Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Deconstructing the Saudi narrative on the war in Yemen – Responsible Statecraft

Posted by M. C. on January 13, 2022

Recent economic growth in Sana’a raises questions about just who is the main driver of the humanitarian crisis.

The U.S. media continues to echo the Saudi narrative. While AA have committed abuses, the main causes of the humanitarian crisis and instability in Yemen are the Saudi airstrikes, the blockade, and the armed groups competing for power, many of which were established by the Saudis and the UAE.

Written by
Aisha Jumaan

On December 18, Hisham Sharaf, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Ansar-Allah-led government in Sana’a, Yemen, called for U.N.-sponsored negotiations to end the war. Two days later, the Saudi Air Force launched a fresh wave of air raids on Sana’a, targeting the airport and civilian areas. Yet, reports in the U.S. media continue to promote an inaccurate narrative that demonizes Ansar-Allah while portraying the Saudis as seeking peace. 

Most U.S. journalists and government officials refer to the AA-led government in Sana’a as the “Houthi rebels” or the “Iran-backed Houthis,” and portray them as monopolizing control. In fact, the AA-led government reflects a coalition: the Supreme Political Council includes Ansar-Allah and the General People’s Council, which was the political party established by former President Saleh. Although some members of the GPC left the coalition, others remained. The prime minister of the Sana’a government, Abdel-Aziz bin Habtour, is from the south and was appointed by President Hadi to serve as the governor of Aden from late 2014 to 2015. Hisham Sharaf is currently the foreign minister: he served as a minister in multiple governments starting in 2011. Insisting on referring to the government in Sana’a as “Houthi rebels” obscures the role of other groups and conceals the presence of a real government in Sana’a. 

During a recent visit to Yemen in early September, I observed several additional factors that the dominant media narrative on Yemen has overlooked. I spent two months visiting family and overseeing the work of the charity I run, the Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation. The following trends demonstrate that the areas under the control of the AA-led government in Sana’a are attracting citizens and businesses due to their relative security. If Sana’a manages to win the war, it will likely be due to this kind of progress, rather than a military victory. Likewise, the relative weakness of the internationally recognized government (IRG) based in Riyadh, is due mainly to its inability to establish conditions for Yemenis to begin to rebuild their lives, despite the military backing of the Saudi-led coalition.

Rising population of Sana’a

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