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The Saudi-Led coalition and the reports of war crimes in Yemen
08. September 2018 at 21:47
“I was one of the first to arrive on the scene, seeking to rescue the wounded; I lifted a body and I found that it was Ahmed’s face. I hugged him, he was my son,” -.Hussein Tayeb. A parent who mourn the gruesome death of his two sons,14-year-old Yusef, 11-year-old Ahmed and nine-year-old Ali after a Saudi airstrike in Dahyan hit a school bus conveying children to school on 9th August, 2018.
"Under the laws of war, parties must do everything feasible to verify that targets are valid military objectives"- Human Rights Watch

From the city of Sana'a to southern Yemen in Aden, both the Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition forces have continued to flay the rules of international engagements as stipulated in varied conventions of war. The resultant effect has been serial cases of humanitarian crisis which have preempted the global community chanting the songs of war crimes against humanity which have gone beyond the terrestrial. The engagement has been both ways, but in a scale of military balance and precise targets, the objectives have been uneven.

The Yemeni Civil war which started since 2015 has no doubt left the imprints of severe devastation and absolute annihilation across boards. With over 21 million persons in need of some kind of aid, 7.6 million people "severely food-insecure", and over 3.4 million children out of school, the situation in Yemen no doubt has reached a catastrophe end.

Sadly, as at December of 2015 records and data of the 6th Report of the Task Force on Population Movement (TFPM) validates a total number of 2,509,062 persons displaced due to the current conflict in Yemen, as compared to 2,305,048 persons in the 5th report (published on 15 October 2015).

Over a million Yemeni citizens have fled their nation through various border line for Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Oman. Without recourse to those who may have died in the process, the war has resulted to untold hardship and absolute famine which now threatens the fate of over 17 million Yemeni citizens.

Sir Stephen Rothwell O'Brien a British politician and diplomat who was the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator in mid February of 2016 once described the situation in Yemen as a "humanitarian catastrophe", This gory description has been aggravated by the gross blockade of humanitarian channel help-line as well as the diversion of aid vessels and materials by the coalition forces.

Peter Maurer a Swiss national and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)" in August of 2015 once compared the situation Yemen to the unholy scenes in Syria. According to him in his assessment, he noted candidly "The images I have from Sana'a and Aden reminds me of what I have seen in Syria," said Maurer. "So Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years."

According to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on June 14, 2015, the Dengue fever outbreak resulted in the death of over 113 persons of which over 4,000 persons suffered serious infections.

Health authorities confirmed distressing data of cholera outbreak which passed the 100, 000 mark of which 798 deaths were recorded as at June 2017.

The situation in Yemen seems to have grown from bad to worse on a geometric scale as citizens continue to suffer untold penury at a gross poverty line, absolute famine and terrible level of disease intolerance.

The warring forces continued to bombed both military and civilian targets which ordinarily contravenes the holy conventions of a war situations.

Both Physical structures and legacy artifact hasn't been spared in this brutal engagement of force and wanton destruction. On a fair scale, a majority of historical and cultural sites which predates the existence of man have been erased and cleansed away from the surface of the earth. With art legacy which dates over 3,000 years, the war hasn't spared any.

Officially known as the Republic of Yemen in 1990, the Arab sovereign state in western Asia at the southern end of the Arabian peninsula is the second largest country in the peninsula with a geographical depths spanning over 527, 970sqkm which approximates 203, 850sqmiles.

Ranked as the poorest of poor in the Middle Eastern region, it is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red sea to the west, Gulf of Aden and Guardafui channel to the south. It geographical affinity stretches bound with the Arabian sea and Oman to the east.

The politically trouble and volatile nation who previously suffered series of unrest, public protest, governmental distrust, and gross abuse of Democratic norms saw the removal of president Ali Abdullah Saleh. According to staunched critics and policy analyst, Saleh's reign saw the Yemini state plunder into severe poverty, gross unemployment hike, inexplicable corrupt practices and absolute state control kleptocracy.

President Saleh's political dead end and obvious water loo came through when he sough to draft a new constitution which favors his presidency for a lifetime. It was this straw that eventually breaks the camel's back, after his ill reforms and negative policy hits a brick-wall.

The transitional process led to the emergence of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who officially got elected on 12th of February 2012, in a supposed one man election. A legitimacy backed by the Gulf cooperation council initiative.

In September 2014, an Islamic religious politically armed group officially known as the Ansar Allah or the Houthi movement protested against the administration of Hadi. A rebel group and Islamic revivalist militant combatant whose operation was presumably backed by a section of the Yemeni armed forces loyal to oust president Saleh whose removal from office in 2011, was a direct effect of the Arab spring uprising.

Subsequently, the Houthi movement having gain considerable advancement seized power from president Hadi, leading to the toppling of a legitimate provisional government after the revivalist captured Sana'a,the seat capital of the Yemeni government.

The Saudi Arabian led intervention launched in Yemen was a direct effect of president Hadi's calls onto the international community in helping Yemen escape through this thin eye of war. According to President Hadi appeal call to the UN security council on 25th March 2015, he enjoined volunteer nations who wish to help manage the situation in Yemen and restore back a legitimize authority to respond by protecting Yemen from the invasion of the Houthi militants and rebels.

