End of the Arabian Peninsula

End of the Arabian Peninsula

Image by Stuart Rankin

  • The UK Department for International Development has warned that air strikes on the Yemeni port of Hodeidah are "imminent."

  • The United Nations has warned that up to 250,000 people could be killed if attacks take place

  • The UK has licensed over £4.6 billion worth of arms to Saudi forces since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015.

The ongoing war in Yemen could be about to reach an even more deadly stage, with the Saudi-led coalition threatening to target Hodeidah, the town includes the biggest port in Yemen. It has provided a vital lifeline for many across the country, with over 70%of Yemens imports, food and aid shipments flowing through it.

Last week the Department for International Development warned UK agencies to make contingency plans for an attack on the site. The note to agencies, seen by the Guardian, described an attack as “imminent.” It elaborated The Emiratis have informed us today that they will now give a 3-day grace period for the UN [and their partners] to leave the city.”

Such an attack would be devastating. Save the Children has said that vital aid would be cut-off and a further 340,000 people could be displaced. Last Friday the UN warned that the worst case scenario could see 250,000 people killed.

Since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015, the UK has licensed £4.6 billion worth of arms to the Saudi regime, including:

  • £2.7 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)

  • £1.9 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)

It has also licensed many more to the United Arab Emirates and the other regimes taking part in the ongoing bombing campaign.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: "No matter how dire the situation in Yemen has become, the arms sales have continued unabated. If an assault on Hodeidah takes place then it is likely that UK fighter jets and missiles will play a central role in it.

If the UN’s worst predictions become a reality then those that have armed and supported the conflict cannot say that they were not warned. This war could not have been fought without their complicity and compliance. 

We are always being told about the influence that Downing Street supposedly carries with the Saudi regime and its allies. If that really is the case then it’s time for them to use it for good."

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