End the crazy war on Yemen

March 19, 2018 - 8:53

On March 26, 215, a coalition of Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, launched a military air campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Exactly seven days from now marks three years since the Saudis started pounding Yemen.

The military operation, codenamed “Storm of Resolve”, was expected to immediately restore the government of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi which had been toppled by the Houthis.

When I saw the films of the Saudi first air attacks on the Yemenis, I was thinking that these poor people need economic help not a foreign invasion.

Even in peacetime the country faced huge challenges. Before the war only four percent of the land was arable. It faces extreme water shortages.

Now after three years, the result of the war has been nothing but indescribable famine, disease, destruction, death, etc.

The civilian casualties and the sufferings of the entire Yemeni nation are a testimony to this bitter fact that human life has no value in the Saudi politics. In April 2017, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Yemen was facing “a tragedy of immense proportions”. Guterres also said, “We are witnessing the starving and the crippling of an entire generation.”

The war in Yemen is an instance of war crimes. A concrete example is the case of Abdullah al-Ibbi, a Yemeni man who lost 27 family members in an air strike. Starving an entire nation also constitutes an example of war crimes.

The matter is not that solely the Saudis are villain and the Houthis are saint. Both have killed innocent people but the degree of the crimes are not comparable at all.

Sadly, some other Arab countries have become accomplice in this human tragedy. These countries have been involved in the war either through intimidation or bribery, depending on their size, status, or geographical location. Unfortunately, even some non-Arab rulers were bribed by Saudi rulers to express verbal support for the war on Yemen.

Attacks against one group (Houthis) in favor of another (Hadi’s supporters) has also been deepening divisions among the already divided Yemeni society.

Even there is a hidden rivalry between Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the war in Yemen. According to reports, Saudi Arabia backs Hadi while the UAE is closely aligned with the separatists in south Yemen which was a separate country until 1990.

As the war in Afghanistan instilled extremism and terrorism, the conflict in Yemen has also been giving new life to extremism in the Arabian Peninsula. Now, taking advantage of the chaotic situation, terrorists linked to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and rival affiliates of Daesh (IS) have been capturing territory in south Yemen and carrying out deadly attacks.

The war on Yemen is senseless, aimless and futile. It will fail to realize the Saudi goals. The coalition has not been able to gain a considerable victory against Houthis who are mostly in north Yemen.

If the Soviets with much greater military power could have won the war against the Afghan rebels in the 1980s or if the U.S. and NATO, now after 17 years, could have defeated the Taliban, now Saudi Arabia could be hopeful that it would bring the Houthis to their knees.

This failure is despite the fact that the United States and Britain have been providing intelligence and logistical support, including aerial refueling, for the coalition.

Even suppose that the Saudi-led coalition wins the war against the Houthis and installs the Mahdi government, then how could that government survive when a proportionate segment of the population is against his rule!

Saudi Arabia can no longer look at its southern poor neighbor as an inferior and punish it if a considerable number of its population defy Riyadh’s orders.

Summarily speaking, the Yemen war is a quagmire for the Saudis. They are just funneling petrodollars to the pockets of the military–industrial complexes in the U.S. and Britain to buy more arms including fighter jets to destroy the remaining homes, schools, hospitals, and bridges in Yemen.

The current bigoted and headstrong family who rules Saudi Arabia must end this stupid war. The longer the war lasts the more humiliating it would prove for the Saudis. The only way forward is to create a situation for dialogue among the warring sides and help establish an inclusive national unity government in Yemen, though Riyadh is fearful of a government in its southern neighbor which represents all people with different political persuasions.


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