US Again Warns Saudis: Lift Yemen Blockade, Moderate Air Strikes – or Forfeit US Military Aid

The US has issued a final warning to Riyadh to halt its indiscriminate bombardments of Yemen and ease its sea and air blockade on areas under Houthi insurgent control, where 9 million civilians are in extreme distress. Otherwise, Washington threatens to cut off military and intelligence assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen war.

Yemen is in immediate need of urgent unconditional humanitarian relief to stave of a major calamity. The Trump administration shies from being party to the Saudi actions which are causing it. Riyadh has not made good on its promise to Washington to ease the blockade and allow food and medical supplies to reach Yemen ports and the communities facing starvation. So far, only one ship was allowed to enter Hodeira port.

USAID administrator Mark Green called on the Saudi-led coalition to open Yemen’s ports and for Yemen’s Houthis to stop firing and allow food and medical supplies to reach civilians trapped by the fighting. He announced another $130m in US emergency aid was available, raising US assistance to Yemen to nearly $768m in the past year.

The US has been backing the Saudi-led coalition fight against the Iranian-backed Houthis thus far, and was set to reveal new evidence of Tehran supplying them with advanced missiles, in violation of UN sanctions. Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, has promised a showing of parts of a short-range ballistic missile launched by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4 which came down near Riyadh airport.

The coalition has intensified its campaign against the Houthis since former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh was assassinated earlier this month as a result of an Iranian-backed conspiracy.,

But the latest Saudi air strike in Yemen killed at least 23 people including prisoners at a rebel military police camp. This was the last straw for the Trump administration, which has repeatedly warned the Saudis to curtail indiscriminate air strikes that leave multiple casualties. Now, Washington has made it clear that if Riyadh continues these attacks and fails to ease the blockade, the United States will withhold its military assistance for Saudi air strikes in Yemen, including mid-air refueling planes and intelligence markers for Houthi targets.

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