Yemen, Saudi Arabia, United States discussed on Forum

KQED Radio
| KQED Radio


K Q E D. It's now six minutes past ten. Welcome to forum. I'm Michael Krasny. On Tuesday, the United States and Britain called for a complete ceasefire in the civil war and for the United Nations led peace talks to start next month. Three years into the war. The situation in Yemen is being deemed the worst made manmade humanitarian crisis in history. Unicef reports that eighty percent of all children in the country are now in need of humanitarian aid. And the United Nations has found that half of the country is at risk of famine. We're going to get the latest on the conflict, and we're joined here in studio by Hussein motion who is co founder of Berkeley based Yemen relief project. Welcome to the program. Thanks for having me. Good to have you. And we also want to welcome Frank Gardner whose BBC security correspondent get the update from him. Good to have you with us. Frank gardner. Welcome to the program. Thanks very much. The war is actually more than three years long. Frank Gardner, and let me go to you on just a kind of brief sense of what's at stake here. And what the nature of the war is it's kind of murky to many people, it's really a civil war against the Saudis and their Amerada allies to a great extent. But what's being fought here, and what's at stake? Sure. Okay. Just very briefly just micro tensions. I being in Yemen since nineteen eighty five, and I was there this year, it is such a tragedy. This is the biggest humanitarian tragedy in the world at the moment. I'm what's at stake, really is power politics. But of course, is the lives of Yemenis himselves. The war started really you can trace it back to September twenty fourteen when a small tribal group in the north of Yemen called the hoochies marched on on the capital teamed up with the ousted former president who was kicked off by the Arab spring guy called and he put his own troops at their disposal, and they took over the capital and took a pretty much most of the populated areas of the country and the Saudis said, whoa, whoa. Hang on a second. These people are allied to Iran arch rivals in the Middle East. We can't have this law southern border and in March twenty fifteen under the direction of Saudi Crown prince, Mohammad bin slow, mom NBS. They started an air campaign campaign. There was no fighting in the air. It was all bumming by the Saudi led coalition, and I went down there at the time. I went to see the Saudis, and they were very confident they thought they could bomb the Hutus. Back to the negotiating table that hasn't happened four years on. Plus, the Hutus are still dug in the capital they've still got her day to the main port and they've got most of the populated areas. It's a stalemate in which thousands of died. Millions have been displaced the was saying ceasefire, of course, everybody wants a ceasefire, but the Saudis an Emirati allies who by the way, big US allies, most to them a not going to settle for situation. That leaves what they see as their Iranian proxies in control of the country on that borders. Well, the hoodies are firing missiles in Saudi Arabia, but many people are dying because of what's coming from Saudi Arabia into Yemen. And a lot of those arms are unfortunately being supplied by the United States. There is also at this point. However, a juncture that we're at there's talk of the United States in Britain calling for a complete ceasefire in the United Nations leading peace talks that would start next month. Are we actually seeing some real movement here? We are. Yes. Michael. I was with General Mattis your sector state for defense in Bahrain Manama dialogue loss weekend, and even some days four days before he and Mike Pompeo gave their announcement. He said very clearly the time for the war to stop is. Now, basically, the US is calling time on this war. They know that Saudi Arabia cannot continue to prosecute this war without massive military assistance from the US, enter or less extent Britain and France, the US provides the planes. They munitions the bums the hardware the intelligence and and the refueling services as well. Exactly. Yes. That's what I was looking for. So the new good signal will find they'll just switch to Russia and China, they couldn't prosecute. But that that the war has been a disaster, particularly Yemen is, but it's also not been successful for Saudi because they haven't won it and every day that the you stay in control of those areas. It's a it's a victory for them, basically. So the US can see that this isn't going anywhere. It's an increasingly unpopular war congress suppressing for cells to stop to Saudi President Trump doesn't want that. Because it's getting it means a lot of jobs at stake, a strategic ally, the UK will simply follow. I think whatever the US lead is on this. So yeah, the pressure is on and it's partly because of the hustle Mata. I was just gonna ask you about that that killing has certainly played into the calculus of this in terms of possibly moving forward. You mentioned Mohammed bin Solomon NBS is made people's minds behind that murderer kashogi. It's not proven. But certainly it's what a lot of people believe, and it's put the Saudi leadership on the back foot. They now know that they are in the dock as far as western opinion is concerned, and despite the United the fact they've changed their narrative several times as to what was behind it. I saying that now he he left the consulate. He we've no idea where he is. Then he was. Held in a fistfight or some nonsense. They keep changing the narrative, so. The whether they know will not they are very much in the DACA public opinion this so the need to listen to what the US and Britain is saying every Yemen because they can't continue this war without that cooperation from the west Frank Gardner is BBC security correspondent, we should mention in fact in terms of the United Nations that about a third of the aid. That's going to Yemen. Nine hundred thirty million dollars comes from Saudi Arabia. They have asked for public relations and all kinds of credit for the money that is being sent over to Yemen. And there's a lot of attempt to get aid to people because it is such a staggering and dreadful beyond belief humanitarian crisis Hussein Morrison is with us again, he's cofounder the Berkeley based Yemen relief project, you're working your group is working to try to get Manitoba aid over their food and helping orphans and so forth. Are you getting through? Absolutely. Yes. So it's a little bit about our organization. We're based out of Berkeley, we're just a group of professionals and students came together with a common question of what what can we do in Yemen? And how can we help? We we see the news feeds on Facebook and Instagram of the poverty, and the destruction. And we'd stray wanted to find a vehicle to be able to connect the people in in the us in our areas, and also provides some sort of assistance in the so you're mainly using social media for this mainly social more advocacy, and then also, you know, making that connection of support for the many peoples that are suffering today. We'll give us a picture of what you know about the suffering. I know you were there a year ago and things have just continue to get steadily. Worse. You look at the statistics in their mind boggling, you can get your mind around them thinking about the individual suffering of children, particularly you really can't. I mean, the one of the things I realized when I got to Yemen was. This was. Profoundly. They couldn't couldn't wrap it around my head how terrible and how much destruction and much poverty. People begging for food baking, if they're not begging. I mean, it takes a certain type of person to beg for food. But also they're describing around in. Dumpsters. And looking to ISA. It's it's it's horrible there. As far as what what the situation has caused the people of Yemen to experience, but as far as an organization, we we attempted to to make that connection with people in Yemen. And we actually sent a container of now nutrition therapy. Packages that helped people that are getting through they got through they got through. Eventually they got through it took it took a little bit of time. But you just. It's actually a testament to when we put that energy out there. We can make a little difference in hopefully that gets repeated across the country. Let me play our listeners this when it goes up to ten thirty questions about the crisis in Yemen and about the politics of the civil war that's going on in Yemen. And may indeed wanna comment and join us with your thoughts with your questions as we continue discussion with Frank Gardner, the BBC and Hussein.

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