The global day of protest is scheduled for 25 January, the first working day of Joe Biden’s administration

Chris Nineham

January 25 will see an international day of protests against the horror of the war on Yemen. Despite worldwide calls for a ceasefire during the pandemic and a call for peace by Saudi Arabia last April, the war on Yemen is raging out of control. The Saudi-led coalition itself scuppered the peace deal by carrying out dozens of airstrikes in the following week.

Since then, the war has escalated. Latest UN estimates suggest that 250,000 people have died as a direct result of the fighting and aid agencies are warning that, in the worst humanitarian catastrophe anywhere in the world, 20 million Yemenis out of a population of 28.5 million don’t have enough food.

The war was started in March 2015 by the Saudis who were keen to return the pro-Saudi president of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, after he had been overthrown by the Ansar Allah movement supported by the Houthis.

The West’s Collusion

It is a war that has been backed to the hilt by several Western powers, in particular the US, the UK and France. The US and the UK see closer ties with the Saudi leadership and support for the war as part of their effort to build a coalition against Iranian influence in the Middle East.

Though government spokespeople deny direct involvement, both countries have forces and technology supporting frontline troops. A former MoD mandarin and defence attache to Saudi Arabia John Deveril said in 2019, “The Saudi bosses absolutely depend on BAE Systems, they couldn’t do it without us.” A BAE employee confirmed this view to Channel 4’s Dispatches, “If we weren’t there, in seven to 14 days there wouldn’t be a jet in the sky.”

US and UK support for the Saudi government has spiked since the war began. Saudi is the US’s largest weapons buyer and accounts for 40% of UK arms sales. The British government accepts the weapons are being used in the war. Despite the fact that in June last year a UK court banned the arms sales as “irrational and therefore unlawful” sales have been restarted.

The recent Saudi-brokered agreement between Hadi’s forces and the UAE backed Southern Transitional Council is only likely to encourage the Saudi government in the belief that they can successfully crush the forces of Ansar Allah.

A Chance for Change

During his election campaign, Joe Biden promised to end US support for the war and to push for a peaceful solution, even if he provided little detail. His picks for his foreign policy team are not particularly encouraging, but the new administration and Biden’s promises provide an opportunity to escalate the pressure on the Western powers to change course.

The global day of protest is scheduled for 25 January, the first working day in Washington after Joe Biden’s inauguration. The day of action has attracted the biggest global anti-war coalition since Iraq War. Anti-war organisations from 18 different countries and three continents have signed up to support the action.

Protests have been called in various countries and protestors are due to come together in a global online rally which will feature leading writers, performers, politicians and activists from around the world.

Stop the War is asking its members and supporters in Britain and around the world to do everything possible to publicise the global day of action and help turn it into a protest that those backing this dreadful war cannot ignore.

Join the World Says No to War on Yemen Global Online Rally at 7pm GMT on 25 Jan

12 Jan 2021 by Chris Nineham

Sign Up