Unlawful detentions, forceful disappearances, and torturing detainees continue in Yemen for the fifth year as well. Yemen, one of the poorest countries of the Arab world is facing a civil war. The war turned a poor country into a humanitarian catastrophe. Thousands of people are being killed in Yemen and millions of Yemenis need our help. They are also affected by cholera and millions of people are at risk of famine. The conflict, therefore, has violated numerous international humanitarian laws.
The civil war in Yemen started in the year 2014 when Houthi insurgents decided to take control of Sana’a which is the largest and the capital city of Yemen. They demanded a new government and lower fuel prices. These failed negotiations resulted in the resignation of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government.
The main threat to Yemen has been its regional countries. The regional powers include gulf state and Iran which is threatening Yemen into the broader Shia-Sunni divide. Saudi Arab along with eight other Sunni majority Arab states had its goal set of defeating Houthis by initiating air campaigns. Its goal was to restore Mr. Hadi’s government and end Iranian influence in Yemen.
In January 2015, the insurgents seized the presidential palace. At the beginning of March 2015, a campaign of airstrikes and economic isolation was held against Houthi insurgents with intelligence support and the U.S. logistical by an alliance of gulf state. This alliance of gulf state was led by Saudi Arabia. Since April 2015, numerous Iranian weapon which was to be shipped to Houthi rebels was intercepted by Saudi Naval blockade. In this situation, Iran decided to send off its naval convoy. It resulted in risking military escalation within the two countries.
In August 2015, alliance ground troops landed to help rebel Houthis and their alliance execute out from the southern port city of Aden in the next few months. There was a temporary accommodation of Mr. Hadi’s government in Aden, but providing security and basic services became a very hard task. The president, Mr. Hadi decided to stay in Saudi Arabia. In September 2015, Hadi revoked his resignation and came back to Aden. The war begins from here. No peace talks could reunite the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels.
In July 2016, the government of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Houthis announced the upbringing of “political council” which would govern some of the northern areas of Yemen and Sana’a. This resulted in a conflict between Houthis and Saleh. Saleh’s forces were defeated in two days and he had to lay his life.
In November 2017, the launch of a ballistic missile towards Riyadh gave rise to tighten blockade of Yemen by Saudi’s alliance. Saudi Arab and its alliance gave its statement that it wanted to stop the smuggling of weapons from Iran because according to them, these weapons were being smuggled to rebel Houthis. This allegation was denied by Tehran. Moreover, due to the restrictions, there was a considerable increase in the prices of fuel and food.
Keeping this civil war aside, the U.S. is continuing counter-terrorism operations in Yemen with the assistance of airstrikes to target Al-Qaeda and the militants associated with it. 35 strikes were held accountable in 2016, whereas around 130 airstrikes were held in 2017. In the year 2017, U.S. special operations force raid, which took place in central Yemen resulted in killing several Yemen civilians, several AQAP-affiliated fighters, and one U.S. service member.
In September 2019, Khurais and Abaqaiq which are the Saudi Arabia’s eastern oil fields were attacked by air. It turned out to destroy half of Saudi Arab’s oil production. A whole of 5% of global oil was destroyed. Although Houthis took the responsibility for this destruction but united states and Saudi Arabia decided to blame the whole of it on Iran.
The united nations hoped that with the end of political settlement, there would be an end to civil war too. But the situation didn’t go well and there was an unexpected rise in hostilities between rebel Houthis and Saudi Arab. There was increased fighting on the front lines, air raids and missile strikes. In April 2020, self-rule was proclaimed in Aden by the southern transitional council. This deal broke the peace deal which was previously signed with the internationally recognized government. It said that it would control the southern province and port city. In the same month, Saudi Arabia declared a unilateral armistice due to corona virus pandemic which got rejected by rebel Houthis. They demanded the lifting of the sea and air blockade in Hudaydah and Sana’a.
The conflict continues but what mainly is affecting are the people who live there. By March 2020, the united nations verified the passing of 7700 civilians. Most of the deaths were caused by airstrikes led by allies of Saudi Arab. According to ACLED in October 2019, it recorded over 100000 deaths. These comprise 12,000 civilians who got killed indirect attacks. Thousands of people died from malnutrition, poor health, and disease. 24 million people which make 80% of Yemen require protection and humanitarian assistance.
According to the United Nations, around 20 million people need help to secure food whereas 10 million people are one step away from famine. Around 2 million children of the total population are malnourished, these 2 million children comprise of 360,000 children who are under five years, which are struggling to survive. Around 20 million people do not have access to healthcare.18 million people do not have access to clean water. There are around 2.2 million suspected cases of the disease ‘cholera’. Around 3.65 million people are becoming homeless due to this war.