Arguing Justice in Yemen’s Civil War: A Researcher’s Notebook




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This research project explores the question of how and which stories nations and people construct about justice in international relations through the case study of the conflict in Yemen. The war in Yemen has raged since 2015, and is currently considered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with close to 80% of Yemen’s population in need of some kind of humanitarian aid. On one side of the war is the U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition. The coalition is composed of more than ten countries, but primarily led and funded by Saudi Arabia, and to a lesser extent, the United Arab Emirates. On the other side of the conflict are the Houthi movement known as Ansar Allah and their Iranian allies. The war in Yemen bears geopolitical significance beyond the immense scale of human suffering in the war. It exposes what a complex, modern day proxy war looks like in the Middle East. It combines several economic factors, including oil and fishing resources, with purported religious rifts and the regional rivalry of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. In terms of justice, the war in Yemen poses unique problems of social and legal conceptions of justice in contemporary international relations. I will explore the competing meanings of justice through interviews with the Yemeni diaspora, and legal justice through a review of international humanitarian law, and a state conception of justice through the statements of Saudi Arabia and United States. In essence, this study will explore Yemeni people’s conceptions of justice, how international law has defined justice previously, and may define it for Yemen, and how the United States of America and Saudi Arabia choose to define justice in Yemen. At the end of this project, I synthesize these three conceptions of justice in Yemen conflict to explore what impact these differing conceptions will have on a sustainable peace process





Vadapalli, Amulya (2019). Arguing Justice in Yemen’s Civil War: A Researcher’s Notebook. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

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