Stop Saudi war on Yemen, United Nations say


This video says about itself:

40 Dead, Hundreds Wounded in Air Strikes-Humanitarian Group

31 March 2015

Humanitarian workers say at least 40 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in [Saudi] air strikes on a refugee camp in Yemen.

By Niles Williamson:

UN warns of collapse in Yemen amid Saudi-led assault

1 April 2015

The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, released a statement on Tuesday warning that the Yemen is “on the verge of total collapse.” Scores of civilians have been killed in airstrikes led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt in direct violation of international law.

“The situation in Yemen is extremely alarming, with dozens of civilians killed over the past four days,” Al Hussein stated, expressing shock at the killing of dozens of refugees by a Saudi airstrike on the Al Mazraq camp in northern Yemen. Doctors Without Borders reported that Monday’s bombing had claimed the lives of at least 40 civilians, wounding another 200.

… Saudi Arabia is seeking to militarily defeat the Houthis and their allies and reinstate President Adb Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled the country last week. …

The United States, which has provided intelligence and logistical support for the airstrikes, gave further support to the growing bloodbath in Yemen with the announcement on Tuesday that it would resume the delivery of weapons and military equipment to Egypt, which has pledged to send ground forces into Yemen.

US President Barack Obama approved the delivery of 12 F-16 jet fighters, 20 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits. The shipment of new equipment and weapons had been halted in the aftermath of the military coup that brought military dictator Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to power.

The deeply impoverished Yemeni population is bearing the brunt of the expanding US-backed air war. Airstrikes have destroyed homes, hospitals, schools and critical infrastructure in civilian areas throughout the country. Bombs have been dropped on airports and power plants in the capital city of Sanaa, the Houthi stronghold of Saada, and the western port city of Hodeida. Thousands of people have already been displaced, with many fleeing the major urban areas for rural villages where they are less likely to be killed by an airstrike.

… The UN has confirmed that since Friday at least 93 civilians have been killed and another 364 wounded by airstrikes and ground battles in the cities of Sanaa, Sadaa, Dhale, Hodaida and Lahij.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal stated that the bombing campaign, codenamed Operation Resolute Storm, would continue until “security, stability and unity” was achieved in Yemen.

The ongoing assault has been backed with repeated threats of an imminent ground invasion, aimed at militarily defeating the Houthis, to be led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt with contingents of soldiers from Sudan and possibly Pakistan.

While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged “all potentials of the Pakistani army” in a phone call with the Saudi king over the weekend, the Pakistani government has yet to give open support to the air war. Pakistani Defense Minister Kawaja Asif and foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz met with Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss their country’s role in the coalition. There are concerns within Pakistan that any intervention will exacerbate existing tensions between Pakistani Sunni majority and its Shiite minority.

Saudi spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri told reporters on Tuesday that the initiation of plans for a ground invasion was not “automatic” and that any eventual ground war would be targeted to specific areas of the country. Despite this equivocation, Asseri concluded that “when the coalition forces confirm the need for land operation, it will not hesitate to carry this out.”

Even as it remained unclear when a Saudi-led ground war would begin Yemeni foreign minister Riyadh Yaseen, who remains loyal to Hadi, told reporters on Tuesday that he had requested a Saudi-led invasion “as soon as possible.”

Saudi Arabia has mobilized approximately 150,000 soldiers and has positioned heavy artillery and other military equipment on its border with Yemen. Multiple exchanges of rocket and artillery fire between Houthi and Saudi forces were reported along the border on Tuesday. Explosions were heard in the Shida and Al Hisama district of Saada province and in the town of Haradh in Hajja province. Residents in the area also reported Tuesday that Saudi helicopters have made multiple incursions into Yemeni airspace all along the border.

As another component of the assault, Saudi Arabia and its partners, including Egypt, have initiated a naval blockade on Yemen’s ports under the pretext of blocking weapons and supplies from reaching the Houthi fighters. The blockade has the potential to intensify hunger in a country that currently imports 90 percent of its basic wheat and rice stock. It is estimated that if food imports were to be blocked, Yemen would exhaust its reserves in approximately six months.

