RNA - Guess what? It’s still business as usual for the Saudi-led warmongers in Yemen, with Saudi warplanes pounding areas in and around the northern cities of Hodeidah and Sana’a. Heavy airstrikes were reported particularly around Sana’a Airport, which is a civilian-populated area. Sana’a was mostly hit with airstrikes, while locals reported heavy clashes around Hodeidah, a vital port city that Saudi forces have been massing around all week.
Meaning, in no case is there any indication that a ceasefire is starting. Saudi and UAE officials have yet to comment on the US call for a ceasefire and peace talks at all. The only response at all from their camp was from Saudi-backed fugitive officials, who embraced the idea of peace talks, but similarly showed no signs of stopping fighting in the meantime.
This is while the rising death toll of civilians is generating strong messages of condemnation from international institutions and human rights organizations – with the United Nations remaining helpless as killings keep multiplying. The House of Saud and its partners, which have launched thousands of deadly airstrikes against Yemen since March 2015, deny targeting the civilian areas! They claim the places they bomb are “major training camps for militia”!!!
This is by no means accurate. With the intensification in violence in the past week alone, the number of civilians killed and injured by Saudi airstrikes has grown sharply almost by the hour. Across the country, nearly 10 million children – 80 percent of the country’s under-18 population – are also in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. More than 1.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes.
The 1949 Geneva Convention, which governs the basic rules of war, has also continued to be violated by the greatest offenders in the conflict. Even UNICEF agrees. In its report on children in conflict zones the organization says one of the worst cases is Yemen where an average of eight children are being killed or maimed almost every day.
Under the circumstances, what is not in dispute is that as per the UN Charter there is a moral imperative and a legal obligation on the part of Saudi Arabia and cohorts to protect civilians in general and children in particular. They should never jeopardize, much less murder, civilians. Also under International Law, the indiscriminate airstrikes amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, as the offensive has no international legitimacy.
That said, the conflict in Yemen is still a particular tragedy for civilians. Innocent men, women and children are being killed by Saudi bombs and those that survive face the growing threat of disease and malnutrition. As devastating as the conflict is for the lives of besieged civilians right now, it will have terrifying consequences for their future as well.
According to Fars News Agency, this cannot be allowed to continue. This is an important issue and it should receive great attention by the media. Together with the international civil society, international media outlets should force the Saudis and their allies to end the war and come to terms with accountability for the devastating loss of civilian lives at their hands.
Equally, they should call on Western governments to stop their arms sales to Saudi Arabia and military support in the conflict. They should further call on the UN to abandon its double standards, review the Saudi war crimes, and act on it, which has received international attention and condemnation recently after the grisly murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.
It is tragic to hear that since March 2015 there has never been any UN resolution against Saudi Arabia, and no international prosecution of one of thousands of civilian murders at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. The worst offenders in the Middle East are yet to be held to account. They have a lot of explaining to do in international tribunals.