Contradicting stances by the United Nations towards Yemen's Hodeidah

Contradicting stances by the United Nations towards Yemen's Hodeidah

It will be the second time the Council convenes this week over the situation in Yemen, which aid groups warn stares at an imminent humanitarian crisis.

Iranian-aligned Shia rebels known as Houthis and their allies for years have held the Red Sea port, crucial to food supplies in a nation on the brink of starvation after years of war. But it could set off a prolonged street-by-street battle that inflicts heavy casualties. "Should this aid not be able to flow into this port, it will put at risk millions of lives".

The request for the Security Council meeting came after the United Nations envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said he was still holding negotiations on keeping the key port open to aid deliveries. Around two-thirds of the country's population of 27 million relies on aid and 8.4 million are already at risk of starving.

Social media users shared video of what appeared to be a convoy of vehicles approaching the crucial port city early Wednesday morning.

Saudi-owned satellite news channels have announced the start of the Saudi-led coalition's assault on Hodeida.

The Arab states say they must recapture Hodeidah to deprive the Houthis of their main source of income and prevent them from bringing in missiles from Iran, dozens of which have been fired at Saudi Arabia in recent months.

The attack included airstrikes backed by ground operations, and led to the capture of 140 Houthi soldiers. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorised to brief journalists.

Yemen's exiled government says their forces and allied Saudi-led troops launched their assault on Hodeida only after "exhausting all peaceful and political means".

The official United Arab Emirates news agency WAM confirmed that the operation was ongoing "with the participation and the support, through land and sea and air, of the Emirati armed forces".

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"We foiled a sea landing of Saudi and Emirati forces near the port of Hodeidah", Dayfallah al-Shami, a member of the Houthi movement's political bureau, told the al-Mayadeen. There was no immediate confirmation from the coalition.

The city of Hodeida, home to 600,000 people, was captured by Iran-backed Huthi rebels in 2014 along with the capital Sanaa.

The near-genocidal war against Yemen has been waged since its outset with indispensable aid from Washington, first from the Obama administration, which sold Saudi Arabia and the UAE the warplanes and munitions to slaughter civilians, providing mid-air fueling to their jets to assure round-the-clock bombing and setting up a joint US-Saudi command to render intelligence and logistical support.

"A military attack or siege on Hodeidah will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians", the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the country, Lise Grande, warned in a statement on Friday.

In the meantime, the United Nations Security Council will urgently meet on Thursday, reportedly following a request from the United Kingdom, which, alongside the U.S., is quite ironically one of Saudi Arabia's top arms suppliers and has repeatedly been accused of hypocritically profiteering from the conflict in Yemen.

The port has remained open, however.

Over 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen's civil war, which has displaced 2 million more and helped spawn a cholera epidemic.

Last month, the committee advanced legislation making United States midair refueling contingent on Saudi and Emirati efforts to engage in diplomacy, ensure access of humanitarian goods, reduce civilian casualties and avoid damaging critical infrastructure.

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