War in Yemen
September 27, 2018 11:04 AM   Subscribe

The United States House of Representatives has introduced a resolution invoking the War Powers Act and directing President Donald Trump to withdraw US support for the ongoing War in Yemen. A similar measure was blocked by the United States Senate last March.
Trump's Dirty War In Yemen.

A Rare Look at Yemen’s War, Where Children Starve and Hospitals Are on Life-Support
UNICEF estimates that nearly 400,000 children in Yemen suffer from severe acute malnutrition and nearly 2 million are chronically malnourished, a condition that causes stunting and physiological and psychosocial delay. The children who do survive will likely feel the health impacts of those delays for the rest of their lives.

At a center supported by the World Health Organization in Bani Mansur, a village outside Sanaa, a 1-year-old Yemeni girl with beautiful eyes and long lashes sat listlessly in her mother’s arms, a feeding tube taped to her cheek.

“When she was born, I was so tired,” said the mother. “That’s why I named her Kafaya — it means ‘enough.’ I have 12 children; I’ve had enough, and we are all exhausted from the conflict. We have had enough of this war.”
The United States (and the United Kingdom and Spain) is backing Saudi Arabian and UAE government-conducted airstikes in Yemen with weapons, cash, aerial refueling, training and targeting information. The conflict started in 2011, when protests against the government of President ʿAlī ʿAbd Allāh Ṣāliḥ, who lost an election / stepped down / was then ousted in 2012. Protests and violence continued and by 2015 had fractured as Houthi separatists / rebels / "tribal extremists" siezed control of the , including Sana'a.
Who Are the Houthis?
The multi-front fight for Yemen—which involves numerous other factions including al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh—is far more complicated than a straightforward sectarian proxy war, Ahmad says.

"It does nobody justice to simplify [the conflict] within sectarian terms," Ahmad told me by phone from London. She argued that Saudi Arabia has had far more influence in Yemen than Iran has, and bristles at the description of the Houthis as a "Shia militia."

"The Houthis are first and foremost a political group," she explained. They belong to the Zaidi sect, whose members make up roughly one-third of Yemen's 25 million people. The Zaidis "are traditionally part and parcel of the Shia sect, but they hold very different beliefs than, say, Shia in Iran," she added.

Unlike Sunnis and Shias, for example, Zaidis believe they have a religious obligation to rise up against unjust rulers. Houthi founder Hussein al-Houthi, who was killed by the Yemeni government in 2004, mixed Zaidi revivalism with anti-imperialism. Hence the "Death to America / Death to Israel" chant, despite the fact that the Houthis, according to Ahmad, are fundamentally a "local group with local grievances."

So just what terms should we be using to discuss the Houthis—and the dramatic splintering of a country they partially control? An edited and condensed transcript of our conversation follows.
In Yemen’s war, Saudis see Hodeida as Iran connection
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates Have a Disastrous Yemen Strategy
Saudi-UAE alliance to open humanitarian corridors in Yemen
Saudi Arabia, Iran and the 'Great Game' in Yemen [2014]
Backed by Iran, Yemen’s Houthi Fighters Flout Saudi Arabia's Might

Yemen's Three Wars
  • The War Against AQ and IS
  • The Regional War
  • The Civil War
Why We Know So Little About the U.S.-Backed War in Yemen - "What the U.N. calls the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” is an unhappy confluence of American media taboos

What US and UK media won't tell you about the war in Yemen
If covered, western news outlets consistently portray the conflict as a proxy war between Iranian-backed Houthi-led militias and Yemenis. But how much attention has been given to the US and the UK, whose billion-dollar weapons sales and military assistance have enabled wealthy Gulf states to wage war against the poorest country in the Middle East?

