Marieke Brandt: The hidden realities behind Saudi Arabia’s Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen

In recent weeks, as part of Operation Decisive Storm, a military coalition of ten predominantly Sunni states led by Saudi Arabia has been shelling military installations, arms stockpiles, airports, streets, bridges, and infrastructure throughout Yemen. The collateral damage is estimated as one thousand deaths and a multiple of injured. These were mainly attributable to the bad habit of Yemen’s leaders to bunker vast quantities of weapons in the midst of the cities or in their immediate vicinities. Pictures of powerful explosions and grievously mutilated victims flooded social networks. On April 20 a gigantic explosion on the nearby mountain Faj Attan shook Sana’a, which was probably caused by the direct hit of a bunker-busting bomb on a stockpile of missiles. Several died, many were injured, houses were destroyed, and windows throughout large parts of the capital city were shattered; people’s nerves were on edge. When amid heavy air raids Saudi Arabia announced the end of Operation Decisive Storm on April 21—without ceasing the bombing for even a minute—a Yemeni television newscaster collapsed in front of the camera from a hysteric fit of laughter. Despite the official end of the operation, the nightly air strikes continue.

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