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« Exclusive investigation », on M6, plunges into the heart of a dirty war in Yemen, seen from the rebel side


The war in Yemen is too rarely shown. Even more on the side of the Houthi rebellion. Usually, the images are turned on the side of the coalition forged by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which controls access to the country, and of the forces which remain loyal to the internationally recognized president, Mansour Hadi.

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The interest of the documentary by Guillaume Dasquié and Nicolas Jaillard, who spent several weeks in rebel territory, is therefore to show the other side of this war. And, by the way, lets see Sanaa, one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The Houthi rebellion, which seized power in 2014 by invading the capital, Sanaa, controls a territory much smaller than that of its enemies but where more than 60% of the Yemeni population is concentrated. Its only maritime outlet is the port of Hodeïda, on the Red Sea. Humanitarian aid, filtered by a severe blockade, when it is not diverted, arrives there in small quantities and very often expired.

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This rebellious Yemen lacks everything: food, medicine, gasoline, building materials. Everything is rationed and the blockade is deployed in all its cruelty: rickety children, exhausted by dysentery, contaminated by the depleted uranium contained in the bombs dropped by the planes. At any time, Saudi and Emirati fighter-bombers can strike. Sometimes in full wedding or funeral ceremonies, causing massacres of countless civilians under the pretext of targeting a « high level » target.

A functional state

French lawyer Joseph Breham accompanies the two journalists in order to document war crimes, crimes against humanity and cases of torture committed by the coalition in view of a complaint lodged with the pole dealing with genocides and crimes against humanity of the tribunal Paris court, against the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – friends and allies of France.

The Shiite rebellion, supported by Iran, is far from being choirboys. The authors have no illusions on this point. But the merit of their documentary is to give a voice to the Houthi leaders, whom one rarely hears, such as Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, president of the Revolutionary Committee, or Jalal Al-Roweichan, in charge of the security services. They built a State, undemocratic, of course, but functional.

The pro-government camp is completely fragmented between Saudi and Emirati staffs, Sudanese auxiliaries, soldiers from what remains of the Yemeni loyalist army, tribal or religious militias. The authors evoke the murky links between the coalition, Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen, and Sunni fundamentalists, notably those of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, who ordered the attack on Charlie hebdo. The friends of our friends are sometimes our enemies. The harsh arithmetic of geopolitics.

Yemen: immersion in the heart of a dirty war, documentary by Guillaume Dasquié and Nicolas Jaillard (Fr., 2021, 70 min). Broadcast as part of the magazine “Enquête exclusive” on M6.

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