Thursday, April 23, 2015

Note on Yemen

Photo by NAIYF RAHMA/REUTERS via Al Jazeera.
That was weird yesterday. NPR was telling me about how Saudi Arabia had finished its operations in Yemen on the radio, while the Times was claiming online that they'd already started bombing again. Both, as it eventually turned out, were true: KSA continues to insist it has won:
The Saudis say that they stopped their bombing campaign because they had achieved their military objectives, inflicting damage on the Houthis and their allies in the Yemeni army. (BBC)
But it hasn't. The Houthi rebellion or insurgency or whatever it is, backed by ex-president Saleh (more importantly than by Iran), continues to take new territory.  The Saudis have been essentially bombing for attention, from the Yemeni parties and from the US (hurting their feelings by hanging out with Iran all the time; I'm glad to know the Obama administration has been trying to get them to stop). Now they're bombing to suggest that they haven't lost their little war, just as they lost the last one, reserving the "right" to be part of the solution by continuing to be part of the problem. And meanwhile the situation for the suffering people of Yemen just gets worse and worse. In the past month the damage has been catastrophic: 944 have been killed and 3,487 wounded. And
The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that the number of food insecure people in Yemen has increased to 12 million people – a 13 per cent rise since the start of the crisis. Prior to the escalation of the conflict, over 90 per cent of Yemen’s staple food was imported, but the closure of ports and other restrictions on imports have decreased availability.
Fuel has run out in many areas. Where fuel is available, prices have skyrocketed – Oxfam estimates that fuel prices have quadrupled in some locations. Fuel is urgently needed to pump water from the ground and to maintain services at hospitals and other critical facilities facing frequent power outages. (via Global Voices Online)
But you know who's doing fine: the Houthis' and the army's principal enemy, Al Qa'eda in the Arabian Peninsula. If KSA's objective was to encourage AQAP to take over the whole of the south, you could say they were totally successful. Maybe that's what it is.

From BBC News.

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