Beasley Met with Pompeo on Necessity of Maintaining Food Aid to Yemen
Dec. 4, 2020 (EIRNS)—David Beasley, the Executive Director of the World Food Program met Dec. 1 with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an attempt to talk sense into him regarding the necessity of maintaining food aid to Yemen, which is in jeopardy if Pompeo declares the Houthis a terrorist organization. The Washington Post interviewed Beasley afterward, and also reported from other sources on the meeting. According to the Washington Post account, Beasley expressed his “grave concerns” about the potential impact of a decision to designate the Houthi Ansarallah movement as a foreign terrorist organization, which the Post’s sources say could come as early as next week. “I’ve got to have as much cover and flexibility as I can ... in this complex working environment, where the Houthis control access to almost every single piece of territory,” Beasley told the Post. The Post, citing “officials familiar with the discussions,” reports that the deteriorating situation among millions of Yemenis appears to be careening toward a collision with the Trump Administration’s desire to advance its hawkish Iran policy in what may be its final days in office. Beasley said that Pompeo voiced concern about the circumstances of ordinary Yemenis, but also about the activities of the Houthis.
It’s not clear that once the designation is issued whether or not the administration would then issue waivers so that U.S. aid agencies and the groups they fund could continue to operate in Houthi-controlled regions of Yemen. If the waivers aren’t in place in time, all U.S. and U.S.-funded activities will be forced to halt immediately once the declaration is issued.
A full halt to U.S. aid activity, which has already been cut back this year, could have a devastating impact for Yemen. New UN data obtained by the Post show that hunger is worsening in Yemen, as pockets of Yemenis are experiencing famine-like conditions for the first time in several years. The number of people who fall in that category is expected to grow to as many as 47,000 facing starvation (“catastrophic food insecurity”) in the next six months.