Yemen: The Civil War Needs to End

As the international media continue to stay silent of the war, The Gryphon brings to light the horrors of the war in Yemen.

Three years ago, at this time, there was food in Yemen. Three years ago, the people were not suffering from an immense, dreadful famine which costed the lives of more than 50,000 people. Three years ago, the people were happy. With this, the Gryphon endeavours to dig deeper into the Yemen War to unravel the misery that people of Yemen have been surrounded by, for the past 3 years.

Labelled to be “the worst famine in the world in 100 years” by the United Nations, this excruciating war in Yemen has been at its worst, with tens of thousands of innocent people being in absolute distress with no food in their stomachs, water in their mouth and medical aid by their side. The history of the war runs back to when the Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, intended to curtail the influence of the Iranian-supported Al-Houthi militia. The situation first worsened when the Yemenis had overthrown and rebelled against the government and together with the encouragement from the “Arab Spring” from other Arab countries, had forced the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, to step down from the office. This was due to the fact that the country was on the brink of economic collapse and civil war. At first, Saleh refused to step down but instead, responded with economic concessions. However, the crisis deteriorated and the lives of the protestors in the capital, Sanaa, were put to death at the hands of the military. Saleh then conceded and agreed to hand over his power to his then deputy, Abrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Consequently, Saleh was unhappy with his withdrawal and had coordinated with the Houthis to help seize the capital, Sanaa, in September and to dispose of Hadi’s supporters. Aiming to solidify and expand their powers, they now control much of the northwest country.

On one side, we have the Houthis, known to be the political Shia rebel, based in the northern part of Yemen, kept their loyalty towards the former president Saleh. On the other hand, there were Hadi’s loyal supporters and Southern militias, aided by the Saudi-led coalition involving the United States, the United Kingdom and more. After the transfer of government, there was hope that Hadi would be able to solve the problems that the country was facing but had evidently failed to do so, as the country was still facing attacks from Al-Qaeda, which is a separatist movement in the south, as well as corruption, unemployment and food insecurities. The Houthis took advantage of the Hadi’s inaction and hence, went on to take control over the capital city. With the art of persuasion as well as the wrath of the citizens towards the delusion of the Hadi, it was not difficult to influence even average Yemenis and non-Shia’s to unite and have Hadi overthrown. With Houthis’ persistent attempts to take control of the entire country, Hadi was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia to seek protection back in March 2015. Saudi Arabia was taken back by the rise of the Houthis, who have allegedly been said to be backed and supported by Saudi’s rivals, Iran. With the allies of Saudi Arabia such as the United States and the United Kingdom supplying weapons and equipment, Yemen is at a deadlock and it is evident that none of the rivals are backing down anytime soon.

The Saudi air strikes have destroyed Yemen’s vital civilian infrastructure with thousands of casualties, in need of medical assistance. Millions have been displaced from their homes, are suffering from a severe epidemic of cholera and being denied proper food or water. The civilians have had to bear the brunt of this war due to the insensitive acts of both rivals. War – a deadly word which no civilian should ever need to encounter in their lives. With basic needs stripped off from these people, the figures still remain sky high. All these people need, is for one leader to realise the damage done and the number of deaths caused and to put a halt to this. Enough lives have been suffered and the Civil War needs to end now.

Andrea Kong