Socialist Worker

Civilian deaths mount as war in Yemen continues

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2449

A stop the War Coalition protest in Glasgow last Saturday

A stop the War Coalition protest in Glasgow last Saturday (Pic: Josh Brown)

Some 650 civilians are confirmed killed since the Saudi led attack on Yemen began last month. More than 100,000 people have been displaced. United Nations officials say air strikes have hit hospitals, schools, a refugee camp and residential neighbourhoods.

The Saudi monarchy is leading a coalition attempting to dislodge the Houthi militia which forced president Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee the capital, Sana’a. The Houthis are supported by Iran. 

The Saudis are leading the attack because they want to stop the growth of a rival regional power. The Saudi coalition is backed by the US, which is trying to reassert its influence. 

The attack has so far failed in its aims. A promised ground invasion has been delayed and a major coalition partner, Pakistan, has decided not to commit troops.

Ironically for the Saudis, the offensive may strengthen the Houthis. One Sana’a resident told the Daily Telegraph newspaper he would fight alongside the Houthis against the Saudi attack. 

He said, “I am not a Houthi loyalist but I am with them in this war because I believe in the Yemeni proverb—I am against my cousin, but I will be against his enemies.”

Soldiers loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have united with the Houthis in the capital. Hadi fled to the southern port of Aden, but was forced to leave the country. 

Much of the fighting has moved to the southern port of Aden, where 200 people have died in the past two weeks. The city is short of water and power. 


Most troops supporting him disappeared when he left. This allowed the Houthi militias and troops loyal to former president Saleh to advance on the city.

Two months ago there was a peaceful demonstration in Aden calling for the south to be independent. But now rival militias are fighting across they city. 

The US has been providing the Saudis with logistical and intelligence support. But it is now taking a more active role in finding targets and searching vessels that approach the port of Aden. 

It has also provided additional bombs and fuel to aircraft attacking Yemen. The US is also using drone strikes to attack targets in Yemen. 

The British government is supporting the intervention and British-built planes are involved in the attacks. A group of socialist organisations, including the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt, has issued a statement condemning the treatment of Yemen. 

It says, “The revolutionary Marxist organisations signatory to this statement, strongly condemn the various acts of aggression carried out by Houthi militias in alliance with the military, which is still controlled by the former tyrant of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and strongly supported by the Islamic Republic of the mullahs of Iran. 

“These organisations also condemn the recent onslaught perpetuated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its allies in this brutal criminal process and calls for the cessation of hostilities between all the parties involved and the withdrawal of all foreign military presence from Yemen.”

None of the undemocratic, unelected and repressive regimes that back the Saudi offensive will bring any sort of liberation. And nor will the Western forces that back them.

See the full statement from socialists in the region on the Revolutionary Socialists’ website

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.