Yemen Under Fire

Yemen, a country in the Middle East, is undergoing a crisis for over three years. A civil war that has disrupted the whole country had killed thousands of people and has led millions of its citizens into verge of starvation, pushing the country to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe (Walsh).

Prior to the civil war Yemen, currently the Middle East’s poorest country, was already experiencing problems. According to BBC News, its longtime authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was dealing with jihadists, a movement from the South, unemployment and food insecurity (Yemen Crisis). In an attempt to fix these issues and help create some stability in 2011, Saleh stepped down and Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi took over (Yemen Crisis).

A muslim rebel movement, the Houthi Shia, used this change in power to their advantage by obtaining control of northern Saada province and the surrounding areas. They later took over the capital, Saada, which only lead Mr. Hadi to leave his native country (Yemen Crisis).

This issue only worsened when Saudi Arabia began attacking the Houthis via air strikes, for they wanted to restore Mr. Hadi’s government which they feared. Since Saudi Arabia is mainly a Sunni majority, they feared the possible power depose of the Shia-majority of the Houthis (Yemen Crisis).

The rivalry between the Sunni and Shia has been going on for years due to the difference within their respective religions. The majority of Muslims are Sunni and have been competing for leadership. This issue still continues, hence the civil war in Yemen (Sunnis and Shia).

In “the forgotten war”, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states are being supported by the United States, United Kingdom and France (Yemen Crisis). The New Yorker even states that the US and Great Britain has supported the war by selling Saudi Arabia weapons (Niarchos). A group of the US Special forces are even stationed at the south of the country combating Al Qaeda. Without this assistance the Saudis would have had difficulty fighting, making the US and the other countries just as responsible for this fight. Within the US, the legislators have questioned if supporting the Saudis was the right move but Donald Trump’s Administration has yet to question anything (Niarchos).

In December 2018 an international cease-fire was declared in the Yemen port of Hudaydah in Sweden (Decalan). The truce started off shaky for the first hours it came to effect fighting occurred, but later died off (Decalan). This agreement is to assist to end the war but due to the lack of international support, there is some instability in the security of the country. In order to ensure the plan will ensue, a United Nations-led committee will supervise the withdrawal of the Sweden troops. Hopefully with this movement a resolution will be create peace within Yemen.

On December 13th, Senate voted against on the military support to the alliance with Saudi Arabia (Declan). With this attempt at a resolution becomes as a warning sign to President Trump, who is a Saudi ally, that the Yemen policy he created is under inspection.

Due to the catastrophic famine and the millions of displaced citizens, Yemen has been  a topic of interest of the UN. As well disturbing photos of the children suffering in said famine have come to light and has brought the issue to the public’s eye. Politically by Senate voting against supporting the Saudi’s was the government’s attempt to respond to the crisis, for President Trump has been blamed for the the death of Jamal Khashoggi (Declan). Khashoggi, was a Saudi objector of official policy, and his death caused hostility, especially at the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Although this cease-fire is intended to decrease hostility, there is a greater likelihood that it will worsen. In previous times a cease-fire was issued, more fighting ensued and with greater casualties (Declan). Now the main task is to make the word of cease-fire into a reality.




Works Cited

Niarchos , Nicolas. “How the U.S. Is Making the War in Yemen Worse.” The New Yorker, 22 Jan. 2018,

“Sunnis and Shia: Islam’s Ancient Schism .” BBC News, 4 Jan. 2016,

Walsh, Declan. “Yemen Cease-Fire Takes Effect: Why Now and What’s Next.” The New York Times, 18 Dec. 2018,

“Yemen Crisis: Why Is There a War?” BBC News, 18 Dec. 2018,