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."
For all those concerned about Trump abdicating American leadership/credibility at the G7 & w North Korea, you should also be expressing shock and outrage at Trump's green light (& military enablement!) for the UAE's offensive that will likely kill 250,000 in #Yemen. #SaveHodeida https://t.co/eBezEFRlLi
— Kate Kizer (@KateKizer) June 13, 2018
— Erica Fein (@enfein) June 13, 2018
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.
I am extremely concerned about military escalation in #Hodeida & their humanitarian & political impact. We're in contact with parties to avoid further escalation. We call on them to exercise restraint & engage with political efforts to spare Hodeida a military confrontation
— OSE_Yemen (@OSE_Yemen) June 13, 2018
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."