Since March 2015, Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war that has cost the lives of more than 10,000 people. Why haven’t we heard about it?
In September 2014, an insurgent group popularly known as the Houthis seized Yemen’s capital of Sana’a. The Hadi government resigned, and the Houthis increased their influence over political matters. In 2015, Houthi fighters seized the presidential compound, dissolved parliament, and formed the Revolutionary Committee to govern the country. Since then, troops loyal to the government and Houthi insurgents have clashed for control of the country, while the Islamic State has urged people to wage war against not only the Houthis, but Shias in general. The conflict has killed over 10,000 people, displaced over 3,000, and it’s only getting worse.
The Houthis are a Shia group, while the Yemeni government is primarily controlled by Sunni Muslims. Iran, a predominantly Shia country, is suspected by Saudi Arabia of supporting the Houthis and providing them with arms. Saudi Arabia, with the quiet help of the United States, leads the government coalition with its Persian Gulf allies to protect its national security. Coalition strikes have destroyed hospitals, markets and residential neighborhoods, and killed large numbers of civilians. On October 8th 2016, a series of airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition killed more than 100 civilians at a funeral, and injured hundreds of others. The US has also recently become an active participant in the conflict, as an American warship recently fired missiles at radar installations in Yemen after Houthi rebels launched two failed missile attacks at an American vessel.
While the media goes into a frenzy because of Russian airstrikes in Syria, the war in Yemen only receives silence. While the United States is advocating for an end to the conflict, it is quietly supporting these acts of violence. For almost two years, Yemen has become the grounds for sectarian violence and proxy wars, and extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS have taken advantage of the chaos as well. Because of the United States’ support of a coalition that kills innocent civilians, the world is blind to a country being torn apart.