Transcript: Is Yemen on the Brink of Collapse? | Nov 18, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, blue shirt, and striped blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Is Yemen on the brink of collapse? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says THE UNITED NATIONS DESCRIBES YEMEN AS THE WORLD'S LARGEST HUMANITARIAN CRISIS. MILLIONS FACE STARVATION, ON TOP OF THE COVID CRISIS, AS THE CIVIL WAR THERE DRAGS ON. AND ALTHOUGH CANADA HAS OFFERED UP SUBSTANTIAL AID TO THE COUNTRY, A U.N. REPORT RECENTLY FLAGGED OUR LESS SAVOURY CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROBLEMS THERE. WITH US FOR MORE: IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL: ARDI IMSEIS, PROFESSOR OF LAW AT QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY, CURRENTLY A MEMBER OF THE UNITED NATIONS GROUP OF EMINENT EXPERTS ON YEMEN, WHICH IS A U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL-MANDATED COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE WAR IN YEMEN...

Ardi is in his forties, with short gray hair, a mustache and a narrow goatee. He's wearing a black sweater and a white shirt.

Steve continues AND IN THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL: SHANNON GORMLEY, A ROVING CORRESPONDENT FOR MACLEAN'S MAGAZINE, WHO HAS REPORTED ON HUMANITARIAN AND REFUGEE CRISES THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE EAST AND EUROPE WHILE BASED IN TURKEY AND LEBANON.

Shannon is in her thirties, with long wavy chestnut hair. She's wearing a gray blazer.

Steve continues WE ARE DELIGHTED TO HAVE BOTH OF YOU ON OUR PROGRAM TODAY, ALTHOUGH THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY HARD CONVERSATION, BUT NECESSARY. SO, SHANNON, START US OFF, IF YOU WOULD? GIVE US THE BACKSTORY AS TO HOW AND WHY THE CIVIL WAR IN YEMEN BEGAN IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The caption changes to "Shannon Gormley. Maclean's."
Then, it changes again to "Backstory of the crisis."

A satellite view of the Arabian Peninsula pops up on screen and homes in on Yemen, at the southern tip.

Shannon says WELL, FIRST OF ALL, IT'S IMPORTANT TO EMPHASIZE THAT THIS IS AT ROOT A CIVIL WAR. SO ALTHOUGH IT'S OFTEN SPOKEN OF AS A PROXY WAR, IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT IT BEGAN WITH HUTSIS IN THE NORTH WHO WERE FEELING DISAFFECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT. AND BETWEEN 2004 AND 2010, THERE WERE SIX ARMED CONFLICTS. THEN THE UPRISING THAT TOOK PLACE THROUGHOUT THE ARAB WORLD THAT WE REFERRED AS THE ARAB SPRING, ALSO OCCURRED IN YEMEN. AND AT THAT POINT THEY HELPED TO REMOVE THE THEN PRESIDENT FROM POWER, AND IN 2014, WHEN A TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT WAS IN POWER, THEY, IN A STRANGE TWIST, ALLIED AND STARTED TO WORK TOGETHER WITH THE PRESIDENT THAT THEY HAD HELPED REMOVE AND ENDED UP TAKING A LARGE CHUNK OF THE COUNTRY IN A VERY SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME. SO SAUDI ARABIA BECAME QUITE CONCERNED ABOUT INSTABILITY ALONG ITS BORDER AND ALSO BECAME CONCERNED ABOUT THE HUSIS ACTING AS A PROXY FOR IRAN AND GOT A COALITION TOGETHER OF ABOUT TEN OTHER STATES AND BECAME ENGAGED MILITARILY.

Steve says THAT'S A GOOD BACKGROUNDER TO GET US TO ARDI NOW, AND I'D LIKE TO READ THIS QUOTE HERE. ACCORDING TO THE U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Yemen in crisis." The quote reads "Five years of conflict have forced more than 3.6 million people to flee their homes and approximately 80 percent of the population -24 million people- are in dire need of humanitarian assistance."
Quoted from UNHCR – Yemen Emergency. www.unhcr.org/yemen-emergency.html"

Steve says CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH WHAT YOU SEE AS THE KEY HUMANITARIAN CHALLENGES THERE RIGHT NOW, ARDI?

