The Saudi-led coalition is desperate to be able to occupy Hodiedah province, where the main port of Yemen is located, from which all the essentials of life enter Yemen. The blockade has been in force for more than three years, for weakening the Yemeni front.
Presently, 90 percent of food and medicines come to Yemen via Hodiedah, making the port vital lifeline to Sana’a with some other ports under control of occupying forces. Since Saudi Arabia waged a war against Yemen on 27 March 2017, Saudis have take actions to wrest the major port from Ansar Allah forces. Air raids on the area’s infrastructure and Ansarullah positions is common during the three years of war.
According to the UN aid agencies, 60 percent of the Yemen’s population, i.e. 17 million people, are food insecure, with 7 million of them being in critical conditions. If this predicament does not ease, this number will touch 17 million Yemeni by end of the year, the UN adds. In general, over 22 million of the country’s 27-million population needs humanitarian aids.
Hodiedah is a central aid intake point. So, if the port fall or its encirclement is completed, Sana’a and other Ansarullah-held cities will slump in dire straits economically and nutritionally. Saudi Arabia struggles to control Hodiedah to tighten the noose on the Yemenis.
The Saudi leaders hope that a blend of war, military blockade, and famine will press Yemen into acceding to the Arab coalition’s demands. The plan alerted the UN, which on June 16, 2017, in a warning statement ask the Saudi-led forces to avoid staging an assault on the port city on the Red Sea coasts.
Yemen is already reeling from the world’s most urgent humanitarian crisis where 22 million people need vital assistance. Attacking the port would still manage to make it even worse. The US-Saudi assault would lead to mass starvation, and the loss of life would be measured in the hundreds of thousands or possibly millions.
But three years of war has taught the inexperienced Saudi decision-makers that they will never manage to defeat the united Ansar Allah and Yemen army for the full occupation of the Arab country. A war that was scheduled to end in fall of Sana’a the capital within three weeks, has lasted three years and shows no outlook for the end.
As a respod Sayyed Abdulmalik al-Houthi, in one of his speeches, warned the US-Saudi coalition from their continued closure of Yemeni ports, including the port of Hodiedah, stressing the right of Yemen to take any sensitive steps in response, “we know the sensitive areas that we could target if the ports kept closed.” Sayyed Abdulmalik explains that “today the port of Hodiedah is being threatened and we cannot turn a blind eye to that.”
Hodiedah is Yemen’s fourth largest city and is densely populated. Its port is a key lifeline, handling nearly 80 percent of the country’s food imports.
Featured image is from Yemen Press.