Saudi Arabia’s refugee-killing bombs in Yemen


This video says about itsdelf:

Many dead in ‘air strike on north Yemen refugee camp

30 March 2015

At least 40 people have been killed in an attack on a camp for internally displaced people in north Yemen, as a Saudi-led coalition continued to strike Houthi targets around the country for a fifth day. Al Jazeera‘s Kim Vinnell reports.

By Niles Williamson:

Dozens of refugees killed in Saudi-led airstrike on Yemen

31 March 2015

The International Organization for Migration reported on Monday that an airstrike on the Al Mazraq refugee camp in Yemen’s Hajjah Province killed at least forty people and injured two hundred others. The attack occurred on the fifth consecutive day of airstrikes carried out by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by intelligence and logistical support from the United States.

According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at least five hundred families had entered the camp in recent days to escape airstrikes in northern Yemen being carried out by Saudi Arabia and its allies with the support of the United States.

MSF reported that its doctors treated 34 people wounded in the airstrike at its hospital in the nearby town Haradh. The group also reported that women and children were among 29 people dead on arrival at the facility.

The camp, which currently houses approximately 5,000 people in crude tent shelters, was established in 2001 to house people displaced by fighting between the Yemeni government and Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi militia in the northern provinces. “People in Al Mazraq camp have been living in very harsh conditions since 2009, and now they have suffered the consequences of an airstrike on the camp,” Pablo Marco, MSF operational manager for Yemen, said in a statement released on Monday.

The MSF also reported that it has treated more than 500 patients at its emergency surgical unit in the southern port city of Aden …

Saudi-led airstrikes over the weekend destroyed power plants in Houthi stronghold Saada, knocking out power to most of the province. Jet fighters also hit targets throughout the capital of Sanaa for a fifth straight day Monday. Bombs rained down on the presidential palace as well as air defense systems, missile launch pads and jet fighters. Sanaa has been under the control of the Houthis since last September.

In less than a week, the Saudi-led campaign of unrelenting airstrikes has reportedly destroyed a significant portion of Yemen’s air force and anti-aircraft defenses. Military bases and arms depots throughout the country have also come under attack.

The Houthi rebels have continued their assault on Aden, where Hadi had rallied loyal military forces before he fled the country for Saudi Arabia last week. Houthi forces that made an assault against Aden’s northeastern suburbs Monday were met with heavy rocket and artillery fire from Egyptian warships.

Saudi and Yemeni officials have asserted that military operations will continue until the Houthi militias are militarily defeated and Hadi is in a position to reassert control over the entire country. Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud promised that his country would continue its military operations “until stability is returned” to Yemen.

Speaking at the Arab League meeting in Sharm El Sheikh on Sunday, ousted Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin rejected the prospect of a negotiated settlement with the Houthis. “The operation will end when Yemen is safe and secure. But we will only negotiate with those who are willing to disarm,” he stated. “We won’t negotiate with [the Houthis] because they carried out a coup. They used the state’s weakness to take over.”

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both close US allies, have backed the expanding campaign of air strikes with the threat of an imminent ground invasion to push back the Houthis. Saudi Arabia has mobilized as many as 150,000 soldiers and has positioned heavy artillery on its southern border with Yemen. Egypt has reportedly stationed troop ships off the coast of Yemen in preparation for an amphibious assault.

A delegation headed by Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaj Asif and foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz will be in Saudi Arabia today, where they are expected to officially announce Pakistan’s decision to send troops to take part in the military assault in Yemen.

A senior Pakistani official told Reuters on Monday that his government was planning on dispatching a contingent of soldiers to Saudi Arabia to support military operations. “We have already pledged full support to Saudi Arabia in its operation against rebels and will join the coalition,” the official stated.

The open participation of Sunni majority Pakistan, which shares a border with Iran, in a ground invasion spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and Egypt and backed by the United States would mark a significant escalation in the conflict. What began as a proxy war between the Shiite Houthis backed by majority Shiite Iran and the Yemeni government backed by the Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia could rapidly devolve into an open sectarian conflict drawing in countries from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.

Saudi airstrikes kill refugees in Yemen


This 2013 video is called Ethiopian refugees being tortured in Saudi Arabia.

Now, in 2015, it seems that even torturing refugees is still not bad enough …

From Reuters news agency today:

An airstrike [by the Saudi Arabian air force] hit the area of the Mazraq refugee camp in the northern Yemen district of Haradh Monday, killing 21 people, humanitarian workers told Reuters.

