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tv   Inside Story 2019 Ep 42  Al Jazeera  February 12, 2019 10:32am-11:01am +03

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separatist leaders are about to stand trial in the spanish capital madrid some face up to twenty five years in prison for what the spanish national government calls rebellion. america's top diplomat has denied his country is attempting a cover up in the case of murdered saudi journalist. the secretary of state my pump aoa speaking in hungry at the start of his european tour. behind a footballer who came back in his adopted home of australia after spending two months in a bank called jail the footballer was arrested in november while on honeymoon in thailand he fled his country of origin and twenty fourteen wanted him to return to serve a ten year prison sentence for arson. those are the latest headlines on al-jazeera we'll have more news for you coming up after inside story. we understand the differences and the similarities of cultures across the world. so
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many times when you call home al-jazeera international bringing the news and current things that matter to. al-jazeera. is the world failing to yemen it's eighty years since of revolutions are targets for change instead years of war and the world's worst humanitarian crisis so what parts of if . this is inside story. hello and welcome to the program i'm elizabeth piron millions of yemenis saw an opportunity for change and twenty eleven protest is inspired by the arab spring demond the resignation of president ali abdullah saleh he eventually relinquish power after three decades bought hopes of democracy soon faded four years of civil
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war have led to what the united nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis with famine disease and suffering widespread and on the eighth anniversary of yemen's revolution priyanka gupta reports. these graves of protesters killed and thais are reminded of a time when yemen got a brief glimpse of hope. for brief twenty eleven the city's freedom square the birthplace of the evidence arab spring. it was an important moment for the people of yemen from the streets of aden to the squares of sanaa thousands of men and women rose up against a thirty three year rule of president ali abdullah saleh a call for political and economic reforms morphed into a rage against his government after peaceful protests faced a violent crackdown in the end sali was forced to resign in ties protesters have gathered again in freedom square to mark the eighth anniversary of the uprising
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activists like twenty eight year old dubai jaffa are hoping to keep the revolution life. to him like the revolution is like a flame once parked in a man's heart cannot be smothered hour of illusion has not been perverted rather came to a standstill halfway through have him a new revolution completed its course and have achieved what we aspire. instead yemen is now in the middle of a war and tires is under assault from different armed groups after salis resignation of the rebel months are hardy took over a process of reconciliation began but that was short lived. in twenty fourteen who the rebels stormed into sanaa from the stronghold in the north assad the u.a.e. coalition began a military campaign in support of the yemeni government led by how the. demand protest is deposed first aligned with the who these and then was killed by them in
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twenty seventeen thousands of yemenis have been killed in the war many of them children the conflict has pushed the region's poorest country to the brink of famine twenty million people don't have enough food to eat but some activists say the revolution gave yemenis something bigger the idea of to more crecy. we'll uproot all the corrupt or those plotting to undermine the achievements we made believe the revolution is still moving forward we believe in its principles and the family succession the rule toppling the corrupt traitor ship of three decades. of political and diplomatic solution to the war in yemen seems on certain a un brokered cease fire agreement has not brought peace to her there the port city is a crucial gateway for much needed humanitarian aid priyanka gupta for inside story . well let's bring in our panel now
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joining as on the phone from santa is hakimullah mehsud mahdi he's a political and military mediator in amman we have college schembri he's a regional media advisor in the middle east and in the wage and refugee council and in washington d.c. is some of hamdani a visiting fellow at georgetown university very warm welcome to all of you mr must lot of we've spoken so many times over the past eight here is what happened to the yemeni revolution at the lasalle i was removed but why wasn't he replaced by democracy that was a plan democracy was a plan even the revolution was called. a peaceful resolution a place where hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in what was called square. democracy there was a bit of which are. not the case. that. he rejoined his. power he started. ensuring that the.
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personal by court opened the lion. by that time he controlled. government. other military. war because of the. revolution. and it is because of those thousands and fact millions of yemenis who are suffering and the various ways that yemen is of course called the world's worst humanitarian crisis mr schembri i know that you've been in and out of yemen over the past few
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years we call it the world's worst humanitarian crisis but what does that look like when you and yemen what is life like for people there. well it's massive i've just returned from the it affects yemen across the board all sectors from professionals who haven't received salaries for the last almost two years now to people who are extremely mild knowledge children on the brink of death to displaced families who have been hit more than once and then go up in the line of fire their houses destroyed they move they flee and they get in the line of fire again the fighting reaches them and they're forced to be displaced again absolute poverty that is now reigning supreme across across the country i've seen doctors who haven't been paid their salaries and they still go on with their jobs
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they're saving lives teachers professionals the yemeni economy has been brought down to its knees it's not that food isn't available but it's that it is so expensive it isn't accessible for the ordinary yemenis out there that they can't afford to to eat it i've met a little girl aged who has been displaced four times over the last four years and was telling me last week how they go at night hungry not not having eaten at all. like every other day they have to eat their meals every other day because they can't afford any more than that so it's it's really hard to give the full picture accept that this is just deteriorating it's a country that has been through color are. on the brink of famine most of poverty and most displacement of people all the time and despite that scale of suffering it's also called you know one of the world's forgotten crises valley why is that.
