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Yemen Crisis: Is the Damage Permanent?
By admin June 22, 2018

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Yemen is still facing the worst humanitarian crisis in decades, and it is not getting better. Mass killings and displacements have taken place since the start of war in 2015, and the country
has become a playground for national and international powers.

The ongoing conflict in Yemen intensified in March 2015 when Houthi rebels—a minority Shia group from the north of Yemen, rebelled against the US government supported Abdu Mansour Hadi regime. The Houthis were successful in toppling the government and taking over the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. Saudi Arabia considered the Houthi actions an immediate threat and feared that Iran could use this opportunity to gain a strong base on their border. Saudi Arabia has also accused Iran of backing the rebels, but Iran has denied the allegations. Saudi Arabia retaliated by building regional alliances and inciting a military campaign. The impact was extremely destructive, killing thousands and displacing about 3 million people.

Both sides of the conflict have been using food as a weapon of war, but the catastrophe is primarily to be blamed on a brutal air, land and sea blockade imposed by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition. Saudi Arabia and its allies claim that the purpose of the blockade is to halt the inflow of Iranian weapons to Yemen that supply the Houthi rebels. According to aid groups, it has also led to massive reductions of the urgently needed food, medicine and fuel shipments to the country. CNN on April 3 reported that over 8 million people in Yemen “did not know where they would obtain their next meal,” and that “every ten minutes, a child under five dies of preventable causes.”

As talks about ceasefires in Hodeidah continue, it is important to remember that the lasting security and humanitarian implications of this ongoing conflict may not be reversible. It will take much more than a temporary peace agreement to properly address the resurgence of Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula to the more than two million refugees who fled Yemen during the fighting.

FURTHER READING

Timeline: Yemen’s Slide into Political Crisis and War

Five Reasons the Crisis in Yemen Matters

UNHCR Yemen Refugee Crisis

Yemen: Stranglehold: Coalition and Huthi Obstacles Compound Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis Stranglehold

UN Envoy Confident of Yemen Deal to Prevent Hodeidah Port Violence


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