Assault on port of Hodeidah resumes as US escalates Yemen intervention
Bill Van Auken
9 July 2018
At least 165 people were reportedly killed over the weekend as fierce fighting resumed south of the port city of Hodeidah, which serves as a lifeline for three-quarters of the population of Yemen, a country that depends upon imports for 90 percent of its food, fuel and medicine.
A force consisting of troops of the United Arab Emirates, Sudanese soldiers and Yemeni mercenaries, backed by Saudi air power, began an offensive to take the strategic Red Sea port last month.
The UAE announced a pause in the fighting, supposedly to allow for negotiations by UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths over a plan to turn the port over to UN control as part of a cease-fire agreement. The port and the city of Hodeidah are currently held by the Houthi rebels, who control Yemen’s capital of San’aa as well as the most populated areas of Yemen in the country’s northwest.
The UAE, the oil sheikdom that has played a major role in ground fighting since it joined Saudi Arabia in attacking Yemen in March 2015, had initially rejected any agreement outside of an unconditional surrender by the Houthis. The pause in the fighting followed fierce battles in which the UAE-led forces suffered serious losses while gaining little territory. The Houthis inflicted casualties as well as destruction of tanks and armored vehicles of the invading force, including through the use of armed drones and landmines.
While the UN envoy Griffiths has held talks with both the Houthis and the UAE and is scheduled to meet today with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a stooge of US and Saudi Arabia, who lives in self-imposed exile in Riyadh, a full-scale battle for the port city appears to be resuming.