UN to Meet as Red Cross Urges Humanitarian Pause for Yemen Aid

Russia Leads Call for Aid, Arab Coalition Opposes Move

The UN Security Council is meeting over the weekend to discuss a Russian proposal to order a humanitarian ceasefire in the Saudi invasion of Yemen, to allow aid shipments to the besieged population.

The Red Cross is pushing the Russian proposal heavily, saying urgent aid shipments are being blocked by the Saudis and their allies, and that only a 24-hour halt to the attacks would be needed to get the shipments of medical aid in.

The Saudis began blocking Red Cross aid shipments on Tuesday, forcing a plane full of aid to reroute to Djibouti. The Red Cross has spent the past several days seeking Saudi permission to deliver the aid, but to no avail.

Saudi officials dismissed the Red Cross call for a ceasefire, insisting  that aid will be provided by the Arab states involved in the war when they believe that aid will not interfere with the war goals themselves.

Ultimately, the UN proposal likely faces an uphill battle, with the US government involved in the Saudi-led war and almost certain to veto any humanitarian operations that the Saudis object to, which so far seems to be all humanitarian operations.

Large numbers of civilians have been killed in the Saudi airstrikes, and an exodus from major targeted cities has meant food is running low for internal displaced persons in several locations in the country. A humanitarian calamity in the making seems to be exacerbated by Saudi reluctance to admit how bad things are, and a refusal to let the Red Cross in to improve conditions for fear they’ll report the worsening of the situation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.