Yemen is burning and so far 12,000 civilians have been killed in directly targeted attacks. These grim figures do not include victims of the war that have died from starvation and disease, which would arguably push the numbers even higher. Sadly, despite evidence of such widespread suffering in this impoverished land, the global community seems least interested in ending this vicious conflict.
This is despite the fact that heartbreaking images of dying and malnourished children regularly emerge from Yemen; yet the global conscience seems undisturbed. Moreover, the Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting the Iran-supported Houthis to restore Yemen’s government in Sana’a, the capital, has, according to the Acled figures, targeted over 8,000 civilians.
While both sides have committed atrocities, Riyadh’s coalition, backed by the US, UK and other Western states, has bombed markets, weddings and schools primarily through air strikes. But the stalemate continues as the Houthis remain ensconced in the capital, with the Yemeni people paying a huge price for the geopolitical battle being fought in their forsaken country.
The picture is nothing short of devastating. This war has dragged on for far too long and has taken too high a human toll. An entire generation has been destroyed in Yemen and it will take several years to rebuild this shattered country. A long-term ceasefire needs to be immediately declared by the Saudi coalition, to which the Houthis must respond positively.
From there on, external players must support their Yemeni allies in reaching a compromise that paves the way for a government with representation from all of the country’s tribes and sects. Warfare has proved useless and it is only dialogue that can now resolve Yemen’s political problems. Moreover, those states that claim to be the bastions of human rights and democratic values must be asked why they choose to remain silent when arms sold by them end up killing innocent Yemenis.