The Arab Coalition’s on-going bloody attack on Yemen’s critical port city of Hodeidah, with Washington’s acquiescence, will only deepen the humanitarian tragedy of the Yemeni people.
The Saudi-UAE attack is part of the coalition’s continuing military effort, again with American assistance, to topple the Houthi regime and restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled the country nearly four years ago.
The action, dubbed by the Saudis as “Operation Golden Victory,” involves a relatively large force, using both air and sea bombardment. The bombardment from the air and the sea is bound to force thousands out of their homes, creating a massive internal refugee disaster–on top of the existing humanitarian crisis that plagues Yemen.
The attack on Hodeidah is particularly painful because it serves as a major port through which food supplies and humanitarian aid are delivered to needy Yemenis. It also lies at the mouth of Bad al-Mandab connecting the Arabia Sea and the Red Sea. It is a major international strategic waterway and one of three in the Middle East. The other two being the Strait of Hormuz and the Suez Canal.
If food and humanitarian supplies are interrupted, Yemen–a country already on the verge of starvation and total drought due to a lack of food and fresh water–will collapse. Hundreds and potentially thousands will die from starvation, thirst, and disease.
It’s ironic that Saudi Arabia, which presents itself as the guardian of Islam’s two holiest mosques, launches such an attack during Ramadan, a Muslim holy month during which the faithful are enjoined from engaging in war. Unless, of course, the Saudis do not consider the Houthis as true Muslims because of their Shia faith.
If the Trump administration wants to maintain any credibility in the region, it should work diligently to stop the attack. It is foolish to believe that the attack on the port city will lead to the collapse of the Houthi regime in Sana’a or to bringing the Houthis and Iran to the negotiating table. The U.S. should not be consciously standing on the sidelines of the Saudi-Emirati barbarism in Yemen, especially when its own regional and national interests are not being threatened.