The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday passed a resolution, drafted largely by the Gulf countries leading the war on Yemen, imposing an arms embargo on Houthis but not the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition pummeling and blockading the impoverished country.
Analysts warn that the measure amounts to an endorsement of the siege on Yemen, which is cutting off vital supplies of food and medical aid and unleashing a profound humanitarian crisis.
Independent journalist and former Yemen resident Iona Craig raised the alarm on Twitter:
In effect, UNSC has endorsed the siege and resulting mass starvation of 26 million people. Everything else in their resolution is immaterial
— Iona Craigأيونا كريج (@ionacraig) April 14, 2015
Sanaa-based reporter Adam Baron echoed this concern.
Real risk that UNSC resolution 2216 will be seen as endorsing naval blockade that is currently choking #yemen’s economy.
— Adam Baron (@adammbaron) April 14, 2015
The UNSC resolution, which is legally binding, was approved by the 15 member council, with 14 voting in favor and Russia abstaining.
The language calls for all member states to "take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer" of military equipment and weapons to Houthi forces.
Furthermore, the resolution orders Houthis to immediately cease combat operations and withdraw from territory they have seized.
Russia had lobbied for the language to include text mandating a "humanitarian pause" in the Saudi-led air strikes, which have hit residential areas and civilian infrastructure, including markets, medical facilities, and at least one displaced person's camp in the country's north. Since March 26 when the coalition bombings began, at least 364 civilians have been killed and 681 wounded in the country's conflict, according to the UN's own estimates.
But instead, the final version of the resolution merely, "Requests the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts in order to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and evacuation, including the establishment of humanitarian pauses."
The Saudi-led coalition—which includes the United States, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco—has repeatedly blocked aid from getting through to civilian populations in Yemen, leading to public rebuke from aid organizations, including the Red Cross.
Houthis have also used deadly force against civilians, and people across Yemen and the world have charged that the large-scale military campaign, waged by some of the most wealthy and despotic countries in the world, is causing the humanitarian situation to deteriorate exponentially.
— Mohammed Al-Asaadi (@alasaadim) April 14, 2015
Robert Naiman, policy director for Just Foreign Policy, told Common Dreams that the UNSC resolution is one-sided. "You would hope the Security Council would take a balanced approach, not just go after the Houthis, who—regardless of what you think of what they've done—are clearly an internal party to the conflict," said Naiman.
Meanwhile, people across Yemen and the world are turning to social media to call for an end to the fighting, as part of the online campaign Kefaya War, which means "Enough War" in Arabic: