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Genocide Scholars Appeal to Congress to Halt US Aid to Saudi Bombing of Yemen

image: The New York Times

Abrar of Yemen is starving.

December 5, 2018

Open Letter To Members of The United States Congress

From: Scholars and Activists from Across the Globe in the Fields of International Human Rights, Crimes Against Humanity, and Genocide

Topic: The Humanitarian Disaster in Yemen

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has deemed Yemen the world’s gravest humanitarian crisis, noting that some 22 million people are in dire need of food, water and medicine, as well as protection. The latter is due to a manmade famine. Concomitantly, six internationally renowned humanitarian organizations, all working in Yemen, believe that upwards of 11 million people now face imminent starvation if humanitarian aid does not reach them within the next one to two months.

Eleven million. That is nearly as many people who perished in the Holocaust. Eleven times as many as were killed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

In October, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reported that at least 1,248 children have been killed since the start of the war. Save the Children reports that an average of 130 children are dying every single day from starvation and disease. To date, it is reported that approximately 85,000 children under five years old have starved to death since the outset of the war.

While the United States Government has a responsibility for what is taking place in Yemen, it is far from alone. Yemeni Government troops and the Houthi rebels share the greatest responsibility. War in Yemen erupted in early 2015 when Houthi rebels (a Shia group) captured Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, after overthrowing the U.S.-backed government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Saudi Arabia and Iran, which are fighting a proxy war in Yemen, are also greatly responsible for the atrocities and ongoing severe malnutrition to starvation that the Yemeni people are suffering. The Saudis support the former government with systematic aerial bombardment of civilian targets such as schools and hospitals, while Iran supports the Houthi rebels. The United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait and Bahrain also have blood on their hands as they back the Saudis in their anti-Shi’a coalition. ISIS and al Qaeda have also seized the opportunity to attack Shi’a mosques, bombing Sana'a and Aden.

Millions of civilians are caught in the middle of this sectarian conflict, subjected to what reputable human rights groups describe as war crimes. Both the Obama and Trump administrations are implicated: they have supplied weapons and diplomatic cover for the Saudi-led military action in which non-combatants are paying an enormous price.

Until very recently, the United States supported the Saudi aerial attacks by providing for mid-air refueling of Saudi planes. Those aerial attacks are said to be responsible for 35,000 civilian casualties. It appears that the Saudi warplanes have deliberately targeted civilians in their homes and schools, on their farms and buses, and in their businesses. They have targeted petrol stations, killing scores of people with each air strike.

Not only have farms been bombed and prices for food in markets soared as a result of the war, but the Saudis, with the complicity of the United States, have virtually blocked food from entering all but one of the main ports in Yemen. They have also systematically prevented movement between the ports and cities, towns and villages, thus preventing aid from reaching those in dire need. Both sides in this genocidal civil war have murdered humanitarian aid personnel and erected barricades along the roads, where they extort bribes from ordinary citizens who have gone to buy food.

As individuals who have worked to support international human rights throughout our adult lives, who have conducted research into crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide, we have also actively advocated for early prevention and early intervention to stop such crimes. We are doing so once again.

In that regard, we respectfully make the following recommendations:

• The U.S. must withdraw all support for the Saudi Air Force, and the U.S. and all NATO countries must end all arms sales and military support to the Saudi monarchy.

• The U.S. must demand an immediate ceasefire, enabling the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian supplies to all communities, with aid convoys protected by UN peacekeepers with a Chapter 7 mandate.

• The U.S. Government must press the UN Security Council to continue its diplomatic effort to bring the Yemen war to an end.

• If an immediate ceasefire is not honored, then the U.S. Government must press for protected distribution of humanitarian supplies, including a no fly-zone during the periods of the distribution of relief aid. A precedent along this line was the implementation of Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) during the Second Sudanese Civil War. (See “Operation Lifeline Sudan” in The Congressional Record.)

These are short-term measures, but they are needed immediately.

Given the urgency of this situation, we look forward to your prompt response.

