First You Bomb and Starve a Country. Then You’re Praised for Sending in Aid. | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

First You Bomb and Starve a Country. Then You’re Praised for Sending in Aid.

The United Nations describes itself in its charter as an international moral authority created to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” But activists who are trying to end the U.S. war on Yemen say that, in a dark twist on this mission, the international body is withholding criticism from the U.S.-Saudi military coalition, and effusively praising its leaders, to avoid jeopardizing donations to humanitarian funds aimed at helping ease the suffering created by that war. As Jehan Hakim, the chair of the Yemeni Alliance Committee, puts it, “The same hand we’re asking to feed Yemen is the same hand that is helping bomb them.”

On June 15, UN Secretary-General António Guterres removed the U.S.-Saudi military coalition, which has been waging war in Yemen for more than five years, from an international blacklist of states and armed groups responsible for killing and maiming children, in a huge P.R. win for Saudi Arabia. He cited a supposed decrease in child killings, even as he acknowledged the coalition was responsible for killing 222 children last year, 171 of them from bombings—a number that certainly does not include the toll of famine and disease outbreaks (including Covid-19) worsened by the war and blockade. The UN’s move provoked instant rebuke from anti-war and humanitarian organizations, particularly as it coincided with reports that, the same day the report came out, the U.S.-Saudi coalition had bombed a vehicle in northern Yemen, killing 13 civilians, four of them children.

Hassan El-Tayyab, lead lobbyist on Middle East policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a progressive lobby organization, tells In These Times that the move has a simple explanation.

“To me,” he says, “it’s really clear what they’re trying to do: They’re trying to curry favor so that Saudi Arabia will pony up more money for Yemen to keep humanitarian aid going.”