This week marks five years of United States–European- Israeli sponsored Saudi-Abu Dhabi war on Yemen which today remains a wasteland. Its infrastructure devastated while hundreds of thousands killed, life crippled and starving children dying every hour.
Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, US-Israeli stooges and best friends of the worst enemies of Islam and Muslims, Israel and RSS India, invaded Yemen to counter the advance of Iran backed Houthi rebels.
Since then the two countries bombed and destroyed the infrastructure, slaughtered men, women, children and the aged.
According to AFP reports “The conflict has its roots in the Arab Spring of 2011, when an uprising forced the country’s long-time authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.
The political transition was supposed to bring stability to Yemen, one of the Middle East’s poorest nations, but President Hadi struggled to deal with various problems including militant attacks, corruption, and food insecurity and continuing loyalty of many military officers to Saleh.
Fighting began in 2014 when the Houthi Shia Muslim rebel movement took advantage of the new president’s weakness and seized control of northern Saada province and neighboring areas. The Houthis went on to take the capital Sanaa, forcing Mr Hadi into exile Saudi Arabia.
The conflict escalated dramatically in March 2015, when Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states – backed by the US, UK, and France – began air strikes against the Houthis, with the declared aim of restoring Mr Hadi’s government.
The Saudi-led coalition feared that continued success of the Houthis would give their rival regional power and Shia-majority state, Iran, a foothold in Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s southern neighbor. Saudi Arabia says Iran is backing the Houthis with weapons and logistical support – a charge Iran denies.
Both sides have since been beset by infighting. The Houthis broke with Saleh and he was killed by Houthi fighters in December 2017.
“I have worked on several humanitarian emergencies in the Middle East, and have followed news of the conflict in Yemen for years. But nothing I’d read or experienced could have prepared me for the scale of human suffering that awaited me when I came here three months ago”UNHCR’s Bathoul Ahmed describing some of the horrors she has witnessed while working in war-torn Yemen
The stalemate has produced an unrelenting humanitarian crisis, with at least 8.4 million people at risk of starvation and 22.2 million people – 75% of the population – in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN. Severe acute malnutrition is threatening the lives of almost 400,000 children under the age of five.
Yemen’s health system has all but collapsed, while the world’s largest cholera outbreak has killed thousands.
Fighter jets and ground forces from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Academi (formerly Blackwater-sworn enemy of Islam and Muslims ) took part in the operation. Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia made their airspace, territorial waters, and military bases available to the coalition.
Perhaps all bribed by Saudis and the UAE.
The United States provided intelligence and logistical support, including aerial refueling and search-and-rescue for downed coalition pilots. It also accelerated the sale of weapons to coalition states and continued strikes against AQAP. The US and Britain have deployed their military personnel in the command and control center responsible for Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen, having access to lists of targets.
The war has received widespread criticism and had a dramatic worsening effect on Yemen’s humanitarian situation that reached the level of a “humanitarian disaster. War led to mass displacements.
Huthi forces, which control large parts of the country, have indiscriminately shelled residential neighborhoods and launched missiles indiscriminately into Saudi Arabia. The coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE continued to bomb civilian infrastructure and carry out indiscriminate attacks, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians.
All parties have also suppressed freedom of expression through arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and torture and other ill-treatment in custody.
Civilians are trapped in the middle of the conflict, and bear the brunt of the violence. The spiraling humanitarian crisis has left approximately 14 million people on the brink of famine.
Alex Preve, a legal analyst specializing in international criminal law; who attends Vanderbilt University Law School said “The US is complicit in Saudi atrocities in Yemen. Five years after the start of the war, the US continues to support a Saudi-led coalition accused of war crimes.
Since then, the US and the United Kingdom have sold arms and provided technical and logistical assistance to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both of which have conducted air raids on Yemeni soil.
Iran, in its turn, has sent advanced weapons and military advisers to the Houthis.
Five years later, the US remains steadfastly committed to the Saudi-led coalition which has been accused, by a United Nations Commission of experts, of committing war crimes in Yemen.
In a 25 March 20202 dated report by Associated Press titled Human Rights Group Accused Saudi Forces in Yemen of Abuses had stated ;
Saudi military forces have committed grave abuses against civilians in an eastern province of Yemen over the past year, including torture, forced disappearances and arbitrary detention, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Wednesday.
The New York-based watchdog presented chilling testimony from former detainees in Yemen’s remote eastern province of al-Mahrah, which borders Oman and Saudi Arabia. Several Yemenis told HRW they were held and tortured at a secret detention center in the provincial capital. .
“Saudi forces and their Yemeni allies’ committed serious abuses against local al-Mahra residents,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director for HRW. It’s the latest report of civilian abuse in the regional proxy war in Yemen that has killed more than 100,000 people over five years and pushed the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.
Recently UAE withdrew its troops from the northern port of Hodeidah. In doing so, the UAE has signaled to Iran that it wants diplomacy instead of military confrontation in the Strait of Hormuz between the two countries.
Five years after Saudi Arabia is stuck in a costly quagmire with no exit in sight while it grapples with multiple crises at home. Riyadh had expected a quick victory when it led a multi-billion dollar intervention in 2015 to oust Iran-backed Huthi rebels.
But exposing the limitations of its military prowess, Saudi Arabia has failed to uproot the rebels from their northern strongholds and struggled to quell deadly infighting between its allies in southern Yemen. It stands largely alone in facing these challenges after the UAE drew down its military presence in Yemen.
But there appears to be no easy exit for Saudi Arabia.
26th March 2020