Owing to its historic significance, the nuclear deal between six world powers and Iran eclipsed a lot of other important events in the Middle East, including the war in Yemen.
Saudi-led coalition airstrikes killed at least 120 people in what is being called the deadliest strike against civilians since the military offensive began in March. A five-day humanitarian truce was announced hours later, but the dueling sides quickly started accusing each other of breaching the ceasefire on Sunday.
Despite the deteriorating situation in Yemen, the Obama administration has not withdrawn its support of the onslaught, which has killed hundreds and wounded thousands of people.
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The conflict began after Saudi Arabian forces, joined by nine other countries, launched “Operation Decisive Storm” in Yemen on March 26 against Shiite Houthi rebels allegedly supported by the Iranian regime.
Almost immediately, the U.S. announced its backing for the attack by its ally even though it lacked rational, clear courses of action.
Around 1,693 civilians have been killed and 4,000 others wounded since then. According to a June estimate by UNICEF, at least 279 Yemeni children were killed and 402 others injured in 10 weeks of violence.
The conflict has been described as “catastrophic” by the intergovernmental organization, with 80 percent of the population in need of aid.
Although the UN has stated that Saudi airstrikes breach international law, President Barack Obama has not retracted U.S. intelligence and logistical support to the war.
The “why” part of this problem may not be as difficult to answer since the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have been close allies for decades. But digging a little deeper shows an even more complicated picture.
The Obama administration announced support for the operation due to purported fears of growing Iranian influence in Yemen.
But now that the nuclear deal with Tehran has been signed, shouldn’t a change in U.S. foreign policy in Yemen be in order? If not, doesn’t this mean that Iran is still a security threat?
Even if Iran is taken out of the equation, shouldn’t the fact that an illegal military offensive is claiming innocent lives in Yemen be a point of global concern?
The U.S. has waged numerous wars in far-flung areas, especially in the Middle East, in the name of protecting human rights. Following that logic, its silence over the conflict in Yemen is not just baffling – it’s criminal.