Global Post, By Sharif Abdel Kouddous, November 30
Sanaban, Yemen — Ayman al-Sanabani beamed as he entered his family’s home on his wedding day. He was greeting his new bride, Gamila, who was in a bedroom surrounded by friends. Ayman sat beside her for several minutes, receiving warm words of congratulations.
It would be the young couple’s first and only encounter as husband and wife.
The terrifying power of a bomb is how it can alter life so dramatically, so completely, so instantaneously. How it can crush concrete, rip apart flesh, and snuff out life. The moments before the pilot pulls the trigger and sends the missile screeching down choreograph the final dance with fate: another step forward into a room, a turn around a corner, a walk outside to get some air — trivial actions that determine everything afterward.
This power is a fact of life in Yemen now. It is brought forth by a coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States. The airstrikes have been relentless since March, a period now of eight months. They are supposed to be targeting a local rebel group, but appear largely indiscriminate, regularly hitting civilian targets. Thousands of people have been killed. Human rights groups say some of these strikes amount to war crimes.
The next day, Saudi Arabia put together a coalition and began its military campaign with support from the United States. The Saudis and the Americans hoped to restore the friendly Yemeni government they knew. Saudi Arabia also hoped to counter what it perceives as a growing regional threat posed by Iran. Saudi Arabia believes Iran is backing the Houthis, although the level of that support is disputed.
More than 5,700 people, including at least 2,577 civilians — 637 of them children — have been killed in the eight months Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen, according to the United Nations. The UN expects the actual toll to be even higher because many of the dead or injured never reach medical facilities and so go unrecorded.
The Houthis and their allies have been implicated in the deaths of hundreds of civilians, often by indiscriminate shelling and the planting of landmines. But the UN says the majority of civilian deaths have come from the coalition’s aerial bombing campaign, which has been relentless.
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