Yemen is the home to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. For years of war, disease and starvation have plagued this country. Yemen went from being the heart of ancient Arabia to one of the poorest countries in the Middle East and from last six years it’s been torn apart by war. Local groups on the ground are fighting each other while Saudi-led coalition bombs from above and caught in the fighting are millions of Yemenis desperately struggling to survive.
Former President of Yemen Ali Abdul Saleh, he was in power for 20 years since 1990. He compared ruling over Yemen to ‘dancing on the heads of snakes’. It’s no wonder that during the Arab Spring of 2011 Yemenis rose against Saleh in the hope that things might get better, but they didn’t.
During 2015, to take over Yemen Saudi Arabia attempt to place Yemen’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who had earlier resigned due to extreme discontent, and to eradicate the movement by Houthi Ansarullah, who had been running the state. Yemen continued to suffer under President Hadi after the revolution that took place in 2011. The initiative that had come out of the revolution was brokered by the Gulf Powers that was simply to return the old elites to power.
In 2014, some of Yemen’s factions began to lose patience, one of them are Houthis. They are from a Shia Muslim minority from Northern Yemen. They say they have been marginalised and often rebelled against the government. During the Arab Spring, they were very against the uprising Saleh.
When the Houthis and Saleh were both sidelined by the Gulf Cooperation Council plans for Yemen’s new government. So the former enemies joined forces, the Houthis together with some of the Saleh’s allies still in the army took over Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2014. Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia and the Saudis along with several other countries formed a coalition to return their man Hadi to power.
Saudi Arabia expressed three main war aims:
- It wanted to restore the government of President Hadi.
- It wanted to protect its southern border and to prevent Yemen from fragmenting.
- It wanted to contain the perceived growing influence of Iran in the region.
The Saudi-led intervention was the campaign of relentless airstrikes. More than 19,000 attacks in the last five years according to the latest reports. Saudi-led forces say they have been targeting the enemy but rights groups accuse the coalition of bombing dozens of hospitals and schools killing thousands of Yemeni civilians. Which brings us to Yemen’s immense humanitarian crisis. In this war it is just no the fighting that is causing all the suffering, even aid is being used as a weapon.
In 2015, the Saudi-led coalition created a land, sea and air barrier around Yemen making it impossible for supplies to get in or out, this is creating an immense problem for Yemenis who desperately need it. Day’s only meal is a plate of plain boiled rice between the family, cholera cases are spreading fast, doctors are facing a severe shortage of drugs, this is all happening in a country of 29 million people. UN says that 24 million people depend on some kind of humanitarian help.
UNICEF Spokesman, Christophe Boulierac stated, “More than 11 million children in need of humanitarian aid, nearly every single Yemeni child.”
The Houthi and Saleh alliance broke down in 2017 after they fought the Saudi-led forces for three years. Saleh switched sides on media, he said he wanted to talk to the coalition. Two days later the Houthis killed him. Even today Houthis control the capital land of Yemen Sanaa.
However, after the US decision to designate Houthis as “terrorist” can backfire them, as Houthis will respond to any move made by the US to designate the Houthis movement, said by Yemen’s Houthi Ansarallah Movement.
Saudi Arabia claims that Houthis are getting help from Iran. Iran has openly supported the Houthis to provide aid to the Yemenis and bring out the revolution over there that took place in 2011. However, Iran denies backing them militarily.
When the war is over the UN says that they could all be liable for atrocities in Yemen.
In 2015, the coalition between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates made them intervene into the war, the U.S also lend it supports by providing bombs, drones, fighter jets, allies like UK, Germany, France and more have lent their massive support by providing weapons to the intervention coalition. This coalition with such unconditional support repeatedly destroying Yemen, with such horrific crimes against the Yemenis. These atrocities would not have occurred without the support of the US and the UN. According to the most prior report of the Pardee Centre for the UN Development Programme, Approximately 310,000 Yemenis have died during this conflict.
The US has also cut off their fire hose’s water supply and because of that Yemenis are starving. However, there is still hope for Yemen as Italian dockworkers, refused to load a ship with weapons that were bound for Saudi Arabia. Iran also providing aid to Yemen and hosted various International Conferences to support the oppressed and resistant Yemenis.
The tragedy of starving of millions of civilians in Yemen and all those utmost crises widely blamed on the Saudi-led coalition. It is the war that has largely been covered up by the Western government.
The war in Yemen chose no sign of ending with American forces upping the states and billions of dollars being made by European and American armed manufacturers, profits made upon the body of Yemeni men, women and children.