US Asked for Saudis to Ease Yemen Blockade

Saudis Say They'll Allow Port to Reopen

Saudi Arabia has announced that they intend to ease the blockade against northern Yemen’s Hodeidah Port on Thursday, potentially allowing humanitarian aid into the region for the first time in weeks. They also suggested Sanaa Airport would be allowed to reopen, though since they bombed the airport recently, it’s not clear it’s capable of reopening.

Secretary Tillerson and Saudi FM Adel Jubeir

The move comes amid mounting calls from international aid groups, warning that mass starvation and lack of medication is going to soon be killing thousands of civilians daily in Yemen. This was hardly a revelation, however, and the Saudis hadn’t acted particularly concerned.

New reports out of the State Department, however, indicated that the US has been pushing the Saudis on the matter in recent days, and while they couldn’t say for sure their request was the reason for the sudden change of heart, it seems a more likely explanation than the Saudis suddenly being concerned about civilian deaths.

The US interest is unlikely to be particularly humanitarian either, of course. Rather, the State Department is likely concerned that US forces have participated in enforcing that blockade, and the US is potential liable for the war crimes that entails. Keeping the blockade from turning into full-on genocide is

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for 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.