The Saudi-led military coalition conducting air strikes in Yemen said it is investigating reports of mass casualties (Al Jazeera) in a strike that hit a crowded market in the country’s northwest Tuesday. Reports of the death toll have varied, but a provincial health official said the strikes killed forty-one civilians (Reuters) and injured another seventy-five. A tribal chief close to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, however, said thirty-three of those killed were rebel fighters (AFP). The strike came shortly after the United Nations detailed mounting civilian casualties (VOA) in the ongoing conflict, with more than three thousand killed and six thousand wounded since the Saudi-led military campaign began a year ago.
"The country is broken to a degree that requires significant time, resources and new political agreements to overcome. Without a breakthrough, it will continue descent into state disintegration, territorial fragmentation and sectarian violence. That trajectory would have calamitous consequences for Yemen’s population and severely undermine Gulf security, particularly Saudi Arabia’s, by fomenting a new refugee crisis and feeding radicalisation in the region to the benefit of violent jihadi groups," writes the International Crisis Group.
"The war has been a humanitarian disaster for Yemen and a study in the perils of the Obama administration’s push to get Middle Eastern countries to take on bigger military roles in their neighborhood. Thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed, many by Saudi jets flying too high to accurately deliver the bombs to their targets. Peace talks have been stalled for months. American spy agencies have concluded that Yemen’s branch of Al Qaeda has only grown more powerful in the chaos. The Obama administration has in the meantime been whipsawed by criticism from all sides," write Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt in the New York Times.
"With the United States moving toward more overt support of the Saudi-backed war in Yemen—and having already agreed to resupply the Saudis with a billion dollar arms deal—the conflict is set to persist on a long, destructive road with little political resolve to end the Yemeni misery," writes Charles Schmitz for the Middle East Institute.
CFR-Daily News Brief