Yemen, President Trump, Saudi Arabia discussed on Amanpour
Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London where the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in what will surely be one of its most momentous decisions for these times and whether Boris Johnson broke the law by asking the Queen to suspend parliament ahead of the Brexit deadline next month the British prime minister met with e you leaders on Monday Monday who is still waiting a detailed proposal for a deal from Johnson. The Luxembourg prime minister pulled off a bit of political theater holding a press conference next thanks to an empty podium because Johnson didn't want to speak outside near noisy protesters. My guest tonight is David Miliband who served as both British Foreign Secretary and a leading member of the Labour Party. He's now president of the International Rescue Committee and so he's well placed to discuss the other global crisis the fallout from the attack on on Saudi oil installations tear on has denied is responsible and President Hassan. Rohani says that the attacks whoever is responsible are all about the devastating dating proxy war in Yemen a civil visual you now to look at it more as a question of security and stability ability rather than oil but the root cause of goes back to the Yemen problem those that attacked Yemen and in conduct daily bombardments and have leveled great parts of the country and taken hundreds hundreds of thousands of Yemeni lives and supported by waves of American and European armaments. They must be helped l. to answer. David Miller Band is joining me from New York now. Welcome to the program buying Cristiani goes to be with you so let's just take the president of Iran left off talking about the bombings and obviously he was referring to Saudi Arabia and the coalition with the United States and others in Yemen from your perspective Tiv- as President of the IRC and with such an obvious interest in what happens to the people there the refugees just give us a you know a layout of what's happening on the ground what this war is doing to the people that it's not a rescue committee has about six hundred stoff off in Yemen in the northern part which is controlled by the WHO `they rebel alliance and in the South where there are remnants of the Hadid government and a range of other forces else's who are in control. I was in Yemen Myself at this time last year and essentially what's happening. Is that the war strategy that's been prosecuted by by the Saudi led coalition over the last five years four to five years has comprehensively failed in its principal war which was dislodged lodged from sun which used to be the capital of Yemen. It's also failed in its secondary age which was to push back the Iranians. The Iranians are stronger today a than they were four or five years ago and then there's a third element is in the south of the country. The Saudi led coalition is breaking up the United Arab Arab Emirates have essentially backed some secessionist forces and so you're seeing fragmentation in the country and radicalization alongside desperate Humanitarian Aryan crisis twenty four million people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid to survive levels of malnutrition are unprecedented cholera had the largest outbreak last year and so we're that international rescue committee on humanitarian grounds but frankly the country is imprisoned by this political military stalemate stalemate so I mean really extraordinary to hear you even say for nearly five years that this has been going on the tens of millions of people at risk and those who've died and caller all the rest of it. Why do you think and what is your view as to. Who might have been responsible? Why do you think the WHO tease claimed responsibility for the attack on the Saudi installations given what might be the repercussions might hurt them or I think I think that the argument about the relationship between the Hutus and the Iranians is obviously the center of the geopolitics of this dispute a my own view is the WHO have longstanding roots in Yemeni society there a branch of Shia the so-called Zaidi branch of Shia. They don't have historic links things with the Iranians but over the last ten years or so five to ten years those links have strengthened and in the last forty five years the Iranians have seen a cheap way to tweak tweak the tale of Saudi Arabia and its Western allies by supporting the WHO thieves in this civil war of the claim of responsibility is obviously being looked at in a rather sceptical way because the drones that seem to have been used go way beyond anything that the youth of ever shown before for and there are some significant claims of from the US amongst others that the Iranians would behind it but his the terrible truth as a crisis of diplomacy not just in Yemen the Chrysler diplomacy applies across the Middle East and significantly revolves around the role of Iran in the region the US tore up the nuclear agreement agreement which tried to take the table the ultimate weapon that the Iranians were feared to be chasing and of course by backing the Iranians is into a corner by allowing the hardliners in Tehran to say that the reformers were wrong to believe that they could have come to a deal with the West. You've got a situation relation where Iran feels. It's got nothing to lose and so I don't have any background intelligence on the precise location of the the origin of this very devastating strike on the Saudi oilfield. What I do know