An air strike at a camp for displaced people and refugees in Houthi-controlled northern Yemen on Monday killed 45 people and wounded 65, the International Organisation for Migration said: here.

Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Yemen. Perpetuating chaos and lawlessness in the Middle East: here.

Egyptian military dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced at a meeting of the Arab League on Sunday that the organization had agreed in principle to the formation of a regional military force: here.

Pakistan declines to join Saudi Arabia’s anti-Iran alliance. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has rejected, at least for now, Saudi Arabia’s entreaties for Pakistani troops to help guard the Saudi border with northern Yemen, controlled by Iranian-backed Houthi Shiite forces: here.

Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes on Yemen kill civilians, help ISIS


This video says about itself:

26 March 2015

Saudi-led air strikes against the Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen. Anti-aircraft fire over Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. Heavy destruction in a civilian neighborhood of Sanaa. Some pictures are too graphic to show.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Patrick Cockburn

Sunday 29 March 2015

Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf’s fire

World View: Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis

Foreign states that go to war in Yemen usually come to regret it. The Saudi-led military intervention so far involves only air strikes, but a ground assault may follow. The code name for the action is Operation Decisive Storm, which is probably an indication of what Saudi Arabia and its allies would like to happen in Yemen, rather than what will actually occur.

In practice, a decisive outcome is the least likely prospect for Yemen, just as it has long been in Iraq and Afghanistan. A political feature common to all three countries is that power is divided between so many players it is impossible to defeat or placate them all for very long. Saudi Arabia is backing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi but the humiliating speed of his defeat shows his lack of organised support.

The threat of further intervention by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council may be intended to redress the balance of power in Yemen and prevent the Houthis winning a total victory. But Saudi actions and those of the Sunni coalition will be self-fulfilling if the Houthis – never previously full proxies of Iran – find themselves fighting a war in which they are dependent on Iranian financial, political and military backing.

Likewise, the Houthis, as members of the Zaidi sect, were not always seen by Shia in other countries as part of their religious community. But by leading a Sunni coalition Saudi Arabia will internationalise the Yemen conflict and emphasise its sectarian Sunni-Shia dimension.

The US position becomes even more convoluted. Washington had sought to portray its campaign in Yemen against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as a success. Drone attacks were supposedly wiping out important AQAP operatives, but the humiliating end result of America’s covert war in Yemen came last week when US Special Operations personnel blew up their heavy equipment and fled the country for the US base at Djibouti. AQAP is becoming a stronger force as the shock troops of the Sunni.

US policy across the Middle East looks contradictory. It is supporting Sunni powers and opposing Iranian allies in Yemen but doing the reverse in Iraq. On Thursday US aircraft for the first time started pounding Islamic State (Isis) positions in Tikrit, 87 miles north of Baghdad. The city has been under assault for four weeks, with 20,000 Shia militia and 3,000 Iraqi soldiers pitted against a few hundred Isis fighters. The Shia militiamen are now reported to have withdrawn but they do not appear to have gone far. Effectively, the battle for Tikrit is being waged by Iranian-directed Shia militia backed by US air power, even if the two sides are rivals as well as allies.

Ultimately, the US may not have much choice. If it refuses to back anti-Islamic State combatants for whatever reason it will be to the benefit of Isis. The numbers tell the story: there are between 100,000 and 120,000 Shia militiamen in Iraq compared with only 12 brigades in the Iraqi army capable of fighting, about 48,000 soldiers, although this total may be inflated. Isis has been conscripting young men across its self-declared caliphate since last October and may have over 100,000 fighters. If the US relies on Iraqi government and Kurdish Peshmerga ground forces alone to put Isis out of business, it will be difficult.

Why did the US finally use its air power at Tikrit, formerly a city of 200,000? First, it was the only help the Baghdad government formally asked for this week. The US may have concluded, as it did with the 134-day siege of the town of Kobani last year, that it could not allow Isis to succeed in Tikrit. Second, if the city did fall, Washington did not want Iran and the Shia militia to get all the credit.

