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YEMEN-SAUDI BORDER — This week, dozens of people were killed and injured near the Yemen-Saudi border when U.S.-made warplanes and French-made howitzer cannons fired unabated on many populated border areas in Sadaa and Hajjah — including the Monabeh, Sahar, alSafra, al-Dhaher and Sheda areas. Samer Manea Ali Hussein, a 15-year-old Yemeni boy, was killed along with others on Monday when a French-made howitzer cannon hit a village in the Monabeh region, one of Yemen’s border areas that are subjected to daily bombardment. Shrapnel from an artillery shell penetrated Samer`s body when he was walking to a school, local witnesses told MintPress. Unrelenting Saudi airstrikes have also deepened the crisis and tragedy afflicting the poorest country in the Middle East since 2015.
The rural hospital in the Munabbih border area is poorly equipped and barely functioning as a result of the bombing, but compared to other hospitals in border areas it is the best hospital. The hospital has received more than 245 people, including children, during October, injured by the Saudi bombardment that targeted just two villages known as Al-Sheikh and Al-Raqwa, hospital administration told MintPress. However, dozens were not lucky and died on the bumpy, bomb-scarred road through the Qatabir region while they were being evacuated.
Hundreds of children die every day thanks to the Saudi blockade and airstrikes and bombardment, which have a devastating effect on the safety and psyche of thousands upon thousands of children in the border areas and across the region. According to a recent statement to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the war has killed or maimed at least 10,000 children since it began in March 2015, which is equivalent to four children every day. However, these are just the cases verified by the agency, while the actual toll could be much higher, according to James Elder, a spokesman for UNICEF.
The scenes of burnt and bloody bodies left in populated border areas by high-tech weapons supplied by the United States and other Western powers are no anomaly: On October 15, many people were killed and injured when Saudi warplanes dropped U.S.-made bombs on pharmaceutical warehouses in Sawan, east of Yemeni capital Sana’a. The airstrikes not only targeted the warehouses, which were the only hope to save the lives of many patients, but also targeted electrical supply stores and the public-works building, leaving mass casualties and destruction and badly damaged water facilities belonging to the Ministry of Water and Sanitation.
The Ministry of Public Health and Population, based in Sana’a, said that the Saudi airstrikes resulted in severe damage to pharmaceutical warehouses, and complete destruction of all medicines and medical supplies inside them. Saudi military spokesman Turki al-Maliki confirmed the airstrikes, claiming that “the kingdom had exercised restraint in recent months in support of UN efforts and initiatives to find a comprehensive and lasting political solution to the Yemen crisis.”
As the war officially passes its 2,400th day, the Eye of Humanity Center for Rights and Development, a Yemeni advocacy group, said in a report issued last week, that 4,270 children have been killed by Saudi attacks since 2015, when the war began. According to the NGO, those attacks have also killed 2,850 women, mostly mothers . The attacks destroyed 1,128 schools, and thousands of children’s kindergartens and daycare facilities, along with other vital facilities such as factories, food-storage facilities, fishing boats, markets and fuel tankers. Thousands of pieces of critical infrastructure have also been damaged, including airports, seaports, electrical stations, tanks and water pumps, and roads and bridges.
Green light for more Saudi bombing
The recent attacks against the war-torn country — where millions of forgotten people are struggling against a cold winter, starvation, COVID-19, and the worst blockade in the modern era — came in the wake of a statement of the UN Security Council that called for an end to the Yemeni Army’s advances toward the last stronghold of the Saudis in the oil-rich Ma’rib province and an immediate ceasefire across Yemen. The majority of Yemeni parties saw the Security Council’s move as a green light to Saudi Arabia to commit more crimes in their home.
For their part, Ansar Allah denounced the statement of the UN Security Council. Mohammed AbdulSam, the spokesman of Ansar Allah, said:
The bombardment of pharmaceutical warehouses and other civilian facilities in Sana’a comes in light of the recent statement by the UN Security Council, which is completely biased in favor of the coalition of aggression… Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia is forging ahead with its aggression and siege instead of stopping them and calculating the upshot of its foolishness.”
Since 2015, when the war began, Saudi Arabia has continued bombardment but it generally escalates after any international pronouncement, which Saudi Arabia inevitably interprets as a green light for more bombing.
In a retaliatory move — according to Brigadier General Yahya Saree, spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces — Saudi Duty Forces Camp in the kingdom’s southwestern border region of Jizan was bombed by five homegrown ballistic missiles, along with drones, killing more than 35 Saudi military personnel, including senior officers and pilots,. The military forces site houses command headquarters, arms depots, and hangars for Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.
In a related development, a high-ranking military source told MintPress that an unprecedented military operation deep in Saudi territory dubbed the “Stage of the Greatest Pain,” will be launched in retaliation for an expected Saudi attack on the oil field in Marib. In this operation, the kingdom’s most vital facilities will be subject to attacks. The potential Yemeni retaliation operations will exceed even the famous attacks that took place in 2019 against Saudi crude, according to the Yemeni military. On September 15, 2019, the Yemeni Army hit the largest oil processing plant in Khuris and Abqaiq, the heart of the kingdom’s oil industry, sparking fires and closing half the kingdom’s output of crude, 5 million barrels per day. In light of previous statements of the Yemeni Army published by MintPress and subsequently proved on the ground, these operations are likely to happen.
Saudis take on Lebanon
With the continued support of the United States and amid the absence of real efforts to reach a just settlement and peace and a shameful blackout by international media, Saudi Arabia will continue its bombardment of Yemen unabated. Moreover, the Saudi regime is extending its heavy hand to those who oppose its war, using starvation as a weapon not only against Yemenis but also against other countries whose people or media exercise freedom of expression.
In the wake of a video statement from a Lebanese popular television anchor-turned-politician criticizing the war against Yemen, Saudi Arabia has not only banned Lebanese imports but also expelled the ambassador of Lebanon and cut ties with Beirut. Bahrain, Kuwait, and the UAE have also expelled their Lebanese ambassadors at the request of Riyadh. The video featured George Kordahi inveighing against the Saudi-Emirati war in Yemen a few weeks before becoming Lebanon’s information minister. Kordahi, who had worked for Saudi and Emirati television networks for a long time, said that the war of Saudi Arabia in Yemen is absurd and the Ansar Allah movement is defending itself and its country. The Kordahi video is but one step in the right direction.
On the other hand, it is out of the question that Yemenis will either acquiesce to the scorched-earth policies pursued by Saudi Arabia and supported by the U.S. or surrender to the international pressures applied by the U.S., the U.K., and their allies. Not when they have worked this hard to liberate the whole country, despite the terrible bombing, the blockade, starvation, and epidemic. On Tuesday, the media bureau of Yemen’s army, loyal to the Houthis, released a video showing the moment of capture of Jabal Morad and al-Jwbah, which was seized by Sana’a forces supported by local tribes during the recent military operations dubbed Rabi’ al-Nasr’ (Spring of Victory) that began two weeks ago. Now, the Yemeni forces, supported by local tribes from Marib, have captured 12 of the 14 districts in oil-rich Marib.
Feature photo | People inspect the site of an airstrike by Saudi-led coalition in Sanaa, Yemen, Nov, 11, 2021. Hani Mohammed | AP
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist based in Sana’a. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.
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