The Appalling War on Yemen
Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports on the plight of civilians in Yemen’s capital:
Since the beginning of June, analysts and residents in the capital say, the bombing campaign has entered a new phase:
Planes have begun targeting the homes of Saudi Arabia’s enemies, rather than just military targets. Civilians have found themselves increasingly caught in the crossfire.
This is an ugly tactic, and one that inevitably puts many more civilian lives in danger. Kouddous described one of these attacks, which killed ten civilians and wounded sixty. The targeting of these houses is a tacit admission by the Saudis that their campaign isn’t succeeding. Kouddous writes later on:
“They are trying to terrorize and punish their opponents,” said Maged al-Madhaji, a Sanaa-based political researcher, adding that Saleh’s allies do not sleep in their homes anymore. “It’s an idiotic strategy and it’s a sign of their failure. They don’t know what to do. They can’t win this war from the air.”
As I’ve said before, the Saudi-led intervention continues to fail at everything except wrecking Yemen. The intervention has been an almost perfect example of the evils that come from launching ill-considered military action for the sake of unrealistic goals. The results of the war make a mockery of every official reason for the intervention. The Saudis claimed to be acting to stabilize Yemen and to help the people of Yemen, but instead they have thrown the country into the worst disorder and continue to inflict extraordinary harm on the entire civilian population. The Saudis claimed that they were trying to drive back the Houthis, but the latter have only gained ground since the campaign began. The supposed goal of the war–to restore Hadi to power–is farther out of reach than ever, since Hadi has made himself loathsome to most Yemenis thanks to his support for the war that was supposed to bring him back out of exile.
One of the other official justifications for the Saudi campaign has been to protect Saudi Arabia’s borders, and this one has also been discredited. Those borders were not threatened before the campaign began, but they are now coming under repeated Houthi artillery and missile attacks. The war has been a catastrophe for Yemen, but it is also exacting a toll on Saudi Arabia’s security, which is now worse than when they started the war. Bruce Riedel summed up the situation this way:
Saudi Arabia’s war is an increasingly costly and bloody stalemate and a humanitarian disaster.
Judged by almost any standard, the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed intervention has been a failure, and the damage it has done is all the more appalling when it is clear that the war was entirely unnecessary.