Summary of How the U.S. Is Making the War in Yemen Worse

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The protracted Saudi-led military campaign against Houthi rebels that ousted Yemen’s government in early 2015 has killed more than 10,000 civilians, forced over three million people to leave their homes, produced a cholera outbreak and pushed millions to the brink of starvation. But as New Yorker editor Nicolas Niarchos explains, Saudi Arabia would not be able to sustain its military campaign without crucial support from the United States. getAbstract recommends Niarchos’s in-depth article to readers who’d like to understand why the United States are backing the Saudis in Yemen, and how US policy affects the country’s humanitarian situation. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why Saudi Arabia is fighting a war in Yemen,
  • How the United States enables Saudi Arabia’s military campaign and
  • How United States policy affects Yemen's humanitarian situation. 

About the Author

Nicolas Niarchos is on the editorial staff of the New Yorker.



In October 2016, a Saudi air strike on a funeral procession in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, killed over 140 people, including Sana’a’s mayor, Abdulqader Hilal Al-Dabab. The deadly strike epitomizes the United States’ quandary when it comes to the civil war in Yemen. The United States has supplied weapons to Saudi Arabia for decades – even the missiles that struck the funeral hall were US-made. The Obama administration approved $115 billion in weapons sales – more than under any previous US president. Indeed, Saudi Arabia could not have sustained its air campaigns in Yemen without...

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