OP-ED Political Analysis

Yemen: The Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World

Written by NY Staff

THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE — Scott Paul of Oxfam recently visited Yemen and testifies about what he saw there. You should read all of it, but I’ll quote the concluding paragraph here:

There are more people in need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen than anywhere else in the world, but thanks to the relatively small number of refugees fleeing the country and the difficulty of entry for journalists, most people – even policy experts and government officials – aren’t able to relate to the scale of suffering there [bold mine-DL]. As I left Sana’a, I couldn’t help but think that the international community’s approach to Yemen would be markedly different if world leaders were able to see what I saw. For a start, they would urgently help stabilize Yemen’s Central Bank, remove restrictions on the transport of hard foreign currency out of the country, and enact a new Security Council Resolution demanding peace. For its part specifically, the US government would withdraw its support for the parties fighting this cruel and unnecessary war.

This is something that I have tried to emphasize in as many of my posts on the war as possible: the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen is the worst one in the world today, and it is among the worst disasters of its kind in decades. Tens of millionsare in serious need of food, and they have mostly been driven to this point by the coalition’s blockade. This is a massive crisis, and one that didn’t have to happen. It is all the more severe because it is not receiving the publicity that other crises have, and because the international response to it has been limited and woefully inadequate.

I would like to think that the main reason so few people pay attention to the suffering of Yemen is simply lack of information, but that can’t really excuse the behavior of major governments including our own. The Obama administration had no confidence that the Saudis and their allies’ intervention would succeed, but backed it anyway to satisfy them. Our government knows as well as anyone what the coalition is doing to the people of Yemen because they are helping them to do it. U.S. complicity in wrecking Yemen isn’t the result of a lack of knowledge about what the war is doing to the civilian population, but rather the indifference born of a desire to keep despotic client states happy.