Published:  01:09 AM, 26 December 2017

Saudi Arabia's unwinnable war in Yemen turning into a human catastrophe

Saudi Arabia's unwinnable war in Yemen turning into a human catastrophe

The crisis in Yemen emanated from the intention of a good governance, reform, poverty alleviation, after all for a corruption free, happy and prosperous country for all the Yemenis. In 2011 when the Arab Spring spread throughout the North Africa and Arabia, it came into Yemen as well, but lost its core inspiration, intention and turned into a man-made human tragedy and in this tragedy Saudi Arabia has been playing the role of a rogue neighbor. It has been behind this proxy war for more than three years, with no ending insight. Some observers say Saudi Arabia is getting bogged down here and this war may turn into a Vietnam for the kingdom.

The revolution turned into a bloody war for the Yemenis. The statistics says that this war costs Saudi Arabia for $200 million every day. Over the three years, the fighting has been going on and Houthis still control Sanaa. But there is no sign that Houthi rebels are getting weaker in fighting against Saudi-led coalition because they are in control of Sanaa and got killed Ali Abdullah Saleh who was a poodle in the hand of Saudi Arabia that gets all the terrifyingly advanced weapons from the West such as USA, France, UK, and Canada. Saudi and Iran are the two archrivals who are engaged in many cold wars in the region. Yemen is a rocky mountain and Houthis have been perusing a guerilla war. Saudi-led bombing has repeatedly struck hospitals and food markets.

Abdul Malik al-Houthi is a leader of the Zaidi Shia revolution movement. Al-Houthi's followers are called Houthis. They are against the Saudi Wahhabism but believe in Iranian like revolution. Ali Abdullah Saleh, assassinated by the Houthi rebels, was also a Zaidi Shia. They were his former allies.

He wanted to install his son Ahmed Ali Saleh to the country's supreme military leader at the cost of General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, a Shia himself. So their dispute ended up with many bloody conflicts. So Iran entered into this war helping Houthi rebels. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia entered into this game helping Saleh to spoil the Arab Spring in Yemen or to spoil the takeover of the power by the Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia has left no stone unturned to ward off a Shia revolution in its door step. Strategy is more important than the modern weapons. Houthis are waging guerilla war fare and they are gaining momentum.

Over the three years, the war goes on, neither side is winning. Houthi leaders hailed the killing a victory over treason. They took control of Sanaa in 2015. Saleh angered the Houthis by calling for a dialogue with Saudi Arabia that has intensified blockade surrounding Yemen. Houthis believe Saleh was the last card of Saudis and UAE for the transition period. They consider him a double agent.

All the oil resources go to the Saudi allies who rule Yemen. Saudi Arabia doesn't want to see a Shia government in Yemen. It is the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula. The UN says One Yemeni child is dying in every 10 minutes. Medicines and foods are getting scarce. Analysts says UN humanitarian intervene is needed. Yemen has a tribal-political system. So there is no way that all the Yemenis irrespective of their sectarian rift will be getting united to fight back the Houthi rebels. It seems no military solution to this crisis. Saudi Arabia needs to get out of this quagmire. If this war goes on, more sabotage like the killing of Ali Abdullah Saleh at his own Houthi rebels will happen in the near future.

We can recall here that when Qatar restored diplomatic relation with Iran, Saudi Arabia and its allies got infuriated imposing sanctions on Qatar. As a wealthy and superrich country, Qatar has overcome all the Saudi-led embargos on it.

Qatar totally refused accepting Saudi Hegemony in the region. We also noticed how Saudi Arabia helped sending logistics support to Bahrain, a Sunni monarch but 70% of the populations are Shias, to violently crush the Arab Spring in Bahrain. On the other hand, Yemeni Houthis are poor and Iran has stealthy come to help them. After analysing all the facts and circumstances, we find that the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen could not achieve its goal of overpowering the Houthis.

Saudi Arabia's biggest fear is that its Shia populations, who live in the Eastern Province near Persian Gulf and Southwestern province near the border with Yemen and, 40% of Yemeni Houthi Shias, live in Northern Yemen. And both countries' Shias who may pose a great threat to the Al-Saud Family that sees Shia Muslims as heretical. Saudi Arabia is determined to eliminate any Iran-like revolution in its kingdom. When Arab Spring came to Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shia scholar from Eastern province, was executed to suppress the Shia uprising.

War is a lucrative and pure business like many other businesses. That's why the western big players don't condemn Saudi Arabia for the killing of Yemeni civilians. Like Trump Administration, Obama administration also offered selling of $115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia. Trump visited Riyadh for sealing weapons worth $110 billion immediately, $350 billion over the next 10 years.

He wants jobs and jobs for the Americans. It is reported that France and UK are also giving logistical and intelligent support to Saudi Arabia to bomb on poor Shia Yemenis. Recently in Yemen, 10 women who came to attend a wedding party were killed by Saudi-led bombing. Observers say that Western weapons have been used against civilians. They also say that Trump Administration is aiding war crimes in Yemen by selling its sophisticated war machines.

The war is going on three fronts. The government forces and the Houthi rebels are fighting each other, and Saudi Arabia is bombing and killing the rebels and also innocent civilians. Thanks to the Iranian weapons and advisers and also thanks to the western logistics and advisers who drag this unwinnable war to make a man-made human catastrophe.

The country is on the brink of a civil war. Saudi-led blockade still goes on, that triggered the starvation. UNICEF says four hundred thousand Yemeni children are at risk of starvation. Numerous rounds of UN talks have failed to bring an end to this war. This war has forced millions of people homeless. Various UN agencies say more than 21 million people need humanitarian aid. It seems war is not a solution to this conflict.

The writer, a Bangladeshi  freethinker,is based in Toronto, Canada

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