Yemen — The Starvation Siege Has Begun

Cross-posted from Moon of Alabama

Last night the Saudi coalition launched its attack on the city of Hodeidah in Yemen. Hodeidah is the only Yemeni harbor on the Red Sea coast that can take large vessels. It is ruled by the Houthi who in 2014 took over the capital Sanaa and disposed of the Saudi installed Hadi government. 90% of the food for the 18 million people living in Houthi controlled areas comes through Hodeidah.

Saudi-owned satellite news channels and later state media announced the battle had begun, citing military sources. They also reported coalition airstrikes and shelling by naval ships.The initial battle plan appeared to involve a pincer movement. Some 2,000 troops who crossed the Red Sea from an Emirati naval base in the African nation of Eritrea landed west of the city with plans to seize Hodeida’s port, Yemeni security officials said.

Emirati forces with Yemeni troops moved in from the south near Hodeida’s airport, while others sought to cut off Houthi supply lines to the east, the officials said.

The port is now classified as a zone of active military conflict. Prolonged fighting may well destroy the port infrastructure. Even if the Saudi coalition forces take and reopen it they will continue to block food supplies for the central highlands of Yemen. They want to starve the Houthis into submission.

The attack from the south includes 3,000 to 5,000 troops under the command of Tariq Sale, a cousin of the recently killed former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh. They have been equipped with trucks and new weapons by the UAE. More forces are on their way from Aden and Taiz. They are supported by Emirati artillery, tanks and Saudi aerial bombing. The Saudi coalition forces are commanded by former officers from Australia, the U.S. and UK who have been hired by the UAE.

The New York Times editors do not want to understand the real problem with this attack:

A coalition led by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is poised to attack the Red Sea port of Al Hudaydah, the home to 600,000 Yemenis and the lifeline for humanitarian aid that sustains most of the country’s people.

Experts have predicted that 250,000 people could be killed or displaced in the offensive.

The NYT is in principle supporting the Saudi attack. It wants the Houthis removed. It follows the line of the Zionist lobby:

However, inaction at Hodeida carries steep costs.[…] If liberated, the port’s capacity could quickly be expanded, especially if the liberation is achieved quickly and carefully. People in government-controlled areas are better off than people in Houthi-controlled areas precisely because they are reconnected to functioning ports and, partially, to the government payroll system. Thus, the people in Hodeida would benefit from being liberated.

The problem is not that 250,000 people could be displaced or even killed due to the fighting. The problem is not that the people of Hodeidah lacked food. Until today they received it through the harbor

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