The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Big Powers Responsible for Humanitarian Catastrophe

Oct 1, 2018

Translated from Lutte Ouvrière, the newspaper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

The situation of the people of Yemen has kept worsening since March 2015. That’s when a coalition backed by Saudi Arabia started a war with Houthi militias there. “Misery causes more deaths than the war itself,” a French newspaper wrote in September.

From its start until this August, this war killed between 10,000 and 14,000 people and displaced another two million. But famine might kill even more, because the war is aggravating the economic and social crisis ravaging Yemen.

Of its 28 million people, 22 million need humanitarian assistance; five million children go hungry. The blockade by Saudi Arabia prevents most humanitarian aid from arriving at the main port of Hodeida. But nine tenths of necessary food, gas, and medicine have to be imported. The World Health Organization says the lack of clean water threatens more than a million Yemenis with cholera. The country is one of the poorest in the world and its economy is collapsing. Government workers are not paid. The national currency, the rial, has lost a third of its value since January.

Add to this the chaos caused by the clash of armed militias everywhere!

Situated at the edge of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen borders Saudi Arabia along more than 1,000 miles. This location makes it strategically important. Yemen faces the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the shipping channel for one quarter of the world’s oil and one tenth of international commerce. This is why the Saudi royals see Yemen as their zone of influence—with the blessing of the United States. The Saudi monarchy intervened during the demonstrations in 2011 against Saleh, the dictator at the time. And Saudi Arabia supported the current president, Hadi, in order to put an end to fiery demonstrations. Then in March 2015, Saudi Arabia began its offensive against the Houthi militias, which had threatened Hadi’s power.

The country is mired in conflict and the U.S. has let this happen. And while civilians die of hunger or from bombs made in the U.S. and France, the UN hosts meetings to mobilize the “humanitarian response”—bringing together the rich countries responsible for this chaos!