It’s difficult to unite Yemen’s multiple political parties, tribal sheikhs, religious leaders, al Qaeda, revolutionary youth, and North and South. It’s also caught in power plays between Shite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Civil war killed over 4,500 people by September 2015 and over a million citizens were displaced from their homes. Saudi-led airstrikes devastated cities, killing over a thousand people by September 2015: “They are targeting the whole population,” reported a survivor of the strikes, age 20, with burns over two-thirds of his body.[i] American weapons were used in the war, including missiles for Saudi fighter jets. Women and children were caught in the crossfire, some women had to marry to protect themselves, others struggled to provide for their families while their husbands were fighting, others were displaced without social services. Yet women were left out of peace negotiations in Yemen and the Middle East: It’s the “male-controlled mentality of Saudi-inspired Salafism that has detached women from participation in building the peaceful Yemeni society.”[ii] Updates and resources are provided in Atiaf Alwazir’s blog “Woman from Yemen.[iii]
[i] Kareem Fahim, “Airstrikes Take Toll on Civilians in Yemen War,” New York Times, September 12, 2015.
[ii] Afouaiz, “The Forgotten Frontline: Women at War Zone: Yemen’s Case,” sanaafouaiz blog, July 9, 2015.