Trump Escalates U.S. Backing of Saudi Slaughter and Starvation in Yemen

May 29, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


During their trip to Saudi Arabia, Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave the most direct and explicit U.S. backing to Saudi Arabia’s murderous bombing assault and economic blockade on Yemen to date. It is no exaggeration to say this potentially threatens the lives of millions of Yemenis.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Gulf allies have been waging an unjust war against Yemen, a country of 28 million on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The Saudi goal: to dictate the outcome of a reactionary power struggle between pro-Saudi forces and Yemen’s Houthi movement. (Officially called Ansar Allah, the Houthis are a Zaidi Shia Muslim-based Islamist movement that emerged in northern Yemen in the 1990s.)

The Saudis have bombed hospitals, schools, markets, factories, and residential neighborhoods. Their bombs and economic blockade have decimated the country’s water, sewer, health, and sanitation systems; shattered its economy and agriculture; and prevented it from importing needed food, medicines, fuel, and supplies. (Yemen imports some 90 percent of its food.) These actions targeting whole swaths of Yemen’s population are war crimes. Saudi Arabia is responsible for most of the 10,000 deaths in the Yemen war since 2015. And they’ve created one of the most catastrophic humanitarian horrors on the planet today: according to the UN, 17 million people in Yemen lack access to adequate food, including 462,000 children who are in the "grip of acute malnutrition," causing severe health effects, and seven million live in areas on the brink of famine and potential starvation.

“On average, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen every 10 minutes,” states a UN official. “Many of the children who survive will be affected by stunting and poor health for their entire lives. We are witnessing the starving and the crippling of an entire generation.”

This Saudi-fueled malnutrition and destruction has now triggered an outbreak of cholera, which is spreading “at an unprecedented rate,” UN officials reported on May 24. “In the last three weeks, health authorities have reported over 35,500 suspected cholera cases, a third of whom are children, and 361 associated deaths.... Hundreds of thousands of people are at a greater risk of dying as they face the ‘triple threat’ of conflict, starvation and cholera.... Cholera is preventable and treatable and no life should be lost to this disease.”

Trump Green-Lights Mass Murder, Starvation, and Disease

Under Obama, the U.S. quietly armed and backed the Saudi campaign to preserve their hegemony on the Arabian Peninsula and prevent Iran from gaining influence. The Obama administration supplied the Saudis with billions in arms ($115 billion during its eight-year term) and direct military and intelligence support. But Obama also held back some weapons and exerted some pressure on the Saudis to avoid blatant war crimes (such as bombing hospitals).

In Saudi Arabia during their trip, Trump and Tillerson openly condemned the Houthis in ways the Obama administration never had. Trump praised Saudi Arabia for taking “strong action against Houthi militants in Yemen,” and claimed Iran was to blame for the war.

Tillerson was more explicit, declaring the Houthis “have to know they cannot sustain this fight. They have to know that they will never—they will never prevail militarily. But they’re only going to feel that when they feel the resistance militarily, so it’s important we keep the pressure on them.” In other words, bomb and starve Yemen into submission, forcing the Houthis to surrender to a “political settlement” on U.S.-Saudi terms.

Yemen Starving—U.S.-Saudi Arabia Threaten Famine

Trump’s trip took place as Saudi Arabia has been threatening to bomb or invade the Houthi-controlled Red Sea port of Hodeida, where between 70-80 percent of Yemen’s food and relief aid is delivered. Any such attack could drive between 100,000 and 500,000 of the city’s one million people from their homes. Even worse, it would escalate the cholera crisis and threaten the entire country with starvation: “With any closure, we’d almost certainly have a famine in just a few months,” Oxfam warns.

The U.S.-backed Saudi war has already killed thousands and turned life into a desperate hell for millions of Yemenis. Now the Trump/Pence regime’s expressions of full U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war, and their sale of $110 billion in arms to the kingdom, could be a green light for a Saudi attack against Hodeida. That would mean even greater Saudi atrocities, perhaps reaching genocidal proportions!

This criminal war must be exposed, condemned, and STOPPED, as part of driving the fascist Trump/Pence regime from power!




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