Western powers could help conclude the war in Yemen swiftly – instead they’re protracting it for profit

The United States, United Kingdom and France continue to provide weapons for a war that they admit in private moments is morally bankrupt and strategically counterproductive

Borzou Daragahi

22nd February 2020


Among the many dreadful incidents in the Middle East last week was the little-noticed story of a soldier fighting for government forces in Yemen who, upon finding out he wasn’t getting paid, promptly pulled out his gun and shot himself dead in the middle of the Aden headquarters of the First Infantry Brigade.

The death of a young man apparently distraught over his inability to feed his family was a reminder of the misery enveloping Yemen’s non-stop war, one of several grinding conflicts that have turned major stretches of the Middle East and North Africa into landscapes of horror and deprivation.

The greatest tragedy of the five-year war in Yemen may be that of the numerous conflicts in the region it is the most easily resolved, if the international community had the will to rein it in rather than to largely ignore it, or serve as its enabler.

Unlike Syria, Yemen itself holds little interest for either of the world’s superpowers. Unlike Iraq or Libya, it has little oil; it’s merely adjacent to an increasingly unimportant strait through which a tiny fraction of the world’s shipping passes.

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