Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen

Photo by Felton Davis | CC BY 2.0

Over the past few months, the Trump administration has settled on a strategy for the ongoing conflict in Yemen that it knows will lead to more suffering and violence in the country. Rather than trying to bring an immediate end to the war, which has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 civilians, administration officials have decided to help the Saudi-led coalition continue its efforts to pressure Houthi-led rebels into surrendering on Saudi terms, even if it means more violence.

Previous U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition has already had devastating consequences for the people of Yemen. Since the conflict began in early 2015, the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition has killed countless civilians in airstrikes on homes, schools, factories, markets, hospitals, and even a funeral. “The strike on the funeral was really, really hard to swallow,” a senior official in the Obama administration said.

In recent months, the situation has grown worse. Cholera has begun spreading throughout the country, killing hundreds of people. Millions of Yemenis are also facing the risk of famine because ongoing fighting has made it impossible for people to get access to food. There are “millions of people on the brink of starvation, because of the impact of the fighting,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has acknowledged.

Given these circumstances, some dissension has emerged in Washington about the U.S. role in the war. Some former officials…

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