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Saudis Continue Killing Civilians During Yemen Peace Talks

A statement from the spokesman of Yemen’s Armed Forces reported that the US-backed Saudi coalition dropped 38 airstrikes just over the course of Saturday. At least 12 of which targeted various areas of Hodeidah which constitutes a direct violation of the peace negotiations calling for a ceasefire.

Airstrikes killed at least 15 civilians since the peace negotiations began last week — including seven women and three children. Meanwhile, 28 sustained injuries, eight of whom were children as well as five women.

Yemen’s Ministry of Health pointed out that this displays the Saudi coalition’s unwillingness to engage in a peace process. “This expresses the unwillingness of these countries to stop the bloodshed and alleviate the suffering of the people of Yemen, which exposes the reality of these countries’ goals in their aggression against Yemen,” a statement from the MoH reads.

A man carries an injured child following Saudi airstrikes on civilians during peace talks. Credit: Ansarullah Media Center

Peace Negotiations in Sweden Display Some Progress but More Talks Are Needed

Although a previous round of negotiations failed in Geneva in September due to the Saudi coalition’s refusal to grant safe and timely transport to the Ansarullah delegation, an initially successful round of negotiations began in Sweden last week.

Ansarullah leading the Sana’a delegation included a specific list of conditions for sustaining peace which included

  • opening the Sana’a airport to civilian transportation
  • releasing political prisoners and detainees
  • placing the central bank into neutral hands
  • a ceasefire on the front lines — including Hodeidah

The negotiations showed progress on the issue of political prisoners — including those held in Saudi and Emirati prisons.

However, the head of the Sana’a national delegation, Mohamed Abdulsalam, pointed out that the presence of foreign troops in Yemen violates the Yemeni constitution:

“There is no excuse for the presence of foreign troops in Yemen as long as we are heading for a political solution,” he said. “The occupied territories are subject to external control such as Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, not for so-called legitimacy.”

Abdulsalam also stressed the dire nature of the humanitarian situation in Hodeidah and throughout Yemen. “The National Delegation is keen to lift the suffering of the Yemeni People and preserve the sovereignty and independence of Yemen,” he said in a statement.


US-Backed War Crimes in Yemen and the Senate Vote

Meanwhile, riding on the coattails of the Khashoggi killing, the US Senate voted to end US support for the Saudis in Yemen. This comes despite the Senate’s nearly four years of support for the Saudis in their war against Yemen.

The vote passed 56-41 and signals a rare move to limit Washington’s war power. However, the bill will not end the war completely as it does not contain language to halt US drone strikes in Yemen. Under the bill’s passing, Washington can still conduct its own airstrikes against any target it deems “terrorist.”

The United States along with other western powers have provided virtually unlimited support to the Saudi coalition against Yemen in the form of troops, training, weapons, aircraft, and refueling said aircraft along with intelligence and logistical support for selecting airstrike targets.

This, along with the fact that the Saudis routinely target civilians, makes the United States and its Western allies complicit in war crimes. One such crime involved the targeting of a school bus full of children with double-tap airstrikes using precision-guided smart missiles.



Randi Nord
Randi Nord is a journalist and co-founder of Geopolitics Alert. She covers U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East with a special focus on Yemen.

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