Why Did Yemen Attack Saudi Arabia

Yemeni Civil War and how it Impacted the Conflict With Saudi Arabia

Yemen has been in a state of civil war since 2014, when the insurgent Houthi movement broke out and began to drive out Yemeni Government forces. The Government of Yemen had been led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi since 2012. Prior to this, Yemen was divided into two countries; the Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen). Since the beginning of the civil war, both sides have accused each other of war crimes and the conflict has led to thousands of civilian casualties.

The war has also been fueled by regional and international politics. The two sides of the conflict are seen as proxies for competing countries in the region. The Houthi rebels are seen as loyal to Iran, while the Government of Yemen is seen as being supported by other Gulf States including Saudi Arabia. This has led to a complicated situation where each side receives support from different regional powers.

The conflict between Yemen and Saudi Arabia can be traced back to the early stages of the civil war. The Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, were seen as a threat to Saudi Arabia’s interests in the region, leading to Saudi Arabia launching airstrikes against the Houthis. This did little to stop the Houthis, and in early 2015, they launched an offensive into Yemeni territory, eventually taking over the capital of Sana’a and other important cities. This prompted Saudi Arabia to launch a second military offensive against the Houthis in an attempt to drive them out of Yemen.

The conflict between the two sides has caused an enormous amount of destruction and suffering for the Yemeni people. According to the United Nations, at least 10,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the conflict, and thousands more have been injured. The devastating Saudi-led airstrikes have caused massive destruction to Yemeni infrastructure and homes. The conflict has also led to a humanitarian crisis, as millions of people are now facing starvation and lack of access to basic necessities.

The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen is seen by some experts as another symptom of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East and the proxy wars between Iran, the Gulf States, and the United States. The United States recently withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, which could further escalate the situation in the Middle East. It is unclear how the conflict in Yemen will play out in the coming months, but it is certain that the suffering of the Yemeni people will continue.

Geopolitical Factors in the Conflict

The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen is part of a larger geopolitical power struggle in the Middle East. This power struggle has been ongoing for decades, and the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen is seen as an attempt by some Arab states to limit Iran’s influence in the region. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States have long viewed Iran as a threat to their security and economic interests in the region.

In addition, the United States has been involved in the region for many years, and the recent withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has exacerbated tensions between the United States and the Gulf States. This has increased the risk of escalation in the region, as both sides continue to arm themselves and press for regional influence. In Yemen, this power struggle has led to a devastating civil war, with both sides arming themselves and launching numerous attacks against each other.

The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen also reflects broader tensions in the Middle East. In Syria, Iran has been backing the Assad regime, while Saudi Arabia and other states have supported the various rebel groups. Similarly, in Iraq, Iran has been supporting various Shiite factions and Saudi Arabia has backed Sunni forces. The conflict in Yemen is just the latest manifestation of this complex geopolitical situation.

Impact of the Conflict on Yemeni Civilians

The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen has had a devastating impact on the Yemeni people. According to some estimates, the conflict has led to the death of more than 10,000 civilians, and millions more are facing food shortages and a lack of access to basic necessities. Many hospitals and schools have been destroyed and millions more have been forced to flee their homes.

The Saudi-led air campaign has been particularly devastating. Saudi airstrikes have targeted hospitals, schools, and other civilian targets, leading to massive destruction of property and civilian casualties. The Saudi-led coalition has also imposed an air and sea blockade on Yemen, which has only worsened the humanitarian crisis, as food and medical supplies have been blocked from reaching the country.

The conflict has also exacerbated the already fragile security situation in Yemen. The country is now divided into several different factions, and numerous militant groups have emerged, leading to lawlessness and instability. The conflict has also led to a breakdown of social structures and a deepening economic crisis, with millions of people now living in poverty.

International Response to the Conflict

The international community has largely condemned the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. The United Nations Security Council has called for an end to the conflict and for a peaceful resolution to the situation. International organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, have warned of a worsening humanitarian crisis in the country. Several countries, including the United States, have also spoken out against the Saudi-led offensive and have called for a de-escalation of the conflict.

Despite these calls, the conflict in Yemen has continued with no end in sight. The Saudi-led coalition has continued its air campaign and imposed a devastating blockade on the country, while the Houthi-led rebels have continued their campaign of violence. The Yemeni people have borne the brunt of the conflict, and millions of them are now facing starvation and other forms of humanitarian crisis.

Role of International Law

The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen has raised questions about the need for greater protection of civilians in the region. International law, particularly the principle of self-defence, is seen as a way of protecting civilians in conflicts, as it prohibits attacks on civilians and other non-combatants. The conflict in Yemen has seen multiple violations of this principle, with the Saudi-led air campaign leading to thousands of civilian deaths and massive destruction of property.

Various human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have sought to hold those responsible for violations of international law accountable. In April 2019, the European Parliament condemned the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen and called on the international community to “take effective measures to end the violations of international humanitarian law” in the country.

Furthermore, legal experts have argued that the conflict in Yemen may be subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. In February 2019, a group of international law specialists sent a letter to the UN Security Council calling for an investigation into violations of international law in Yemen and for the prosecution of those responsible. It remains to be seen what, if any, actions will be taken by the international community.

Implications of the Conflict

The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen has serious implications for the region and beyond. The conflict has already led to thousands of civilian casualties and the risk of further escalation is ever-present. If the conflict is not brought to an end soon, it could lead to further destabilization of the region and have serious political, economic, and social consequences.

In addition, the conflict in Yemen has raised questions about international politics and the ability of the international community to protect civilians in conflict. International law is intended to provide protection to civilians in conflicts, but it is often ignored by powerful states or disregarded entirely. The failure of the international community to bring an end to the conflict in Yemen is an example of this.

Finally, the conflict in Yemen has raised questions about the role of regional powers in the Middle East. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran have been accused of fueling the conflict and using it as a proxy war to gain control over the region. The long-term impacts of these power struggles and proxy wars remain to be seen.

Role of the Media in the Conflict

The ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen has been the subject of much media coverage, with news outlets from around the world covering the conflict and its impacts. The media has had a major role in spreading awareness of the conflict and its toll on innocent civilians. News outlets have routinely reported on the suffering of civilians and have provided an important window into the conflict for those living far away from the violence.

The media has also played an important role in highlighting human rights violations and war crimes in the conflict. Human rights organizations and other international observers have relied heavily on the media for evidence of violations of international law. The media coverage of the conflict has also led to increased pressure on the international community to take action and bring the conflict to an end.

In addition, media outlets have been critical of the role of regional powers in the conflict. They have documented the Saudi-led campaign of airstrikes and have reported on the devastating impacts of the blockade. The media has also highlighted the role of outside actors, such as the United States, in the conflict and has questioned the motives of those involved.


The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Yemen is a complex and devastating conflict that has had a profound impact on the people of Yemen. The conflict has been fueled by geopolitical tensions and proxy wars, and has led to a humanitarian crisis in the country. The international community has called for an end to the conflict, but has failed to take action, as further complications have arisen due to the involvement of regional and international powers. The conflict has also highlighted the need for increased protection of civilians in conflicts, and the role of the media in raising awareness and accountability.

Jose Richard

Jose M. Richard is a journalist and author based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Jose has written extensively on Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region. Jose is passionate about promoting understanding of the region and its people, and his work has been recognised with international awards.

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