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Eleven Months of the Appalling War on Yemen

The U.S. has been reliably backing the Saudis in this unnecessary and indefensible war from the start.
yemen airstrikes sa'ada

Nasser Arrabyee reviews the effects of the appalling U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war on Yemen:

Yet Yemenis increasingly view Saudi intervention more as a campaign—in which they are collateral—to upgrade Riyadh’s own influence and an ill-conceived effort to promote Mohammed Bin Salman as a powerful future Saudi king. As such, Yemenis fail to see any moral or legal justification for the U.S.-backed Saudi war. What is evident to them is the deliberate destruction of people and capital—all to no end, as the war has failed to accomplish Saudi Arabia’s goal of weakening the Houthis. Instead, the airstrikes and blockade that form the core of Saudi Arabia’s strategy have increased anti-Saudi hatred, driving greater numbers of Yemenis to support the Houthis every day.

The Saudi-led intervention has been going on for over eleven months, and in that time it has failed in all of its stated objectives. The Houthis have not been driven from the capital, the former president has not be restored to power (not that most Yemenis would want him there now anyway), and the intervention certainly hasn’t produced the stability that the Saudis laughably claimed to be bringing. Those objectives were never realistic to begin with, and restoring Hadi and driving out the Houthis were not going to be achieved at a remotely acceptable cost. Since the intervention began, the people of Yemen have been put through hell, thousands have been killed, tens of thousands injured, and hundreds of thousands displaced internally or forced to flee the country. Far from making Saudi Arabia more secure, the intervention has exposed southern Saudi territories to attack.

Yemenis have been sorely deprived of basic necessities for almost an entire year thanks to the Saudi-led blockade, and the majority of the population is starving or at great risk of doing so. At least four-fifths of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance. The country’s health care system has all but collapsed, medical facilities are coming under repeated attack (including repeated bombings by coalition aircraft), medicine and fuel are in short supply, and the lack of access to clean water has made the spread of disease much worse. Every problem Yemen had before the intervention has grown far worse than it was, and the country’s infrastructure has been wrecked by the coalition bombing campaign that the U.S. supports. The Saudis and their allies continue trying to carry out a failed strategy in a bad cause, and it doesn’t appear that they will stop anytime soon.

Since the Saudis and their allies started pummeling Yemen with indiscriminate bombing and the use of inherently indiscriminate cluster munitions last March, the U.S. has been reliably backing the Saudis in this unnecessary and indefensible war with weapons, refueling, and intelligence. The U.S. has helped the Saudis to whitewash and obscure their crimes, and the Obama administration has done this despite credible reports from multiple human rights organizations and the U.N. that the Saudi-led coalition is likely guilty of war crimes and possibly even crimes against humanity. It isn’t just Yemenis who can see no moral or legal justification for what has been done to their country, for there is no justification for it to be found. The U.S. should immediately halt its deplorable support for this war and apply whatever pressure it can to get the Saudis and their allies to stop the intervention.