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Britain is at war with Yemen. So why does nobody know about it?

Guardian Owen Jones  Thursday 28 January 2016

Saudi Arabia has British military advisers and continues to bomb Yemeni civilians with British weapons. Yet our government is strangely quiet about it.

Britain is arming and aiding a fundamentalist dictatorship that’s bombing and killing civilians. This is an incontestable fact. The Saudi tyranny – gay-hating women-oppressors who kicked off the year with ~a mass beheading – has been waging war in Yemen for 10 months.

If the 26 million Yemenis were being besieged and bombed by an official enemy of the west, we might expect emotive calls to “do something” and militarily intervene. Well, we are intervening: not simply by supplying weapons but even by providing the Saudi-led coalition of Arab dictators with British military advisers. As the SNP’s Angus Robertson put it to the prime minister’s face, Britain is “effectively at war” – and yet few Britons know anything about it.

Since Saudi-led forces intervened in the conflict between President Hadi and Houthi rebels last March, around 6,000 Yemenis have been killed, perhaps half of them civilians. With the country under naval blockade, what the UN was already calling a “humanitarian catastrophe” six months ago has been unleashed. Eight in every 10 Yemenis are now dependent on humanitarian aid, and most do not have “adequate access to clean water or sanitation”, according to the UN.
Bombing raids have shredded the country’s healthcare system: 130 medical facilities have been targeted, including those run by Médecins Sans Frontières – “a total disregard for the rules of war”, as MSF says itself. The risk of famine looms: the UN believes more than 14 million people are food insecure, half of them severely so, while nearly one in 10 have been driven from their homes.
Yemen is a human-made disaster, and the fingerprints of the west are all over it. Consider what a UN panel report seen by this newspaper has revealed: that airstrikes have targeted “civilians and civilian objects, in violation of humanitarian law”, including everything from refugee camps to schools to weddings to buses.

More than 100 sorties, they believe, relate to “violations of international humanitarian law”. Yes, all sides have been accused of war crimes. But, according to the UN’s high commission for human rights, the Saudi forces are responsible for “a disproportionate amount” of attacks on civilians. No wonder, then, the war is being described as Saudi Arabia’s very own Vietnam.

Full details theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/28/britain-war-yemen-saudi-arabia-military-advisers
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