While all eyes were on Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn spoke out about another unfolding disaster

Jeremy Corbyn
Ed Sykes

While Britain focused on Brexit this week, Jeremy Corbyn spoke out about another unfolding disaster – a new Saudi-led assault on Yemen threatening to kill up to 250,000 people.

The Labour leader tweeted on 13 June:

Unsurprisingly, the UK government’s response was not to halt its support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen. Instead, foreign secretary Boris Johnson focused his words on “all parties in Yemen”, rather than the foreign forces doing the bombing:

So no government call for the escalation of the conflict to stop, then.

The potential for “catastrophic” devastation

In the run-up to the attack – which came just days after a Saudi-led airstrike hit a newly built Doctors Without Borders cholera treatment centre elsewhere in Yemen – UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said:

Seven million people are completely reliant every month on food and other assistance from humanitarian organizations so Hodeidah is absolutely central to the preserving of life…

If for any period, Hodeidah were not to operate effectively, the consequences in humanitarian terms would be catastrophic.

Oxfam also highlighted the dangers of escalation in Yemen, calling on UK citizens to demand action from Boris Johnson:

Who will speak out about Yemen? Not our government, that’s for sure.

As the Guardian‘s Andrew Mitchell wrote on 13 June, Boris Johnson and co are on the wrong side of this conflict:

The British government finds itself not on the side of innocent families who fear the fire that falls from above, but on the side of the perpetrator who has launched a huge military gamble to take Hodeidah…

Where is Britain’s voice of sanity in the looming humanitarian catastrophe in Hodeidah?

The UK has sold over £3.3bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since it started bombing Yemen in 2015. And it’s actually seeking to expand its arms trade with the Saudi dictatorship. So it’s no surprise that Britain turns a blind eye to alleged Saudi war crimes in Yemen.

Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, is not the only politician to slam ongoing Western support. US politicians have also spoken out:

Saudi Arabia says…

Saudi ambassador to the US Khalid bin Salman said the offensive was to “support the people of Yemen”:

He also insisted his country was “at the forefront of humanitarian efforts”:

He must have a different definition of ‘humanitarian’, though. Because Saudi Arabia recently murdered at least 45 civilians in Yemen in less than a week. And since 2015, Al-Jazeera says, its war has killed “at least 10,000 people”, displaced two million people, and sparked a cholera epidemic.

According to one Yemeni lawyer, the Saudi aim in Hodeidah is simple: to end the war once and for all – whatever the humanitarian cost. Comparing the offensive to Saudi attacks on Yemen back in 1934, he said:

Action necessary

Civilians are suffering and dying in their masses in Yemen. And Western governments are supporting the main perpetrator, even as it apparently pushes for victory via starvation tactics.

Jeremy Corbyn is right. We need to demand action from our politicians – not weasel words about ‘both sides’. Our government must stop giving a green light to Saudi crimes. And we must push for a peaceful end to Yemen’s conflict.

Get Involved!

– Write to Theresa May and your MP. Ask them to push for peace talks in Yemen. Until that happens, ask them to cancel and stop approving arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

– You can also support Campaign Against Arms Trade to help make that happen.

Featured image via Sophie Brown – Wikimedia

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