Or is that Obama's war in Yemen? Yemen: The Graveyard of the Obama Doctrine [2016]
The Saudis’ long-term plan for Yemen also remains unclear. Speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, officials from both the State and Defense Departments questioned how well the Saudis had thought through their war in Yemen, and how skilled they were at executing airstrikes while avoiding unnecessary collateral damage. According to the UN, more than 2,200 civilians have been killed by coalition airstrikes since the beginning of their war in Yemen. Bombs dropped by Saudi coalition planes have hit schools, markets, factories, and hospitals. A CENTCOM spokesperson said that U.S. tankers offload fuel regardless of what a jet’s target is, or whether the mission has been preplanned and extensively vetted. A recent project to track all Saudi airstrikes since the war began estimated that a full third have hit civilian sites. Accused of violating international law in Yemen, the Saudis have blocked efforts at the UN to establish an independent human-rights investigation. When they were listed on a UN annex for killing children in airstrikes, Riyadh threatened to cut funding to the UN.
How the U.S. Is Making the War in Yemen Worse

Is it true that Chaos Will Erupt in the Middle East If U.S. Leaves Yemen?
The War in Yemen and the Making of a Chaos State
What would a future Yemen even look like? In his December report, Chatham House’s Peter Salisbury described the country as having fractured into seven regions: the Houthi-occupied north and west of Yemen, the highland tribal territories of Al Jawf, Mareb and Al Bayda, Taiz, the separatist tribal south, Aden, Hadramawt, and Al Mahra.

The result could be a new sort of federalism for Yemen—a system that Iona Craig said failed in 2014, but now seems to offer the best hope today. Yemen’s future, she said, will have to make space for “some form of autonomy for both people in the South, and probably for the Houthis, who are still going to have to be included in this process. I think it’s very hard to see the genie being put back in the bottle on that one.” Salisbury offered a similar warning. “There is no easy way of transforming Yemen into a functioning, Westphalian model of statehood in the short time frame that many Western and foreign officials may wish for.”

Another problem is the general indifference toward the Yemeni government and those connected with it, Kendall said. “Nobody ... outside the very top elites is keen on having anything to do with any Yemeni government. Where it gets confusing is that people who are high-ranking in the regional leadership are also often involved in the smuggling trade, which has gone nuts over the last couple of years.”
posted by the man of twists and turns (13 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Wonderful post. My parents did a short State Department posting in Yemen after the Cole bombing. They are pretty gutted by what's happened there since. Trump's main shitshow soaks up all the light from other shitshows like this.
posted by jetsetsc at 11:16 AM on September 27, 2018 [5 favorites]

Yemenis in Cairo: A life of despair, by Afrah Nasser, editor of the مجلة صنعاء [Sana'a Review]

Hisham Al-Omeisy freed after five months in Houthi prison. Yemen at Crossroads: An Interview with Activist Hisham Al-Omeisy

Netizen Report: Voices of Yemen’s “Forgotten War” Speak Out, Despite Legal Barriers

Long War Journal: US conducts 6 strikes against Al Qaeda in Yemen - "The United States has conducted a total of 34 strikes in Yemen in 2018, all of which targeted AQAP – barring one strike against the Islamic State in Jan. 2018. At the current tempo, 2018 will not surpass last year’s record high of 131 strikes. It will, however, likely exceed every other year of the air campaign."



Breaking Defense: Mattis Supports Saudi War in Yemen, Rejects Privatizing Afghan Fight

Washington Institute: Reassessing the Civil War in Yemen / إعادة تقييم الحرب الأهلية في اليمن

يهدف مشروع سلام اليمن إلى دعم الأفراد والمنظمات اليمنية التي تعمل على إحداث تغيير إيجابي، ويعمل على النهوض بسياسات أمريكية سلمية وبناءة تجاه اليمن، والدفاع عن حقوق اليمنيين في الشتات، ونشر الوعي حول اليمن في العالم بأسره. : Blog

Jadaliyya: Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (18 September 2018)
Saudi's War On Yemen & The Diplomatic Crisis in the GCC: with Sama'a Al-Hamdani
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:31 AM on September 27, 2018 [5 favorites]

Thank you so much for the post. Lots of stuff. I will keep coming back to this.
posted by stonepharisee at 11:46 AM on September 27, 2018