A further motive is that both the US and Iran want to restore some credibility to the Iraqi government and army after their crushing defeats by Isis forces last year. So far the Iraqi army has not recaptured a single city or substantial town from Isis since the fall of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad in January 2014. Such limited military successes as there have been were won by the militias in the provinces neighbouring Baghdad.

The US-led international coalition opposing Isis also needs to do something to bolster its own credibility. Despite some 2,500 coalition air strike launched against it since last August, the Islamic State has lost little territory. Isis may be battered but it shows no signs of being anywhere near to defeat.

The Independent conducted a series of interviews in February and March with people who had recently left Isis and, while none were sympathetic to it, there was nobody who believed it was going to be destroyed by mounting internal discontent or external military pressure. A prime reason for this is that the Sunni Arab communities in Iraq and Syria are not being offered an acceptable alternative to Isis rule. They are all terrified of becoming the victims of a pogrom that does not distinguish between Isis supporters and ordinary Sunni.

A further feature of life in the Isis caliphate that emerged from these interviews is that it is well organised: it taxes salaries and sales, it conscripts young men of military age, controls education and mercilessly strikes down any opponents. Its stability might be shaken if it suffered a string of military defeats but so far this has not happened.

Air strikes have made it revert to semi-guerrilla tactics, not holding ground against superior forces backed by airpower but counter-attacking briskly when they have moved on or their lines of communication have become longer and more vulnerable. Given the difficulty in capturing Tikrit, it does not look as if an assault on Mosul will be possible for a long time. There seems to be no enthusiasm on the government side [to] retake Fallujah, although it is so much closer to the capital.

Whatever happens in Iraq and Yemen, the political temperature of the region is getting hotter by the day. Looked at from a Saudi and Gulf monarchy point of view, Iran and the Shia are on the advance, becoming either the dominant or the most powerful influence in four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. The Sunni Arabs in Iraq and Syria have linked their futures inextricably and fatally to Isis and other al-Qaeda type organisations. These have military strength, but they make many powerful enemies.

The confrontations between Sunni and Shia, and between Saudi Arabia and its allies and Iran and its allies, is becoming deeper and more militarised. Conflicts cross-infect and exacerbate each other, preventing solutions to individual issues. Thus Saudi intervention in Yemen reduces the chance of a US-Iranian agreement on Tehran’s nuclear programme and sanctions. As these conflicts and divisions spread, the chances of creating a common front that is capable of destroying the Islamic State are getting fewer by the day.

ARAB LEADERS ANNOUNCE JOINT TASK FORCE FOR ‘ARMED INSURGENCIES’ “Arab leaders announced Sunday that they would form a joint military force to intervene in neighboring states grappling with armed insurgencies. It is a dramatic step to quell the unrest that has broken out in the wake of the region’s uprisings, but some analysts warned it could exacerbate the conflicts that have polarized countries and left hundreds of thousands dead.” [WaPo]

Saudi bombs killing Yemeni civilians


This video says about itself:

US Cluster Bomb Legacy Costing Lives In Laos

4 August 2014

The Legacy: The Vietnam war‘s dark legacy is still costing lives in Laos. Meet the brave women trying to clear the bomb fields.

From Human Rights Watch:

Yemen: Saudi-Led Airstrikes Take Civilian Toll

Saudis Should Not Repeat Use of Cluster Bombs

March 28, 2015

(Beirut) – The Saudi Arabia-led coalition of Arab countries that conducted airstrikes in Yemen on March 26 and 27, 2015, killed at least 11 and possibly as many as 34 civilians during the first day of bombings in Sanaa, the capital, Human Rights Watch said today. The 11 dead included 2 children and 2 women. Saudi and other warplanes also carried out strikes on apparent targets in the cities of Saada, Hodaida, Taiz, and Aden.

The airstrikes targeted Ansar Allah, the armed wing of the Zaidi Shia group known as the Houthis, that has controlled much of northern Yemen since September 2014. In January, the group effectively ousted the government of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi …

The governments of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan said that their warplanes also participated in airstrikes on March 26 and 27. Pakistan and Egypt provided naval support and the United States provided intelligence and logistical support, media reports said.