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why is that one of the most forgotten crises in the world. well for many reasons first of all there is no international interest to kind of listen to the voices of the emmy's on the ground just because of how un powerful they are again like they mentioned before yemenis are not wealthy they're not powerful and then on top of it the yemeni political elite at the moment are taking one side or the other in this conflict which is making things difficult for the average yemeni on the ground who's paying the price for this you know the average person is starving while the political parties are competing for power on the top levels and of course this this war is is you know some people would say it's not the forgotten war some would say that it's the unknown war of course the. assassination has changed all of that and brought a lot of media attention on yemen however we have to remember that powerful countries that could stop this conflict sure are in fact the country supplying the weapons to
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this war and are part of the you know there are countries that are now taking sides in the iranian saudi proxy war and it's not becoming about yemenis it's becoming about regional head ramoni while the average yemeni citizen who spore who's starving is the one paying the price and ultimately we have to remember that we're not getting a lot of footage from the ground and it's been really difficult to cover this war in a regular way with competing crises happening across the middle east and so it makes it very difficult for the average human the citizen to have a voice or a say in what's happening mr mess my as you know and yemen is of course one of the poorest countries in the region and it is being bald by some of the richest you know the saudi and mirage he called and again as pointed out by miss how they are being by you know a superpower as the united states the u.k. from but what impact would you say that the saudi and iraqi coalition entering the
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war on the side of the yemeni government has had all new. forget about the saudi and probably the one about the changes that happened i wasn't sleeping in december the peace talks i just arrived and i couple days ago in the last two months the difference that i saw in poverty. and seven or eight i find. or did not only hundreds of millions of families and. i guess that is not the problem of having. no money have not been paid for over two years now. inflation prices have increased three hundred percent over last year and a half the currency has collapsed over two hundred percent in the last. right now i'm alone and to what extent has that suffering been exacerbated by the fact
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that this is not a war that involves only yemenis we have the and russia coalition supporting the many government we have supporting the whole face to how much has that international bench really made things so much worse and probably long to the wall . possible. almost close to signing a deal. that are gaining. financially. possible.
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war and it's not on the one side that you. have one leadership. well despite all of those divisions and so much to say we did have some good news as you're mentioning there was that cease fire agreement for the crucial city of hyundai that was signed in sweden this december is that agreement holding. well we as a humanitarian agency we don't monitor the actual fighting what i what we can say is that the there is artillery fire going on almost on a daily basis and one day that i could hear it last week at night the air raids seem to have stopped inside who they does city but there is fighting that is raging on and people are still being displaced and they are still coming. in the line of
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fire so. it's a very specific agreement that has so far stalled it seems to have stalled the frontlines from developing further inside who they don't but the areas around today the city outside the port the port area. there is there is extremely active war zone that parts of them are inaccessible to my colleagues who need to get aid to the people and i would add another point. to the pertinent point made before earlier about the coalition countries that are have an influence on this war. as humanitarian agency we call on the top donors. they happen to be the top donors of the yemen response that is the united states saudi arabia the united arab emirates and further down the united kingdom we want to see an end of the
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police city of the hypocrisy of with one hand feeding keeping keeping the yemenis live and then the same time destroying their country it is yemenis need much more than aid they need an end to this day and they need the lifting of the blockade and they need all ports on their ports open so that they can resume with their lives and that takes us to the point that most hamdani was making earlier which is that these super powers that are giving aid to yemen yes but they're also arming. you know the saudi and the rotty coalition who are complicit in the killing of civilians so you know you have various countries saying that they want the water end but you have many of the same countries continuing to arm the warring parties so. can any un efforts to end the war be successful while superpowers continue to the warring parties i believe that that is very
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possible because yemenis are armed to the teeth and not just that the saudi and the tea coalition have also have had all the weapons and all the support that they can get and it feels that all the sides are exhausted from fighting and of course that's not to say that one side is more dangerous than the other of course when we saw what's happening in yemen we see that they're all exercising some form of criminality and to touch base on what the previous speakers said before yemeni's don't just deserve the end of the war they deserve much more than that if we are going to talk about the arab spring and the uprisings in yemen what the people of yemen had demanded was you know it looks such a such a high bar compared to what is what their demands are today for instance then they want to dignity and they wanted freedom and they wanted a democratic practice and that was quickly hijacked by political parties but today the demands of the emmy people is to have access to food electricity and the
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demands of change drastically and to kind of touch note on the arab spring anniversary it's important to note that who started the revolution were the youth and independent woman and of course the youth today are the weakest faction that you barely hear voices coming out from the youth the been a lot of them have been absorbed by political parties or feel like they have to ally themselves with some political entity in order to have a say of some sort and that's really tragic and when it comes to women of course woman were such an important component of the arab spring they took to the streets they were alongside men and then today when you look at the yemeni government there's barely any female representation in the government and of course the role of women on the ground. has become very militant which is very unfortunate and then all peace efforts that have to do with women are organized independently and so that's very tragic when it comes to that and then of course both sides on the
