Sunday May 22, 2022

Saving Yemen

By Editorial Board
January 23, 2022

The time has come to save Yemen from a war which since 2014 has already killed 233,000 people and left more than 85,000 children in a state of virtual starvation, according to the UN. Unfortunately, this has become more difficult after the escalation in fighting when Houthi rebels in Yemen, who had overturned the Saudi-backed government in Sana'a in 2014, struck three oil tankers and the Abu Dhabi International Airport in the UAE on Monday. The strike killed three people, including a Pakistani national. It is quite obvious to most observers that the strike could not have taken place without support from Iran. The Houthi attack was followed by an assault on Saana by the Saudi-led forces and then between Thursday and Friday a more serious assault on a prison in Sada which left 70 prisoners dead and over 135 injured according to MSF and local reporters. Internet and other communications were also disrupted. The UN has sought an emergency meeting of the UNSC.

The war in Yemen is essentially a proxy battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis had in 2015 set up a coalition, which included the UAE and other countries to combat the Houthi rebels, who have so far been able to retain their hold over Sana'a. The time has come to end a conflict which has claimed far too many lives and left too many people close to starvation and further misery – now moving even away from Yemen and into other countries in the region – as shown by the alarming attack recently. This is dangerous. And the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has only added to the difficulties. It is obvious the war cannot be stopped without intervention by all stakeholders involved, and particularly Saudi Arabia and Iran. The two countries, which have recently shown some signs of an improvement in ties, must sit together and determine how best to bring the fighting to an end. The concerns of all persons must be addressed and the complaints of the mainly Shia Houthi rebels of Saudi intervention in Yemen dealt with. The UN has already called repeatedly for peace in the region, which has suffered now for too many years.

As is the case in all wars, ordinary people are of course the chief victims of the fighting. Reports from the region are somewhat limited, but it is obvious that the latest fighting will lead to an escalation in tensions, and the possibility of further attacks. This must not happen. The war is a futile one, serves no real purpose and has behind it only power agendas. It helps no one. It solves no problems, and indeed only adds to them in so many ways, creating vast unrest and instability in the region. The countries in the region and the rest of the world, including the West, must unite to put an end to this war, set up a stable government in San'a and ensure there is no further fighting so that some normalcy can be restored to Yemen, and the misery of people reduced as quickly as possible.