What if there was a war taking place in the world that did not receive news coverage because of the staggering civilian casualties? How would something like this make you feel? Well, I know how it would make me feel: pissed off. Also, what if your own country’s government was partly to blame for the drastic collateral damage? Would you do some research and look into the conflict to determine how responsible your country is? That is exactly what I did and I must admit I am extremely disgusted with this ongoing war. The war I am talking about is the Yemeni war. Most people know nothing about the conflict in Yemen because of the immense news coverage on the wars in Syria and Iraq; however, my goal is to shed some light on the secret war along with the brutality that has taken place within the Middle Eastern territory.
The war in Yemen began when Houthi rebels and allied forces loyal to the former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh advanced far into the country’s south. This led to the current president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi fleeing the country and taking refuge in Saudi Arabia, whom began to conduct airstrikes within Yemen in hopes of reinstating Mansour Hadi. Eventually, and quite frankly not a surprise, the US government started to support their longtime ally Saudi Arabia in the conflict. In the last year, US tankers have given 28 million pounds of fuel to the Saudi Arabia’s planes, and since 2010, the US has sold the kingdom over 100 million dollars worth of arms. Some have even suggested the US is regularly operating armed drones in Yemen. An investigative journalist with the airstrike tracking website, Airwars has said it is no secret the US is operating drones within the country especially after the Houthi rebels forced the government to seek refuge in Saudi Arabia.
Now that I have tackled the history of the Yemeni war and talked about the involvement of Saudi Arabia along with the US in the region, I must address the ridiculous amount of collateral damage that has occurred since the Saudis intervened. Remember, collateral damage is just another term for civilian casualties. News sources outside of the mainstream news have highlighted the enormous amount of civilian casualties reported out of Yemen; this was further documented in a recent coalition airstrike on a market in northwest Yemen. The UN confirmed the Saudi-led airstrike campaign killed 100 civilians, including 24 children when the marketplace was bombarded with bombs. Furthermore, 10 bodies were reportedly burned beyond recognition. Collateral damage at this level is without a doubt prohibited under international law and could possibly constitute a war crime. Since Saudi Arabia intervened on March 26th, there have been anywhere between 2600-3200 civilian casualties in Yemen; 60% of which were caused by the coalition airstrikes with the other 40% coming from the Houthi rebels.
So, why has there been so many civilian casualties in Yemen? Some of it can be attributed to the Houthi rebels using migrants as human shields, but some have said there are fewer safeguards with the airstrikes being conducted in Yemen. This is a result from US forces being compelled to leave the region, leading to the airstrikes being even less accurate, thus leading to an increased number of civilian casualties. I can understand that the war in Yemen has become worse over the past year, but US forces are there to make sure civilian casualties do not occur along with scaling back the influence of the Houthi rebels. Basically, the US pulled their forces out of the Middle Eastern country to save themselves, leaving thousands of civilians more susceptible to being killed by airstrikes. A development like this makes me extremely angry because innocent people within Yemen are being killed for no reason. The Yemen intervention has largely failed. Supposedly, after the attack on the marketplace, Saudi Arabia claimed they would decrease their military operations in the country since they really have not achieved their goals within a year of bombing the country. This goes to show, just like in Iraq and Syria, wars cannot be solved simply by bombing the country into oblivion especially when more civilians are being killed than rebels.
Contributed by R.A.