Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Quoted in Sputnik News: Saudi 'Commitment to Imperialist Domination' Creating Yemen 'Catastrophe'

There are growing concerns over the effects the western-backed Saudi Arabian-led bombing campaign of Yemen is having on civilians, with fears the military intervention is triggering an escalation in the conflict, which is contributing to the 'catastrophic' humanitarian crisis.

There have been many media reports detailing the hardships of the Yemeni civilians caught up in the conflict since the military intervention — codenamed Operation Decisive Storm — which was initiated in late March.

The bombing of Yemen by Saudi-led forces, which have also been backed by the US and UK, is in reaction to the armed takeover of large parts of the country by the Houthi rebel groups, who have also been widely condemned for their violent actions and disdain for democracy in taking power.

The UN estimates that 550 civilians, including 115 children, have been killed in street fighting and air strikes over the past month, while a further 1,200 civilians have also been wounded over the same period.

While there have still been reports of indiscriminate street fights between Houthi rebel groups and forces loyal to the overthrown government, aid agencies have noted that the bombing campaign, led by Saudi Arabia, has led to continued civilians deaths, despite Riyadh announcing that it would halt airstrikes.

Intervention Creating 'Catastrophic' Situation

On top of the many deaths and injuries, there is growing concern for the plight of millions of other Yemenis, who are suffering from a severe shortage of food as a result of the Saudi-led coalition arms blockade of the country.

Aid representatives have noted how the blockade, aimed at preventing any potential weapons from being smuggled into the country, is exacerbating the problem in Yemen — a country that imports 90 percent of its food in order to feed its population of 25 million.

The shortage of food and water has resulted in many locals hoarding what they have, and has led to prices skyrocketing, with many people unable to afford basic food and water supplies.  

"It was difficult enough before, but now there are just no words for how bad it's gotten," International Committee of the Red Cross spokeswoman Marie Claire Feghali said.

"It's a catastrophe, a humanitarian catastrophe."

The ongoing and worsening impacts of the conflict have led many to question whether the Saudi-led approach, despite its purported aims, is having a positive or negative impact on the Yemeni people.

"Unless a better arrangement is found to meet the international community's desire to keep weapons out of the hands of Yemeni rebels, a prolonged naval blockade will have major negative impacts on a much wider region," J. Peter Pham, Africa director of think tank, the Atlantic Council, told Reuters.

'Imperialist Domination' of Yemen

Meanwhile, other analysts, such as activist and researcher Abayomi Azikiwe, have been far more critical of the intervention, suggesting the efforts are merely aimed at increasing Riyadh's, and in turn America's, sphere of influence in the region.

"As the death toll mounts, Riyadh and its allies representing the ousted government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi have rejected efforts aimed at declaring a ceasefire and re-opening political dialogue among the various political forces in the country," he said as part of an article published by think tank Global Research.

"The further exposure of Saudi Arabia in blocking UN peace initiatives illustrates clearly that the monarchy, backed by Washington, is committed to maintaining imperialist domination in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Peninsula and the waterways between Africa and western Asia."

"The bombing since late March has not won the desired results by Riyadh," he added, suggesting there may be many more months of hardship for the Yemeni people before the situation improves.

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