UN Secretary General António Guterres, after losing more than a half of the humanitarian donations for Yemen’s populations’ aid compared to 2019, is disappointed and concerned about the very serious emergency over 20 million people are living. Meanwhile, the international community is too busy looking at its own interests and Saudi Arabia continues to get away with it.
The International Donors’ Conference on Yemen has concluded again this year. Unfortunately, however, it did not end as it should have or as António Guterres – the General Secretariat of the United Nations – would have expected.
In fact, compared to 2019, this year’s High-Level Pledging Event closed in negative by a billion dollars and raised also less than it did last year. Perhaps accomplice the economic commitment the main States had to face in order to fight the pandemic of Covid-19, what is sure and “disappointing” is that the funds cutting we have seen the other day “is a sentence to death” for the 16 million Yemen inhabitants at the center of this sad event, which is a very far reality compared to the supposed improvements we should be able to admired in 2021.
And yet, reluctantly, the Secretary General is confident that next year there will be a sixth high-level event and hopes that the leaders of the participating States will be more interested in putting an end to this war and its resulting worrying famine that is tearing apart a country and a population like no others in recent years – and these are important and meaningful words when thinking of the number and gravity of civil or non-civil wars that are consumed every day in the Middle East and in the rest of the world.
Saudi Arabia, probably the main responsible for the current situation, put a “patch” on his behavior donating the highest sum of the group. But we’re all (aren’t we, Senator Renzi?) more or less aware of where that money is going to go.
Probably it will be the Sunni south Yemen’s government, supported by the petrol-monarchies, who will receive the 660 million dollars made available by the UAE and SA, so that it can continue to bomb the victims of this war for which the Conference is established in the first place.
Does that sound like a paradox? It does.
Does it seem unrealistic? It should be. Is it true? Unfortunately, yes.
For its part Italy, considering the possibilities of a country now economically on its knees, has tried to clear its conscience by donating just over 6 million dollars after having said STOP to the export of weapons that from our country ended up in the hands of the Gulf States and then the Yemeni government to fight the war that Italy itself is willing to stop.
Also, as one of the last acts of his government, the Premier Conte wanted to stop the transmission of bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. The GIP in Rome even came to the conclusion that the criminal investigation against the executives of RWM Italia Spa and UAMA (Unit for the authorization of military equipment) should be carried out. In fact, it appears that they were probably involved in one of the deadly air strikes that took place in northwest Yemen a couple years ago, without any apparent identifiable target leading to the death of several civilians.
However, no matter how deep and meaningful it may have been, there will be no solution to the conflict as long as Guterres’ speech remains just on paper.
If the UN is really with those 20 million Yemenis in great need of social, health, economical but above all humanitarian assistance and if the only way to set the fuse of peace on fire really “passes through a ceasefire at national level […] supported by the international community“, then why did the Secretary General fail to get the moral and economic support he considered so fundamental?
Perhaps the national, individual interests that each State has in this matter are too important to be set aside by virtue of good humanitarian action? Maybe they are. Because when we talk about Yemen, we must remember we are also talking about Iran and especially nowadays, when we talk about Iran we are also talking about Israel, the USA and Saudi Arabia.
So, if we’re discussing about these States, we cannot overlook the great influence and supremacy these world and regional powers have in this international geopolitical chessboard we call “world”.
And what about all the other countries? Everyone has, directly or indirectly, a valid reason to be unofficially on one or the other side, while officially declaring to repudiate this war.
But the economic and political interest of your own country comes before any war, famine or humanitarian emergency that stays on the road to success; whatever it takes to stay afloat for the smaller fish and get to the top for the more powerful ones. By following this simple analytical reasoning of a now very clear situation, it is therefore easy to understand why the 2021 Conference failed.
In addition, apart from worsening the economic situation of UN countries and possibly affecting the funds available for humanitarian donations, the Covid-19 pandemic has and continues to worsen the emergency situation in Yemen. With over 400 thousand children in critical health conditions and malnutrition, “removed from health facilities that are now overwhelmed”, this cannot and must not become a news item on the agenda.
In the meantime, however, the rest of the world has cordial and diplomatic relations with Prince bin Salman, who is primarily responsible for the ongoing tragedy. In fact, despite the deletion of the Houthi from the list of terrorist organizations and the willingness to cancel the Keystone XL project, the newly elected President Biden didn’t send any signal of real disapproval not even after CIA made the news about the killing of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi public. It is quite probable that President Biden continues to consider Prince bin Salman too influential – especially when it comes to oil and natural gas deposits.
In the last few hours, it has been reported that the President-in-Office has sanctioned two Houthi leaders for the attacks on Saudi Arabia in the last recent days. Not to mention the sorry figure the Italian government made as a result of the sadly known visit by Senator Matteo Renzi to his “friend” the Saudi prince, with much praise for his monarchy. If this is not enough to see the situation from a different point of view, then it means that we do not really want to see it.
Meanwhile, a dangerous confrontation has been raging for a few days and has seen a rapid and violent escalation in the city of Ma’rib, where it seems that the Houthi rebels have undertaken an offensive against the government unfortunately at the expenses of civilians, after also having attacked the Saudi capital in the days before.
In these last days it seems to have become even clearer – to those who were not yet aware of – how the role of Saudi Arabia is central in this dynamic: the rebellious Shiites will never let a government controlled by the Saudi Sunnis win and are willing to keep on fighting at the cost of their lives and of those of their fellow citizens. Although there is no good or bad in a situation in which both sides are guilty of humanitarian crimes, it is certain that there are always those who attack and those who must defend themselves in order to not be defeated.
As well as financier and supporter States of the parties involved are imputable for their role in this complicated situation. It is no secret that Teheran is moving the threads of the Houthi actions, which by the way certainly have economic interests in return themselves. And that is why the UN Security Council – UNSC – has been invited to undertake actions leading to an Iranian warning for his interference in this sad and complex scenario several times.
Last year, on 26th February, the UNSC approved the resolution no. 2511, which extended for another year the sanctions against anyone who threatened security and stability in Yemen, it is clear that this resolution, like many of the UN resolutions or recommendations, has not had any beneficial effect on a situation that, in contrast, has deteriorated exponentially over the past year.
We will wait to see if this controversial situation will change during the next High-Level Event, although we hope, with very little believing, that there will be no need for a next conference. Meanwhile, this year not even the desperate appeal from UN resident coordinator in Yemen David Gressly to not look away and turn backs on each other could anything in front of the Gods-Duo, Money and Power.