The fighting taking place in Hodeidah, a Yemeni port city on the Red Sea, has been the stage of U.S.-backed Saudi and United Arab Emirates coalition attacks, that has endangered — and taken — the lives of thousands of people.
According to a CNN report, as many as “300,000” civilians could be confined to Hodeidah as a result of intensified Saudi-led air attacks on the Houthi rebel-held area. “Hodeidah is once again trapped in violence with hundreds of thousands of Yemenis caught in the middle. The upcoming talks cannot be an excuse to disregard the laws of war that protect the lives of the Yemeni people,” Fabrizio Carboni, from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), stated.
“This new attack on Hodeidah is brushing away the hope sparked by the recent announcement of the peace talks,” Carboni added.
United States officials have voiced concern over the situation in recent days, but no concrete action has been taken.
“We’ve got to move towards a peace effort here, and we can’t say we’re going to do it sometime in the future. We’ve admired this problem for long enough down there,” U.S. Secretary of State, Jim Mattis said regarding the situation in Yemen.
“It is time to end this conflict, replace conflict with compromise, and allow the Yemeni people to heal through peace and reconstruction,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added.
However, just last month, Pompeo was heavily criticized for the United States' continued support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
“Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed continued U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen over the objections of staff members after being warned that a cut off could jeopardize US$2 billion in weapons sales to America’s Gulf allies, according to a classified memo and people familiar with the decision,” a Wall Street Journal report said.
Hodeidah is a critical area for Yemen, as 70 percent of basic supplies including fuel, medicine, and food transit to other parts of the country. For this reason, if the fighting damages the infrastructure of the port city, the supplies passing to northern Yemen — where the majority of the population lives — could increase human suffering, aid workers told the Washington Post.
“Among their conclusions, the experts say individuals in the Government of Yemen and the coalition, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and in the de facto authorities have committed acts that may, subject to determination by an independent and competent court, amount to international crimes.”