Interior Ministry officials linked to Ansar Allah shared with Human Rights Watch details of their final casualty count from the bombings in Sanaa on March 26. They said that warplanes bombed various parts of the city, including Bani Hawat, a predominantly Houthi neighborhood near Sanaa’s international and military airports, and al-Nasr, near the presidential palace. The officials said they had documented that 23 civilians had been killed and 24 wounded. Among the dead were 5 children, ages 2 to 13, 6 women, and an elderly man, they said. The wounded included 12 children, ages 3 to 8, and 2 women.

These numbers are consistent with information provided by two hospitals that Human Rights Watch visited. At the hospitals, Human Rights Watch documented the deaths of 11 civilians, including 2 women and 2 children, whose names were not included among those provided by Interior Ministry officials as well as 14 more wounded, including 3 children and 1 woman.

Amnesty International reported that bombing destroyed at least 14 homes in Bani Hawat.

Human Rights Watch has not been able to determine whether specific attacks complied with the laws of war, which apply to the armed conflict in Yemen. The laws of war prohibit attacks that target civilians or civilian property, or that do not or cannot discriminate between civilians and fighters. Attacks that cause casualties or damage disproportionate to any anticipated military advantage are also prohibited. All parties to the conflict have an obligation to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians from harm, and not to deploy forces in densely populated areas.

Saudi Arabia’s past use of cluster bombs, which are indiscriminate weapons, raises concerns that they will be used in the current fighting, Human Rights Watch said. There is credible evidence that in November 2009 Saudi Arabia dropped cluster bombs in Yemen’s northern Saada governorate during fighting between the Houthis and the Yemeni and Saudi militaries.

Cluster munition remnants from the 2009 airstrikes, including unexploded submunitions, have been reported by a number of sources. In July 2013, Yemeni clearance personnel photographed unexploded US-made BLU-97 and BLU-61 submunitions. In May 2014, VICE News published photos and a video shot near Saada showing numerous remnants of US-made CBU-52 cluster bombs deployed in 2009.

Cluster munitions contain dozens or hundreds of submunitions. The submunitions are designed to explode when they hit the ground but spread over a wide area, often the size of a football field, putting anyone in the area at the time of attack at risk of death or injury. In addition, many submunitions do not explode on impact but remain armed, becoming de facto landmines.

The US provided Saudi Arabia with significant exports of cluster bombs between 1970 and 1999. Saudi Arabia possesses attack aircraft of US and Western/NATO origin capable of dropping US-made cluster bombs. Human Rights Watch has urged Saudi Arabia and Yemen to join the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the use of cluster munitions in any circumstance.

“Saudi forces should publicly reject any use of cluster munitions and recognize that their use could have a devastating impact on civilians,” Stork said.

Defence officials in Washington admitted providing refuelling tankers and surveillance flights for the Saudi operations yesterday and there are several US troops working in the operations centre. Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir said in Washington that the autocratic regime in Riyadh was “very pleased” with the level of co-ordination with the US: here.

Yet another front has been opened in the US-led war drive in the Middle East, this time in Yemen. In flagrant violation of international law, Saudi Arabia, backed by the Obama administration, has now completed its third day of air strikes targeting strategic locations as well as residential neighborhoods in Yemen. At least 39 civilians have been killed, including at least six children. The death toll will no doubt rise sharply in the coming days. These actions are being carried out with US logistical support, utilizing fighter jets and bombs provided by the United States: here.

BAE agrees price on Typhoon jet deal with Saudi Arabia government. British defence firm announces deal on 72 Eurofighter aircraft during Prince Charles visit to Saudi royals and deputy PM: here.

Saudi Arabia says it won’t rule out building nuclear weapons: here.

Saudi warplanes kill Yemeni civilians, and now ground troops’ invasion?


This video, from South Korean Arirang TV, says about itself:

Concern grows as Saudi Arabia,allies bomb Yemen

26 March 2015

Civilians in Yemen were seen picking up the pieces and surveying the damage… when dawn broke following a surprise night-time air assault led by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Reports say at least 18 civilian, including six children, were killed in the military operation that was to target the Houthi rebels …

Rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi in a televised speech called the campaign ″criminal, unjust, brutal and sinful″ … and promised to fight back.

