Yemen: A battle of five armies

Alizay Rizvi, Social Media Manager

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A single piece of bread falls upon the dirt road and three frail creatures race towards it. Their bones can be seen, their skin just barely holding on as they split the small piece of bread. Although fungus covers the bread with its green hide sticking out in parts of it, this is the only sustenance these people will get in the coming months.

This is Yemen, a place where according to the United Nations Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 14.4 million are unable to meet the basic requirements of food (of those 7.6 million are severely food deprived). While everyone focuses on Syria or Iraq, Yemen is crushed beneath Saudi Arabia while backed into the Gulf of Aden.

Yemen is being torn apart by five armies. The first of these five are the Houthi rebels, better known as Ansar Allah. These are Zaydi Shias that are born and raised in Yemen. The founder, Hussein Bader Addian al-Houthi, had originally started this out as a protest to try to get the government to straighten the economy. They then had to gain arms as a means of defense.

The second of these is the Aden separatists who have basically requested that they are separated from the country. They have officially declared their independence. The third group is the Mansur Al-Hadi Group, or rather, the Anti-Houthi group. These are the Sunnis that live in Yemen that want to crush down the rebellion.

The fourth of these are the Saudi’s. Saudi Arabia, majority “Sunni” country is one that is greatly afraid of Iran, and Iran is a very big influence on Ansar Allah. This also includes Al-Qaeda, some of which were granted passage through Saudi Arabia. The Al-Qaeda has seemingly joined forces with Saudi Arabia.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering what we have to do with all this? We are the fifth battalion. All of the weaponry supplied to Saudi Arabia comes from the United States while they fill our pockets with cold hard cash. With all this coming down to one country, it is no wonder that it is falling apart. Thus far only Ansar Allah has requested that Yemen stay together and try to work through this.

Mansur Al-Hadi, Yemen’s former President retreated to Riyadh, where he is receiving “sanctuary”. With Yemen no longer having a leader, Ansar Allah stepped up and announced, Ali Abdullah Saleh as a means to try to keep the country together. However, the war continued and the casualties were beginning to skyrocket.  

Prince Abdullah Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States was asked if they would stop using cluster weapons on Yemen.  His response to this was: “This is like the question, ‘Will you stop beating your wife?’” Just off this response, it is easy to tell that Saudi Arabia simply wishes to crush Yemen beneath its feet. Mr. Saud went on to say that the Kingdom would continue bombing Ansar Allah in Yemen “no matter what it takes.”

Saudi Arabia blames Ansar Allah for all of its problems. “If anyone attacks human lives, and disturbs the border, in whatever region, we’re going to continue hitting them, no matter what,” he said. However, all of the cluster ammunitions that Saudi Arabia has used thus far have been analyzed by humanitarian agencies. Their weaponry has been deemed illegal by several humanitarian groups and has been banned under international law because of the indiscriminate damage they cause. Saudi military capabilities have been criticized as not being sophisticated enough to avoid targeting civilian infrastructure, causing unnecessary loss of life.

Since the wars started 19 months ago, there has been an average of 113 casualties per day. Health facilities reported nearly 6,500 people killed and more than 31,400 injured. Over the same period, more than 848 children were forcibly recruited as child soldiers. Alongside that more than 600 health facilities and 1,600 schools remained closed due to conflict-related damages.

Yemen was always one of the poorest Arab nations, however since the war started its economy has been completely eradicated. With importing shut down, and Yemen heavily reliant on its imports, it is unable to supply the basic needs to its people. The capital of Yemen, Sanaa, has dried up and no longer has fresh water to supply to its own people let alone the rest of the country.

Currently, humanitarian partners are targeting some 13.6 million people for life-saving humanitarian assistance. With 100 international humanitarian partners assisting, they were able to reach 3.5 million people with health assistance, 250,000 people with nutrition support; over 270,000 with shelter and non-food items; more than 360,000 with education support, over 100,000 migrants and refugees were assisted, and an average of 4.5 million people received regular emergency food assistance per month.

However, all of this takes up money, money that neither the people have nor does the government. The United Nations Humanitarian Affairs have appealed for $1.8 billion dollars but so far only 25 percent has been received.

At the rate that Yemen is going, it seems as though it will fall apart and neither the country nor the people will survive. Unable to provide for its basic needs and with only Ansar Allah as their basic fighters for the country, Yemen will be crushed not only by Saudi Arabia but also by the United States.