[News] Tears for Ukraine, Sanctions for Russia, Yawns for Yemen, Arms for Saudis: The West’s Grotesque Double Standard

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Mar 4 13:33:32 EST 2022


mintpressnews.com
<https://www.mintpressnews.com/tears-ukraine-russia-yawns-yemen-saudia-arabia-double-standard/279837/>
Tears
for Ukraine, Sanctions for Russia, Yawns for Yemen, Arms for Saudis: The
West’s Grotesque Double Standard
by Ahmed Abdulkareem - March2, 2022
------------------------------

*HAJJAH, YEMEN – *“We’re brutally bombed every day. So why doesn’t the
Western world care like it does about Ukraine?!!… Is it because we don’t
have blonde hair and blue eyes like Ukrainians?”  Ahmed Tamri, a Yemeni
father of four, asked with furrowed brows about the outpouring of
international support and media coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
and the lack of such a reaction to the war in Yemen.

Over the weekend, a member of Tamri’s family was killed and nine relatives
injured when their family home was targeted in a Saudi-led Coalition
airstrike in the remote al-Saqf area in Hajjah Governorate. Tamri claims
that al-Saqf has been subjected to a brutal Saudi bombing campaign for the
past seven years – more so, he says, than all of Ukraine has endured since
it was invaded by Russia.

Despite the horrific bombing campaign against Yemeni civilians, Saudi
Arabia’s human rights violations and war crimes have garnered nowhere near
the level of coverage and sympathy that the mainstream Western media has
rightfully given to Ukraine. “They shed tears for the Ukrainians, and
ignore our tragedies… What hypocrisy and racism!” Tamri told *MintPress
News*.
Yemenis ask the obvious

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues into the sixth day, an
outpouring of support for Ukrainians continues to be seen across the
Western world. Severe sanctions against Russia have been imposed by the
United States, Europe, Australia, and the West in general, amid a flurry of
emergency talks at the UN Security Council. The speed of Western
retaliation – which includes banning Russia from the SWIFT (Society for
Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) international banking
network and calls to treat Russians as international pariahs in sports,
culture, and even science – has raised eyebrows among Yemenis who have
endured a relentless bombing campaign and deadly air, land, and sea
blockade for 2,520 consecutive days.

Since Thursday, when Russian forces began their wide-ranging assault on
Ukraine, the Saudi-led Coalition, supported by the United States, has
launched more airstrikes in Yemen than Russia has in Ukraine. In Hajjah, a
province surrounded by heavy Saudi artillery, Saudi-led coalition warplanes
launched more than 150 airstrikes on the cities of Haradh, Heiraan, Abbs,
and Mustab, killing scores of civilians, including a father of six killed
over the weekend by a Saudi drone that targeted his car as it traveled
between Shafar and the Khamis Al-Wahat market.

Since Russia’s incursion into Ukraine began, dozens of civilians, including
a number of African migrants, have been killed and hundreds wounded by
Saudi artillery and airstrikes in Yemen’s heavily populated Saada province,
declared a military area by Saudi Arabia at the start of its military
campaign in March 2015.

As news cameras and solidarity protests gave much-needed sympathy to
Ukrainian civilians, in Sana’a, Yemen – which has effectively been turned
into a large prison for the city’s more than four million residents and
refugees, thanks to a crippling Saudi blockade – warplanes bombed a number
of densely populated areas, including the airport. An additional 160
airstrikes were launched on the provinces of Marib, al-Jawf, al-Baydha,
Taiz, Najran, and Hodeida, the main entry point for commercial goods and
aid into a country facing the worst man-made famine in the 21st century.

In fact, it seems as though the Saudi regime is taking advantage of a
distracted media in order to escalate attacks on a number of sensitive
targets along the Yemen-Saudi border and strengthen its hold over the
Al-Mahra Governorate. The UAE, the other major Western-backed oil monarchy
occupying Yemen, is likewise making hay, accelerating its project to change
the demographics on the prized Socotra Island by displacing locals in favor
of settlers more aligned with UAE policies. And while the U.S. readies
massive shipments of arms and military aid to Ukrainian “freedom fighters”
defending against a Russian invasion, Yemeni “rebels” downed an
American-made MQ9-1 drone flown by the UAE in al-Jawf and two American-made
Boeing Insitu ScanEagles in Marib and Hajjah.

As countries that have spent the past decades building literal and
figurative walls to keep out desperate brown and black refugees fleeing
violence and foreign invasion in their own lands open their arms, homes,
and hearts to fleeing Ukrainian refugees, Saudi Arabia unleashed a force of
Yemeni mercenaries upon their homeland with a promise of a Saudi green card
and safety for their families if they turn on their fellow countrymen.
Ironically named the “Happy Yemen Forces,” the unit was finalized in late
2021, according to leaked military documents
<https://www.saba.ye/ar/news3176277.htm>, with a mandate to secure Saudi
Arabia’s border with Yemen and ensure Saudi security in exchange for a
green card and access to the Saudi social services that come with it.
If we are to compare

In terms of the sheer cost of human life, the tragedy in Yemen has been
much more deadly than that in Ukraine, where 325 Ukrainians, including 14
children
<https://news.sky.com/story/ukraine-invasion-primary-schoolgirl-among-hundreds-of-civilians-killed-in-russias-war-after-being-shot-dead-with-parents-12553847>
have tragically lost their lives according to Ukrainian officials. Granted
the war in Yemen has raged on unabated for more than six years, but
comparatively the numbers are astonishing. Since 2015 the death toll has
reached an estimated 400,000
<https://www.ye.undp.org/content/yemen/en/home/library/assessing-the-impact-of-war-in-yemen--pathways-for-recovery.html>
people, including 3,900 children.

