Humairaa Mayet | 13 April 2019
“Salaam from every child in Yemen who is waiting for your duaa,” began Professor Najeeb Ali Al-Soudi, vice Dean at Al-Ta’iz University in Sana’a, Yemen. He explained that the strife began when the citizens of Yemen grew frustrated with their corrupt government who had ruled the country for over 33 years. Despite Yemen being rich in oil and natural gas, the country severely lacked infrastructure and adequate facilities for education and healthcare.
Following two years of unrest and civilian protest in Yemen, neighbouring Gulf countries intervened. Two distinct groups developed; the Muslim Brotherhood and the Houthi militia. Initially, powerful countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA and Israel supported the Houthis and opposed the Muslim Brotherhood, just as they had done in Egypt and Libya. After only three months of fighting, the Houthis overpowered the Muslim Brotherhood and took Sana’a. The Houthis, a Shia militia, control Yemen even though the Shia population in Yemen is only 2%. In the wake of the Houthi’s victory, Saudi Arabia began supporting Sunni soldiers and spent billions on weaponry, ultimately benefitting the USA and Israel.
World powers are taking advantage of the religious sectarianism present in Yemen and are manipulating the conflict for their own gain. “They destroyed everything,” said Al-Soudi. Saudi Arabia and the UAE want to become regional powers and aim to disadvantage Yemen in order to seize its oil and take control of its ports. Powerful Yemenis who have fled the country, ex-government officials in particular, are exploiting the situation in Yemen, selling essentials at inflated prices and profiting greatly.
Since March 2015, life in Yemen has been forcibly halted- people no longer go to work, university or school. Al-Soudi stated that people live off leaves because they cannot afford food, and the spread of diseases such as measles, cholera and malaria result either in lifelong illness or death. The ongoing war has caused multiple issues such as unemployment, poverty, malnutrition, and worst of all, displacement. People are forced to flee, “abandoning everything to save themselves from war.”
Ultimately, the conflict has turned into a proxy war of mass proportions with the Saudi-backed coalition fighting against the Iranian-backed Houthi militia on Yemeni land, resulting in devastating consequences for the people of Yemen.
Al-Soudi ended off with a heart-wrenching message from a Yemeni child, illustrating the damaging effects war has on all those involved, and specifically the youth.
Prof Al Soudi is a guest of Salaamedia and Salaam Foundation. He is currently on the #Survivor 2019 tour. Follow the progress on www.facebook.com/salaamedia.
Ref: Everest + name (zakat/lillah)
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