Most sincerely,

Dr. Samuel Totten Professor Emeritus University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 1-479-927-0318 Author, Genocide by Attrition: Nuba Mountains, Sudan, and editor of Dirty Hands and Vicious Deeds: The U.S. Government’s Complicity in Crimes against Humanity and Genocide

Dr. John Roth Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA Author, The Failures of Ethics: Confronting the Holocaust, Genocide, and Other Mass Atrocities

Dr. Taylor B. Seybolt Associate Professor Graduate School of Public and International Affairs Director, Ford Institute for Human Security University of Pittsburgh Author, Humanitarian Military Intervention: The Conditions for Success and Failure

Ms. Rebecca Tinsley Human Rights Activist Founder of Network for Africa London, England Author, When the Stars Fall to Earth

Dr. Eyal Mayroz Department of Peace and Conflict Studies University of Sydney New South Wales, Australia Author, Reluctant Interveners? America’s Failed Responses to Genocide, From Bosnia to Darfur

The Baroness Cox House of Lords UK Parliament London, Great Britain

Dr. Ervin Staub Professor Emeritus Founding Director, Doctoral Program in the Psychology of Peace and Violence University of Massachusetts at Amherst Author, The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Evil and Other Group Violence

Dr. Edina Becirevic Associate Professor University of Sarajevo Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina Author, Genocide on the Drina River.

Dr. Maureen S. Hiebert Associate Professor Department of Political Science Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies] University of Calgary Calgary, Alberta, Canada Author, Constructing Genocide and Mass Violence: Society, Crisis, Identity

Dr. Ernesto Verdeja Associate Professor Department of Political Science and Peace Studies University of Notre Dame & Executive Director Institute for the Study of Genocide

Dr. Deborah Mayersen Research Fellow University of Wollongong Wollongong, NSW, Australia Author, On the Path to Genocide: Armenia and Rwanda Reexamined.

Dr. Eric Weitz Distinguished Professor of History City College and Graduate Center City University of New York (CUNY)

Author, A Century of Genocide

Dr. Carla Barqueiro Visiting Assistant Professor Department of International Relations Goucher College Towson, Maryland Author, Mobilizing the Will to Intervene: Leadership to Prevent Mass Atrocities

Dr. Israel W. Charny Professor Emeritus and Founder of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide Department of Psychology Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel Editor, Encyclopedia of Genocide

Dr. Debórah Dwork Founding Director Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies Clark University Massachusetts Author, Holocaust: A History

Dr. Robert Melson Professor Emeritus Department of Political Science Purdue University Author, Revolution and Genocide: On the Origins of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust

Dr. Victoria Sanford Professor & Chair Department of Anthropology Lehman College Director, Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies Doctoral Faculty, The Graduate Center City University of New York

Dr. Roger Smith Professor Emeritus Department of Government College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA

Dr. Elisa von Joeden-Forgey Dr. Marsha Raticoff Grossnan Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Richard Stockton University Galloway, New Jersey

Dr. Henry Theriault President, International Association of Genocide Scholars & Associate

Vice President for Academic Affairs Worcester State University Worcester, MA Co-author, The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide: A Primer

Dr. Hilary Earl Professor Department of History Nipissing University North Bay, Ontario, Canada Author, The Nuremberg SS-Einsatzgruppen Trial, 1945-1958: Atrocity, Law, and History

Dr. Colin Tatz Professor Emeritus Australia National University Canberra, Australia Author, With Intent to Destroy: Reflecting on Genocide

Dr. Alex Alvarez Professor President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ

Dr. Joseph Nevins Professor Department of Geography Vassar College Poughkeepsie, New York Author, A Not So Distant Horror: Mass Violence in East Timor

Dr. Alejandro Baer Associate Professor Department of Sociology Stephen C. Feinstein Chair in Holocaust and Genocide Studies University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MM Co-author, Memory and Forgetting in the Post-Holocaust Era: The Ethics of Never Again.