Those deaths have included attacks on civilians so egregious that they did
garner fleeting media attention but, inevitably, no sanctions, little
international condemnation, not even a cessation in the military aid and
support to the perpetrators. Bombed-out schools, funerals, wedding halls,
refugee camps, even a school bus full of children targeted by the most
advanced U.S. weaponry on offer have not been sufficient to elicit the
reaction that Ukraine has garnered in less than one week.

Since 2015, Saudi-led Coalition warplanes have pounded Yemen with over
266,000 airstrikes, according to the Yemeni Army Operations Room, which
records airstrikes against civilian and military targets. Seventy percent
of those strikes have hit civilian targets. The rising smoke, rubble and
flames now seen in Ukraine have been the status quo in Yemen for years,
with Western media often deeming the images that appear on local Yemeni
television stations, of parents pulling pieces of their children out from
the rubble of their homes or schools, too graphic to display.

[image: Yemen Biden Feature photo]Thousands of Yemen’s economically vital
facilities like factories, food storage facilities, fishing boats, food
markets and fuel tankers have been bombed by the Western-backed Saudi
Coalition. Critical infrastructure – including airports, seaports,
electrical stations, water tanks, roads and bridges and countless more
schools, agricultural fields, and places of worship – have been destroyed
or damaged. A Saudi blockade and airstrikes on hospitals have crippled
Yemen’s health system, leaving it unable to deal with even the most basic
public health needs and leaving the 300 facilities that remain in the
entire country barely functioning as COVID-19 spreads like wildfire.

As the outpourings of condemnation of Russia’s invasion continue, Western
governments have sent massive aid packages to Ukraine and social media
campaigns fill in the gaps – while in Yemen the United Nations announced
<https://nationworldnews.com/un-yemen-war-escalating-8-million-could-lose-aid-in-march/>
that by March it would likely cut aid to 8 million people in a country that
it calls home to the worst humanitarian crisis on earth. Household food
insecurity in Yemen hovers at over 80%. Almost one-third of the population
does not have enough food to satisfy even basic nutritional needs.
Underweight and stunted children have become a regular sight and the worst
is yet to come, as the Russian invasion has led to increased fuel and food
prices and as humanitarian funding dries up, according to the UN World Food
Programme
<https://www.wfp.org/news/countdown-catastrophe-begins-yemen-funding-food-assistance-dwindles>
.
Picking and choosing which invasion to condemn

In March 2015, more than 17 countries led by the oil-rich monarchy of Saudi
Arabia launched a military invasion of Yemen, a sovereign state and a
member of the United Nations. Ostensibly, the war was launched to restore
President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to power after he was ousted following
popular protests amid the Arab Spring.

By March 26 of that year, the Saudi-led Coalition, backed militarily and
diplomatically by the United States, would begin a bombing campaign that
has indiscriminately killed, maimed, and destroyed for seven years. Not
only has Saudi Arabia, arguably the most repressive dictatorship on earth,
forced Hadi back into power under the guise of protecting democracy, but it
has also occupied huge swaths of southern Yemen from al-Mahara to the Bab
al-Mandab Strait.

Yemeni journalists, activists and politicians have been left to ponder why
Western governments – in particular, the Biden administration – condemn
Russia for invading Ukraine under the pretext of national security while
defending the Saudi regime’s “legitimate right” to invade Yemen under the
very same pretext.

Despite the horrific human rights violations carried out by Saudi Arabia in
Yemen, Western nations, and the United States in particular, have not only
provided lethal weapons, training, maintenance, intelligence, and political
and diplomatic cover to the monarchy but have imposed media restrictions on
coverage of the Saudi regime’s human rights abuses in Yemen, pressuring
tech and social media companies to deplatform and outright ban Yemeni
activists and media critical of the war.

As mainstream Western media gives glowing coverage to Ukrainians resisting
their foreign invaders and occupiers – with Western leaders applauding the
steadfastness and resistance of Ukrainians and sending aid, weapons and
moral support to them – they label Yemenis taking up arms as terrorists and
target them with American-made smart bombs and drone attacks. Yemenis who
take up arms against invading Saudi and Emirati forces are sanctioned and
dismissed as proxies of Iran by liberal media institutions that claim to
stand against war.

On Monday, the United Nations Security Council extended an arms embargo
<https://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/security-council-renews-arms-embargo-travel-ban-asset-freeze-imposed-those-threatening>
and travel ban on Yemeni forces. The resolution strongly condemned what it
called cross-border attacks by the “Houthis,” a derogatory term used to
refer to Ansar Allalh, the single largest force challenging the Saudi
invasion and occupation. It went on to condemn “attacks on Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates” referring to Ansar Allah’s missile and drone
attacks on Saudi-led Coalition airports and oil storage facilities.

Commenting on the resolution – which came as the UAE refused to publicly
condemn Russia
<https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/02/28/ukraine-russia-war-spills-over-yemen-uae/>
over its invasion of Ukraine, hoping to gain Russian backing for its own
invasion of Yemen – Ansar Allah leader Mohammed al-Houthi made one simple
request: that Saudi Arabia’s deliberate targeting of civilians in Yemen
lead to a Saudi weapons ban. Essentially, al-Houthi asked for a lifting of
double standards, apparently an impossible request in today’s political
climate.


*Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist based in Sana’a. He covers the
war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.*

* Republish our stories! * MintPress News is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.
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