Yemen Crisis Explained

            Yemen Humanitarian Crisis - YouTube

There is a lot going on about the Yemen Crisis from 5 years and now the problem has even got worse with Covid-19. Yemen was once the heart of Ancient Arabia but then became one of the poorest countries in the world. Yemen is located at the edge of Arabian Peninsula and forms a BAB AL MANDAB- a narrow water way from which most of the oil of the world passes. So, who controls Yemen can control the oil around the world.


There are many groups and people responsible for the crises and the first one is Ali Abdullah Saleh who was President of Yemen for 20 years since 1990. Yemenis rose against Saleh because they were unhappy with him but they couldn’t remove him from his position. This is where the next player comes into the picture and that is Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the most influential member of a club of countries known as the Gulf Cooperation Council(GCC) and it was GCC that forced Saleh out. The GCC’s deal helped install a new government in Yemen and the former VP, ABD-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, became the President of Yemen. However, Yemen continued to suffer even under the leadership of Hadi. The people felt that the initiatives that were taken after the revolution brokered by Gulf powers who simply appeared to return the same old elites to power.


So, by 2014 some the Yemenis began to lose patience and one of the groups was the Houthis, who are another major group in this  war. The Houthis are the Shia Muslim community form Nothern Yemen. They feel that they have been marginalised and therefore often revolt against the government. The Houthis and Saleh both felt that they were sidelined by the GCC’s plan for Yemen’s new government and hence they both joined hands. The Houthis with some of the Saleh’s alliances in the Yemen military took over the capital of Yemen-Sanaa in 2014. Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia and then Saudis formed a coalition with several other countries to return their man Hadi to the power. 


As a result, Saudi intervened and started attacking the capital of Yemen to remove the Houthis. There were many air strikes and Saudis claim that they were attacking enemies, however many civilians were also injured and killed during these attacks. This brings us to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. In this war, it's not just the fighting that is causing all the suffering. Even aid is being used as a weapon. In 2015, the Saudi led coalition created a land, sea and air barrier around Yemen making it impossible for Yemen to receive any aid or supplies. The Houthis are also blamed for blocking, destroying or taking aid. The twist in the story comes when the Houthis and Saleh broke their alliance in 2017. Saleh switched sides and wanted to talk to the coalition but the Houthis killed him.


The Houthis are still controlling the capital of Yemen Sanaa and the Saudis think that they are getting help from Iran. Iran has been denying any help but Saudis insist that they are helping the Houthis as Iran’s major community is Shia. Recently, Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities were attacked and the Houthis claim that they were behind this attack . However, the weapons were proved to be Iranian.


Yemen is now in a desperate need of aid. The food is not sufficient, cholera cases are on a rise and with the world stopping due to Covid-19, the situation has gotten worse. In a country of 29 million people, the US says that 24 million people depend on some kind of humanitarian aid. Now, only diplomacy can put an end to this nightmare.


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