It’s almost hard to believe that there was a time when words like “ISIS,” and “airstrike,” and “crisis,” weren’t a part of our everyday vocabulary. With so much turmoil happening across the Middle East, it is hard to know which direction to focus on and some countries have been lost in the shuffle.
On Monday, September 28th, the wedding reception of a known Houthi associate in Yemen was bombed during an air strike, killing 131 people. While the world has turned its eyes to Syria and the Pope’s world tour, the death toll in Yemen has continued to rise. The United Nations has estimated that more than 4,500 people have been killed since the air strikes began in March, with 2,355 of those being civilians.
Despite the growing tension and the mounting casualties, the situation in Yemen has remained largely out of the press. BBC News is calling the conflict, “The Forgotten War.”
The situation in Yemen has been growing steadily since last fall when Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Hadi was forced to flee the capital of Sanaa. In the last few years, the Zaidi Shia rebels, nicknamed “Houthis” in honor of their former leader, have grown in numbers and in popularity. Their successful removal of President Hadi ushered in a new era of conflict for the Arabian Gulf nation that would come to a head when Saudi forces began a series of anti-rebel air strikes at the end of March.
What no one could have predicted was the scale to which conflict in Yemen would grow. In defense of President Hadi’s “legitimate government,” Saudi Arabia has joined with Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, and four Gulf Arab nations to form a U.N. backed coalition to drive out the rebels. Air strikes using US and U.K. technology and weaponry have been steadily employed since March and although some progress has been made, the Houthi rebels remain in control over some key parts of Yemen.
The U.N. and the Saudi government aren’t the only ones who want the Houthi out. Islamic tribal leaders Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) are against the Houthi rebellion, but they aren’t necessarily in favor of President Hadi either. Considered by the US as the most dangerous branch of Al-Qaeda, AQAP is holding their ground in Yemen and around other Gulf States. Their biggest threat right now lies in the newly formed Yemeni branch of Islamic State. After making its way through the Middle east, IS leaders have turned their eyes to places like Libya, Egypt, and now, Yemen. Situated on the Bab al-Mandab Strait, one of the world’s primary passages for the shipment of oil, Yemen seems like a huge prize for whichever party can take it.
Despite their desire to eradicate AQAP, IS, Houthi, and other extremist groups, some of U.N. officials are concerned about the extreme loss of life and the humanitarian disaster that is already at hand. A representative for the International Committee of the Red Cross observed the changes the conflict has caused and said, “Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years.” Of the 26.7 million residing in Europe, it is estimated that around 21 million of those individuals require some type of humanitarian aid. Millions are being displaced and the constant air strikes and ground fighting are making it difficult for Yemen, who imports most if its food, to access supplies needed. As the air strikes continue, more and more civilians are wounded. Those who cannot access proper medical care and supplies often do not survive. Many disagree with the air strikes, saying that the “attacks on civilian infrastructure are violations of the laws of war.
Peace talks to end the conflict will begin in Geneva at the end of October, but the end of conflict never comes easily.
The current conflict in Yemen is just one of the many conflicts happening in our world today. As you watch the news and struggle to wrap your mind around what is happening across the Middle East, you may find yourself asking things like,
“What is going on over there?”
“Is the conflict ever going to end?”
“What am I supposed to do about it?’
“Does the Bible have anything to say about all this turmoil?”
“Where is God in the midst of all this suffering?”
“Isn’t He going to do something about it?”
If you want answers to these questions and many more, we invite you to check out End-Times Wars by Dr. Ed. Hindson. In this book, he digs into Biblical prophecy concerning the wars to come and reminds readers that we can have hope because God is in control.
This and other resources are available in our resource materials and can be purchased separately or as a bundle.
Click here to find out more and get your copy today!