The Conflict in Yemen

The current conflict in Yemen is one of the greatest humanitarian crises of all time. Indeed, it is the most pressing one blighting our modern world. Since its beginning in 2014, at least 100,000 people have been killed and 4 million people displaced. In addition, the devastation of Yemeni agriculture and supply lines has undermined the food security of over 24 million people. This article provides a brief background on the history of the conflict and the attempts that have been made to restore peace. Despite many attempts towards a resolution, the situation in Yemen is currently failing to evolve favorably.

The origins of the Yemen crisis can be traced to a change in government in 2011 from President Ali Abdullah Saleh to President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. This transition left the country with an unstable government and a frustrated body of citizens. The Houthi rebels capitalized on this moment of political unrest, and in 2014 took control over the northern Yemeni city of Sa’dah. After almost a year of military activity, the Houthis took over the capital city of Sana’a in early 2015. As a consequence, President Hadi and his government were forced to flee the country.

What was originally an intra-state conflict spilled over to neighboring nations. In response to Houthi advances, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) formed a coalition aiming to restore the former government of Yemen under President Hadi. Since this time, the conflict between this Coalition and the Houthis has escalated, leading to the deaths and displacement of thousands of innocent civilians. Both groups have utilized missile airstrikes, bombs, arbitrary detentions, and many other violent acts in their military campaigns. It has also been reported that both the Saudi-UAE Coalition and the Houthis use child soldiers. The instability of Yemen has led to the worsening of already poor socioeconomic conditions, leaving 20 million people unable to access adequate nourishment, and 18 million without access to clean water and sanitation.

Various actors have attempted to promote peace agreements between these warring factions in Yemen, including the United Nations and the United States’ Biden administration. The Stockholm Agreement was a peace agreement promoted by the United Nations in December 2018 that called for a ceasefire in Al Hudaydah, a major port city. By keeping this city and port open, the progenitors of this agreement hoped to eliminate further barriers to food and aid deliveries.

Despite this and other attempts at peace, the violence in Yemen has not shown signs of slowing down, and despite the work of many organizations, including UNICEF, the UNHCR, and the World Food Programme, there are still millions of people in need of humanitarian aid. The future of the Yemen conflict is difficult to predict, however, it is clear there is a need for increased international efforts to de-escalate the conflict to ensure the human rights of Yemeni citizens are upheld.


Yemen, The Largest Humanitarian Crisis In The World

In the past, Yemen was a prosperous developing country suffused with economical and societal riches. Yemen’s roots in the development and distribution of internationally admired goods like coffee and gold date back centuries, which served as a reliable foundation for growth across much of its existence. However, over time it became apparent that Yemen’s unique capabilities would not prove to be an efficient protective mechanism against the travesties of humanity’s inner workings. Slowly, due to international involvement and rivaling political parties intervening with the nation’s societal welfare, the peace that Yemenis embraced for many years was beginning to dissolve into a thing of the past.
2015: The Ignition to Civil Turmoil
In 2004, the United States pushed the president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to concentrate on combating a terrorist group known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In response, Yemen’s military force backed by Saudi Arabia launched multiple strikes against a group known as Houthis, who Saleh alleged were creating a dynamic of separatism ,enforcing their religious beliefs on the country’s people and operating in collusion with AQAP. This created a severe rift between the most prominent religious parties in the nation, which established a hostile environment for the state of Yemen and all of its citizens. The trend towards a civil war, indicated by this long standing atmosphere of tension and conflict finally came to a precipice 11 years later. In February of 2015, the Houthi rebellion finally reached the place of power that it desired by forcing Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi (then leader of Yemen, and technically still president of the nation today) and his cabinet to flee to Saudi Arabia, leaving the Houthis essentially in control of the state and all of its facilities. Just a month later, the Saudi Arabian military set the goals of its military intervention to reverse the nation back into the authority of the Hadi government and retain governance over Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Ever since, these two factions have fought relentlessly for control over the nation, which once gave off a lustrous tint of optimism, but after seemingly endless warfare it has been reduced to a pile of debris and a living case study of how a society can collapse under the pressures of greed, religious opposition, and the corruption of foreign affairs.

The Current State of the Humanitarian Crisis
The civil war in Yemen has decreased the living conditions of its people to a terrifying level. With no resolution in sight, Yemeni people are faced with a situation where optimism for a brighter future seems more like an act of dreaming than a mental reflection of reality. In recent weeks, famine conditions caused by blockades on the borders of the nation and massive economic downfall rivaling famous events on global markets like the Great Depression have reached virality in an increased amount of regions around Yemen. It is estimated that nearly 2.3 million children under the age of five in Yemen are projected to suffer from acute malnutrition and could die if they do not receive urgent treatment. Along with mass starvation, the nationwide warfare has resulted in the displacement of approximately 4 million people, and the killing of over 100 000 people since 2015. These numbers give shocking insight into the sheer magnitude of this humanitarian crisis, and with important political figures like the U.S. President Joe Biden recently announcing reductions in international affairs including the civil war in Yemen, it is difficult to perceive a future where Yemeni citizens will be able to go back to the things they love. An individual can only enjoy the level of happiness that their society’s living conditions permits them to, and unfortunately for the Yemeni people, the likelihood of that ever getting back to a point of admiration remains shrouded in mystery.

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