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Why the UK and US Have Yemeni Blood on Their Hands

The Western Powers and Their Contribution to a Nation's Downfall

The conflict in the Arab nation of Yemen has raged for over three years and cost thousands of lives. It has also been a root cause of one of the world’s largest ever man-made famines, affecting over 12 million people. So why have we heard so little of it on the news in the West until very recently? And why have most of the wealthier nations on the planet seemingly turned their back on Yemen?

The main belligerents in the war are the government forces led by Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, which includes the Yemen National Army and a security force loyal to the Yemeni leader. On the other side of it stands the Supreme Political Council, also known as the Houthi movement, which supports and promotes the country’s Shia Muslim minority and is led by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The movement aimed to build on the weaknesses of President Hadi when he first came to power in 2014 and succeeded in capturing the northern Saada province in 2015, forcing Hadi into the south. In March 2015, an attempt to take over the entire country resulted in the President fleeing abroad.

The response from one of Yemen’s neighbouring countries is the main crux of an argument which throws a shroud of corruption over western nations. Saudi Arabia, along with other Sunni Muslim Majority nations, began air attacks with the intention of restoring Hadi's government. They did so whilst being armed and supported by western forces which included UK and the USA. Essentially, these two western powers who have so often claimed to be the peacekeepers on the world stage have knowingly contributed to the slaughter of thousands and the suffering of millions more. And of course, it’s all down to cold hard cash.

Let’s start with the USA. Between 2013 and 2017 it was estimated that Saudi Arabia exchanged $9 billion for American weapons. In the past weeks, President Trump has been in high praise of word from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, is planning deals worth over $100 billion. That’s $100 billion of US built weapons making its way into the hands of a nation which is, not without support, pushing a nation to the brink of collapse. The deal is a further chapter in Trump’s tumultuous Presidency, with the Saudi royal family being scrutinised over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The last thing on the agenda in Riyadh should have been a lucrative arms deal—but this is not the case. It’s a case of financial gain over human suffering and it is being quantified across Yemen.

The UK is not excluded from blame either. It was revealed in a Guardian article in June of this year that Britain has sold hundreds of millions of pounds worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia in a "hidden deal."  The opaque licensing system makes it harder for deals to be tracked, giving the UK government the chance to hold back on the truth of the quantity of weapons being sent to the Middle East. Several human rights groups have argued that the Saudi air support is purposely targeting civilian society, contributing further to the murder and displacement of Yemeni citizens.

Any peace action from either the UK or the USA would also be highly hypocritical. What use is it reaching out the olive branch of peace in one hand when you’re pocketing blood money with the other? The lack of attention around the world on the Yemen civil war is criminal enough. The fuelling of a war machine which is destroying the lives of millions of innocent people borders on crimes against humanity.   

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Why the UK and US Have Yemeni Blood on Their Hands
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