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27 July, 2017

The politics of the forgotten humanitarian crises in Yemen and Gaza

Millions of Yemenis are starving as Saudi Arabia continues to bomb the country, while the people of Gaza lack electricity and medical supplies due to a 10-year Israeli blockade. Both conflicts and the crises they have unleashed are tied to the U.S.’ arms industry’s unending pursuit of profit.

by Whitney Webb

Part 4 - Quiet hands behind the crises in Yemen, Gaza

In considering the enormity of the crises in both Yemen and Gaza, it is unusual that the international community has taken little action to stop governments from directly fomenting these humanitarian catastrophes, especially given how vocal so many top global organizations have been in recent months. But while unusual, the fact that both crises are being forgotten by the international community and the international mainstream media is not surprising, as the perpetrators of both – Saudi Arabia and Israel – are both major U.S. allies and major beneficiaries of U.S. arms sales and military aid.

In the case of Yemen, the U.S. government has had a covert but direct role in the crisis. Indeed, the U.S. government directly bombed Yemen last year – without Congressional approval – and even increased military aid to the Saudis right after the latter was caught committing an egregious war crime. Furthermore, the U.S. was recently exposed aiding UAE secret prisons that torture civilians.

Over the course of the conflict, the U.S. has supplied the Saudis with billions of dollars in weapons, most recently in a $110 billion weapons deal signed by President Donald Trump this past May. The UK government has also sold more than $3.9 billion in arms to the Saudis over the past two years despite the carnage in Yemen, because – according to UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd – its “good for industry.” Thus, taken to its logical conclusion, ending the conflict in Yemen would be bad for business.

The U.S. has also had a role in fomenting the crisis in Gaza, albeit a more covert one. The U.S., as Israel’s strongest ally, has long supported Israeli government policy and helped shield it from criticism or UN human rights inquiries. In addition, the Israeli military receives $9.8 million every day in military aid from the United States, making Israel by far the largest recipient of U.S. military aid.

Regarding the recent power crisis, Mahmoud Abbas – president of the Palestinian Authority – is widely believed to have requested the power cuts to Gaza in a bid to “show Donald Trump that he is the dominant figure in Palestinian politics and strong enough to […] be a partner to the U.S.” This suggests that the U.S. role in the Gaza crisis may be greater than has been publicly stated.

The silence of Western governments and of the mainstream media on these two humanitarian catastrophes is sadly predictable. It is just the latest evidence showing that the U.S. and its allies opportunistically raise the issue of human rights and humanitarian crises when it serves the imperialist, war-mongering agenda and ignore crises that arise as a direct consequence of that same agenda.

It also speaks to the complete lack of empathy shown by government officials and the media organizations who have chosen to be silent on these matters. While the crises are political at their root, it is innocent civilians who bear their brunt. Sadly, their suffering is considered mere collateral in the advancement of U.S. and UK weapons sales and the geopolitical goals of their allies.

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