Saudi Coalition Attacks Hodeidah Yemen’s Lifeline Port
The Saudi-led coalition attempting to restore Yemen’s former president Hadi to power have launched a final assault on Yemen’s main port of Hodeidah, the only entry point through which humanitarian aid can enter the beleaguered nation, midle eastern news services report.
The operation to drive the Houthi rebels from the port, after four years of relentless bombing on the impoverished Arabian nation by the oil rich Saudis and their Arab allies has been largely unreported by western media and such reports as have been published are heavily biased towards the Saudis. In fact the Saudis have been supported throughout their attempt to crush Yemen by its USA and NATO allies France and Britain (the FUKUS axis) providing advanced weapons and military technology and putting ‘advisers’ on the ground to train Saudi Arabia’s mainly mercenary army.
The attack on Hodeidah was launched on Wednesday morning, after the rebels rejected an ultimatum and refused to surrender the city by the end of Tuesday, a deadline set by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Al Arabiya reports.
Large-scale troop movements, with air and naval support from the Saudi-led coalition, brought Hadi — loyalist troops close to the city from numerous directions, a military source told the publication. The government of the exiled president, based in Aden, issued a statement, claiming that the military operation was the last-ditch effort to “restore legitimacy to the entire national territory after exhausting all peaceful and political means to remove the Houthi militia from the port of Hodeidah.” While it is true that the Hadi government is the legitimate (if not democratically elected) government of Yemen is was the oppression of the country’s Shi’ite Muslim minority by Sunni extremists of the Wahhabi cult that triggered the rebellion.
The human rights screechers in the west ignored this oppression as, for the past four years, they have ignored what had become, increasingly obviously, a campaign of genocide by the Saudis and their allies, aimed at completely destroying the only significant Shia group on the Arab peninsula. The danger now is that the fall of Yemen’s last humanitarian lifeline will be a prelude to wholesale slaughter of Shi’ites in the country
“Liberation of the port of Hodeidah is a milestone in our struggle,” the Hadi government’s statement reads. “Liberation of the port is the beginning of the fall of the Houthi militias. It will secure navigation in the Bab al-Mandab Strait and cut off the hands of Iran.”
And there the real reason for the war is revealed. Saudi Arabia wants to humiliate Iran and establish itself as the regions main political and economic power. Iran’s restraint so (they have given limited support to the Houthis, far may be due to their pacifist attitude but is more likely prompted by fear that armed conflict with western Allies the Saudis would prompt a direct response from the USA and NATO
Recapturing Hodeidah and its port is crucial for the Arab coalition. Over the course of the conflict, Riyadh has repeatedly tried to blockade the docks, accusing Iran of using them to smuggle arms to the Houthi rebels.
Just days before the operation to retake the port was launched, the United Nations warned that an attack on the heavily populated coastal are could result in up to 250,000 deaths and pleaded with the Sunni coalition to hold back and let international representatives seek a negotiated settlement.
With their country already in the grip of the current world’s worst, but least reported, humanitarian crisis and over half of the twenty-six million population in need of some kind of humanitarian aid, either food, clean water or medicine, it is impossible to estimate how many more Yemenis may soon die of hunger due to the fall of Hodeidah because the Saudis and their allies have demonstrated they have no interest in letting aid get through. If that happens the result will be a genocide.
The UN has warned that any fighting over the port will have extreme consequences. Eighteen million people, already malnourished because of food shortages after years of war, will be at risk of starvation, and will certainly suffer long term health effects if the port is closed to imports of humanitarian aid or the roads from the port into the interior are destroyed due to bombing and artillery fire. Destroying roads as well as water and sewage conduits has been a tactic employed frequently by the coalition forces.
For three years the Saudi and UAE forces have tried to dislodge the Houthi movement from the Yemeni heartland and the capital San’aa. The Saudis managed to take the flat desert areas in the east and the UAE took the southern coast but all their attempts to move into the mountainous western core of Yemen have failed despite their troops being provided with air cover from US built figther planes and helicopters. The Saudi and UAE forces on the ground are by now mostly local mercenaries from the south reinforced by a few tank and artillery troops from the UAE.
The Saudi allies response to pleas for restraint — total indifference to the suffering that will be inflicted on millions of civilians who have played no active part in the war — shows how toothless the UN has become as a force for peace.
Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi called on Wednesday the Yemeni army and resistance forces aided by Arab coalition to push for a decisive military action to liberate the city and port of Hodeidah, west of the country. With the rebel forces alread broken his use of the word decisive can only mean one thing. This is perhaps why the houthi are holding on, their only hope of avoiding wholesale slaughter lies in an intervention by world powers.
Hadi said the situation in the region is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster, which can not be ignored due to the Houthis actions and stubbornness in resisting a political solution to put an end to to the Yemeni crisis, according to Sabaa news agency.
The Yemeni president said: “We have been and continue to seek peaceful solution (by bombing the crap out ofmost of the country, not matter which side the locals were on,) based on the three basic reference points of the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanisms and the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue and UN Security Council Resolutions 2216. We made many concessions to avoid a military solution, but we can not allow the exploitation of the suffering of our people and made him hostage to prolong this war which was waged by the coup militias.”
Earlier the Yemeni government claimed in an official statement that it has exhausted all political and peaceful means to remove the Houthi militia from the port of Hodeidah, and pointed out that the Houthis has used the port of Hodeidah as a corridor to smuggle Iranian weapons to prolong the conflict and kill the people of Yemen.
The statement added that the port of Hodeidah became a podium to launch military attacks against the Yemeni army and on Arab coalition forces as well as threatening international shipping traffic by threatening commercial vessels using the Strait of Bab al-Mandab.
The crisis is not really political in nature but is yet another manifestation of the irreconcilable sectarian differences that have plagued the middle east for centuries.
It is not known how many Yemenis have already died in military attacks or of starvation and cholera in the four years of war, but throughout that time the Saudis and their allies have blockaded ports and airports to prevent food and medical supplies getting in, and deliberately attacked water and sweage infrastructure to exacerbate the spread of disease. In all that time hardly a word of protest has been heard from the west’s liberal media, yet thoughout the war they have been screaming about the brutality of Syria’s President Assad as his forces strove to defeat the western backed terrorists of ISIS. It seems there is a certain amount of hypocrisy involved in western foreign policy.