Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Weak Suffer What They Must

Saada was the scene of deadly coalition air raids on August 4 [File: Naif Rahma/Reuters]
Saada was the scene of deadly coalition air raids on August 4, 2017 [File: Naif Rahma/Reuters]

*Already the poorest Arab state, Yemen has been facing nothing but more destruction and starvation since the Saudi-led coalition’s military intervention began in 2015 following the takeover of Sanaa by the Houthi-Saleh alliance in 2014. Between Saudi Arabia’s disastrous strategies, the UAE’s divergent hidden agenda, and Houthis’ aggression, civilians in Yemen are paying the heaviest price of an unwinnable war. The fact that Houthis are neither outsiders nor easy to identify, as well as the rough nature of Yemen’s geography make this war impossible for either side to win militarily.

After about four years of world leaders’ apathy over the atrocities in Yemen, at the end of 2018, the international community truly pressured the warring parties to come and sit at the table for the first peace talks in two years. The tragic killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi represented a tipping point in the drive toward peace talks. The result was a moment of hope that there could be an end in sight to the war. As the weeks passed, however, it became clear that the talks were a result of international will but not necessarily a local or a regional one. Hope slowly vanished. It might take another major event with an international echo to bring that hope back.

Contemplating the fourth year of the war in Yemen and the question of what has been achieved so far, I am at a loss in finding anything but further fragmentation and destruction of an already enfeebled state of Yemen. The Saudi attempt to restore the presidency of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has only increased the possibility of a permanent division of Yemen.

Saudi Arabia’s fight against the Houthis has also involved the unnecessary bombing of historical sites across Yemen. And the UAE, Saudi Arabia’s partner, now occupies Yemen’s remote island of Socotra and controls UAE-funded militias and armed groups in the south of Yemen outside the control of the Yemeni government. It is unsettling how these two rich monarchies are doing such damage to the world’s poorest Arab country. Being caught between these warring parties is a hell Yemenis must deal with. Our ordeal is summed up in Thucydides’ saying: “the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.”

*This commentary was written for & first published on Carnegie Endowment oragnization's website April 10th, 2019. 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Houthis Ban Women Travel without Guardianship

Image result for women in yemen + reuters pictures
Women in Sana'a are reportedly banned from travelling without males' guardianship across Houthi-controlled areas. The decision was issued by Houthis, last month, according to journalist Fatima al-Aghbari. Fatima knew about the issue when she tried to book herself a bus ticket to travel from Sana'a to Aden. She was not allowed to book the ticket unless her brother booked it for her. I wrote this piece for Daraj in Arabic about the issue.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Yemen's Women Confront War Marginalisation

Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) was one of the great publications I used to cite during writing my M.A. thesis back in 2015. Never imagined that I'd be published there - big thank you to dr Stacey for believing in the value of my work & for her excellent editing.
Subscribe to read this essay! MERIP has been a great source of critical analysis & coverage of the Middle East for nearly 50 years.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Global Conference on Yemen

During the Global Conference on Yemen run by Center on National Security at Fordham Law School & Tawakkol Karman Foundation, in New York City, 7th of March, 2019, this session addressed the humanitarian crisis & its impact on the ground. 

The session's Panelists as follows: Priyanka Motaparthy, Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch Afrah Nasser, Independent Yemeni Journalist and Editor-in-Chief, Sana’a Review Kathryn Achilles, Senior Humanitarian Policy Advisor, Oxfam Rawya Rageh, Senior Crisis Advisor, Amnesty International Moderated by: Dr. Dalia Fahmy, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Policy

Friday, March 8, 2019

I am featured among Sweden's top 100 influential women

I am humbled to be featured among some of Sweden's top 100 influential women.
Thank you, Expressen

The 75-year old newspaper reminds us that Sweden could celebrate multi-national Swedes & ensure that a Yemeni refugee like me is welcomed to be the Swede-Ethio-Yemeni she wants to be.
Even though I am not writing in the hope of getting an influence, I pray for that influence -and many other wonderful peace advocates' influence- to bring peace to Yemen. ✊🏽