Yemeni war continues, as does the arms industry

The war in Yemen has been going for three years, but it doesn’t get much attention still. But like Syria, it is not just an internal battle, it is a battle that regional and international powers are also involved in, with little success except for feeding the arms industry.

Reuters: Saudi-led coalition conducts air strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah airport

Houthi forces fought to keep control of the airport in Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah on Sunday as Saudi-led coalition air strikes struck the compound, in an offensive that could be a turning point in the three-year conflict.

Losing Hodeidah would deal a serious blow to the Iran-aligned Houthis, cutting supply lines from the Red Sea to their stronghold in the capital Sanaa.

It could also give an edge to the Western-backed military alliance which, despite superior weaponry and firepower, has failed to defeat the Houthis in a war that has killed 10,000 people and created the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis.

The coalition wants to restore an internationally recognized government in exile and thwart what Riyadh and Abu Dhabi believe are arch-foe Iran’s ambitions to dominate the region.

Riyadh is Saudi Arabia, and is Abu Dhabi is United Arab Emirates – so they are battling Irani influences in Yemen. And the US is in the mix too.

The offensive could also have ramifications further afield due to Yemen’s role in a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that has fueled instability across the Middle East.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from Iran’s nuclear deal and his embrace of nuclear state North Korea have added to Tehran’s isolation and put pressure on the Islamic Republic to preserve its interests in Yemen and other Arab states.

 

The United Nations says the assault on Hodeidah could trigger a famine imperiling millions of lives. Many residents are bracing for more hardship as the warring sides dig in.

Imperilling millions of lives – the collateral damage. The population of Yemen is about 28 million people.

In March US approves proposed $1bn arms sale to Saudi Arabia

The US State Department has approved a possible arms sale to Saudi Arabia worth more than $1bn.

“This proposed sale will support US foreign policy and national security objectives by improving the security of a friendly country,” the statement read.

But campaigners, including some US legislators, are urging western governments to halt or limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of its involvement in a devastating civil war in Yemen.

The Saudi military offensive, which began in March 2015, has killed at least 10,000, displaced more than 2 million people and pushed Yemen to the brink of famine.

US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, speaking ahead of a Pentagon meeting with bin Salman on Thursday, said Saudi Arabia was “part of the solution” in Yemen.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International, in a statementon Friday, said there “was extensive evidence that irresponsible arms flows to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition have resulted in enourmous harm to Yemeni civilians”.

“But this has not deterred the USA, UK, and other states, including France, Spain and Italy, from continuing transfers of billions of dollars’ worth of such arms,” it added.

Also Nearly half of US arms exports go to the Middle East

Nearly half of US arms exports over the past five years have gone to the war-stricken Middle East, with Saudi Arabia consolidating its place as the world’s second biggest importer, a report has shown.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) said on Monday that global transfer of major weapons systems between 2013 and 2017 rose by 10% compared with the five-year period before that, in a continuation of an upward trend that began two decades ago.

The US, which is the world’s biggest exporter, increased its sales between those two periods by 25%. It supplied arms to as many as 98 states worldwide, accounting for more than a third of global exports.

Russia, the world’s second biggest exporter, saw a decrease of 7.1% in its overall volume of arms exports; US exports were 58% higher than those of Russia.

France, Germany and China were also among the top five exporters. The UK is the sixth biggest weapons exporter.

Killing people and destroying stuff is big business.

6 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  June 18, 2018

    The war in Yemen has been going for three years, but it doesn’t get much attention still

    It gets constant attention on Aljazeera, unsurprisingly. As do political conflicts & unrest and insurgencies – and just important events elsewhere around the world in various countries. While we get fed 2 second sound bites for political news and the occasional BBC report but otherwise have to put up with a news diet of Trump and trivia.

    No surprise America is the number one arms dealer. Trump even made a big show of all the arms he’s selling to the Saudis when that ratbag Saudi Crown Prince recently got feted at the White House. Dodgy as all get out, that character. At least the Russians tend to trade more quietly. Theresa May is big on flogging arms to the Middle East & anywhere else too, but it looks like their stuff is lagging behind in sophistication.

    • David

       /  June 18, 2018

      ” Theresa May is big on flogging arms to the Middle East & anywhere else too, but it looks like their stuff is lagging behind in sophistication.”

      France, Germany and China are all bigger arms suppliers to the middle east than the UK, I’m curious as to why you missed them out? Nor am I convinced Theresa May has sold so much as a pencil to anyone in her life.

  2. David

     /  June 18, 2018

    This one is Obama’s fault, he was piss weak and wanted a legacy so did his stupid Iranian deal and transferred them billions and they have played merry hell ever since. Yemen had an elected government and Iran has financed and supported the rebels.

    • Gezza

       /  June 18, 2018

      As usual you oversimplify things.

      Why is Yemen so divided?
      Yemen’s internal splits have festered for years. North and south Yemen united into a single state in 1990, but separatists in the south tried to secede from the pro-union north in 1994.

      A North Yemeni tank crew takes cover beside their tank May 27, 1994, as a Southern war plane flies above at al-Anad military base. Stringer/REUTERS
      Their forces were swiftly beaten, and more power and resources flowed to the northern capital of Sanaa, angering many southerners.

      Former president Ali Abdullah Saleh had ruled north Yemen since 1978 and the unified state after 1990. But he alienated many Yemenis. His relatives controlled core parts of the army and economy, and critics said corruption was rife.

      More …
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-explainer/why-yemen-is-at-war-idUSKBN1JB1TE

      • David

         /  June 18, 2018

        And if left to their own governance could have sorted their issues but Iran financed, armed and supported a rebel group bent on overturning an election. Obama financed Iran who used Yemen as a proxy against Saudi Arabia who then bought American weapons.
        Iran’s tentacles are all over the middle East causing nothing but problems it’s pretty simple even if aljazeera have their own paymasters to please and have their own angle.

  3. David

     /  June 18, 2018

    “The United Nations says the assault on Hodeidah could trigger a famine imperiling millions of lives”

    Of course it would be much better if there was no assault and the conflict drags on for a few more decades.