The caption changes to "Ardi Imseis. Queen's University."
Then, it changes again to "Humanitarian toll."

Ardi says ABSOLUTELY, STEVE. THANKS FOR HAVING ME, BY THE WAY. YEMEN... THE SITUATION IN YEMEN CONTINUES TO BE THE WORLD'S WORST HUMANITARIAN CRISIS. BEFORE THE WAR, YEMEN WAS THE ARAB WORLD'S POOREST COUNTRY, AND AS YOU'VE JUST MENTIONED, 80 percent OF THE POPULATION REQUIRE HUMANITARIAN AID TO SURVIVE. THAT IS SOME 24 MILLION PEOPLE, 18 MILLION DOLLARS OF WHOM ARE WOMEN AND CHILDREN. OVER 20 MILLION PEOPLE ARE FOOD INSECURE, ACCORDING TO THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME, AND THERE ARE SCORES, MILLIONS, OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS. ALL OF THIS OF COURSE HAS BEEN COMPOUNDED BY THE ARRIVAL OF COVID-19 TO YEMEN. BARELY HALF OF THE HEALTH FACILITIES ARE FUNCTIONAL AND THOSE THAT ARE FUNCTIONAL ARE ILL EQUIPPED WITH THE RAVAGES OF COVID-19. THERE IS CHOLERA, DENGUE FEVER AND OTHERS. THIS IS THE CONTEXT IN WHICH THIS WAR IS TAKING PLACE AND WHICH THE WAR ITSELF IS EXACERBATING. IN TERMS OF THE IMPACT OF THE WAR, I MEAN, MORE DIRECTLY, THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE IN YEMEN, THE CIVILIANS IN YEMEN, HAVE BEEN IMMENSELY IMPACTED. APPROXIMATELY 112,000 PEOPLE HAVE DIED AS A DIRECT RESULT OF HOSTILITIES, OF WHOM 12,000 ARE CIVILIANS. AND THESE DON'T INCLUDE THE MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE DIRECTLY IMPACTED AND MANY OF WHOM HAVE DIED AS A RESULT OF THE WORSENING HUMANITARIAN SITUATION. THE WORK WE'VE DONE WITH THE INQUIRY WE'VE FOUND A WHOLE HOST OF HUMANITARIAN LAW OR THE LAWS OF WAR AND HUMAN RIGHTS WAR THAT HAVE IMPACTED ALL CIVILIANS OR MANY CIVILIANS IN YEMEN AND ARE THE RESULT OF THE ACTIONS OF ALL PARTIES TO THE CONFLICT. NO HANDS ARE CLEAN IN THIS CONFLICT.

The caption changes to "Ardi Imseis. United Nations Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen."

Ardi continues WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SHELLING AND AIR STRIKES THAT CONTINUE TO HIT CIVILIANS GOING ABOUT THEIR DAY-TO-DAY BUSINESS WITHOUT WARNING. LAND MINES CONTINUE TO KILL AND MAIM PEOPLE LONG AFTER BATTLES HAVE SUBSIDED. THE COALITION'S BLOCKADE ON THE COUNTRY, SIEGE-LIKE TACTICS ESSENTIAL TO THE SURVIVAL OF THE CIVILIAN POPULATION CONTINUE TO BE A MARKED FEATURE OF THE WAR, AND WE ARE VERY SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT STARVATION BEING USED AS A WEAPON OF WAR. THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO SAY, BUT THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT IS, THE SITUATION IN YEMEN IS ABSOLUTELY DISMAL, AND WHEN YOU COMPARE IT TO THE AMOUNT OF ATTENTION THAT IS BEING BROUGHT TO BEAR ON OTHER CONFLICTS, WHICH TO BE SURE DESERVE ATTENTION... SYRIA, MYANMAR... RELATIVELY SPEAKING THE SITUATION IN YEMEN IS GOING UNNOTICED, PARTICULARLY IN THE WEST. SO THAT GIVES RISE TO OUR CONCERN AT THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY THAT THIS IS A FORGOTTEN CONFLICT.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says WELL, IT'S INTERESTING, YOU ANTICIPATED MY NEXT QUESTION, WHICH I'LL PUT TO SHANNON SINCE YOU HAVE DONE SO MUCH REPORTING ON THIS CASE. BUT AS YOU THINK ABOUT THE MAJOR DISASTERS AROUND THE WORLD TODAY, AND SADLY THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF THEM, THIS IS ONE THAT DOES NOT CAPTURE A GREAT DEAL OF THE PUBLIC'S BANDWIDTH AND I'M WONDERING WHY YOU THINK THAT IS.

