Executive Intelligence Review


Saudis Escalate War in Yemen Against Diplomatic Pressure

Nov. 5, 2018 (EIRNS)—British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said this morning that he would be pushing for action in the UN Security Council to bring an end to the Yemen war and find a political solution to the conflict. Hunt said he agreed with UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths that the time was right for the Security Council to act to bolster the UN-led process, the U.K. Foreign Office said in a statement today. “The action the U.K. takes forward at the UN Security Council will help towards that goal, ensuring that a full ceasefire, when it comes, is fully implemented,” the statement said. Hunt’s statement followed those of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Nov. 3 and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Nov. 2, all calling for a ceasefire and a political resolution to the conflict.

“Now for the first time there appears to be a window in which both sides can be encouraged to come to the table, stop the killing and find a political solution that is the only long-term way out of disaster,”

Hunt said. “The U.K. will use all its influence to push for such an approach.”

Bruce Riedel, 30-year CIA veteran and director of the Brookings Institution’s Intelligence Project, writes in a Nov. 4 column in Al Monitor that the Saudi response to the pressure from the United States has so far been to ignore it and escalate the bombing campaign.

“The premeditated murder of Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudis has put the administration under unprecedented pressure to rein in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reckless and dangerous behavior. The war in Yemen is the crown prince’s signature policy initiative. Congress is ready to take action to curtail America’s involvement in the war after the midterms,”

he writes.

“But the Saudis have escalated their airstrikes on Sana’a and Hodeidah instead. The capital and the main port have been heavily pounded by the Saudi coalition since Pompeo and Mattis spoke.”

The Iranians, he reports, “are portraying the new Trump Administration line on Yemen as a victory for the [Houthi] rebels.”

Riedel argues that the U.S. actually has considerable leverage over the Saudis.

“By controlling the logistics and spare parts necessary for the Royal Saudi Air Force to conduct operations, Washington has tremendous influence on the Saudi military,”

he concludes. “The Saudis cannot get spare parts for F-15s in Moscow or Beijing. The administration has the leverage to save millions of Yemenis. It is time to use it.”

The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. Yesterday, Geert Cappelaere, regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at UNICEF, repeated his warnings of last week about the impact of the war on Yemen’s children. “Yemen is today a living hell—not for 50 to 60% of the children—it is a living hell for every boy and girl in Yemen,” he told a news conference in Amman, Jordan. UNICEF estimates that 1.8 million Yemeni children under the age of five are suffering from acute malnutrition and that the lives of 400,000 affected children are under threat, while a child dies from a preventable disease every 10 minutes because of the lack of vaccinations. Cappelaere said,

“We call on all the parties to the conflict to come together under the leadership of the Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, to come together and agree on a ceasefire and a road to peace in Yemen.”