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Yemen: A state of Injustice

Hannah King, Contributing Writer

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In the last two years, more than 4,600 civilians have been killed in Yemen, and the United States seems to be complicit.

 

Yemen is currently considered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Not only are civilians being targeted in the war, but the country is also experiencing a famine and cholera outbreak as a direct result of military action. The Saudi-led coalition has blocked any form of aid from entering the country, even though 18.8 million civilians are in desperate need of it. 500,000 people are sick with cholera due to a lack of clean water. 2,000 are already dead. More than half of the hospitals are closed, and a lot of the medical staff have not been paid for almost a year.

 

A coalition of Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, began airstrike campaigns in support of President Hadi, against the Houthis and their ally, former President Saleh. Civil war has raged on since, with no end in sight. Both sides have targeted civilians indiscriminately and have been accused by the UN of committing war crimes. However, Saudi Arabia has been accused of causing most of the civilian deaths in the war.

 

In 2014, Houthi rebels, a group based in northern Yemen that fought the government on and off for a decade, took over Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. At the beginning of 2015, the rebels forced President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee the country.

 

Despite the crisis, the United States continues to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, which are being used to target civilians. This past January, Human Rights Watch found that out of 81 strikes by the Saudi coalition, 23 were carried out by US-made bombs. The United States should stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia because they are used to kill civilians, or the United States should face consequences.

 

Some senators, however, are showing promising actions. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey have committed to blocking arms deals with Saudi Arabia. Senator Warren was a co-sponsor on a resolution in June to block weapon sales, and Senator Markey voted for the resolution.

 

I call on both senators to continue to be leaders in the fight to protect civilian lives in Yemen and speak out against the violence and our complicity in the crimes committed by Saudi Arabia. We need to make arms deals conditional in order to ensure that innocent civilians are not killed in war. It is our civic duty.

 

Hannah King is a junior at Clark University, majoring in Sociology with a minor in Political Science and a concentration in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. She is the co-president of Clark’s STAND: The Student Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities’ chapter and the STAND Massachusetts State Advocacy Lead.

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Yemen: A state of Injustice