite head of the Interior, Saudi Homeland Secutity, and the future King. And no complaint about war on Yemen, no complints about Saudi sponsored terrorism all iver the creation. Just because MbS was Defence Minuster, that gave him no authority to decide. Some initiatives he started were ridiculed — to convince others that he is not the one to do business with.
    So, while the bliocade of Yemen went on and on, nibidy cared. Once a Turkish ship tried to deliver food into another, smaller port, but was intercepted. No concerns then. But it is only after Nayef was ousted by the Council — for the Qatar fiasco. Trump actually was hapoy with that and even took credit for it. But immediatelly after MbS was appointed Crown Prince a meeting in Cairo magically converted all conditions to principles, and while cold war remained, no more talk if war. Now, Qatar-Saudi standoff is a problem for US, as Qatar has a roaring trade with Iran, Turkish military base and Iranian advisors next to US airbase.
    And here we are, instead of looking at our role in starving Yemeni people, we are happy to bash the ally whose “recklessnes” consists of not faithfully following the script. Trump let the frustration with MbS fly, when he declared publicly that Kingdom will not survive weeks without US protection. That was extraordinary statement reflecting extreme displeasure. Extreme enough to be giddy with delight when poor Kashoggi walked into his death. Anything to bash MbS. To reel him back in? To humble him? Or are we looking at the pount of no return?

  11. Art says:

    The Yemen War Death Toll Is Five Times Higher Than We Think

    The Jew led US government is responsible for this with NO delclaration of war!

    We the People have been ignored! The Jew agenda is not our agenda.

    Stop the killing – NOW.

    Think Peace — Do No harm — Art

  12. anon[134] • Disclaimer says:

    The Yemen War Death Toll Is Five Times Higher Than We Think

    what if i already thought it was five times higher than what they were reporting? does that mean its 25x higher?

  13. Art says:

    Gen Mattis is calling for a ceasefire in Yemen (the 330 million strong US government blames the bombed out Hutias for no current ceasefire.)

    Why doesn’t he just do it.

    It is his bombs doing the killing!

    Think Peace — Do No Harm — Art

    • Replies: @Art
  14. Art says:

    That emaciated little Yemen girl is dead!

    Another Proud Day For Western “Civilization”
    Yemen Girl Who Turned World’s Eyes to Famine Is Dead

    November 02, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – CAIRO — A haunted look in the eyes of Amal Hussain, an emaciated 7-year-old lying silently on a hospital bed in northern Yemen, seemed to sum up the dire circumstances of her war-torn country.

    A searing portrait of the starving girl published in The New York Times last week drew an impassioned response from readers. They expressed heartbreak. They offered money for her family. They wrote in to ask if she was getting better.

    On Thursday, Amal’s family said she had died at a ragged refugee camp four miles from the hospital.

    “My heart is broken,” said her mother, Mariam Ali, who wept during a phone interview. “Amal was always smiling. Now I’m worried for my other children.”

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