War, famine, cholera ... What’s next? - TAHA KILINÇ

War, famine, cholera ... What’s next?

According to the official statement made by the World Health Organization (WHO) a few days ago, the the cholera epidemic’s death toll in Yemen, which has been effective ever since the end of April, is about to reach 2,000. While it is estimated that 5,000 people are being infected every day, the number of cases detected nationwide has exceeded 500,000. The difficulties of access to clean water, the sieges that make access to healthy food arduous, the destruction or impairment of health facilities due to war, the lack of medical supplies and medicine, and garbage piles in cities constitute the main causes of disaster.

WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus summarizes the situation of about 30,000 health workers who have been working for at least a year without salary, as follows: "Yemeni health officials work under impossible conditions. Thousands of people are sick, however hospitals, medicine, and clean water are insufficient. These doctors and nurses are the backbone of health care. Without them, we cannot do anything in Yemen. In order for them to continue to save lives, they must be paid.”

It is also noteworthy that the WHO report announced that 99 percent of those Yemenis diagnosed with cholera who are able to gain access to health services survive. However, it is estimated that there are about 15 million people in the country who are deprived of even the simplest treatment facilities.

You must have seen photographs and videos of the Yemen crisis which the the Muslim world watches with blank eyes. It is impossible to watch any of them without a heavy heart and tear-filled eyes. Known as the "poorest country in the Arab world" even before the Arab Spring, Yemen has been dragged to the brink of the abyss with the uprisings and the civil war that broke out. If there is time left from the other crises, calls are made from time to time to "solve this problem with political means, otherwise the country will cease to exist.” But parties have not yet taken concrete steps in this direction.

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The Yemen crisis, which broke out when former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, along with his armed forces, switched sides in favor of his old enemy, the Houthis, and escalated into a war after the Iran-backed Houthi militia occupied capital Sanaa in early 2015. The military operation, initiated by Saudi Arabian Defense Minister - and the second crown prince of the time - Muhammad bin Salman, in Yemen in the same year, led to a complete disaster. Intervention- Iran's logistical aid, domestic tribal balances and the difficult conditions of ground warfare- could not make the Houthis step back, and civilian casualties reached the 10,000s.

Feeling itself surrounded by Iran, Saudi Arabia seems to be very concerned about compensating for the losses of proxy wars in the Yemen front. This is because it has become evident that the war may not derive profit, but that it might in fact end with losses. As a matter of fact, there is serious news that Muhammad bin Salman, who has become the crown prince, wants to get out of the Yemen swamp as soon as possible. Although how it will be or what schedule will be followed has not yet been clearly discussed; it is well known that the Riyadh administration does not want to deal with Yemen while there are so many crises.

Prince Muhammad, who had previously used a very harsh rhetorical discourse with Iran, has been struggling to force Iran, with various steps, to come to an agreement, and to solve the Yemeni crisis through peace. The steps like hosting Muqtada al-Sadr in Saudi Arabia in an attempt to save Iraqi Shiites from Iran’s influence and the reopening of the Iraqi-Saudi border after 27 years, are all about this strategy. But due to regional balances and the active power of Iran on the ground, it is difficult to say whether the prince will benefit from these last-minute endeavors.

Moreover, we do not know whether Prince Muhammad bin Salman is aware that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also working against the Saudis in Yemen. Saudi Arabia, which has to follow in the footsteps of the UAE-Egypt coalition in the Qatar crisis, is suffering heavy losses in Yemen and is also being deceived by its closest regional ally. While the UAE continues to supply troops and ammunition to Yemen, it is making plans to let Ahmed, the son of Ali Abdullah Saleh, take the power in Yemen in spite of the Saudis. As it is in the siege of Qatar, it is inevitable, in the present conditions, that Riyadh must accept this fait accompli in the.

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The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, facing various hurdles and crises since 1932, is perhaps in the most fragile period of its history. Despite maintaining its reputation in the Islamic world thanks to the spiritual privilege it has acquired by hosting Haramain, Saudi Arabia is having difficulty in influencing its neighbors and other countries on regional political issues.

While the steps that will be taken by 25-year-old Prince Muhammad bin Salman, who has become the only successor of the throne with the removal of Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, are curiously being awaited (and somewhat impatiently and anxiously), the course of the Yemeni crisis seems to determine his, and, also his country’s fate.


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