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3,000 killed in Yemen in first 100 days of Saudi-led bombing, half civilians

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Over 3,000 people were killed in Yemen in the first approximately 100 days of the Western-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign. Roughly half of those killed were civilians, according to the UN.

On July 6 alone, one of the most violent days in the offensive, almost 200 Yemenis were killed in Saudi-led airstrikes. Scores of civilians died in attacks on markets.

At least one million Yemenis have been displaced since the bombing began on March 26. 21 million Yemenis, 80% of the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East. Before the war broke out, over half of the population lived on less than $2 USD a day and had no access to clean water, according to the World Food Program. 41% of the population was food-insecure, and child malnutrition rates were among the highest in the world. Unemployment rates exceeded 40%, over 60% among the youth.

90% of Yemen’s food is imported, yet Saudi Arabia’s stringent air, water, and land blockade, in the name of preventing weapons from entering the war-torn country, has prevented not just food, but also fuel, medicine, and urgently needed aid from getting to the millions in need.

Even journalists have been denied entry by Saudi forces. The Nation foreign correspondent Matthieu Aikins explained he had to smuggle his crew in by boat from neighboring Djibouti.

In the meantime, extremist groups, namely al-Qaeda, have flourished in these dire conditions.

The coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, consists of monarchies Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, and Morocco, along with Egypt and Sudan.

The US and other Western nations have provided Saudi Arabia with weapons, in spite of knowledge that the arms are being used to commit what human rights organizations and the UN have classified as potential war crimes.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said the Saudi-led coalition has engaged in unlawful targeting of civilian areas. Coalition air strikes have rained down on hospitals, schools, neighborhoods, and more.

Amnesty International has accused the coalition of knowingly violating international humanitarian law in its bombing campaign. And there “is no indication that the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition has done anything to prevent and redress such violations,” remarked Amnesty’s Senior Crisis Response Advisor Donatella Rovera.

Just a few days into its assault, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a refugee camp, killing roughly 40 people, injuring around 200 more.

Weeks later, the coalition purposefully destroyed an Oxfam humanitarian aid warehouse, in what HRW classified as “an apparent violation of the laws of war.” Oxfam “vehemently condemned” the attack.

In its attacks, the coalition has also used banned cluster munitions, weapons that are prohibited by a 2008 treaty that was adopted by 116 countries (Saudi Arabia and the US refused to sign the accord).

The US is complicit in these potential war crimes, HRW maintains. The UN and human rights organizations have called on Western nations to cease their support for the military assault, which has pushed Yemen to the edge of catastrophe.

HRW has also accused the Houthi rebels of “unlawfully deploy[ing] forces in densely populated areas and us[ing] excessive force against peaceful protesters and journalists.”

11 days into the Saudi-led bombing campaign, a senior member of the Houthis told Reuters that they were willing to sit down for peace talks if the air strikes stopped. The bombs, nevertheless, continued to fall.

The Houthis have accused the Saudi-led coalition of “put[ting] the Yemeni people under collective punishment.”

Safa al-Ahmad, a Saudi journalist, filmmaker, and specialist on Yemen who has been one of the tiny handful of reporters to spend time with the Houthi rebels, explained that the group’s ideology changes in response to political developments, yet, “if I must describe the Houthis in one line,” she said, “it would be the revivalist Zaydis with strong anti-imperialist agenda.”

100 days into the conflict, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen Antoine Grand warns the situation is “clearly deteriorating by the day.”

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the New York Times that the “disorder” in Yemen, greatly inflamed by the Western-backed Saudi bombing campaign, has strengthened al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), allowing it to take more territory.

Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer based in New York City. His work has been featured in a variety of publications. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton. His website is

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7 Responses

  1. HarryLaw on July 13, 2015, 1:05 pm

    Saudi Arabia regard the Houthis as part of the ‘arc of resistance’, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah. That is why the Saudi and Gulf Kings and Emirs regard Iran as a existential threat to their dictatorial rule. So they can do deals with Israel and talk about ‘Cutting of the head of the snake’ [Iran]. But first they arm and fund the Jihadis in Syria and Iraq, with the intention of overthrowing Assad, then Hezbollah. The US acquiesce in this, hence when thousands of Jihadis cross from Syria to Iraq in their brand new Toyota trucks to attack and occupy major Iraqi cities like Mosul, Tikrit and Falluja, US intelligence does not notice, the US satellites can read a car number plate from space but could not see this invasion. Truth be told, they knew about it but let it happen, so Ted Snider said “What was really bizarre was not that America hadn’t noticed but that it had. American intelligence had informed the policy makers about ISIS, and the policy makers chose silence”. There we have it, in order for the US to defeat the ‘arc of resistance’ they have thrown in their lot in with the terrorists and hope to bleed first Syria and then Hezbollah, of course they are described as moderates, but most neutral observers will admit, there are no moderate terrorists in Syria, some neocons even claim Al Nusra should be supported. This is not a new US policy of course, in Afghanistan the US backed the Mujahadin to drive the Russians out. Then paid for it with 9/11. Hopefully the Syrians will defeat the anti-Human sectarian animals, and the arc of resistance will grow and eventually sweep away the satraps in the Gulf and go on to liberate the Palestinians. If the arc of resistance is defeated Palestine will be lost.

    • HarryLaw on July 13, 2015, 6:03 pm

      Rand Paul blames the US for the rise of terrorism in Syria and Iraq. “[ISIS] would not be empowered in Iraq if we hadn’t been providing them a safe haven in Syria by arming their allies,” the Senator said, adding that “we are where we are because we armed the Syrian rebels,” the preponderance of whom are Wahhabi-Salafist extremists”. The Saudis are slaughtering the Yemeni civilian population. While the AlQaeda terrorists are left alone, to advance and cause chaos all over Yemen. Time these Saudis perverts were taught a lesson.

  2. ritzl on July 13, 2015, 2:26 pm

    Time to redefine the “Axis of Evil” — Saudi Arabia, Israel, and North Korea.

    • Mahmoud El-Yousseph on July 14, 2015, 10:36 am

      That is right ritzl! If a Saudi prince like Alwaleed Ben Talal offers a Bentley British luxury car to each of 100 Saudi fighter pilots following the killing 1000 Yemeni children, that would qualify him and his country as an evil, savages and barbarians.

      I could add few more countries to your redefined list of Axis of evil!

  3. JLewisDickerson on July 13, 2015, 3:26 pm

    RE: “3,000 killed in Yemen in first 100 days of Saudi-led bombing, half civilians”

    IN A WORD: Guernica! ! !

  4. just on July 13, 2015, 5:12 pm

    Thanks, Ben. There’s so little coverage of this filthy abomination, massacre, and humanitarian crisis.

    So few Americans know that the US, and their ‘allies’ are slaughtering thousands of civilians again, arming and encouraging all kinds of extremist groups, and interfering in yet another country’s internal politics~ this time one that is populated by the desperately poor.

    KSA et al and the US like the leader of Yemen, Hadi. He’s currently hiding among the royalty in KSA, watching his country explode. They hate al- Houthi… and so it goes.


  5. Citizen on July 14, 2015, 10:34 am

    Jeez, wouldn’t it be nice to see US reps diss the Saudi Klan? Hopefully, the Iran Deal will lower energy prices even more, make US thumb its nose at medieval regime in SA.

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