While there may be other conflicts in the region that are more relevant to the State of Israel, the civil war in Yemen should not go unnoticed. At the end of the day, everything that happens in the Middle East ends up affecting the Jewish State in some way or another. This civil war has turned into a massive humanitarian crisis as well. With over 10,000 killed, close to 3,000,000 displaced and hundreds of thousands affected by cholera, this is now a global problem that can’t be ignored.
So where did this conflict blow up? During the Arab Spring, The people of Yemen witnessed what was going around them. Dictorial and extremely oppressive governments were being toppled and the people decided it was time for a change in their country as well. This was demonstrated in 2012 when power was transferred to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi from former President Al Abdullah Saleh. Unfortunately, this transfer of power did not go smoothly. There was unemployment, food insecurity, suicide bombings, and a separatist movement in the south. This all collided to spark the civil war. On one side were the Houthis, who were a political Shia rebel group comprised of people loyal to former President Saleh. On the other were forces loyal to the new Hadi government. In 2014, the Houthi forces took control of the capital in Sanaa and months later tried to take over the entire country. This dangerous threat forced President Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.
And here we arrive to Saudi Arabia…One of THE power players in all Middle Eastern conflicts. So where did they sit on this complicated conflict happening just on the other side of the fence? They saw it as a very risky situation where Iran could use this Houthi forces to fight another proxy war in the region, but this one right in their own backyard. They reacted by creating an alliance and starting a forceful military campaign. This includes blockading the Yemen port, frequent and deadly air raids and bombings, and reinforcing the Hadi forces throughout the country. Any threat interpreted to be an opportunity for the Iranians, Saudia jumps on very quickly. This is just part of the Middle Eastern dynamic DNA.
The alliance they created was with a handful of other Middle Eastern and EU countries…and of course the U.S. These countries are dealing arms, helping facilitate logistics, and provide decision making intelligence on a daily basis. Some of these relationships go back decades and several are again what makes up the Middle Eastern dynamic DNA. Saudi Arabia is well equipped and well connected to lead their campaign, and all because of the support of these other like-minded countries willing to get involved in a very direct way.
So what does this all mean? Most importantly it means that millions and millions of civilians are caught in the middle of this regional and international argument. 17,000,000 million Yemeni are on the break of famine. 2/3 of the population go without access to clean water. Terrorist organizations like Al Queda and ISIL have seized the opportunity to grab power and increase attacks. Restrictions on aid delivery have been imposed while food and fuel imports have been all but cut off. While several attempts have been made to calm the storm, these have all failed. Without the step back of some of the countries in the alliance and heavy intervention from the rest of the international community, Yemen is heading towards the cliff very fast.