The children whose bones are protruding of hunger, the parents who only stare at the floor in front of their questioning and innocent children, a father who speaks with his son’s headless body, and the F16s who are watching these scenes. These are images that can be seen today on social networks about Yemen. Once again, innocent women and children are paying the price for an unwanted war.
Yemen war is serving its fifth month and Saudi-led forces haven’t made significant achievements. Considering the late Saud al-Faisal’s remarks that Yemen would become a swamp for Saudi Arabia, maybe Yemen becomes Saudi’s Vietnam. Nonintervention of countries such as Turkey and Pakistan in this war more than anything shows the foresight of the politicians of the two countries compared to young Saudi authorities. Today, Saudi Arabia is caught in a swamp that it goes down in every day.
The major humanitarian crisis which is unfolding in Yemen has led to protests from human rights organizations and has changed the image of Saudi Arabia in to a country which doesn’t hesitate to murder women and children. But the protests have so far been inconclusive and Yemen is still involved in one of the largest humanitarian crises in history. Before the war, Yemen imported 90 percent of its food which is stopped now by the blockade. Also, 20 million people in Yemen – especially children – are in urgent need of water.
Certainly, this circumstance will have long-term implications for Saudi Arabia. Even if Saudis win this war militarily, they have lost politically. The result of this situation will be the hatred of a generation of Yemenis toward Saudi Arabia.
Perhaps, the main winner of this situation is al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) which is consolidating its power in southern and eastern parts of Yemen.
Undoubtedly, continuation of this situation will cause divisions within Saudi Arabia. Yemen aerial and maritime borders are now under control of Saudis. However, they haven’t been able to restore Hadi and drive out Houthis from areas under their control. If this trend continues, the voice of criticism of the young Muhammad bin Salman will be raised in the kingdom which will lead to tensions within the ruling family.
Finally, human rights organizations should convince the UN Security Council to demand an immediate end to military attacks from all sides and lift the siege to help the people of Yemen; and then help in reaching a political solution to end the crisis in Yemen by holding meetings with participation of all parties.
By Bruce S. Riedel