The United Nations reported that airstrikes on Thursday 6th August by the Saudi-UAE led coalition in Houthi-held al-Jawf governorate in northern Yemen killed at least 9 children. The Health Ministry for the Houthi controlled areas also stated that alongside the deaths, 12 children and women had been injured. This is the 3rd such coalition attack over this last month alone which has had significant child deaths in the country. On July 14th, the UN reported that an air raid in Hajjah province killed 7 children, some as young as 2 years old, while the following day, aid workers reported that an airstrike by the Saudi-UAE led coalition which hit a celebration in Jawf for a new born baby’s circumcision killed at least 10 civilians, including 6 children and 2 women.
The death toll of children killed in this senseless proxy war between America and Britain for political influence in Yemen has reached around 3500 according to UN figures. This does not include the countless numbers who have been injured from the conflict or who have died from starvation, cholera and other preventable causes resulting from this five-year war that has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world in which children have been the primary victims, and where 80% of the country is now in need of humanitarian assistance. It is reported that a child under the age of 5 in Yemen dies every 10 minutes of preventable causes. In June this year, UNICEF stated that 2.4 million children in the country were on the brink of starvation and that 9.58 million children did not have sufficient access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation, putting them at greater risk of death from infection.
Western colonial powers play the world like a chess board, moving their pieces around, and instigating wars between their various agents for political and financial gain, regardless of the human costs, reflective of the conscienceless nature of capitalist colonial foreign policy of Western states. For those who study this conflict beyond its superficialities, it is clear that it is more than a proxy sectarian war between Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states and Iran. It was driven by a desire of the US to gain a political foothold in a country which had been in the grip of British colonial rule and influence for 170 years, including under the British-backed dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. To achieve their goal, the Americans supported their agents amongst the Houthi leadership to gain power over the British-backed Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi government in Sanaa. Then they used their Saudi puppet regime to decimate the country, destroy schools and hospitals, and kill thousands of innocent civilians in “Operation Decisive Storm” in order to create public support and legitimacy for the rule of the Houthis amongst Yemen’s population by presenting them as heroes and defenders of their land against foreign aggression. This was all to re-shape the political landscape of Yemen in the favour of America by securing for its agents a greater slice in the future rule of this strategic and resource-filled land. Meanwhile, the British used their regional puppet, the United Arab Emirates to retain its influence in the country, by waging the true war against the Houthis, and attempting to uproot US influence in South Yemen, by giving its support to the rise to power of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council in Aden.
So here we are, in a colonial proxy war driven by the relentless greed of western colonial governments, and where the death of thousands of Yemen’s children is viewed as acceptable collateral damage and a price worth paying for their political gains. These are governments which not only sought to secure political advantage from the spilling of Muslim blood but have made millions from the trade of arms to the warring parties. And here we are in a conflict in which Muslim regimes and the Houthi movement accept to be used as pawns to fight their Muslim brothers in the service of Anglo-American interests, even though Allah (swt) says: وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَآؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا “And whosoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein forever, and the Wrath of Allah is upon him, and His curse; prepared for him is a grievous torment.” [Al-Nisaa: 93], and the Prophet ﷺ said, «كُلُّ الْمُسْلِمِ عَلَى الْمُسْلِمِ حَرَامٌ دَمُهُ وَمَالُهُ وَعِرْضُهُ» “The blood, wealth and honour of the Muslim are sacred to all Muslims.”
It is a conflict in which no United Nations brokered so-called solution will ever remove the oppression and misery of the Muslims of Yemen, for the UN has proven repeatedly that it is far from being a neutral arbiter in wars, but rather has always served as a US foreign policy tool to secure American interests globally. We see for example, how just last month, the UN removed the Saudi-led coalition from its blacklist of states which have killed and harmed children in conflict. This is despite the fact that according to its own report, coalition operations killed or injured 222 children in Yemen in 2019 alone, and thousands over the duration of the war.
And so the bloodbath of the children of Yemen will continue until the hand of colonialism is severed from this land, and until regimes, movements and leaders in the region which serve the interests of colonial powers are uprooted and replaced with an independent system and leadership which genuinely serves the interests and protects the rights of all under its rule – Sunni and Shia alike – alongside embodying sound solutions to all human problems. Can such a system ever rise from any other source other than the Lord of the Worlds, Allah (swt)? So we call the Muslims of Yemen to see beyond the colonial political games which is ripping their land apart and making it a graveyard for their children. We call you to give your support to the urgent establishment of the Khilafah based upon the method of the Prophethood which alone can bring your living nightmare to an end.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Director of the Women’s Section in The Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir