A coalition led by Saudi Arabia has initiated air strikes on Houthi positions in the southern part of Yemen. The airstrikes result from a long line of events, ultimately stemming from the December collapse of the Yemeni Government after being overthrown by Shiite Rebels.
The Iran backed Houthis oppose the rule of Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. After much conflict, the Saudi coalition began air strikes on March 26th.
The air strikes came less than 24 hours after the alliance said that they would be ending the majority of their attacks, but would continue to act as needed. Residents reported at least 12 air strikes occurred on Wednesday alone.
Saudi Arabia stated that its original operation was successful, but a new operation has been launched to combat the Houthi rebels currently in control of the Capital, Sanaa.
After a military base camp near the City of Taiz was seized by Houthi fighters, the Saudi coalition responded with numerous airstrikes amid heavy fighting between the two factions.
There is a serious amount of doubt as to whether the bombings would soon give way to peaceful political negotiations. As with many religiously fueled ‘wars’ the chances of peaceful negotiations are equally slim.
The humanitarian situation in Yemen is growing increasingly worse – some groups going as far as to call is catastrophic. Civilian lift and property have been greatly effected by the actions of both sides, despite the on-going finger pointing.
The International Committee of the Red Cross reported on Wednesday, “The collateral damage done to the civilian life and property by the air strikes as well as the ground fighting is absolutely shocking, particularly in the cities of Sanaa, Aden, Taiz and Marib,” said the group’s Regional Director, Robert Mardini. His comments came after he spent three days on a trip to Yemen.
The rival forces do not seem interested in peaceful negotiations at this point. This is a political problem, as Mardini pointed out, “Political problems that are the foundation of many conflicts that co-exist in Yemen today have not been solved. There is no analysis today to see any sustainable respite in fighting in coming days, we need to prepare ourselves to continue to respond to emergencies”.
The ICRC pleaded with all sides, asking them to allow the distribution of supplies and to respect the laws of war, mainly regarding those that protect civilians. The situation in Sanaa grows increasingly dire, Mardini reported.
“Sanaa has not had any electricity for nine entire days now … No electricity means no water”