PICTURED: A makeshift aid and water treatment center in south Yemen.
WASHINGTON D.C., October 13th, 2021. In a joint-press conference alongside his opposite numbers from Israel and the UAE, Sec. of State Antony Blinken said he and the Biden Administration “opposed the reconstruction” in Syria.
“What we have not done, and what we do not intend to do, is to express any support for efforts to normalize relations or rehabilitate Mr. Assad,” Blinken said, adding that the U.S. has not “lifted a single sanction on Syria or changed our position to oppose the reconstruction of Syria until there is irreversible progress toward a political solution, which we believe is necessary and vital”.
This came off the back of several Arab nations such as Jordan and Egypt, gradually re-establishing connections with Assad, realizing he will remain in power following a nearly decade-long mixture of undeclared proxy warfare by states like the U.S., UK, and Saudi Arabia, the rise of the Islamic State, and a ground invasion by Turkey, which all together killed at least 500,000 Syrians, and displaced more than 10 million around the world.
Blinken would go on to invoke the Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act, a muscular foreign policy passed under the Trump Administration, built for regime change and illegal under international law, which prevents any energy or construction firms foreign or domestic from aiding in the reconstruction of Syrian society.
In February, the UN and World Food Program (WFP) warned that 12 million Syrians were at risk of starvation this year, and that the humanitarian situation there has “never been worse”.
“It is alarming that a simple meal is beyond the reach of families across Syria, and this new data shows humanitarian assistance is the difference between putting a meal on the table and going to bed hungry. Lifesaving support has never been so crucial,” said Sean O’Brien, WFP representative in Syria.
It’s beginning to sound a lot like what groups like the UN, WFP, and Human Rights Watch have been saying for several years now regarding Yemen, another situation which has seemingly paralyzed the Biden Administration, even when, as in Syria, millions are at risk of starvation for little more than holding dissident political beliefs to the U.S. and her allies.
Air strikes reach highs
According to the Yemen Data Project, Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen, are at a 6-month high, 7 months after President Biden announced the U.S. would be ending all support for “offensive operations” in Saudi’s war in Yemen which has created a genocide.
At the time, anti-Yemen war journalists, activists, and politicians all noted that the lack of clarity in the phrase “offensive operations,” was telling, and that pressure was likely needed to iron out of the Biden camp exactly what that meant.
Evidently not much, since the F-16 fighter jets conducting the bombing runs need maintenance after every sortie, and a true end of support would have seen strike numbers at least slow down as the Saudis looked for other NATO allies to provide spare parts and technical support for the jets.
Instead, Al-Monitor reported in April, merely a month after Biden’s heartfelt statement, the Pentagon continued to pay private military contractors to service and maintain Saudi warplanes.
However it’s the blockades of almost all food and medicine into the country by Saudi warships and personnel at the airports that are causing “famine conditions,” and which are currently leading to 16 million people going hungry.
“Starting 1 February, because of the lack of funds, we will have to cut rations to 25%,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said of the situation in the poorest country in the Middle-East, warning of a slide into ‘famine conditions’ for the 5 million people most at risk. “We need about $860 million just to avert famine, and that’s for six months. We don’t even have half that”.
Like in Syria, the starvation is enforced because U.S. and her Saudi allies don’t acknowledge the rights of a large group of Yemenis known as the Houthis who seized control of the country, after ousting a corrupt Saudi-puppet dictator in 2015 who won his election by printing voter ballots with one name on them.