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Yemen’s civil war, and Harper’s complicity

Janahan Ravikumar

September 25, 2015

On March 22, 2015, the Yemeni Civil War began—fuelled by competing powers in the region: Iran and their supporters versus Saudi Arabia and their allies. Since Canada is an ally to Saudi Arabia, the Harper Government has been supplying weapons and diplomatic support to Saudi Arabia's bombing campaign.

For the past six months, Saudi Arabia has been trying to “bring peace” to Yemen by bombing it. For the residents of the city of Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, there is no peace. The people are living in constant fear of the sky, listening for the sounds of fighter jets ready to drop bombs on their homes at a moment’s notice.

The purpose of the bombings are to expel the Houthi rebels, which are supported by Iran, and who took the city last year. Sadly, the apparently daily bombings on the city are “conservative” when compared to the north where Yemen borders Saudi Arabia. Near the border between the two countries, Saudi Arabia is bombing almost everything. Many of the structures being destroyed are civilian targets (like homes and places of work), though the Saudi Government claims otherwise.

In 2013, Yemen was ranked 154 out of 187 nations on the human development index and since the war began, it has dropped even more. The civil war has killed more than 4,500 people and displaced more than a million.

The Saudi government is not helping at all, especially with a blockade around Yemen. The blockade itself is to prevent opposing forces and resources from entering the country but has also stopped the flow of all resources into the country. Before the war, 80 per cent of food and fuel was imported but now nothing is. This has caused 84 per cent of the country’s population, approximately 21 million people, to lose rudimentary life necessities. These people are in desperate need of humanitarian aid, not bombings. 

But that’s all that the Harper government is providing. As well as selling $15 billion in weapons to the Saudi dictatorship, and ignoring its execution of activists, Canada has provided diplomatic support to the bombing campaign. On March 27, Canadian Foreign Affairs Rob Nicholson said that “Canada supports the military actions by Saudi Arabia.” Instead, Canada should stop arming and supporting the Saudi dictatorship, and provide real support for the people of Yemen.

On September 26 join the conferences Rage Against the System, in Vancouver and Toronto.

On September 28 join the anti-war contingent at the federal leaders debate.


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