Fighting reported in Yemeni port, despite cease-fire
Bill Van Auken
15 December 2018
Residents of the embattled Red Sea port of Hodeidah in Yemen reported Friday that renewed fighting had broken out on the city’s outskirts, despite a cease-fire agreement signed just the day before by the US- and Saudi-backed puppet government and the Houthi rebels.
Reuters cited witnesses who reported that the sound of missiles and automatic weapons fire had been heard from the eastern suburb of the Houthi-controlled city, which has been under siege by forces led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since June.
United Nations agencies and humanitarian aid groups have warned that the siege of the city threatens to tip Yemen, already facing the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet, into mass starvation. Some 14 million Yemenis are already on the brink of famine, while the entire population is dependent upon imports for 90-95 percent of its food staples, up to 80 percent of which flow through Hodeidah. Saudi shelling and ground attacks had cut food imports in half and hindered aid groups from accessing and distributing what had already been delivered.
The siege also was the key factor in driving civilian casualties to a record high of over 3,000 in November, roughly the same number as were dying at the height of the Iraq war in 2006. An estimate released Wednesday by a monitoring group, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), placed the death toll from January 2016 (nine months into the Saudi-led offensive) to November at 60,000, with the total from the beginning of the conflict likely to rise to roughly 85,000.
While aid groups and regional powers—including Saudi Arabia, the main aggressor in the conflict, and Iran, which has provided limited…