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Thousands of civilians dead and Saudi Arabia poses as peacemaker — VEGAS TRIUMPH

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The military intervention in Yemen began on March 26, 2015 and has produced one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. Saudi-led air offensives, which have killed thousands of civilians, have recently been stepped up.

Great is the dismay at the military operations in Ukraine – further away and far less clearly divided into a self-defense of good against evil, a war has been raging in Yemen for seven years now without much attention from the world public.

On March 26, 2015, the war began with the involvement of the Saudi-led coalition. Despite the devastating human suffering that has been unfolding there since then, there have been far fewer expressions of solidarity with Yemeni civilians. Thousands are killed in Saudi coalition airstrikes, while many more starve to death from preventable diseases or the Saudi port blockade, and infrastructure is reduced to rubble.

However, there are probably several reasons why there are hardly any national flags on Facebook profiles, in contrast to the omnipresent blue and yellow declaration of solidarity since February of this year. One of them is the Saudi PR, which partly open fakes, sometimes works with a twisted representation of the situation. Lobbyists and PR specialists in the USA also contribute in a highly professional manner.

While Riyadh has been talking about self-defense ever since, facts make it clear that the procedure is completely disproportionate. According to a report by Dr. Annelle Sheline, Middle East Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute, the Saudi-led coalition has conducted more than 24,600 airstrikes since the war began in 2015, killing over 9,000 Yemeni civilians. 59 Saudi civilians were killed in attacks by the Houthis.

In February this year, the number of Saudi airstrikes hit 700, higher than any other month since 2018, according to the Yemen Data Project, which collects data on the war in Yemen.

According to the think tank Responsible Statecraft, the Saudi lobby in Washington can count on strong support, as it offers lucrative jobs for former politicians. Take Tripp Baird, for example, who has close ties to Senate Republicans, having served as assistant to Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (Missouri) and later as legislative director to Republican Senator for Florida Mel Martinez.

Baird leads Off Hill Strategies with his wife, Jennifer Baird, a former Republican staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee. This is a company hired by the Saudi embassy, ​​along with a number of other PR firms.

In January 2022, Baird circulated a letter to the congressional offices stating that the plight was solely the fault of Yemen’s Houthi rebels and that the Saudi aggression was only a reaction to it. He is also involved with Heritage Action for America, which advocates continuing arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen on the grounds of “defending Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis.”

A day after Baird sent out his letter, in which he portrayed Saudi Arabia as “committed to achieving a lasting peace in Yemen,” the Saudi-led coalition carried out an airstrike on a detention center in Sa’da. 91 civilians were killed, including three children playing in a nearby field.

The laser-guided bomb used in the attack was manufactured by Raytheon Technologies, according to Responsible Statecraft. According to the report, Raytheon’s CEO celebrated the rising tensions in the Middle East in a conference call with investors a few days later, saying: “We see, I would say, opportunities for international sales.”

The US armaments company also relies on targeted lobbying and had 2.7 million US dollars for it in the last three months of last year. Finally, it was about influencing policy decisions such as a joint resolution in Congress to reject the previously authorized sale of Raytheon products to Saudi Arabia.

Further examples seem to show how Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen are almost accompanied by PR campaigns in the USA. An airstrike on March 12, 2021 killed 18 people in a residential area in Makbana. Just three days later, the US-British law firm Hogan Lovells sent out letters reaffirming the “unwavering commitment of the[Saudi]kingdom to peace in Yemen.” Former Republican Senator Norm Coleman distributed many of these letters on the same day that 178 airstrikes were carried out in Yemen.

In May 2021, shortly after an airstrike on a residential area in Sirwah killed 11 civilians, Hogan Lovells sent a letter saying Saudi Arabia supported a “peaceful resolution to the conflict in Yemen”. Less than a week later, an airstrike on a medical center killed another seven civilians.

Saudi Arabia continues to claim that it is not the aggressor and has spent heavily to promote this narrative in the US. Riyadh is said to have spent around 100 million US dollars so far to give the impression that Riyadh is about “peace” in the neighboring country, where thousands of civilians have been killed by air raids, starvation and disease.

 


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