Tanya L. Domi Columbia University Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs The Harriman Institute New York, New York

Dr. Gregory Stanton Founding President, Genocide Watch

Founder, The Cambodian Genocide Project

Professor of Genocide Studies

George Mason University

Arlington, VA

Author, The Ten Stages of Genocide

UNSC Res. 955, 978 (ICTR)

Dr. Andrew Woolford Professor Department of Sociology and Criminology University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Dr. Herbert Hirsch Professor Department of Political Science Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA Author, Genocide and the Politics of Memory

Dr. Adam Muller Professor and Director Peace and Conflict Studies University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada First Vice-President, International Association of Genocide Scholars Email: Author, Fighting Words and Images: Representing Wars Across Disciplines

Dr. Edward Kissi Professor Department of Political Science University of South Florida Author, Revolution and Genocide in Ethiopia and Cambodia

Dr. Kai Thaler Assistant Professor of Global Studies University of California, Santa Barbara Author, “Foreshadowing Future Slaughter: From the Indonesian Killings of 1965-66 to Genocide in East Timor” in Genocide Studies and Prevention.

Dr. Kurt Mills Professor Department of International Relations and Human Rights University of Dundee Dundee, Scotland Author, International Responses to Mass Atrocities in Africa

Dr. Paul Mojzes Professor Emeritus Department of Religious Studies Rosemont College Rosemont, Pennsylvania Author, Genocide in the Balkans: Holocaust and Ethnic Cleansing in the Twentieth Century

Dr. Rick Halperin Director SMU Human Right’s Program Southern Methodist University Dallas, Texas

Dr. Kimberley Ducey Associate Professor Department of Sociology The University of Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada Treaty 1 Territory Homeland of the Metis Nation

Dr. Robert Skloot Professor Emeritus Department of Theatre Arts University of Wisconsin, Madison Author, If the Whole Body Dies: Raphael Lemkin and the Treaty Against Genocide

Dr. Matthew Krain Professor Department of Political Science The College of Wooster Wooster, OH Author, “State-Sponsored Mass Murder: The Onset and Severity of Genocide and Politics.” Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Dr. Valentina Kuryliw Director of Education Holodomor Research and Education Consortium University of Alberta Author, Holodomor in Ukraine, The Genocidal Famine 1932-1933

Dr. Robert Hitchcock Professor Department of Anthropology University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NW Author, Genocides of Indigenous Peoples

Dr. John H. Weiss Associate Professor of History Cornell University

Dr. C. Louis “PJ” Perrinjaquet, MD, MPH Medical Director, Doctors to the World Author, "Medical Mission Work in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan, During Active Bombardment of Civilians” in Nuba Mountains People Under Siege: Accounts by Humanitarians in the Battle Zone

Dr. Elun Gabriel Associate Professor Department of History St. Lawrence University Canton, New York

Dr. Kevin Simpson Professor Department of Psychology John Brown University’ Siloam Springs, AR

Dr. Fred P. Cocozellelli Department Chair and Associate Professor Department of Government and Politics St. John’s University Queens, New York

Author, War and Social Welfare: Reconstruction after Conflict.

Dr. Jamie L. Wraight Director, The Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive The University of Michigan-Dearborn

Dr. G. Jan Colijn Dean Emeritus Richard Stockton University Galloway, New Jersey

Dr. James Brown Professor Global Studies Chapman University Orange, California

Dr. Marcia Littell Emerita Holocaust & Genocide Studies Program Richard Stockton University Galloway, New Jersey

Dr. Bill Younglove Instructor California State University, Long Beach

Dr. James R. (Dick) Bennett Professor Emeritus University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Author, Political Prisoners and Trials

Dr. Linda Woolf Professor Psychology and Human Rights Webster University St. Louis, MO

Dr. Betty A. Reardon Founding Director, Emerita International Institute on Peace Education Teachers College, Columbia University New York, New York

Dr. Stephen Zunes Professor of Politics University of San Francisco

Dr. Paul Slovic Professor Department of Psychology University of Oregon Eugene, Oregon Author, Psychic Numbing and Genocide

Dr. Michael Minch Professor Peace and Justice Studies Utah Valley University Orem, Utah Co-author, Living Ethics

Dr. Armen T. Marsoobian Professor and Chairperson Department of Philosophy Southern Connecticut University New Haven, Connecticut

Dr. Christopher Powell Associate Professor Department of Sociology Ryerson University Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Elihu Richter, MD Hebrew University Hebrew University Medical School Jerusalem, Israel

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