Houthis: UN Food Agency Is Taking Sides in Threatening to Suspend Yemen Aid

Corruption is a problem in aid delivery, but WFP only faults Houthis officially

Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi movement issued a statement condemning the UN World Food Program (WFP), saying the group is taking sides in the question of fraud in food delivery in Yemen, and threatening to cut aid to certain parts of the country.

On Monday, the WFP issued a statement warning that they would suspend some aid into Yemen unless the Houthis investigated claims of fraud and corruption in food delivery. The Houthis noted that the WFP didn’t communicate directly with them before issuing this statement.

All of this comes amid reports from observers that the exact same problem is happening in the Saudi-dominated parts of the country. Interestingly, the WFP issued no ultimatums against the Saudi parts of Yemen, and chose to focus only on the Houthis.

That raised Houthi concerns about bias, and is perhaps unsurprising. After all, even minor criticism of the Saudis tends to lead to furious backlash from the kingdom, and the US generally backs the Saudis on anything at the UN.

UN officials note that corruption across Yemen is making food problems in Yemen much worse, with one saying if there were no corruption there would be no famine. Tackling corruption is clearly a tall order, however, and threatening to cut food to the Shi’ite parts of the country clearly isn’t going to accomplish that. If anything, it is likely to complicate further UN efforts in Yemen with the appearance of bias.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.