Of the several humanitarian crises unfolding in the world, it is the catastrophe in Yemen that is most consistently ignored.
That is perhaps no surprise since the main instigator is Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has led a coalition of Arab states to fight the Houthi rebels from the minority Shia sect. The silence from the international community, and especially from Sunni Islamic countries, is deafening.
Of course, the Islamic world cannot use Yemen as a rallying cry. It is not another classic Arab/Israeli skirmish, and it cannot be attributed to Western designs on Islamic lands or resources.
Nor can it be connected to the Myanmar government’s blindness to the treatment of its Rohingya Muslims. It is no more politically useful than Darfur, where the Arabs of Sudan oppressed millions of Darfuris for several years.
Islamic rage over the treatment of Muslims is palpable when the oppressors are non-Muslim. But the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is by far the worst in the Muslim world, and we hear not a whimper from Islamic nations.
The war has claimed more than ten thousand people in Yemen, which borders Saudi Arabia to the south. Around 20 million Yemenis need some sort of humanitarian assistance, which is slow to arrive, sometimes because Saudi Arabia blocks it.
Among the dead are children, because air strikes have targeted schools. Countless victims have succumbed to starvation, malnutrition and disease.
The report adds that about three million people remain displaced within the country and close to two hundred thousand have fled the war.
There are several accusations of foreign meddling in the war. The Shia rebels are purportedly supported by Iran and Eritrea, and the Saudis by the US and UK.
Unsurprisingly, the interests are apparently based on greed. Saudi Arabia wishes to convert the state into a vassal of its own because of its desire to control an important oil pipeline.
The political and military motives are convoluted, as they always are, but the civilian suffering is simple and human.
The world must step up its efforts to deliver urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Yemen.