Norway Halts Weapons Sales in Yemen War, Citing Humanitarian Crisis, as US and Britain Continue Supply

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to Yemen. On Wednesday, Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the country will stop supplying weapons and ammunition to the United Arab Emirates, citing great concern over the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes in Yemen for nearly three years. In 2016, Norway sold nearly $10 million worth of weapons to the UAE. Meanwhile, the US and Britain continue to supply the Saudis with billions of dollars’ worth of weapons. The US also provides logistical military support to Saudi Arabia. The Saudi air campaign has killed more than 10,000 civilians in Yemen, which is the Arab world’s poorest country, and displaced more than 3 million.

AMY GOODMAN: In December, Doctors Without Borders said it suspected an outbreak of diphtheria in the country for the first time since 1982, with 28 deaths reported since August. Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross says the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has reached 1 million, making it the worst cholera epidemic on record. And the United Nations is warning over 8 million people are a step away from famine. More than 80 percent of Yemenis now lack food, fuel, water and access to healthcare.

Well, recently Nermeen Shaikh and I sat down with the journalist Iona Craig, who was based in Sana’a from 2010 to ’15 as the Yemen correspondent for The Times of London, awarded the 2016 Orwell Prize for her reporting on Yemen. I started by asking her what the world needs to know about the crisis in Yemen.

IONA CRAIG: I think it’s really how man-made the humanitarian crisis is, the Saudi coalition’s policy of not just blockading the country and restricting food imports — and Yemen imports 90 percent of its food in peace time — but it’s also the bombing campaign, that I mentioned in that report for The Guardian, that has been used to…

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