Tag Archives: Terrorism

Crisis in Yemen… Story by Isaac Solly

For the past three years, Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war that ties into the regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In the midst of the conflict, millions of civilians are at risk of famine and disease. The US is supporting this violence, and has largely ignored the human cost of giving help to Saudi Arabia. Coverage of the crisis in the US has also been lacking—both the media and president have stayed clear of the topic. So what is the conflict in Yemen, and why is the US involved?

Divided country… The current front lines of the Yemen conflict show Houthi rebels in control of populous areas. Source: BBC
Divided country… The current front lines of the Yemen conflict show Houthi rebels in control of populous areas. Source: BBC

In 2014, Houthi rebels rose up in northern Yemen due to religious strife and discontentment with elections. They were able to take the capital Sana’a and much of the populated land in the western parts of Yemen. Government forces under President Sadi were initially routed with the president himself being forced to flee the country—however, they eventually retook the port city of Aden, where the government is based now.

Houthi rebels are largely reported to be supplied and supported by Iran. This concerns Saudi Arabia and their allies, as the two countries fight for influence across the Middle East. In 2015, they began a bombing campaign to prop up the Sadi government and harm the Houthi rebels. While fighting up to this point had still been bloody, the bombings led to a new level of casualties. Upwards of 60% of the 50,000+ casualties are from the air strikes, including many civilians. This effort is supported by US intelligence because of the alliance with Saudi Arabia—as a result, the US is aiding the murder of civilians.

Media coverage on this conflict and specifically on US involvement has been limited at best. The government has very little to say regarding the conflict, but refuses to condemn Saudi actions. This isn’t a partisan issue—both Obama and Trump have had the same response. However, the crisis has reached a breaking point, and Yemen is now on the verge of famine.

Pic 2 Yemen
Displacement and Dispair… Over 3 million people are internally displaced, and 11 million children are at risk of famine. Source: UNICEF

Yemen imports about 90% of its food, and what food does remain inside of the country is exorbitantly priced. The Saudi bombings have damaged the infrastructure in the country to the point where getting supplies to those who need them is extremely difficult. Also, there is a Saudi blockade of all ships going to Houthi-controlled ports. In one recent case, a United Nations (UN) ship was held for weeks trying to get humanitarian aid and medical supplies into a port. Currently, 17 million of the 27 million people living in Yemen are food insecure. There is a chorea outbreak as well that affects over 600,00, and also severe malnutrition among 400,000 children.

These statistics show more than simple internal strife. There is a potential famine called the worst in modern history by the UN. Not only is the US refusing to speak out against the war, but it actively supports Saudi Arabia. None of this is to say that Houthis are free of blame, as they also have indiscriminately shelled population areas, but the current issue is from devastating bombing that does not let any relief come in for the population of Yemen. The media’s refusal to cover this is truly dangerous, and even if the government refuses to speak, more should be aware of the crisis. Governments should have a moral responsibility to put life ahead of politics, something which the US has certainly not done.

 

What Really Happened?… Article by Mack Jastle

What Really Happnened? Story by Mack Jastle

In light of the recent memorial service held for the victims of the Paris terror attacks that took place two weeks ago, I think that now is as good a time as any to look back on the attacks and what they mean for the world at large.

First, an overview of the attacks.

On November 13, 2015, in a nearly simultaneous attack involving three teams of extremists, Paris was hit by multiple attacks, shootings, and suicide bombings leaving 130 dead and hundreds injured.  It was the worst terror attack Europe had faced in over a decade.  Some of the targets hit included the Bataclan concert hall, where dozens were cut down by gunmen wielding Kalashnikov-type assault rifles.  Eighty-nine people were reported to have died there, with another 99 in critical condition.

The second deadliest attack of the night occurred at the La Belle Equipe bar in the 11th district.  Witnesses reported a black Seat pulling up to the terrace of the café, and two men then opening fire on the terrace.  Nineteen died in that shooting, with another nine people critically injured.

A map displaying times and locations of the attacks. Diagram by bbc.co.uk.
A map displaying times and locations of the attacks. Diagram by bbc.co.uk.

French president Francois Hollande promised vengeance against ISIS for the attacks, stating that “we will be ruthless.” Many nations around the world have echoed this sentiment, pledging support to help destroy ISIS and their extremist agenda.

However, France wasn’t the only one attacked that week.  The day previous, the city of Beirut in Lebanon was attacked by two suicide bombers who killed 43 people and injured hundreds more.  A surviving member of the extremist force claimed to have been recruited by ISIS, and ISIS later publically took credit for the attacks.

All this violence and bloodshed follows in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January, which left eleven dead and more injured.

In the wake of such bloodshed, it’s obvious something has to be done.  But what?  For many, the solution seems to be denying Syrian refugees asylum, on the grounds that there could be terrorists moving among them and thus into these countries.  This includes our state of Idaho.

While at first this might seem like a logical stance to take, the scariest part of it all is that it might just be exactly what ISIS wants.  In a ten page editorial published on the Islamic State’s online magazine, the author describes the grey zone most Muslims inhabit between “the caliphate and the infidel.”

By orchestrating these attacks and pushing the world into chaos, ISIS is causing many countries to seriously debate whether it’s worth harboring these refugees.  The more stringent our vetting processes become, the more hostile we become towards these hapless refugees, the more ISIS wins.

Despite the attacks’ relative disconnectedness from the refugee crisis, what many nations and individuals have taken away from these attacks is that the refugees should be turned elsewhere, that they should be someone else’s problem.  The more this happens, the easier it becomes for these people to look at ISIS and say “You know….these guys don’t seem all that bad.”

ISIS is not a threat we can just bomb out of existence.  It’s not all one nationality or one religion’s fault.  We need to be aware that these refugees are innocent, and that denying them asylum or treating them poorly will only hurt us.

Surprisingly, France seems to acknowledge this point.  President Hollande stated that France would continue to accept thousands of refugees, as it was their ‘humanitarian duty” to shelter them.

The world was ready to stand with France when they got hit by the attacks.  Will it support this viewpoint even after the attacks cast doubt on the refugees?

Only time will tell.