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December 31, 2017

The Yemen crisis


December 31, 2017

The conflict in Yemen continues to remain a low priority for the global media. This is a war that hit the 1,000-day mark this week. The situation remains grim in Yemen. Most of the country is on the brink of starvation and more than 8,700 people have been killed. As the world celebrated over the Christmas weekend, at least 71 Yemeni citizens were killed in air raids led by the Saudi-led military coalition. Four of the air strikes hit a public protest that was held to protest Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. On Thursday, another 70 civilians were killed in a single day of air raids. This war is continuing to cripple the civilian infrastructure in the country, which has become a battleground for the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. More than 18 million civilians are suffering the consequences of power plays by global powers to keep the conflict afloat. Any efforts to negotiate peace have been futile, mainly due to the fact that no power player seems much interested in peace.

It has been almost two and a half years since Saudi Arabia began aerial bombings inside Yemen. There has been no international condemnation of this direct intervention in what was originally an internal conflict. The fact is that peace is not possible when perpetual war seems to be the preference. Interestingly, this war is being fought by the use of arms supplied by the UK and the US. Common sense dictates that simply crippling the arms supply to the region may just end the insane loss of lives. But then who’s willing to give up the lucrative arms trade for peace? We know lives are cheaper than guns. With the killing of former Yemeni president Saleh a new trigger for internal strife, a whole new set of infighting is likely among the fractured rebel forces. The blockade enforced on Yemen – under the claimed aim of stopping the arms flow – has essentially pushed almost eight million people close to famine. This is in addition to the almost one million impacted by cholera. These are war crimes, which are being committed on a daily basis but somehow the world doesn’t find it important to negotiate peace. The Yemen conflict is another example of the failure of the world community to show humanity to a people in need. As we enter a new year, are we doomed to suffer narrow interests which put the lives of millions at risk?

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