The caption changes to "Shannon Gormley, @ShannonGormley."

Shannon says WELL, HERE I'M A BIT BIASED BECAUSE IN COVERING THE SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS, I ALWAYS FELT THAT NEVER RECEIVED THE AMOUNT OF ATTENTION THAT IT DESERVED EITHER. SO I THINK THIS MAY BE A RUNNING THEME IN REPORTING. IT'S ALWAYS HARD TO GET PEOPLE TO PAY ATTENTION TO MAN-MADE CRISES, AND IN FACT HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES HAVE FOUND THE SAME THING, THAT DONORS ARE TYPICALLY LESS EXCITED ABOUT DONATING OR HELPING OUT WHEN IT COMES TO A MAN-MADE CRISIS AS OPPOSED TO A NATURAL DISASTER. HOWEVER, YEMEN HAS A COUPLE OF... I DON'T WANT TO SAY STRIKES AGAINST IT IN TERMS OF COVERAGE, BUT IT DOES. ONE OF THEM IS THAT IN MY EXPERIENCE, IT WAS MUCH EASIER TO GET PEOPLE TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS WHEN IT WAS ACTUALLY ON THEIR DOORSTEP, AND SO I REPORTED FROM LEBANON BEFORE IT BECAME AN ISSUE IN EUROPE AND IT WAS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO GET READERS INTERESTED THAN IT WAS WHEN THEY WERE ACTUALLY [indiscernible]. AND THE SECOND ISSUE IS, IT'S REALLY HARD FOR JOURNALISTS TO GET INTO YEMEN RIGHT NOW. SAUDI ARABIA CONTROLS THE AIRSPACE AND HAS REFUSED TO ALLOW JOURNALISTS PLANES TO LAND THERE AND THE COMBATANTS HAVE IN SOME CASES TORTURED JOURNALISTS. IT DOES POSE SPECIFIC CHALLENGES IN YEMEN BUT IT'S ALSO VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TO GET PEOPLE INTERESTED IN MAN-MADE CRISES WHEN THEY'RE HUMANITARIAN DISASTERS.

Steve says SHANNON, FOLLOW UP WITH THIS. THERE ARE OBVIOUSLY A LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT ARE HOPING COME JANUARY 20TH NEXT YEAR THE WORLD HAS THE POTENTIAL OF BEING A BETTER PLACE, AND THAT IS DONALD TRUMP LEAVES, JOE BIDEN COMES IN. OKAY. LOOK AT THE STORY THROUGH THAT PRISM. WHAT ARE YOU HOPING FOR IF JOE BIDEN... EXCUSE ME, WHEN JOE BIDEN BECOMES THE 46th PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.?

The caption changes to "Geopolitics."

