UN Complicit in Saudi War Crimes in Yemen: British Analyst
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A London-based political analyst and author slammed the United Nations for supporting the ongoing genocide in Yemen, saying it is “acting complicit to odious war crimes” committed by the Saudi regime in the Arabian Peninsula country.
“If not for the UN, Yemen would not be starving,” Director of Programs at Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies Catherine Shakdam from London said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
“…The United Nations is not only enabling but actually acting complicit to odious war crimes as it continues to entertain and orchestrate Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian blockade on Yemen,” she noted.
Shakdam is an expert commentator and political consultant. Her writings have appeared in Foreign Policy Association and the Guardian among many other media outlets. Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting.
The following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: According to media reports, Maldivian opposition parties protested Friday a planned visit by King Salman following reports that Saudi business interests were buying an entire atoll in the politically-troubled Indian Ocean republic. A coalition of opposition parties and dissidents said they would stage street demonstrations against the alleged sale of islands when the Saudi monarch and his 1,000-strong entourage visits the Maldives. What do you think about the visit?
Shakdam: If governments are still willing to sell innocent blood for a profit, the people usually aren’t and so what you are witnessing is popular outrage against state institutions. I don’t think that anyone is under any illusion anymore when it comes to Yemen’s war and Saudi Arabia’s atrocious thirst for bloodshed. Yemen’s war has made people realize what powers motivate Riyadh and they are rejecting such regime.
Too much has happened for anyone to dare deny the painful truth: that Yemen is being genocide by Wahhabism so that al-Saud could claim its victory over Arabia.
Beyond that I would say that there is an awakening of sort - especially in Asia and Africa where nations yearn now for a different form of governance. The world’s institutions are broken and we are fast-approaching breaking point. By that, I mean that exceptionalism will no longer be tolerated.
I’d like to think that the world is growing sick and tired of Saudi Arabia’s arrogance.
King Salman’s grand display of power and riches was truly ridiculous … real leadership does not require such dressings and trimmings to sit itself legitimate. The kingdom has become a devolution onto itself, a caricature of capitalism gone extreme.
This visit was a display of wealth to exert political pressure onto governments - no more, no less.
Tasnim: For almost two years, the Yemeni civilians have been targets of cruel attacks and airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition. Yemen’s Legal Center for Rights and Development, an independent monitoring group, has recently put the civilian death toll at 12,041, including 2,568 children and 1,870 women. According to the United Nations, nearly 3.3 million people in Yemen, including 2.1 million children, are acutely malnourished because of the war and total siege imposed on them. They include 460,000 children under age of five with the worst form of malnutrition, who risk dying of pneumonia or diarrhea. Why is the international community so indifferent to the heinous crimes committed by the Al Saud regime in the Arabian Peninsula country?
Shakdam: You have first to understand that the international community - and I’m referring here to international agencies and bodies, are more often than not slave to the funding they receive, and this essentially means that they sit under the control of Saudi Arabia. If you recall how the kingdom threatened to withdraw all funding from the United Nations should the Secretary General insist on flagging Riyadh as serial human rights offenders, then you can see what rules really govern the international community.
Numbers and statistics have been played with in Yemen as well. The death toll the UN is admitting to is really not a reflection of reality. There is such a desire to cover up truths it’s actually sickening. Yemenis are being murdered in their sleep and the world is using euphemism.
Another matter worth considering is the fact that the United Nations is not only enabling but actually acting complicit to odious war crimes as it continues to entertain and orchestrate Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian blockade on Yemen. If not for the UN, Yemen would not be starving.
Yemen has been savagely thrown to the fires of war and the world has looked on without so much of a whisper of condemnation, all for the sake of money!
Tasnim: As Saudi Arabia and its staunch allies bury Yemeni civilians under the rubble of their airstrikes, some Western states, which claim to defend human rights across the world, not only are keeping silent but also supporting the coalition’s genocide in Yemen. The United States has backed the Saudi-led war with weapons, logistics, and political support. What do you think about the role of the US and some other Western countries in the Saudi war crimes?
Shakdam: Western capitals have a lot to answer to in Yemen. If not for their willingness to turn a profit on the back of innocent civilians Yemen would not have suffered the injustices it has suffered. Yemen’s civilian infrastructures have been exploded and disappeared under the nose of those democracies which claim the moral high-ground. The degree of hypocrisy is unparalleled really.
How can anyone look onto the likes of Washington and London and still believe that those governments have morally sound? There is a point where truths and agendas can no longer remain hidden and I believe Yemen tore whatever veil of falsehood and lies the West was hiding behind.
Western capitals have made millions upon millions of dollars upon Yemen’s blood.
Tasnim: In your opinion, why does not the Riyadh regime, which has reached none of its objectives behind the prolonged war, want to end the bloodshed and resolve the crisis through peaceful means?
Shakdam: You would have to assume here that Riyadh is a rational power governed by pragmatism. The kingdom wants to obliterate Yemen and Yemenis so that Resistance could be beaten out of the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia fears the independence of Yemen. It detests Yemenis’ will to sit away from Riyadh’s economic, religious and political influence.
This war on Yemen goes beyond political points, or even a religious agenda. The kingdom recognizes in Yemen the end of its empire, and the end of its tyranny. Saudi Arabia we have to realize is losing to an army of shoeless soldiers. Saudi Arabia’s grand military coalition is losing before the poor and the destitute - this is a slap across the face. Riyadh never imagined that Yemen would rally behind its leadership - Ansarallah, and fight with such heart.
In all fairness, I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the courage the Resistance demonstrated in battles. Yemen Resistance fighters have been awe-inspiring in their stand for freedom and justice.
The kingdom is terrified such bravery will inspire others to rise up and fight back against the Wahhabi complex.