Yemen suffers deadliest airstrikes since 2019 as crisis worsens – The Organization for World Peace
The crisis in Yemen has proven far from over, with attacks this week by Houthi forces and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government that claimed the highest number of deaths since 2019. On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia said targeted the Yemeni capital of Sanaa with airstrikes. which left at least 20 dead, including civilians, in the deadliest attack in years. The strikes were launched in response to Monday’s attack by Houthi forces on the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Saudi-led coalition, using missiles and drones to hit Abu Dhabi International Airport and a nearby oil facility, killing three people. Another Saudi airstrike on a prison in Saada on Friday left at least 60 people dead, with Reuters reporting three children among the dead.
The attacks are the latest in a series of escalating violence, as fighting resumed on the front lines this month around the northern town of Marib and in the southern province of Shabwa.
In response to Monday’s attacks, US President Joe Biden considered renaming the Houthis, often accused of being supported by Iran, as a terrorist organization, after dropping that designation last January to allow the aid to flow more easily to Yemen. According to Oxfam America’s director of political advocacy, Scott Paul, the move would only make it more difficult for Yemeni civilians to access health care and resources without providing “any useful leverage” over the Houthis. Paul urged the president to reconsider.
Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, said the office is “deeply concerned about the continued escalation of the conflict in Yemen”. UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement condemning the attacks and calling on both sides, reminding “all parties” of their “obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians” and urging both sides to “engage constructively and without preconditions” to “achieve a negotiated comprehensive settlement to end the conflict in Yemen.
This week’s attacks and the intense fighting that preceded them sadly reveal that, despite the toll of the Yemeni people, seven years of war have neither dampened the warmongering of either side nor dispelled the interests of foreign governments.
The fact that this crisis lasted so long is a monument of madness and tragedy. Yemen’s civil war began in 2014 when Houthi rebels, officially the Ansar Allah, captured the capital of Sanaa, with Saudi Arabia and a coalition of neighboring states including the United Arab Emirates intervening in 2015. The main actors have remained the same ever since; the conflict they waged only grew in violence, while the human toll grew ever heavier. Houthi forces have occupied southwestern Yemen since the capture of Sanaa, and both sides have attacked across frontlines, with Saudi airstrikes attacking Houthi-held towns and Houthi missiles and rockets targeting the Saudi territory. Meanwhile, the Saudi-backed coalition has grown tense as the conflicting goals of the internationally recognized Hadi regime and the secessionist Southern Transitional Council have led to small-scale clashes.
Suffering has been the lot of the Yemeni people for seven long years as soldiers continue to fight around them. Famine, disease and economic collapse are the daily reality for millions of Yemenis in what remains one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. According to the International Rescue Committee, 15.6 million Yemenis live in extreme poverty, and despite 54% of Yemenis facing food insecurity, the World Food Program is reducing its food aid due to lack of funding. Unfortunately, none of this affected the dispositions of the warring factions. If not, what level of suffering could?
The international community must find a new approach to ending this conflict, starting with a strong condemnation of the killing of civilians. The coalition airstrikes have been harsh and escalate the conflict, and those with coalition ties, namely the United States, must reconsider how their support enables this violence. It is clear that the anguish of the Yemeni people will not avoid this crisis, so a new approach must be found that targets the will of its main contributors, while providing aid to those in need in Yemen.