The war in Yemen must come to an end, and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates must be held accountable for the destruction they caused, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate said Wednesday.
In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni journalist, wrote that the war has caused massive damage to Yemen’s infrastructure and has left millions on the verge of starvation and famine.
“Why have the Saudis and their allies refused to allow the legitimate government to return to the liberated territories?” Karman wrote. “Why have Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two of the wealthiest countries in the world, allowed this humanitarian crisis to continue?”
Meanwhile, Yemen has been blockaded by land, air and sea, and there have been “massacres against civilians” in markets, refugee camps, hospitals and schools.
“The path to ending the war is clear. First, the United States and other countries must cease arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” Karman wrote.
Neither the UN Security Council nor the western backers of the Saudi-led coalition have questioned the logic behind the conflict, she said.
Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
Tens of thousands of people — including numerous Yemeni civilians — are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has left much of the country’s basic infrastructure in ruins.
The UN currently estimates that around 14 million Yemenis are at risk of famine, and using data provided by the UN, the rights group Save the Children concluded that 85,000 children in Yemen under the age of five have died from hunger.
Karman also said the murder of Jamal Khashoggi could create “global awareness” about Saudi Arabia and bring attention back to the crisis in Yemen.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, the Saudi administration admitted weeks later that he was killed there.
The Nobel laureate also noted that the Houthis “must be compelled to cease their destructive behavior”.