Like many nations in the WANA region, Yemen too could not escape the political upheavals amidst Arab uprising and very soon the movement was hijacked by the regional players and local militias and sectarian groups.
Today the Yaman political crisis is marred by large scale conflict and violence across the country and its capital town of Sana is under total control of Houthi rebel forces and the globally recognized government of President Hadi is in exile. The real turn of event in Yemen came after Saudi Arabia along with the UAE and other coalition partners launched operation al-Hazam on March 25, 2015 to dislodge the Houthis- an Iran backed militias-from the capital town of Sana and city of Aden in South and other port cities on Red Sea. Today the death toll has crossed the number of 10,000 and the figure is going up every day due to constant air strike. Yemen’s half of the population is below 18 years of age and so one third of civilians killed in the current war happen to be the children only. On its part, the Houthis too have been targeting the bordering town of Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles and they are accused of using children as shields too.
There have been series of Saudi-led attacks on civilian targets and the most recent one has been the attack of August 9 2018 when Saudi-UAE air strike hit a school bus in Saada killing fifty school children below the age of 15. Again after two weeks, another Saudi-led strike hit a camp for internally displaced people in Ad Durayhimi, a part of Hodiedah governorate in Red Sea zone killing 22 children and four women. It is worth mentioning here that the governorate of Hodeida which is a port town is under the Houthi control since 2014 and is a passage for 70 % of food and logistic imports for the war-ton Yemenis.
Yemen has almost become a failed state in the last six years due to vicious violence and deepening divide among different stakeholders. The Saudi-led operation has failed to bring any stability and today Saudi-led coalition arte reportedly conducting some time hundred strikes a day. The current situation is at UN emergency level where around 21.2 million of total 26 million populations are in need of humanitarian assistance while only 8.8 million have been provided the assistance so far. About three million children and breast-feeding women are mal-nourished and 17 million people are considered food insecure and around eight million Yemeni are just away from the famine. Since the launch of Saudi-led war, every day five children are losing their lives there either by famine or cholera or air strike or murder or medical neglect. The rise of cholera epidemic has made the situation unbearable for the poor masses trapped in the war-torn areas. According to a WHO report; the epidemic has hit the 21 province of total 31 provinces in Yemen Today the humanitarian operation in Yemen is the largest in the world and only in 2018 only; UN aid agencies have assisted more than 8 million people. UN has described today’s Yemen situation as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and has called for an impartial, independent and prompt investigation into the most recent incident of war crime in the country. The global Aid agencies have said that any more attack in port cities would deprive the millions of hungry civilians of a life line. The country is not merely facing the worst humanitarian crisis but security too has become very fragile as the consolidation of Al-Qaeda and other forces like the ISIS have thrown it in complete disarray.
What makes the matter worse is the complete absence of any negotiation process and in recent past there has been no head way and there is complete stalemate. The recent incidents of attacks against the Houthis would, no doubt, undermine the potential of the peace process which was supposed to begin again on 6 September 2018.
Dr. Fazzur Rehman Siddiqui, Strategic Analyst On Middle East