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ground are detaining independent voices whether they're youth and women and just most recently we have miss. me and miss estimate i may say have been detained by the who sees and we don't know why and how long they will be today and and we know that assessment was sentenced to death and of course on the other side similar practices are happening and it's it's all not building towards confidence in the peace process it's just showing that yemen is sinking further and further into a darker place a missile mess more you know ms hamdani is making some very good points talking about the people of yemen the juice the women which we don't actually talk about enough because we constantly talking about the hopis in the south a mirage the coalition in the yemeni government and when we when it comes to the yemeni government and the people do the people of yemen see president had the as their leader he's the internationally recognized leader but if we get to the point where you know the fighting comes down and we can have negotiations about peace is
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he the person to represent the youth the women the people of yemen. over the last four years majority of president. has been a real. question if you many people are president. you cannot come to an end because of. the security apparatus you run. out of control. only those who are. the ones president and i think they are gaining from him but the tens of millions in yemen. not seen anything and do not even consider how much that many because. they don't care about the president or not right now they want to die from hunger they want to manage in a they want medical attention they want to come to work and they want to live and survive. no one cares if the president is alive or not because their life
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is on the line. right now if. it had ever been with a bright democracy tens of thousands of prisoners are in prison all of the. newspapers have been closed and have been blocking the takeover by those who are in control of. what's happening right now. not an issue. you can through him as president and the same damn show you agree with what mr messner i was saying that the president had is not the issue here and that is the situation for many. absolutely i mean the. practically every yemeni i talked to over the last two weeks was telling me that they all want to get back to their normal lives they want to love their country they want to get
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back to their jobs they just they they want not to need to to beg for aid they've been reduced to a dependency from the ambitions of the arab spring to to this to starvation and being on the brink of famine for for so long so of course they are pleading for the world's leaders and the sides to the conflict to take a step back a loud them to go back to their normal lives they've lost so much relatives friends houses as it's drops. it's now how long can how long can they go on with this we keep saying and the humanitarian world yemen is on the brink of yemen is is just on the brink and we think it can't get worse and it does and it does and it's this is what is now a really prolonged crisis that needs immediate immediate ending and miss hamdani why do you think it won't take everyone involved to actually hear the pleas of the
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yemeni people that mr schembri is talking about i mean you speak of a fatigue by all sides but the war continues. the work continues simply because there's a war economy and so the quo is the but he's waited this mental disorders to stop the flow of income that goes to benefit the swar whether it's through smuggling or financing political parties from outside parties or whether it is you know the the weapons economy of itself and so the minute you dismantle that and you start funding the processes of peace the business is going to shift from the lp so how do you dismantle that it's going to how do you dismantle that and who does it. unfortunately while we talk about the sorby in a yemen yemen conflict in origin it's now become a regional conflict and nothing can happen without the say or will of international actors and so once they put their foot down very seriously on this war then we'll
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see a difference so the say has to kind of come from a top down approach from the regional actors saying this is enough this is what we would like to see and we're just going to begin face to of course we've seen a lot of times that when the regional actors are prepared for this we have the hoses on the ground who would go ahead and ruin the peace process these but that's just the way that it's going to have to be you know you're going to have to sign a peace treaty and you're going to have to make you know you're going to have to sacrifice the fact that political parties are not getting exactly what they want because they're always going to be spoilers but you have to just go ahead and do it because yemenis are suffering and of course we've talked about the looming humanitarian crisis for many many years and everything that we predicted to happen has happened and you still see very little reaction to that and almost like it's a political strategy to to kind of just make yemenis suffer towards the end you
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know and to assume that that's some sort of victory would be incorrect and so like i said earlier it takes international actors to kind of put their foot down. we're not going to support different parties in this conflict just because we have interests at the stake we're just going to support peace from now on and we're going to make friends with everyone missed a mess my way at that point yet where international actors are going to say ben no longer supposed supporting the school. with some other opportunities yemen was already at work. just last year imagine a college right now i mean millions of more probably. added to that list of poverty . we have hope yes. but the baby steps they have the complications and that's why we're trying to pull it apart with a core you have a group of actors that could also be involved in trying to solve. a national
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figure about how allies and try to solve this problem at the regional it's not such a drunkard with problems obviously getting solved with congressional support it could be a positive result it's not support either. side's water influential in the peace talks. and helping or i. missed a mess and i thank you as always for your time we do appreciate it i want to thank all of our guests that was talking must money joining us on the phone from santa we also have come schembri he's an hour mon and hamdani in washington d.c. and thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion to go to our facebook page that facebook dot com forward slash inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter at story from elizabeth and a whole scene. now.
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