Shannon says WELL, I THINK THAT MANY PEOPLE ARE HOPING THAT JOE BIDEN WILL FOLLOW THROUGH ON HIS PROMISE TO... I BELIEVE HIS WORDS WERE TREAT SAUDI ARABIA LIKE THE PARIAH THAT IT IS. BUT I THINK WE NEED TO TEMPER OUR HOPES. FIRST OF ALL, THE UNITED STATES WAS ASSISTING SAUDI ARABIA WHEN JOE BIDEN WAS VICE PRESIDENT, AND THE UNITED STATES ALSO FEELS THAT IT HAS SOME AREAS THAT IT REALLY NEEDS TO CONTINUE COOPERATING WITH SAUDI ARABIA ON. SO THAT INCLUDES COUNTER-TERRORISM AND IT INCLUDES KEEPING OIL PRICES STABLE. HOWEVER, THAT DOES NOT MEAN... IT DOES NOT FOLLOW FROM THAT FACT THAT THE UNITED STATES HAS TO BE SUPPLYING WEAPONS TO A STATE THAT IS VERY PROBABLY COMMITTING WAR CRIMES. SO THERE IS CERTAINLY HOPE THAT THOSE WEAPON SALES WILL CEASE, BUT I'M NOT... I'M GOING TO WAIT AND SEE ON THAT ONE, I THINK. I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT JOE BIDEN IS ACTUALLY GOING TO DO.

Steve says OKAY. SINCE YOU'VE RAISED THAT ISSUE, LET'S BRING IT CLOSER TO HOME. ARDI, I'LL BRING YOU BACK IN HERE. THE REPORT YOU AUTHORED CALLS OUT CANADA FOR ITS INVOLVEMENT IN ITS SALE OF ARMS TO SAUDI ARABIA AND HERE'S A QUOTE FROM THE REPORT...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "U.N. report calls out Canada." The quote reads "Notwithstanding the strong recommendations by the Group of Eminent Experts in its previous reports, third States, including Canada, France, Iran (Republic of), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America, continued their support of parties to the conflict, including through arms transfers, thereby helping to perpetuate the conflict."
Quoted from Situation of Human Rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014. September 28, 2020.

Steve says EXPLAIN TO US, ARDI, WHY YOUR REPORT FELT A NEED TO CALL OUT CANADA ON THIS?

The caption changes to "Canada: Ally or foe?"

Ardi says LET ME JUST BEGIN BY SAYING THAT CANADA WASN'T ISOLATED. THIRD STATES WRIT LARGE UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO ENSURE RESPECT FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW... THE LAWS OF WAR... AND TO ENSURE RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS LAW IN TIMES OF ARMED CONFLICT. THEIR OBLIGATIONS TO ENSURE RESPECT INCREASE RELATIVE TO THE AMOUNT OF ENGAGEMENT AND INVOLVEMENT THEY HAVE WITH, SAY, PARTIES TO THE CONFLICT. THE STATES THAT WE'VE NAMED IN THE REPORT ARE NOT ARBITRARILY PICKED OUT. THESE ARE THE STATES WHO HAVE THE HIGHEST NUMBERS, DOLLAR TERMS, OF ARMS TRANSFER SALES TO THE PARTIES TO THE CONFLICT. SO CANADA ISN'T ALONE. IT INCLUDES THE UNITED STATES, FRANCE, THE UNITED KINGDOM, AND IRAN. THE SPECIFIC REASON WHY CANADA WAS INCLUDED THIS YEAR... IN PREVIOUS YEARS IT HADN'T BEEN... WAS BECAUSE OF THE PRONOUNCED INCREASE IN CANADIAN SALES OF MILITARY HARDWARE TO SAUDI ARABIA, BASED ON THE PUBLIC RECORDS, AND THIS WAS COVERED EXTENSIVELY IN THE CANADIAN MEDIA AS WELL AS IN INTERNATIONAL MEDIA... IN 2019, THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT SOLD CLOSE TO 2.8 BILLION DOLLARS IN CANADIAN DOLLARS MILITARY AID TO THE SAUDIS AS PART OF A LARGER APPROXIMATELY 15 BILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT WITH THE SAUDIS. SO THAT WAS THE REASON WHY CANADA WAS LISTED AND, AGAIN, GOING BACK TO THE OBLIGATIONS OF ALL THIRD STATES TO ENSURE RESPECT FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW, THIS IS AN OBLIGATION THAT EXISTS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW; AND TO OUR MINDS AT THE GROUP OF EMINENT EXPERTS, STEMMING THE FLOW OF ARMS TO THE PARTIES TO THE CONFLICT IS THE MOST OBVIOUS WAY TO DO THIS.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says I PRESUME, THOUGH, SHANNON, THAT ONE OF THE REASONS WE'RE DOING THIS IS BECAUSE THE MANUFACTURE AND SALE OF ARMS CREATES THOUSANDS OF HIGH PAYING SO-CALLED GOOD JOBS IN CANADA, AND THE GOVERNMENT LIKES THAT IDEA AND IS KIND OF HOPING... YOU STRAIGHTEN ME OUT ON THIS IF THIS IS WRONG... IT'S KIND OF HOPING THAT NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE NOTICE THAT IT'S PLAYING A ROLE IN ARMING ONE SIDE VERSUS THE OTHER IN THIS CONFLICT BUT IT NEEDS THE JOBS AND THE GOODWILL AT HOME. IS THAT FAIR TO SAY?

