U.S. Support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen

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Saudi troops in Yemen 

 

 

By GARRET FRAIRE

The U.S. has been supporting Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen since the war began in 2015.

The Yemen civil war started in 2015 when the Houthis seized large parts of Yemen. The Houthis are a Zaidi (Shia sect) religious group who feel oppressed in the majority Sunni country. The Houthis have been fighting an insurgency against the Yemeni government

Since 2004. Fighting stopped temporarily after the government was overthrown in the 2011 Yemeni revolution. The Houthis supported the revolution but still found themselves dissatisfied with the new government installed after the revolution. The Houthis launched a full scale rebellion in 2015 when the government raised gas prices.  The Houthis seized almost half the country including the capital of Sana’a .

Saudi Arabia has been involved in the conflict since the insurgency started in 2004. Saudi Arabia is a major Sunni power in the Middle East and hates the idea of having a Shia government at its borders. However Saudi involvement was limited during the early 2000’s.  When the war began in 2015, Saudi Arabia launched a full scale intervention along with Bahrain, Kuwait, the U.A.E., Senegal, Morocco, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, and Sudan. The coalition began an intense bombing campaign killing 1,527 civilians in the opening months in the intervention. 70 hospitals were deliberately, targeted and destroyed. The UN has accused saudi Arabia of having “complete disregard for human life” (washington post)

Since the intervention began in 2015, the U.S. has been supporting the coalition. Under presidents Obama the U.S. provided various logistical and intelligence support including refueling Saudi aircraft mid-air so they can  fly longer bombing runs. Under President Trump support has been slightly increased. In 2017, Trump made a 110 billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia. U.S. bombs, used by the coalition, have killed civilians in Yemen. The most notorious being the U.S. made bomb that struck a school bus in August killing 51.

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