Saudis Renege on Promise, Continue Blockade on Yemen Port

Saudis Had Announced Aid Ships Would Be Allowed in by Noon

Despite promising earlier this week that they would lift the blockade on northern Yemen at noon on Thursday, the time came and went, and UN and other humanitarian aid ships continue to be prevented from accessing the port of Hodeidah.

Northern Yemen is facing calamitous shortages related to the Saudi blockade, with many dying in recent weeks from the lack of medicine, thousands dying from a cholera epidemic that is among the worst in human history, and warnings that millions will soon be going from malnutrition to outright famine.

Despite having made a very public point of their plan to ease the blockade, at least as it relates to certain humanitarian ships, the Saudis have made no comment since then, and it’s puzzling why they announced it at all if they didn’t intend to allow the ships in.

Though the Saudis had in recent weeks blockaded all ports across Yemen, they’ve already allowed the reopening of certain “loyal” ports in the south. Hodeidah is the lone rebel port, however, and the only way to get humanitarian aid into the entire northern half of the country, since Saudi warplanes damaged the Sanaa airport a few days ago.

Aid groups and the UN are deeply critical of the ongoing blockade, warning that millions of lives are potentially at stake. So far, there is no sign that’s going to make any difference to the blockading states.

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.