Shannon says I THINK THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT. SO THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT HAS GIVEN ABOUT A DOZEN REASONS AS TO WHY WE HAVE GONE THROUGH WITH THIS CONTRACT WITH SAUDI ARABIA, AND I THINK THE REASON THAT YOU JUST LISTED IS THE ONLY TRUE ONE. IT SAID BEFORE THAT IT NEEDS TO UPHOLD THE PRINCIPLES OF HONOURING THE CONTRACTS. WELL, I THINK IT'S PROBABLY AT LEAST AS IMPORTANT TO HONOUR THE PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN RIGHTS. IT SAID THE DEAL WAS DONE WHEN IT CAME INTO OFFICE WHILE IN FACT ONE OF ITS MINISTERS SIGNED THE EXPORT PERMITS. IT SAID THAT IT NEEDS TO BE A GOOD ALLY TO SAUDI ARABIA. I DON'T THINK THAT BEING A GOOD ALLY MEANS BEING COMPLICIT IN WAR CRIMES, BUT I THINK WHAT IS TRUE IT CARES A LOT ABOUT PROTECTING JOBS AT HOME, EVEN IF THOSE JOBS ARE COMING AT THE COST OF LIVES OVERSEAS. WHETHER OR NOT IT'S FACED ENOUGH PRESSURE, I THINK IT'S EVIDENT THAT IT HASN'T BECAUSE IT'S STILL FOLLOWING THROUGH ON THESE CONTRACTS. THAT'S NOT TO SAY THAT PEOPLE AREN'T TRYING. THE GLOBE AND MAIL HAS DONE SOME VERY GOOD REPORTING ON THIS. PROJECT PLOW SHARES HAS BEEN ON THIS FILE FOR A LONG TIME. BUT WE'LL HAVE TO SEE HOW MUCH THE CANADIAN PUBLIC PUSHES BACK ON THIS AND SAYS: LOOK, YOU CAME INTO POWER BECAUSE YOU SAID THAT YOU WOULD DO POLITICS OVERSEAS DIFFERENTLY, THAT YOU WOULD BE A VOICE FOR LIBERAL INTERNATIONALISM. SO WE WANT TO HOLD YOU TO THAT.

Steve says I PRESUME THE GOVERNMENT WOULD PUSH BACK AND SAY, YEAH, THAT'S ALL TRUE AND WELL AND GOOD, BUT IF WE DON'T SELL THEM THESE ARMS, SOMEBODY ELSE WILL, AND THEN OUR JOBS DISAPPEAR AND WE'RE OUT THE MONEY. THAT'S ALSO FAIR TO SAY, IS IT NOT?

