Following the killing of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a new wave of criticism has been directed against Saudi Arabia and its coalition waging a war in Yemen since 2015.
Alistair Burt, minister of state for Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth office, told the Independent on Friday that more than 300 incidents potentially violating international law have been tracked. Speaking in the House of Commons, Burt said, “we have been tracking 318 incidents of potential concern since 2015.”
Since the start of the war, the United Nations estimates that around 10,000 people have died from March 2015 until now.
On Friday, Reuters reported that the US warned Saudi Arabia about rising concerns in the US Congress “over the humanitarian situation in Yemen,” which could limit US aid to the fight against the Houthis.
On Wednesday, White House Spokesperson Sarah Sanders said, in a statement, that Saudi Arabia must “completely allow food, fuel, water, and medicine to reach the Yemeni people,” asserting that such aid is needed. She added, “we call on the Saudi-led coalition to facilitate the free flow of humanitarian aid and critical commercial goods, including fuel, through all Yemeni ports and to restore commercial flights through Sanaa Airport.” She pointed out that “The Iranian-backed Houthi militias must allow food, medicine, and fuel to be distributed throughout the areas they control, rather than diverted to sustain their military campaign against the Yemeni people.”
Both the US and UK have authorised arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Several of the strikes launched by Saudi Arabia have led, according to several human rights organisations, to the killing of dozens of civilians.
In central Yemen, the US military announced, in a Friday statement, that airstrikes carried out last November targetted five individuals believed to be militants affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The US Central Command said that the air raid killed Mujahid al-Adani, a leading member of Al-Qaeda, as well as his companions, who took refuge in Bayda province. The five were accused of conducting attacks against the Yemeni army and the Saudi-led coalition.
On 5 December, rebel fighters from the Houthi militia blew up the residence of and killed former president leader Ali Abdullah Saleh in the centre of the capital Sanaa.
Saleh was a former ally of the Houthis, but turned against the rebel group in favour of the Saudi coalition. On 2 December, he formally broke his alliance with the Houthis, leading his troops to lose ground in violent guerrilla fighting with his former allies. He publicly voiced his support for the Saudi-led coalition
two days before his assassination.