Open Letter from Yemen Scholars Protesting War

published April 16, 2015 - 10:21am

We write as scholars concerned with Yemen and as residents/nationals of the United Kingdom and the United States. The military attack by Saudi Arabia, backed by the Gulf Cooperation Council states (but not Oman), Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, the UK and above all the US, is into its third week of bombing and blockading Yemen. This military campaign is illegal under international law: None of these states has a case for self-defense. The targets of the campaign include schools, homes, refugee camps, water systems, grain stores and food industries. This has the potential for appalling harm to ordinary Yemenis as almost no food or medicine can enter. Yemen is the poorest country of the Arab world in per capita income, yet rich in cultural plurality and democratic tradition. Rather than contributing to the destruction of the country, the US and UK should support a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate, unconditional ceasefire and use their diplomatic influence to strengthen the sovereignty and self-government of Yemen. As specialists we are more than aware of internal divisions within Yemeni society, but we consider that it is for the Yemenis themselves to be allowed to negotiate a political settlement.

Robert Burrowes, University of Washington

Steve Caton, Harvard University

Sheila Carapico, University of Richmond

Paul Dresch, University of Oxford

Najam Haidar, Barnard College

Anne Meneley, Trent University

Brinkley Messick, Columbia University

Flagg Miller, University of California-Davis

Martha Mundy, London School of Economics

Thanos Petouris, SOAS-University of London

Lucine Taminian, The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq

Gabriele vom Bruck, SOAS-University of London

Janet Watson, University of Leeds

Lisa Wedeen, University of Chicago

Shelagh Weir

John Willis, University of Colorado

Stacey Philbrick Yadav, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Sami Zubaida, Birkbeck College, London

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