by Jason Ditz
April 01, 2015
A week in to Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen has done a lot to transform public sentiment among Yemenis on the matter. Once seen as a limited conflict aimed at the Shi’ite Houthis, the toll has been hugely civilian in nature.
The civilian toll is in excess of 170 after today’s attack on a dairy, and the previous attack on the refugee camp, and so on. That, and the Saudis openly blocking the Red Cross from delivering humanitarian aid, has had a jarring effect on war opinion.
Even some of the war’s most outspoken supports like Abdulaziz Jubari, the leader of a pro-Hadi political party which cheered the war, nominally the reinstall the old ruler, is having a dramatic change of heart.
“We backed President Hadi and attended the Arab League hoping to meet Arab leaders and try to end the crisis in Yemen. We had no intention this was going to be a war against our own people,” Jubari explained, demanding the immediate end of Saudi strikes.
Residents in the capital of Sanaa complained the war had chased most of the aid workers out of the country, and had halted the supplies, needed now more than ever, as the strikes escalate.
Nationwide, the Houthis didn’t command much popular support going into this war, but could quickly find themselves embraced as the sole remaining defenders of Yemeni sovereignty, a situation that has so often happened in military interventions across the region.
About the only Yemeni still publicly endorsing the war is Hadi himself, from whatever city he is presently in exile, as he sees the Saudi war, whatever the death toll that results, as his only chance to regain power over the nation after his resignation in January.