is that there are more options for the Iranians than there are for the Americans or the Saudis as at the moment that's the case for two reasons. The Iranians are prepared to escalate because they're already being economically strangled and secondly they've shown or it's been shown own over the last seventy two hours that the Saudi defenses of their all important oil installations are very weak indeed and that leaves the American Administration in a real fix because they can talk about being locked and loaded as the president said in his rather unfortunate phrase the day before yesterday but but it's clear that they lack allies strategy for dealing with some pretty incompatible questions in the Persian Gulf so that's really interesting that analysis and and just to be clear after the locked and loaded statement the vice president's chief of staff denied that it necessarily meant a a military intervention but be that as it may and as you say the Administration seems to have a few allies and beef you options in dealing with the rahm nonetheless it's possible that Yemen and it's people could be dragged further into this morass. Here is what the U N Special Envoy for Yemen said about out this outta minimum. This kind of action carries the risk dragging. Yemen into a regional conflagration gratien because if one thing we can be certain and that is this extremely serious incident makes the trenches of a regional conflict that much higher and other personal that much lower and with Yemen in some way or other linked none of that none of that is good you so there is delineating. What's not good for Yemen. We know that Syria is still in the midst of a war Assad what is still trying to neutralize annihilate the remnants of the opposition and there is the potential conflicts and more war in the region you as IRC have put out a rather calamitous or envisioning the catastrophe. That's unfolding in some of the refugee camps inside Syria. We had a report from the ground from there just last week particularly with seventy thousand people many women and children at the alcohol can what as your report saying about that. Matsen griffiths just to finish on that point the U. N. special envoy for Yemen is outstanding a diplomat the only difference I would have with him is he says that Yemen is threatened by being engulfed with glue with regional conflagration. I would say it already is engulfed. That's what twenty four million people in the military need means and the pursuit of the war strategy by the Saudi led coalition is being justified on the grounds that they can't afford to uncompromised with iranian-backed side so Yemen is already the crucible for this The report that we've put out on alcohol is really devastating in reading it shows that over three hundred children have died in the alcohol camp. This is a place you'll right to say. Seventy thousand people that seven seven thousand of them are suspected Isis foreign fighters and they are in a secluded part of the camp where it's very difficult to get in to deliver humanitarian eight. We are there but we're literally seeing children. Under the age of five babies dying in the tents of malnutrition related diseases before they even even get to the health centers that exist in the camp so there is a real tragedy of enormous proportions because these are the innocent victims the wall he's all children under the age of five who are literally a off the end of the lives on the edge of death and our report ought shows that the rate of death has more than doubled since March this year around one hundred and fifty deaths in the run-up to Mars the rate of death has more than doubled and that speaks to the desperate conditions existed but it also speaks to this diplomatic stasis about what happens to the will. Some some countries have volunteered to take them back to face justice. That's the right thing but too. Many are refusing to do so and that leaves the innocent victims as well as the potentially guilty one's stuck so not not to put too fine a point on it but to pivot to to something that's happening right here. In Great Britain which is in the middle of the Brexit mess your former foreign minister foreign secretary on Britain used to actually take very interventionist actions in diplomacy and humanitarian care and trying to solve some of these great global problems and yet brexit seems to be taking all the oxygen out of all of those efforts having said that I just WanNa get your take on and what I said which was the Supreme Court here is about to rule this week on whether the prime minister broke the law in suspending parliament and getting the Queen to agree to that. What is your view on that. What are your right to say that Brexit has sucked the life out of British foreign policy. Let's see over the last three years and threatens to do so for many years to come my view is that Boris Johnson. The prime minister is on the run from parliament. He's on run because he knows he doesn't have a majority for the policy that he's pursuing the policy is that Britain will leave the European Union on the thirty first among Tober whether whether or not there's a deal he's ready to pull us out without a deal and not a single expert will tell you that there's time between the European Council on the seventeenth eighteenth and the the end of October to get through the necessary legislation and so that's why he's on the run and that's why he is flouting constitutional and political norms in such a cavalier way to see the state of British.