President Trump on Wednesday called on Saudi Arabia to allow food, fuel, water and medicine to reach the people of Yemen, in a statement that reflected the growing alarm of relief agencies and amounted to an unusually harsh public scolding of one of his administration’s closest allies.
The Saudis have imposed intermittent blockades on Yemen, their southern neighbor, including one that was partially lifted last week. Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war has devastated the Yemeni economy and infrastructure, leaving millions at risk of starvation and reliant on humanitarian aid. The United States sells weaponry and provides intelligence to the Saudis and their partners in the military offensive.
Since the coalition intervention began, Yemen has increasingly become a proxy battleground between Saudi Arabia and archrival Iran, which supports the largely Shiite leadership of a group known as the Houthis, who now control much of the country’s north and west.
Trump’s statement came after the second consecutive night of Saudi airstrikes in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, as the Saudi-led coalition tried to prevent the Houthis from consolidating power in the city. On Monday, rebel fighters killed Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s president from 1978 to 2012. Saleh’s death occurred days after he publicly broke off his wartime alliance with the Houthis while indicating an openness to negotiations with the coalition.
Read full article by Max Bearak on The Washington Post, December 6, 2017.