Why are We Ignoring the Yemeni Civil War?
As many probably realize, the United States’ Presidential election has been at the forefront of all our media. You’ll turn to the front page of any newspaper and it discusses the President-elect, his search for cabinet members, and anything else that has been disrupted due to his win. It is important but also unfortunate. Over the past year, there have been several world issues that have not been widely discussed and the people of this country have not been informed. This is a huge problem, something I have noticed not only in smaller settings, but also as a U.S. problem. For us to understand the world and the broader implications of what is happening, we each need to take the responsibility of looking at more than just ourselves. I’ll admit, we do not have to put all of the blame on ourselves because the media, to a great extent, has control over what is published to the nation. Agenda setting is a strategic way, in which, politicians, the media, and other sources of information choose what they want published. But why are these platforms not including or hiding certain issues? Why is the election so overpowering when so many others are occurring?
Have you heard of the Yemen Civil War? Could you name one thing about this country? Most Americans could not. I will be completely honest; until very recently I did not even know there was a civil war. Not many people have heard about the Yemen Civil War because American newspapers simply are not covering it. Yemen, bordering Saudi Arabia and Oman, is in the middle of a civil war. The government in power right now is under President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi and Prime Minister Obaid bin Daghr, however, there is internal pressure from the Houthis. The Houthis are a rebel political group named after Hussein Badr al-Din al Houthi who’s aimed for greater autonomy for provinces and eliminate the Sunnis. The Houthis follow Shiite Islam (and are heavily supported by Iran), and so, these two groups are constantly in conflict with one another. Currently, the Houthis control a significant part of the country, and more recently, have established their own government to assert their power.
There have been attempts from the Yemeni Government to resolve these conflicts through peaceful deliberation but this has yet to happen. Several other countries in the region are worried about the impact of the civil war because of the significance of oil shipment in a global setting. International support on this issue, especially because it involves the United States and other countries, adds another layer of conflict. Very recently, a U.S sponsored Saudi-led coalition dropped a 500lb laser guided bomb in attempts to suppress the Houthis who are supported by Iran. The US-Iran relations are shaky to say the least, but if the U.S. is only aiding Saudi Arabia and Yemen for political reasons, does that pose a problem?
From a global perspective, it is, but the impact of civil war in a country does serious damage to the people and the overall makeup of the nation. What really needs to be discussed is the impact the war is having on the civilian population and more specifically, children. According to Aljazeera, more than 7,000 people have been killed and nearly 37,000 injured since March 2015. The BBC reports that as of October 2016, more than 80% of the population is in need of aid. That is not right. Millions of innocent civilians are being displaced by this war, which is resulting in severe hunger, child malnutrition, lack of clean water, and many other violations of basic human rights.
The Middle East has been in the midst of never-ending conflict. The overshadowing of the American election, other world conflicts, and the lack of knowledge people have today are all unfortunate. Yes, those other issues are important in shaping the world, but we cannot ignore these other issues where people are struggling to receive basic human rights. There will always be conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites, but their inability to agree should not be at the expense of innocent civilians. Civil war hurts more than the government.
Perhaps the United States does not want to highlight these issues amidst other problems or maybe the they believe that their actions in supporting Saudi Arabia and the current government would not be well received. Regardless, issues like these need to be argued about because if they are not, the people directly suffering will not receive the attention and help they so desperately need. We should focus on issues like these that will help all of us become well-informed global citizens.