Shannon says IT'S CERTAINLY TRUE BUT I DON'T KNOW THAT THAT'S A GOOD ARGUMENT FOR SELLING ARMS. SO, FOR INSTANCE, MANY COUNTRIES IN EUROPE, YES, HAVE SOLD ARMS TO SAUDI ARABIA THAT HAVE BEEN USED IN THE CONFLICT AND NOW PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THOSE COMPANIES COULD BE CHARGED OR AT LEAST INVESTIGATED BY THE ICC. SO IT'S POSSIBLE THAT THEY'RE NOT ONLY MORALLY IN THE WRONG HERE BUT THEY COULD POSSIBLY FACE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES, AND I DON'T KNOW THAT THAT'S SOMETHING... A ROAD THAT WE WANT TO GO DOWN. EVEN IF OUR COMPANIES DON'T FACE LEGAL CONSEQUENCES, DO WE WANT THEM TO DO SOMETHING AMORAL JUST BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE ARE. THAT'S NEVER BEEN A COMPELLING ARGUMENT, I THINK.

Steve says ARDI, I'M TRYING TO BE SENSITIVE TO YOUR POSITION HERE AND AVOID ASKING YOU OVERTLY UNCOMFORTABLE POLITICAL QUESTIONS HERE. LET ME SEE IF I CAN SNUGGLE UP TO THE LINE HERE WITHOUT GOING OVER IT, AND THAT IS, ARE YOU IN A POSITION OR DO YOU CONSIDER IT PART OF YOUR MISSION AND-OR MANDATE TO PUT PRESSURE ON THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA TO STOP THESE ARMS SALES TO SAUDI ARABIA?

The caption changes to "Ardi Imseis, @ArdiImseis."

Ardi says WE ARE AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION OF INQUIRY, AS YOU WELL APPRECIATE... I APPRECIATE YOUR QUESTION, TAKING THAT INTO ACCOUNT. WE DON'T LOBBY ANY PARTICULAR MEMBER STATE OF THE UNITED NATIONS. THAT IS NOT OUR MANDATE. OUR MANDATE IS VERY STRICTLY FOCUSED ON INVESTIGATING AND REPORTING ON VIOLATIONS COMMITTED BY ALL PARTIES TO THE CONFLICT OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW AND INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW. HAVING SAID THAT, THE FACT OF OUR REPORT HAVING BEEN ISSUED IN THE PUBLIC REALM AT THE UNITED NATIONS, ENDORSED BY THE MEMBER STATES OF THE UNITED NATIONS, SOUNDS ALARM BELLS AND SHOULD SOUND THE ALARM BELLS FOR THE WHOLE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, NOT MERELY ONE MEMBER STATE, CANADA, OR OTHERWISE. I SHOULD TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SAY THAT THE CANADIANS HAVE BEEN PARTICULARLY SUPPORTIVE OF THE WORK OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY THAT I SERVE ON, ALONG WITH A NUMBER OF OTHER STATES, PART OF WHAT WE CALL THE CORE GROUP: IRELAND, BELGIUM, NETHERLANDS, AND A FEW OTHERS, LUXEMBOURG, ACTUALLY. AND WHAT IS STRIKING FOR STATES THAT ARE ENGAGED... CANADA, BUT NOT EXCLUSIVELY CANADA... WHO ARE ENGAGED IN PROVIDING SUPPORT TO PARTIES IN THE CONFLICT BUT AT THE SAME TIME CLAIMING SUPPORT FOR THE MULTILATERAL RULES-BASED INTERNATIONAL ORDER AT THE UNITED NATIONS, IS HOW DO THEY DEAL WITH THAT DISCONNECT? AND SO THAT IS NOT FOR THE GROUP OF EMINENT EXPERTS THAT I SIT ON TO ANSWER. THAT IS FOR THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT TO ANSWER AND ALL OTHER STATES WHO FIND THEMSELVES IN A SIMILAR POSITION. WE HOPE THAT, IN MAKING THEIR DECISIONS ON POLICY, THEY TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE FINDINGS THAT WE HAVE MADE IN OUR REPORTS AND BROUGHT TO THEIR ATTENTION. THE FOCUS HAS TO BE ALWAYS THE IMPACT OF THIS WAR ON THE CIVILIAN POPULATION IN YEMEN WHICH, AS I SAID EARLIER, IS AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER.