Again, at the Arab League summit held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on 28–29 March, Hadi reiterated a call to the international community in supporting the restoration of a constitutionally recognized authority.

The Arab military intervention led to the coalition of nine African nations alongside middle eastern nations who sought to help win this battle of anarchy in Yemen.

With an outright military objectives already in place, the target became all clear for an absolute military advancement and control situation. Supported by the United States and the UK alongside other western allies for the supplies of basic logistics, the Saudi-led coalition forces launched an absolute military ops in Yemen code name-Operation Decisive storm.

In a scale of military advancement, targets, and airstrikes, the coalition has succeeded in striking varied campaigns of the Houthi rebels as well as hitting several targets and locations of loyalist to former president Ali Saleh believed to be backed by Iran.

With so much military prevalence and subsequent attacks on the Houthi militia group, airstrikes targeting list of military objectives gave in to accurate precision largely supplied by the US and British Intel personnel in the command and chain structure of the operations.

The operation was suspended after three weeks and six days, and it end was announced On 21 April 2015. According to the intervention led coalition, the forces having achieved so much in few weeks of her operations, must now shift from an all military approach to a political process in a view to initiating a peace effort needed to regaining legitimacy of authority in Yemen.

This led to the launch of another intervention process under the code name Operation Restore Hope duly launched 22 April 2015 – present

Despite the launch of Operation Restore Hope, the situation in Yemen hasn't cease to aggravate on an everyday scale. Airstrikes and ceaseless ground attacks has continued to shed the blood of innocent Yemeni citizens who ordinary are not part of the conflict. Hospitals, Schools, and Funeral sites has become a place of targets.

Women and Children feared dead on a daily basis as both coalition forces and rebel group flex their strengths to the detriments of vulnerable civilians whose nation has now become a den of gross humanitarian disaster and absolute live abuse.

Yemen from 2011 to present has grown to become a nation where the value of lives and property has no significant insignia. With her Infrastructure damage and humanitarian situation over the years, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is indeed "the largest in the world".

It is to this end a moral call to the western nations including the US, UK and France to as a matter of principle respect international conventions and practices towards the sales of arms and disarmament control, seize the immediate supply of weapons and ammunition to the Saudi forces in Yemen so as to halt the disheartening cases of human rights abuses and civilian deaths which now pass for war crimes against humanity.

This no doubt extends to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman. His position on the conflict must change as it regards the coalition forces. This is no time to mold egocentricity and pride. War has a devastating effect which could hinder the growth of a nation for generations to come, and Pride has no place in reviving same.

The recent attack on a stationary bus in a market in Dahyan, a Houthi rebel-controlled Saada province that killed 51 persons leaves more to be imagined than said. With a total number of 40 deaths, all children out of the 51 persons, the Saudi-Led Coalition forces has indeed lost the very essence of the intervention as regards her military objectives.

Thursday 23rd of August, 2018, another Saudi strike hit the south of the port city of Hudaydah, killing at least 22 children and four women.

The death of these children should ignite a clarion call among world leaders who seek peace in Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition forces must end this airstrikes and unnecessary target zone. This is war against humanity and world leaders must act now before it's too late.

Civilian death casualties:
According to a UN Human Rights Commissioner on 11th September, 2015, out of the 1,527 civilian death recorded between the month of March 26th -June 30th, over 941 cases of civilian death were as a results of airstrikes largely responsible by the coalition forces.

In Statement on the situation in Yemen by Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and armed conflict on 24th August 2015,  at least 402 children have been killed, and more than 606 have been injured. A majority of documented child casualties (73%) were attributed to airstrikes.

In an absolute corroboration to the report by the Human Rights Commissioner on September 11, 2015, the OHCHR reported that out of the 2,615 civilian deaths between the month of March -October 26th, 2015, I,641 deaths has been largely responsible by wanton airstrikes of the coalition forces.

The above was further confirmed by an official report by a UN panel of experts who on Jan. 2016 placed 60% of all deaths and injuries since March 26th, 2015 to an air launched ops.

In a report broadcast by Yemeni Al Masirah TV, over 600 Yemenis was brutally killed in 26 days in December 2017.

Reports from the legal center for rights and developments shows that over 34,072 civilians have been either martyrs or wounded in the over 900 days since the Saudi-Led aggression started in Yemen. According to the statistics as revealed, the number of martyrs have reached over 12,907 citizens, including 2,768 children, and 1,980 women. The data further show the number of wounded as 21,165 citizens, which includes 2,598 children and 2, 149 women.

On an infrastructural scale, the center revealed the destruction of 15 airports, 14 ports, 1,941 roads and bridges, 165 stations and generators, 409 reservoirs and water networks, 372 networks, communications stations and 1,000 and 654 government facilities in various governorates.

According to the Center statistics, the conflicts has resulted in the destruction of 296 hospitals and health facilities, 791 schools and institutes, 114 university facilities, 240 tourist facilities, 103 sports facilities and 26 media facilities in various governorates of the Republic.

The Coalition has  targeted 208 archaeological sites, 1,978 agricultural fields and 232 poultry and livestock farms according to data as collated in September 2017.

Cite This Article As: Dickson Eyinmosan Jnr.. "The Saudi-Led coalition and the reports of war crimes in Yemen ." International Youth Journal, 08. September 2018.

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