I curate news from Africa on a very frequent and periodic basis. This has had much impact on the greater Horn of Africa region. There's absolutely no reason for it to continue.
posted by infini at 11:48 AM on September 27, 2018

Fucking hell, what a mess. It's long past time that the ability of American presidents to sustain these undeclared proxy wars was reined in.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:02 PM on September 27, 2018 [9 favorites]

previously: Thana Faroq: The Streets Are Not Empty.
Thana Faroq has been selected to be part of Open Society's Moving Walls 25: Another Way Home
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:14 PM on September 27, 2018

From the UN, 3 days ago:
The figures of the crisis are staggering and near-impossible to grasp: 22.2 million in need of assistance, 8.4 million people severely food insecure, and a further 10 million that could fall under the same category by the end of the year, if action is not urgently taken.“It is bleak”, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council on Friday. “We are losing the fight against famine”. In addition, more than 1.1 million cases of acute watery diarrhoea or cholera have been reported since April 2017.
The scale of this disaster is simply incredible. Utterly criminal.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:47 PM on September 27, 2018 [5 favorites]

Two Radio War Nerd interviews, reposted for free because of Yemen's plight:

The War On Yemen w/Nasser Arrabyee
RWN subscribers asked us to repost our interview with Nasser Arrabyee free and open to the public, because his story—the story of the US-backed Saudi war on his country Yemen, needs to be heard. Nasser spoke to us from his bomb-damaged home in the capital Sanaa, about the world's worst humanitarian crisis — a man-made artificial famine causing over 1 million cholera victims, in a war fully backed and armed by the US and the western powers. A war that the western press corps and human rights community seems remarkably uninterested in reporting. Meanwhile, Yemen's Houthi rebels, based largely in the north and west of the country, have made mincemeat of the Saudis. Nassar explains what the war looks and feels like from inside the killing zone, and why the Houthis have broad-based support...
"Destroying Yemen" & Gulf Clan Wars, with Isa Blumi
By popular demand from our subscribers, we're reposting free for the public our important interview with Isa Blumi on the Yemen war's little-reported deep causes — political, financial, imperialist — and the high-stakes Gulf Clan politics driving the Yemen slaughter. Blumi explains the murky political and strategic rivalries between the major Gulf states — Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE — and how they've bankrolled American political clans and media figures to their advantage. Great deep dive analysis you won't hear anywhere else.
posted by kmt at 2:17 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Remember when something like this would have been front page news for days?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:21 AM on September 28, 2018 [2 favorites]

Surely one lawyer's school years are more important than millions of brown people far away in the murky Middle East so very full of oil.
posted by infini at 9:34 AM on September 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

The result could be a new sort of federalism for Yemen—a system that Iona Craig said failed in 2014, but now seems to offer the best hope today.

This is ignoring the most likely resolution, which is seven de-facto independent states continually warring amongst themselves. Constant bloodshed, constant fluctuations in territory, and massive impoverishment.
posted by happyroach at 10:30 AM on September 28, 2018

Bernie Sanders: We Must Stop Helping Saudi Arabia in Yemen, New York Times Opinion

THE TRAGEDY OF SAUDI ARABIA’S WAR - "Amal Hussain, 7, is wasting away from hunger. The Saudi-led war in Yemen has pushed millions to the brink of starvation." Declan Walsh and Tyler Hicks, New York Times (cw: photos of and discussion about starvation, disease, death)
A few weeks later, when Shaher took ill, Mr. Hajaji was determined to do something. When burning didn’t work, he carried his son down the stony path to a health clinic, which was ill-equipped for the task. Half of Yemen’s health facilities are closed because of the war.

So his family borrowed $16 for the journey to the hospital in Hajjah.

“All the big countries say they are fighting each other in Yemen,” Mr. Hajaji said. “But it feels to us like they are fighting the poor people.”
Why We Are Publishing Haunting Photos of Emaciated Yemeni Children - "The images we have published out of Yemen may be as unsettling as anything we have used before. Here’s why we made the decision to publish them."

This is the front line of Saudi Arabia’s invisible war
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:57 AM on October 26, 2018

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