US urged to stop military support for coalition fighting in Yemen

CAIRO — Five international charities on Monday urged the United States to halt all military support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Shiite rebels, saying this will save millions of lives.

A joint statement by the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America, CARE US, Save the Children, and the Norwegian Refugee Council said that 14 million people are at risk of starving to death in Yemen if the parties to the conflict don't change course immediately.

The warring sides have undermined Yemen's economy with policies and practices that have caused rampant inflation while the value of currency plummets, it added.

"Starvation must not be used as a weapon of war against Yemeni civilians," the statement said.

The charities called the U.S. to back up its recent call for a cessation of hostilities in Yemen with genuine diplomatic pressure, mainly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

If it doesn’t cease its military support for the coalition, “the United States, too, will bear responsibility for what may be the largest famine in decades,” the charities said.

A survey commissioned by one of the charities, the International Rescue Committee or IRC, found that 75 percent of Americans surveyed oppose U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The YouGov survey also showed that at 82 percent of respondents believe Congress should vote to end or decrease arms sales to the two Gulf Arab countries.

David Miliband, president of the IRC, said America is "fueling a crisis that has severe consequences for millions of civilians."

YouGov surveyed 1,168 respondents online from Nov. 7 until Nov. 9. The poll had a margin of error of 3.3 percent, IRC said.

A Houthi rebel inspects a burned armored vehicle on Sept. 13, 2018, reportedly destroyed in an airstrike during clashes between fighters loyal to Saudi-backed exiled President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Houthi rebels near the eastern entrance of the Yemeni city of Hodeida, as coalition forces seized rebel supply routes into the coastal city. (AFP via Getty Images)
US to stop refueling of Saudi aircraft in Yemen war

The United States will stop refueling Saudi Arabian aircraft fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Pentagon and the Saudi kingdom said late Friday.

International outrage over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in October in Turkey has also focused attention on Yemen's civil war, prompting the U.S. to scale back its support for the coalition and call for a cease-fire by the end of this month.

In March 2015, the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition unleashed a full-scale military campaign against Iran-allied Houthi rebels who had captured most of Yemen including the capital, Sanaa, a few months earlier.

Tens of thousands of people are believed to have been killed in the war, and two-thirds of Yemen’s 27 million people rely on aid. More than 8 million are at risk of starvation in what has become the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

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