Daily Video

July 5, 2018

Yemen study guide: How to explain images of war to your students

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Video summary

The video contains graphic images of the civil war in Yemen. Please preview the video before showing it to your students. The segment provides a breakdown of the Yemeni Civil War and where it stands now. Below is a brief summary of the key actors involved in the conflict, including the following: the Yemeni government, Houthis, Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Nations and United States.

You may wish to stop the video after the field segment at 9m:08s. However, we highly recommend you watch the 2-minute interview between NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff and Jane Ferguson.

  1. The civil war in Yemen began in 2015 between two groups: Yemeni government forces loyal to former president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi headquartered in Aden and Houthi forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh located in the capital of Sana’a (see map below).
  2. Houthi rebels took control of Sana’a in 2015, but had begun waging a low-level uprising against the government in 2004. The Houthis have been accused of being proxies (a group instigated by a major power that itself does not play an active role in the conflict) for Iran; both practice Shia Islam.
  3. Saudi Arabia and the U.S. say the Houthis receive weapons and training from Iran while the Houthis and Iran deny any such allegation. Meanwhile, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, made up of predominantly Sunni Muslims, has launched military airstrikes to restore the former Yemeni government, who are also Sunni Muslim. The attacks have resulted in numerous civilian deaths.
  4. The U.S. government has sold weapons to Saudi Arabia and provided logistical support and intelligence in Yemen.
  5. More than 9,000 people have died since 2015, according to the UN, and 22 million people — at least 75 percent of the country’s population — require humanitarian assistance every day.
Discussion questions
  1. Essential question: Why are images of war helpful in understanding global conflicts?
  2. Why do you think Saudi Arabia and Iran are on opposite sides of this proxy war?
  3. Why does the United States support Saudi Arabia and the former Yemeni government?
  4. How does the Yemeni Civil War compare to the proxy wars between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (i.e. Vietnam, Korean War)?
  5. Media literacy question: The images depicted in this story of famine are difficult to see. Do you think seeing the graphic images from Yemen affects people’s understanding of the conflict? What are some examples from history in which photos of serious subjects changed public opinion?
  6. Media literacy question:How does Jane Ferguson’s ability to personally visit Houthi rebel-held territories provide a side of the story that many viewers may not see?
To learn more, read the following articles:

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