Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah is the country’s key humanitarian lifeline. Washington, Britain and France want it cut off, the lives and welfare of its 28 million people at stake. Losing the city to US/UK/French supported Saudi/UAE aggression could be catastrophic.
Reportedly, many thousands of city residents fled to avoid the fighting, fierce battles raging, including for control of its airport and port facilities.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein expressed “grave worry regarding the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition’s ongoing attacks in Hodeidah – which could result in enormous civilian casualties and have a disastrous impact on life-saving humanitarian aid to millions of people which comes through the port.”
Unknown numbers of civilians have been killed or wounded so far. Begun last week, the assault on the city could continue for some time.
A refugee said he and his family are sheltered in a school temporarily with no water, no electricity, no bathrooms, no mattresses, nothing, sleeping on the bare floor – vulnerable anywhere in Yemen to Saudi-led terror-bombing.
Reportedly, Saudi and UAE forces fought their way through the gates of Hodeidah’s airport, aided by helicopter gunship attacks, Houthi fighters contesting them with tanks, artillery and mortar fire.
Civilians in harm’s way are being killed or wounded indiscriminately, aid agencies unable to reach them with medical treatment because of fierce fighting.
According to International Interest editor Sami Hamdi, “(t)he Houthi gamble has always been that as long as they can stay in Sanaa and Hodeidah, then international pressure will force Saudi Arabia to the table to discuss negotiations.”
“Taking the airport and seaport are absolutely fundamental for (US-led Western support for Saudi and UAE) forces because this is the battle that will cut off the lifeline for the Houthis” – along with 70% of Yemenis depending on the city for vital humanitarian aid.
“If Hodeidah is taken, there will be a severe weakening of the Houthis’ position, and it may very well force the(m) into a fight for survival which may make them take negotiations more seriously,” Hamdi added.
Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander-in-chief General Mohammad Ali Jafari is more optimistic, believing Houthi fighters will prevail over US-backed, Saudi-led aggression.
Senior Houthi Supreme Political Council official Mohammad al-Bukhaiti disputed Saudi/UAE claims about successfully storming the gates of Hodeidah’s airport, saying their fighters were repelled, taking heavy losses.
Clashes continue south of the airport backed by terror-bombing, he claimed. On Sunday, UAE deputy chief of staff general Isa Saif Bin Abalan al-Mazrouei was reportedly killed in clashes with Houthi fighters – along with dozens of Saudi-enlisted mercenaries.
Both sides suffered scores, maybe hundreds, of casualties. Efforts earlier to negotiate a ceasefire failed.
Washington, Britain, France, the Saudis and UAE want Houthi resistance defeated. A durable ceasefire is virtually unattainable.