Tehran, May 19, The Iran Project – Despite 7 weeks of unilateral military aggression in Yemen, the dispute shows no sign of end. Killing over 1500, injuring more than 6 thousands innocent civilians and displacing thousands of others are inevitably the implications of war by those claiming to be concerned about Yemeni citizens’ safety equally to that of Saudi citizens.
Credible evidence of using cluster bombs in densely populated area , barbaric bombardment and specifically targeting the civilians in the refugee’s camps , schools and hospitals on a daily basis and applying chemical agents such as chlorine and white phosphorus in Sa’ada, Haja and even the capital Sana’a leave no doubt what really is taking place in Yemen is literally “war crime” and the direct violation of international humanitarian law’s basic principles. Van Der Klaauw, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, also admitted the breach, stating that the Saudi coalition violated the law by shelling the civilian’s area.
Blockading supplies; an international crime
Historically, as any other armed conflict, the main challenge ahead of the international humanitarian organizations is “how to reach people in need”, and this is the case here, as well. The illicit imposition of the blockage on transferring the much-needed supplies to the Yemenis victims is an indication to prove that the Saudi Kingdom deliberately adopted the policy to target the defenseless population. Despite the fact that the international law recognizes the denial of humanitarian assistance as a crime, Saudis imposed an air and sea prevention of the vital aid including food, water, medical and other supplies. For instance, Iran’s multiple humanitarian aid shipments and flights to Yemen and dozens of other countries’ vessels carrying the life-saving assistance prevented illegally from reaching the country , demonstrating that Saudi Arabia is clearly using the starvation as a method of warfare in economically the poorest Arab country.
Recently, despite having required permission, an Iranian cargo plane, delivering pharmaceutical supplies, restricted from landing in Sanaa’s civilian airport following threats by Saudi warplanes under the pretext of allegedly military aid to Houthis. The move pushes Iran to lodge a complaint with the Security Council, by Gholamali Khoshroo, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, about Saudi Arabia for restricting the delivery of basic needs to the war-stricken Yemenis.
Another attempt; Escalating tensions
In the most recent attempt, an Iranian-flagged cargo ship delivering the humanitarian assistance headed toward the port city of Hudaidah in Yemen over a week ago. In addition to food and medical supplies for the victims of war, medical teams, journalists and international anti-war activists are reportedly on the board, and it is expected to reach the port by Thursday, May 21th. Although the mission of the ship has been coordinated by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and the UN relevant authorities , there has been a raising threat of blockading the port or intercepting the aid shipment by the Saudi-led forces, pushing the Iranian Navy forces to escort the ship.
We simply have to wait and see how Saudi Kingdom deals with the International Community’s expectation until Thursday; to be sure, however, any possible military response will raise the concern for direct confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. In other words, this is very likely that the ship interception pushes the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia to another level, escalating the conflict into an international one.