Ravaged infrastructure. Mass starvation. Rampant disease.
These are the conditions that most Yemenis are forced to live under today, two years after Saudi Arabia launched its deadly war against the poorest country in the Middle East.
Ahmed Al Moaiad, a London-based Yemeni activist, managed to survive the ongoing imperialist war. But his family members weren’t so lucky.
“Seven of my cousins were killed and more than 20 were injured,” Al Moaiad told teleSUR in a recent interview.
“They were killed in direct targeting or disease which results from this war. They lived in Sa'dah in the north.”
Al Moaiad’s relatives, like thousands of other Yemenis, are victims of Saudi Arabia’s war against against Shiite Houthi rebels. Since 2015, the Western-backed Saudi's have killed over 10,000 Yemenis, leaving over 40,000 injured and diseased, the United Nations reports.
An average of 100 civilians a month are dying because of Saudi-led coalition airstrikes and shelling. Western countries like the United States, France and the United Kingdom are not only part of this coalition. They’re also financing, arming and training it.
The Saudi-led coalition justifies its attacks on Yemen by claiming Houthi rebels are “supporting terrorism” allegedly sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The coalition also claims Houthis are using port cities like Hudaida to “traffic weapons and people” across the Red Sea.
Houthi rebels, however, claim the Saudi’s are attacking them because of the Shiite movement’s growing political influence in the region. Saudi Arabia, a country governed by radical Wahhabi Sunnis, has been at odds with Shiites and Iran for decades.
Al Moaiad believes the Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition is hypocritical for condemning “Houthi terrorism,” when they themselves support radical Wahhabi terrorist groups across the world.
“The same books used to teach ISIS villages in Aleppo and Raqqa are the same books they are teaching everyday in Saudi Arabia in the schools and universities,” Al Moaiad told teleSUR.
“All the Western countries know that Saudi Arabia is the main source of the extremist religious ideas in the world.”
To combat the current war on Yemen, Al Moaiad believes anti-war activists based in the Western countries financing Saudi Arabia should put pressure on their governments. This pressure includes not only sending aid and resources to Yemen, but also calling for an end to the Saudi blockade on Yemeni ports.
Cities like Hudaida, located on Yemen’s Red Sea coast, are intentionally being attacked and blocked by Saudi armed forces, preventing food and medicine from coming in. In August 2015, for example, the coalition bombed schools, hospitals and warehouses in Hodeida — all while preventing Iran from sending food and medical supplies.
For Al Moaiad, time to take action is running out.
“The humanitarian situation is very bad in Yemen as the UN and the international organizations say every week or every month,” Al Moaiad said.
“A child dies every 10 minutes. There is a chronic lack of medicine and food. Plus the destruction of houses, universities, factories. Even wedding and funeral homes are targeted by Saudi Arabian air jets.”
Last week, a Saudi government Apache helicopter attacked a boat packed with Somali refugees off the coast of Yemen, killing at least 42 people, the Associated Press reported.
Ibrahim Ali Zeyad, a sailor who operated the boat, said 80 refugees were rescued after the incident. Most of them are in extremely critical condition and have been rushed to nearby hospitals.
The Apache helicopter, supplied to Saudi Arabia by the United States, targeted refugees on their way from Yemen to Sudan. The attack was among the deadliest throughout the violent Saudi-led, Western-backed war.
“There is a disaster in Yemen and Saudi Arabia will not stop destroying our country,” Al Moaiad said.
“That’s why the Yemeni people have to resist this invasion.”