• Mahija Ratnoo

The Unforgotten War (Part-2)





Picking up from where I left in the last post, wherein we saw how Arab Spring, starting from Tunisia, resulted into 3 factions at war with one another culminating into a civil war in Yemen, finally leading to one of the worst humanitarian crisis for the world to witness.


If you haven't read the previous post ( Part-1 ), you can read it here.


The 3 factions at war in Yemen are fuelled by vested interests of every participating stakeholder. Let's try to dig deeper to know the various angles to this 3 army war scenario.


Vested interests of different stakeholders in the dreaded civil war in Yemen.


The present humanitarian crisis in this Gulf country can be attributed to geopolitical, ideological, historical, economic and regional factors. Though the fight is regional several western forces led by the US and its allies have participated and actively supported Saudi and its allies in the Yemeni conflict, embroiling the situation further.


Yemen might be the poorest country in the Middle East, but it has great strategic importance for its neighbours. The country sits on the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which separates the Arabian peninsula from the Horn of Africa and links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden ( After the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca, the Bab al Mandab is one of the world’s busiest chokepoints in terms of volume of crude oil and petroleum liquids transported through each day ) and threatens to internationalize an already terrible situation. If Iran were to control this waterway, it can control and regulate oil flow through it, jeopardizing oil economy stability of both US and Saudi.


Freedom of navigation in and around the Arabian Peninsula is under threat owing to increasing support to Houthi by Iran, which is unacceptable to the US. Although the US doesn’t have a lot of vital interests in the Middle East one crucial interest around which U.S. MiddleEast policy has been built for decades has been accessing to hydrocarbon resources in the Gulf, or at least ensuring those hydrocarbon resources can make it to the market.

Yemen also has a long border with Saudi Arabia, making the country important for Saudi national security. The country would also serve as an important symbolic victory as two powers- Saudi and Iran fight for control of the region.


Saudi backed by its Gulf allies, US and west want to run a Sunni led government in Yemen hence supporting Hadi. While Iran received support from Hezbollah (Lebanon), Syria, Iraq and Bahrain. It wants to increase its influence to develop the Shia Crescent to which Yemen is central. The proxy fight is thus turning to be an ideological and sectarian one.



US and West are actively supporting Saudi and allies with weapons including cluster bombs. US and Saudi share historical relations (since Roosevelt times) with US meeting much of its oil demands through Saudi. In return, Saudi is a major defence purchaser from the US. Also, Saudi influencing the region becomes crucial for the US to be geopolitically active in the region.


Saudi though has violated human rights a number of times but ha s not been sanctioned by US/UN/West (unlike Iraq, Russia, Syria, Iran) mainly due to oil and strategic relations with the US and huge fund offered by Saudi to varied UN Programs.


In this fight, Al-Qaeda in Yemen only got benefitted. What was a domestic upheaval turned into ideological geopolitical war.




Humanitarian cost



The humanitarian costs are beyond any assessment. The most severe loss, the loss of human lives is the result of illegal and indiscriminate attacks carried out by the US-backed Saudi led coalition.


the country was facing the world’s worst famine in a century.

Thousands of more civilians have died from preventable causes, including malnutrition, disease and poor health.

The charity Save the Children estimated that 85,000 children with

severe acute malnutrition might have died between April 2015 and

October 2018.

Some 20 million people need help securing food, according to the UN. Almost 10 million of them are considered "one step away from famine".

An estimated 2 million children are acutely malnourished, including almost 360,000 children under five years old who are struggling to survive.

With only half of the country's 3,500 medical facilities fully functioning, almost 20 million people lack access to adequate healthcare.

Almost 18 million do not have enough clean water or access to adequate sanitation.

Consequently, medics have struggled to deal with the largest cholera outbreak ever recorded, which has resulted in more than 2.2 million suspected cases and 3,895 related deaths since October 2016.

The war has also displaced more than 3.65 million from their homes.

the spread of COVID-19 to Yemen in April 2020 raised new concerns over the vulnerability of Yemen’s population.


Conclusion


Despite the clear shreds of evidence and worldwide condemnation of the war crimes in Yemen, the Trump administration is standing firm in supporting Mohammed bin Salman’s plans. The outright support of US can be seen in exercising of its veto power for four times to ensure continued US military support and weapon sales to Saudi and its coalition.


Beyond geo-strategic concerns, the collapse of Yemeni institutions during wartime has exacerbated poor living conditions in what has long been the most impoverished Arab country, leading to what is now considered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.The war seems not to be ending any sooner and Yemen have been devastated being torn between 2 nations’ power struggle. The human suffering, the mental trauma, the lost childhood of millions of kids and devoiding children a peaceful healthy environment to grow up into are irreparable unpardonable offences. We all seem to be deeply influenced by ostrich mentality, if anything is not covered by the media it doesn’t mean that an incident never occurred or is not in play in the present moment too.


It is high time for every nation to grow above their vested interests, be empathetic for the sake of humanity to come up with a permanent political solution for this burning issue. Otherwise, this issue and maybe many more like this in coming years will leave all of us shamefaced despite all the big talks and big shot organizations boasting their working for the human cause!






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