Steve says SHANNON, CAN I GET YOU THEN TO FOLLOW UP... BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO GET ARDI IN TROUBLE HERE... CAN I GET YOU TO FOLLOW UP ON THE NOTION OF HOW CANADA LOOKS TO THE REST OF THE WORLD WHEN IT, ON THE ONE HAND, ENDORSES ARDI'S REPORT AND, ON THE OTHER HAND, STILL SENDS WEAPONS TO SAUDI ARABIA?

Shannon says WELL, IT ALWAYS DEPENDS ON WHAT PART OF THE WORLD IS LOOKING AT US. SO IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, I'M SURE THEY WOULDN'T MIND HOW WE LOOK, THAT WE'RE SELLING WEAPONS TO SAUDI ARABIA. BUT WHAT I'M HEARING IS THAT PEOPLE IN INTERNATIONAL CIRCLES WHO ARE ENGAGED WITH CANADA ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES AT THIS POINT ARE DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT SURPRISED WHEN THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT IN CANADA DOESN'T FOLLOW THROUGH ON ITS STATED PRINCIPLES. AND I'VE EVEN HEARD PEOPLE SAY THAT THAT WAS ONE REASON THEY'VE HEARD WHY WE LOST THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL SEAT. SO PEOPLE IN CERTAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCLES WILL TAKE NOTE. BUT I THINK IF YOU APPROACH SOMEONE ON THE STREET SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD, THEY'LL PROBABLY STILL THINK OF THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT AS PRETTY LIBERAL AND PROGRESSIVE. SO IT REALLY DEPENDS ON WHAT GROUP OF PEOPLE YOU'RE TALKING TO IN TERMS OF REPUTATIONAL DAMAGE.

Steve says UNDERSTOOD. ARDI, I WONDER IF, IN OUR REMAINING MOMENTS HERE, YOU MIGHT TAKE US THROUGH WHAT YOU CONSIDER TO BE TWO OR THREE OF YOUR MOST IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATIONS AND SHARE THOSE WITH OUR VIEWERS AND LISTENERS.

The caption changes to "Recommendations."

Ardi says SURE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, STEVE. FIRST AND FOREMOST, THE ARMS FLOW NEEDS TO STOP. THERE ARE SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WE'VE MADE IN OUR REPORTS DIRECTED TO THE PARTIES TO THE CONFLICT, THE MOST IMPORTANT OF COURSE IS TO HAVE A PEACE THAT IS INCLUSIVE OF ALL PARTIES IN THE ONGOING CONFLICT. BUT ABSENT SUCH A PEACE AGREEMENT, WHICH IS NOT AT ALL IN THE CARDS TODAY, A LOT OF THE BURDEN NEEDS TO BE BORNE BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. SO WE RECOMMEND THAT THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL REFER THE SITUATION IN YEMEN TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT FOR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION. THE TYPES OF WAR CRIMES THAT APPEAR TO BE HAPPENING IN YEMEN ARE THE VERY TYPES OF WAR CRIMES THAT THE COURT ITSELF WAS ESTABLISHED TO PROSECUTE. IN ADDITION, WE URGE THE SECURITY COUNCIL TO EXPAND THE LIST OF PERSONS SUBJECT TO ITS SANCTIONS REGIME UNDER A RESOLUTION IT PASSED IN 2014, 2140. AS IT STANDS ONLY FIVE PEOPLE, IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, STEVE, ONLY FIVE PEOPLE ARE ON THAT LIST, AND THIS IS STRIKING GIVEN THE AMOUNT OF INFORMATION THAT EXISTS AND HAS BEEN PRODUCED, INCLUDING BY THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY THAT I SIT ON. AND THEN OF COURSE THIRD STATES, INCLUDING CANADA, HAVE OBLIGATIONS, AS I SAID EARLIER, TO ENSURE RESPECT FOR INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW, AND AS PART OF THAT, THEY SHOULD BE LOOKING FOR WAYS TO PROSECUTE DOMESTICALLY INDIVIDUALS WHO EITHER HAVE COMMITTED OR ARE ALLEGED TO HAVE... OR ORDERED TO BE COMMITTED WAR CRIMES AND OTHER VIOLATIONS IN THE WAR IN YEMEN. THOSE ARE BUT THREE RECOMMENDATIONS WE'VE MADE OF A WHOLE HOST, AND WE CERTAINLY HOPE THAT THEY'RE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. OTHERWISE, THE PEOPLE IN YEMEN WILL CONTINUE TO SUFFER THE RAVAGES OF THIS WAR WHICH, AS I SAY, IS AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER.

