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'Dark Moment of Shame': With Explicit US Backing, Saudi Attack on Yemen's Humanitarian Lifeline Begins

"Suffering for Yemen on an even grander scale with blessing of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump. Congress must step in and demand an end to this complicity."

Saudi Arabia Yemen Trump

Yemeni children take part in a protest outside the United Nations Office on November 20, 2017 in Sana'a, Yemen. (Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

With a "green light" from the Trump administration and essential military support from the U.S. government, Saudi-led forces plowed ahead with an assault on the Yemeni port city of Hodeida on Wednesday, brushing aside dire warnings from international humanitarian organizations and a small group of American lawmakers that an attack on the key aid harbor could spark a full-blown famine and endanger millions of lives.

"We thought it could not get any worse, but unfortunately we were wrong."
—Jolien Veldwijk, CARE

Responding to the early stages of the attack—which began with an estimated 30 Saudi airstrikes within half an hour, guided by U.S. military intelligence—Win Without War wrote on Twitter that the attack is "a dark moment of shame for the United States. We could have stopped this."

Hodeidah is currently home to around 600,000 civilians, and around 80 percent of all humanitarian aid that flows into Yemen arrives at the city's port, which is currently controlled by Houthi rebels. International observers have warned that a military fight over the port city could halt life-saving food and medicine and cause the starvation of millions.

"Some civilians are entrapped, others forced from their homes," Jolien Veldwijk—acting country director for the humanitarian group CARE, which is still operating in Yemen—told Reuters on Wednesday as the U.S.-backed Saudi assault on Hodeida began. "We thought it could not get any worse, but unfortunately we were wrong."

As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the Trump administration has been considering deepening U.S. military involvement in the Saudi bombardment of Yemen, which has pushed eight million Yemenis to the brink of famine. In a report on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal confirmed that the U.S. is providing the Saudis with "intelligence to fine-tune their list of airstrike targets" in Hodeida.

Martin Griffiths, United Nations special envoy to Yemen, wrote on Wednesday that he is "extremely concerned" with the Saudi-led military escalation and said he is working with both parties to avert further disaster.

In a statement responding to the potentially catastrophic attack on Hodeidah, Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, took aim at both the U.S. and the United Kingdom for providing crucial political and military support for the Saudi-led assault, arguing that such complicity reveals "the true face of their foreign policy."

"Trump and his close ally, [U.K. Prime Minister] Theresa May, have been escalating military involvement in Yemen without pushing for a political settlement to the Saudi-led war," German said. "Their total support for Saudi Arabia and its allies is making the world's worst humanitarian crisis even more severe. It gives an even greater urgency to those in favor of peace to build the biggest possible protest to Trump when he visits the U.K. in July."

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