By Niles Williamson:

Saudi Arabia, Egypt prepare US-backed invasion of Yemen

27 March 2015

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are preparing a US-backed military invasion of Yemen aimed at pushing back the Houthi militia that has taken over much of the country and reasserting the control of besieged President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Egyptian officials told the Associated Press that the three-pronged assault would come from Saudi Arabia in the north and from the Red Sea in the west and the Arabian Sea in the south. As many as five Egyptian troop ships have been stationed off the coast of Yemen. The officials said that the assault would begin after airstrikes had sufficiently weakened the Houthi rebels.

The developing assault on the Yemen, code named Operation Decisive Storm, is drawing on air support and ground troops from a coalition of majority Sunni Muslim countries in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia to suppress the Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi Shiite branch of Islam and have been backed by predominantly Shiite Iran.

The Saudi television channel Al Arabiya announced on Thursday that, in addition to at least 150,000 Saudi soldiers, military forces from Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Sudan were preparing [to] take part in the ground invasion. Saudi Arabia has already begun massing soldiers and heavy artillery on its southern border with Yemen.

The imminent intervention of ground forces drawn from countries throughout the region will transform the civil war into a region-wide openly sectarian war pitting forces aligned with the Saudi Sunni monarchy against forces associated with the Shiite-dominated government of Iran.

Sudan’s defense minister Abdel Raheem Mohammed Hussein reported Thursday that his country would contribute fighter jets in addition to ground troops which were already in route to the region. The Egyptian government has dispatched four warships to the Red Sea in order to patrol the Gulf of Aden and blockade Houthi supply lines.

Washington was quick to declare its support for the airstrikes and impending invasion. Bernadette Meehan, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, released a statement Wednesday condemning the Houthis and making it clear that the Obama administration backed the Saudi-led assault. According to Meehan, the US was “establishing a joint planning cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support,” to assist military operations in Yemen.

US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke Thursday to the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Cooperation Council states and reiterated the Obama administration’s support for the assault on the Houthi rebels. A State Department official told Reuters that Kerry “commended the work of the coalition taking military action against the Houthis and noted the United States’ support for those coalition efforts–including intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, and advisory and logistical support for strikes against Houthi targets.”

Speaking at a US Senate hearing Thursday, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of the Pentagon’s Central Command, stated that the US military would ensure that the shipping lanes through the strategic straits of Mandeb and Hormuz remained open during the conflict. “It is one of our core interests to ensure that we have free flow of commerce through both straits,” he told the assembled Senators. Two US warships, the USS Iwo Jima and USS Fort McHenry, have been positioned in the Red Sea just off Yemen’s coast.

US special operations troops were compelled to evacuate Yemen last week in the face of the Houthi offensive, reportedly leaving behind intelligence files that have fallen into the hands of the militia.

While the French and British governments have also provided support for the airstrikes, the European Union’s foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, released a statement yesterday cautioning against a military assault. “I’m convinced that military action is not a solution,” Mogherini stated. “At this critical juncture all regional actors should act responsibly and constructively, to create as a matter of urgency the conditions for a return to negotiations.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a statement to reporters opposing the Saudi-led operation. “Military action from outside of Yemen against its territorial integrity and its people will have no other result than more bloodshed and more deaths.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham released a statement Thursday calling for an end to military operations. “Iran wants an immediate halt to all military aggressions and air strikes against Yemen and its people,” Afkham said. She warned that military operations in Yemen would “further complicate the situation” and “hinder efforts to resolve the crisis through peaceful ways.”

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Adel Al Jubeir, speaking from the country’s embassy in Washington, announced the opening of military operations late Wednesday night with jets from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain participating in airstrikes.

Bombs were dropped on locations throughout Yemen. According to local health officials more than 25 people were killed and another 40 injured in airstrikes on the capital of Sanaa. Reports indicated that many of the casualties were civilians.

Among the reported targets were the Houthis’ home territory in the northern province of Saada, the Al Dailami air base, the international airport in Sanaa and the Al Adnan airbase north of the southern port city of Aden, a former base for US and European special operations soldiers. …

Hadi was forced to announce his resignation and placed under house arrest in January by Shiite Houthi militia after a month’s long occupation of Sanaa. Hadi escaped captivity in February and fled to the southern port city Aden where he was working to marshal support for an assault on the Houthis. On Thursday officials in Saudi Arabia reported that Hadi had fled Yemen and was in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.