Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim states have in three months of bombing, supported by the United States, reduced Yemen, already the poorest country in the Persian Gulf region, to a collapsed state.

An estimated 2,600, mostly civilians, are dead. Some 80 percent of the Yemenis need aid to stay alive, for want of food, housing, electricity and water. Health care in the country has collapsed; 60 percent of Yemenis have access to none. The Saudis have also instituted a sea blockade of Yemen, cutting off imports.

The battle in Yemen, with Yemenis on several sides of it, is basically between Saudi-backed Sunnis and Iranian-backed Shiite Houthis. Al-Qaida is also involved in Yemen and has increased the territory it controls as part of the war. The Islamic State, also Sunni, has claimed credit for several lethal bombings. No one is winning. United Nations-sponsored talks in Geneva came to nothing and were adjourned with no date set for resumption.

The three main Yemeni parties to the war include the Sunni forces of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi; he is in exile in Saudi Arabia and the Saudis insist on his return to power. Another armed force is led by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, also Sunni, who was forced out of power by the United States and the Gulf states in 2012.

The third force is the Shiite Houthis, who seized the capital, Sanaa, in September. Their leader, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, is president of the Revolutionary Committee and de facto president of Yemen.

Effective talks are needed among the key parties. In the meantime, countless burned children and other Yemenis will continue to suffer from the U.S.-backed bombing of Yemen, nothing to be proud of.

filed under: