Britain: Saudi Arabia’s silent partner in Yemen’s civil war

At a hospital in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, 18-month-old Faisal is treated for severe acute malnutrition. His mother braved a two-day journey to take him to the hospital from her village – a trip that would have taken four hours by bus in peace time.

The Independent reports: If you were told that British fighter jets and British bombs were involved in a Middle Eastern war which has left thousands of civilians dead, you could be forgiven for assuming this referred to Iraq, or perhaps the more recent UK aerial campaign extended to Syria.

What is less likely to spring to mind is another, forgotten conflict in the region – a war sponsored by the UK that is rarely talked about. For the past nine months, British-supplied planes and British-made missiles have been part of near-daily air raids in Yemen carried out by a nine-country, Saudi Arabian-led coalition.

In this conveniently hidden campaign, thousands have died. Bombardments by the Saudi coalition accounted for 60 per cent of the 4,493 civilian casualties in the first seven months of this year. Saudi Arabia waded into what began as a domestic political power struggle between the country’s incumbent president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and his predecessor of 33 years’ standing, Ali Abdullah Saleh. The marginalised, predominantly Shia Houthi militiamen, viewed as an Iranian proxy by the Sunni kingdom, joined forces with Saleh’s loyalists in the military to seize swathes of territory over the past 18 months, eventually forcing Hadi into self-imposed exile in Riyadh earlier this year. [Continue reading…]

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