The Republic of Yemen is a country in the Arabian Peninsula bordered by Saudi Arabia to the North, the Red Sea to the west and Oman to the East. It is a war torn Middle Eastern country which is going through a catastrophe. It is reported to be in the throes of the worst humanitarian disaster in 100 years.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have been bombing Yemen regularly since 2015. A coalition led by Saudi Arabia went to war with the rebel Houthi movement in March 2015 after they took over the Yemeni capital Sanaa.
“This schism has existed for more than 1300 years.”
In the conflict, the Saudis and their mainly Sunni coalition partners are backing the pro-government forces whereas the Shia Houthis are backed by the other major regional power, Iran. The conflict in Yemen has become a proxy war between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. These two powers are involved in a Middle Eastern power struggle.
The Sunni and Shia are two denominations of Islam who hold different views about who should have taken the mantle of leadership after the death of Prophet Muhammad (s). This schism has existed for more than 1300 years. Iran is looked to for leadership by the world Shia population and being the birth place of Islam Saudi Arabia sees itself as leader of Sunni Muslims. About 85 percent of the world’s Muslims are Sunni and around 15 percent are Shia. They both agree on the authenticity of the Quran but have different Hadith collections. The Hadith are the words and actions of Muhammad(s)
The war has resulted in at least 10,000 deaths; half of the casualties were civilians. More than 50,000 people have been wounded. Two million children are suffering from malnutrition and will face health problems in the future such as stunted growth. Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East which has exacerbated due to the civil war.
Four million Yemenis have been displaced so far and Cholera is spreading, with 100,000 people who have been affected by it. Add to this the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic which has left the country’s health system on the brink of collapse. It is a grave situation as 50 percent of the population don’t even have access to clean water.
It is important to note that Yemen needs ongoing support and well wishers should donate regularly and lobby the government to intervene in the Yemeni civil war. Saudi Arabia has been using UK made weapons to bomb Yemen and the Saudi-led coalition has received logistical and intelligence support from the US and France. So these countries also need to be held accountable for this crisis.
The conflict in Yemen has largely been ignored by the media till recently so continue to raise awareness about this disaster. It is the civilians and children who have been hit hardest by the civil war and the humanitarian tragedy.
Please visit uk2yemen.co.uk and donate generously.