The squalid Saudi-led — and Western-backed — war on Yemen continues.
The Saudis are attempting to impose their own man — Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi — on the country. Hadi has little support in Yemen and is currently in exile in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis face a movement led by Houthi militias. The Houthi are a minority strand of Shia Islam, whose heartland is in north Yemen. The Houthis have support from forces loyal to former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Saudis fear that the Houthis are instruments of Shia Iran.
Around 3,000 civilians have died since the Saudis started bombing in March 2015. In the latest outrage four died on Sunday in a Saudi rocket strike which hit a Medecins Sans Frontieres-run hospital.
Despite their formidable military machine Saudi Arabia has been unable to defeat the Houthis, or even remove them from the capital, Sanaa.
The war and naval blockade of Yemen mean that over 20 million people — or over 80% of the population — now need food and other aid. Two million, including 1.3 million children, are considered “acutely malnourished”.
2.5 million people are internally displaced. Very few in the country have access to reliably safe drinking water, and 14 million have no access to basic healthcare. 600 health facilities have stopped functioning due to lack of staff or medicines.
Even before this war began half of Yemen’s population lived under the poverty line, and two thirds of Yemen’s young people were unemployed.
None of the contending forces in this war have progressive intentions. No good can come from this conflict. Those that may gain are al Qaeda and Islamic State, both of which are active and growing.
The Houthis have been accused by Human Rights Watch of political violence against opponents – particularly an Islamist Sunni political movement, Islah — in Sanaa. Islah has received Saudi money in the past. This conflict is an aspect of the hardening sectarian divisions across the Middle East.
The UK should stop providing political and military support for the Saudi regime. The UK government must immediately end arms sales to the Saudis.