Steve says SHANNON, ANY RECOMMENDATIONS YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD TO THOSE ARDI JUST PUT ON THE RECORD?

Shannon says I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING THAT ARDI SAID. I WOULD ONLY ADD THAT THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT IS SOMETHING THAT CANADA COULD BE MUCH MORE AN ACTIVE SUPPORTER OF, AND SO I THINK IT'S UNFORTUNATE THAT OUR COUNTRY, WHICH LIKES THINKING OF ITSELF AS HAVING A TRADITION OF SUPPORTING INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE, RATHER THAN PUTTING OUR ENERGY INTO THAT, WE'RE SUPPLYING ARMS TO SAUDI ARABIA.

Steve says SHANNON, I WONDER IF I COULD GET YOU TO FOLLOW UP WITH THIS. I REMEMBER... AT LEAST I THINK I REMEMBER 35 YEARS AGO, YEMEN WAS, YOU KNOW, THEY WERE CHESS PIECES, BOTH PARTS OF YEMEN WERE CHESS PIECES IN THE COLD WAR, AND IT WAS THE COMMUNIST SOUTH AGAINST THE WESTERN-ORIENTED NORTH. THIS PLACE SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN GOD FORSAKEN FOR DECADES. YOU KNOW IT BETTER THAN MOST PEOPLE. WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO BRING PEACE TO THAT PART OF THE WORLD?

Shannon says I CAN'T ANSWER WHAT IT'S GOING TO TAKE TO BRING PEACE. I ONLY KNOW, BECAUSE THIS STARTED OUT AS A CIVIL WAR AMONG DIFFERENT GROUPS VYING FOR POLITICAL POWER, ANY ARRANGEMENT OR ANY SOLUTION IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE POLITICAL IN NATURE. THERE'S NO SOLUTION THAT'S GOING TO BE MILITARY HERE. AND UNFORTUNATELY I THINK THAT SAUDI ARABIA, FEARING THAT THE HOUTHIS WERE MERELY PUPPETS OF IRAN, HAVE CREATED A BIT OF A SELF-FULFILLING PROPHESY HERE. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN IRAN AND THE HOUTHIS WASN'T CLOSE BUT THEY'VE UNDENIABLY GROWN CLOSER THROUGH THE CONFLICT. THIS IS SOMETHING WHERE I THINK WE NEED TO FOCUS ON THE IMPACT THAT THIS HAS HAD ON CIVILIANS AND FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS THAT ARE GOING TO MAKE SENSE DOMESTICALLY, RATHER THAN THIS AREA BEING USED AS A WAY FOR DIFFERENT STATES TO CONSOLIDATE THEIR OWN POWER.

The caption changes to "Producer: Preeti Bhuyan, @PreetiBhuyan. Student Intern: Danielle Neri."

Steve says I'M REALLY GRATEFUL TO BOTH OF YOU FOR COMING ONTO OUR TELEVISION STATION TONIGHT AND SHARING YOUR VIEWS ON THIS. ARDI IMSEIS AND SHANNON GORMLEY, BE WELL, AND LET'S SEE. THANKS SO MUCH.

Ardi says THANK YOU.

Shannon says THANK YOU.

Watch: Is Yemen on the Brink of Collapse?