The U.N. Secretary-General warned last week that Yemen faces the worst famine in decades:
Yemen is in imminent danger of the worst famine in decades. Without immediate action, millions of lives may be lost.
I urge all those with influence to act urgently & request that everyone avoids taking actions that could make a dire situation worse. https://t.co/eRF1TbveV7
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 20, 2020
Like most modern famines, the famine in Yemen is entirely man-made. It is the result of the Saudi coalition’s military intervention and economic war against the country. The U.S. has been supporting the Saudi coalition in these policies for more than five and a half years. Yemen suffers from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis because of the predictable and predicted consequences of waging a senseless war in this country, and the US shares culpability for the enormous harm done to innocent civilians from the Saudi coalition’s bombing and blockade. The humanitarian crisis has worsened this year as international donations have dried up and the Trump administration has suspended aid funding to the part of Yemen where most of the people live in a destructive bid to pressure the Houthis.
As I noted last week, the administration is considering a terrorist designation for the Houthis that will cause even more harm to a population that is already struggling with widespread starvation and disease. A bipartisan group of senators has warned against issuing the designation because of the devastating effects that it would have on the people of Yemen. Sens. Murphy, Young, and Coons released this statement yesterday:
We are concerned about the adverse consequences of designating the entire Houthi movement in Yemen as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. We have reason to believe that this designation would further destabilize the country, which is already the home of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, make it harder to negotiate a peace agreement, and stop the important work of the many NGOs providing lifesaving assistance in the country. This designation would almost certainly prevent the critical delivery of food, medical supplies, and other items necessary to combat both COVID-19 and famine. Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, one that on occasion has been exacerbated by ill-advised policies in recent years. Creating new, additional obstacles to the delivery of food and medical aid – during a global pandemic – is not in the best interest of the United States, our regional allies and partners, or the people of Yemen.