A coalition of forces led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), carried out an airstrike on Yemen on January 21st. confirmedAt least 87 people were killed. As many as 266 were also wounded in the strike, which targeted a detention center in the northern city of Sa’ada that reportedly housed African migrants. FragmentsThe bombs had a unique manufacturing number for Raytheon (one of the largest U.S. weapon contractors). The coalition was also attacked on the same day. bombedA telecommunications building was destroyed in Hodeidah. This is a vital port city that has seen many major battles during the conflict. That strike caused a nationwide internet outage that lasted for days, resulting in delays to the limited humanitarian relief that’s allowed into the country.
“I’m still trying to process that 24 hours ago, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates disabled an entire country’s internet service while committing various massacres around Yemen and this isn’t top news everywhere,” tweetedShireen Al-Adeimi is an assistant professor at Michigan State. She was born in Yemen.
The strike on the prison was one of the deadliest in recent years, but is largely in keeping with the Saudi-UAE coalition’s tactics since the beginning of the war, which will soon enter its eighth year. Famine, sickness, instability and death have all been a result of the conflict in the Middle East’s poorest nation. entire world. Houthi greeted the recent prison strike. attackAbu Dhabi, capital of UAE. In those attacks, three people were killed and six others were injured. The Houthis have controlled the capital, Sana’a, since 2014, and are opposed by Saudi Arabia and UAE. In a statement, U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken condemned Houthi attacks. declined to commentTo The New York TimesWhen asked about the strike that killed the detention center.
The war is almost entirely absent from U.S. mainstream media headlines, despite the U.S.’s evolving role in the conflict since its inception, and its increasingly direct involvement in hostilities. The U.S. Air Force will be flying Monday. intervenedTo stop a second Houthi air strike on UAE, the second in less than a week. Houthi forces have regularly attacked Saudi targets over the course of the war, but they typically haven’t struck inside UAE until recently.
The war in Yemen is often referred to in U.S media as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and UAE and Iran, with the Houthi movement. While Iran supports the Houthis, it is true that their movement started in northern Yemen as a response against corruption and heavy-handed governing by Ali Abdullah Saleh. In 2012, during the Arab Revolutions he was defeated and replaced by the inept Vice President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. In 2014, the Houthis took control of the capital, Sana’a, and Hadi fled the country the following year, which was also when Saudi Arabia and the UAE began their bombing campaigns. Hadi has been internationally recognized as the president since then, but he is still largely considered to be controlled by Saudi Arabia in Yemen and the wider region.
They are not the only ones involved in the conflict. The southern separatists were also initially seeking to reestablish South Carolina as its own country, just as it was before 1990’s unification. They rescinded that demand as part of peace negotiations in 2020, but the power-sharing framework known as the Riyadh Agreement hasn’t been fully implemented. The UAE has supported the southern movement to shore up its own access to the area’s natural resources and ports, which has caused tensions with Saudi Arabia, which sees southern independence as a challenge to Hadi and what’s referred to as the legitimate government.
This multifaceted conflict between local movements and their international supporters, which includes the United States, is one of the most complex conflicts in the world. “Ensuring peace in Yemen necessitates redressing the current balance of power between the Houthi movement and the various forces ranged against it by pressing the former to negotiate a settlement,” writes Hussam Radman in a new report from the Sana’a Center focusing on Saudi’s role in southern Yemen. The paper recommends implementing the Riyadh Agreement, with the hope that the “Houthis could be encouraged to soften their stance if an agreement succeeds in addressing corrupt practices and political patronage that opposition groups see in Hadi’s government.”
Yemenis are living in extreme poverty and facing economic uncertainty for at least 15.6 million. Inflation is a major problem in the south, and not just as a result of conflict, but also as a tool for war and control. factionsRivalries for control over the central bank Recent reportThe Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures at University of Denver discovered that Yemen had lost $126 billion in potential economic development over the course of the conflict.
In his first major foreign-policy speech, President Joe Biden pledged to end the conflict. He did not cut off some supportFor the Saudi-led coalition in Feb 2021, breaking with two previous U.S. administrations. The United States had previously provided intelligence and refuelling support to Saudi and UAE air power. This ended under Biden.
Despite these pledges, Biden authorized a $650 million massive weapon purchase sale to Saudi Arabia last November. The administration justified the sale on the grounds that the air-to-air missiles are categorized as “defensive weapons,” an absurd pretext that falls apartEven the smallest scrutiny. Even one of the conflict’s most ardent critics in Congress, Sen. Chris Murphy, joined in the administration’s circular logic.
Biden is reportedly considering redesignating Houthis as a “foreign terrorist organization,” following their attacks on the UAE. This decision could have been made in the UAE. disastrous effects on the civilian population, as humanitarian organizations often cease providing aid that could be seen as supporting a State Department-designated “terrorist” group. The idea was strongly criticized by Matt Duss (Senator Bernie Sanders’ foreign policy adviser). “There’s little evidence that these designations do anything to produce better outcomes,” Duss tweeted. “They’re just a way to appease DC hawks, hobbling US diplomacy and constraining non-military options in the process.”
Unfortunately, for all of Biden’s talk about ending the war and isolating Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his administration has done exactly the opposite. Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor met with bin Salman in September, ostensibly to discuss human rights and to further peace in Yemen, but the administration has maintained the status quo regarding Saudi Arabia, bin Salman and the coalition’s posture toward Yemen.
The United States doesn’t have the capacity or the right to dictate the specific outlines of a durable peace in Yemen, but it has helped to prolong the conflict by disingenuously taking one side even as it pretends to be an honest broker for peace. That’s been true for the prior two administrations, and is true for Biden’s as well.