Brexit I: Referendum – Why Out?

With GP exams round the corner, have no fear because Periscope is here with more current affairs articles! Moving on, BREXIT!

Written by: Sit Jie Ren (19-I4)

Designed by: Lee En Tong (19-U2)

Are there specific current affairs topics you want the Periscope team to cover? Fill in this form and maybe your suggested topic will surface in the next Periscope article!


On 23 June 2016, a plebiscite was held on the issue of British membership in the European Union (EU). The results shocked the world, which had anticipated that the ‘Remain’ camp would prevail and reaffirm its commitment to Europe. The fallout that followed quickly transformed into one of the greatest media circuses of the 21st Century. This article will examine the various factors that led to Britain’s decision, so that Eunoians can become informed citizens of the world. Do use the Universal Concepts (UC) to guide you.


Britain, being an island nation with a long history of naval dominance, has been effectively isolated from Europe for most of history. Despite the end of Pax Britannica and the steady decline of the Royal Navy as an institution, many British still reject connections with the European Union. In addition, its ability to sustain itself against Nazi Germany in World War II on its own lent weight to the notion that Britain could preserve its empire and status, separate from Europe. Hence, Britain did not join the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951. However, the post-war economic decline quickly change attitudes, and Britain began to be receptive towards furthering ties to the continent. In a 1975 nationwide referendum, 67% of the votes were cast in favour of Britain joining the European Economic Community, paving the way for British membership into the organisation (Wilson, S., 2014).

However, as the European Economic Community evolved over the years, forming into the European Union, and pursued greater regional integration, Britain’s resistance towards Europe began to manifest through various exclusions, most notably by refusing to adopt the Euro (€) (Wilson, S., 2014). Euroscepticism has also become more prominent over the years, shown through the 2015 General Elections, whereby UKIP (UK Independence Party), formed with the goal of leaving the EU, polling 12.6% of the popular vote (Bloomberg, 2015). This phenomenon was primarily observed in rural regions, which has seen little development or benefits from the EU in contrast with London, which reaped most of the benefits of the EU and became a global financial hub (Bateman, V.N., 2016).

In the 2015 General Elections, David Cameron campaigned for election on the promise that he would hold a plebiscite on British membership in the EU, in an attempt to secure eurosceptic votes (Raidió Teilifís Éireann, 2013). However, he had believed that the ‘Remain’ camp would emerge victorious. Yet, the result that followed proved the contrary, with ‘Leave’ winning by a narrow margin.

Points of Contention

European Institutions & Lawmaking (UC: Power and Influence)

Britain’s disconnect from Europe could be in part attributed to the lingering effects of imperialism in the British psyche. Back in the days of the British Empire, Britain was the dominant global trader, and its influence extended far beyond Europe and across the world (Langfitt, F., 2019). This became a vital campaigning point of the ‘Leave’ camp, which argued that Britain would enjoy greater trade benefits, by negotiating on its own without being bound by EU regulations (Vote Leave Take Control, n.d.).

The ‘Leave’ camp also cited the lack of British control over several governmental institutions as part of their campaigning rhetoric. Presently, several key European institutions have oversight in Britain, such as the European Court of Justice regulating taxes and immigration within the EU, and the regulation of the cat and dog fur trade by the European Commission (Ash, S., 2018). The European Parliament is also able to pass legislation throughout the European Union, including Britain.

Immigration and Border controls (UC: Interdependence)

The lack of British control over its customs also became a heated point of contention during the campaigning period. Within the Schengen Area*, individuals were able to pass freely through European borders, such as from France to Britain, without the need for customs checks. This resulted in many refugees who had sought refuge within European borders, either through border crossings in Greece or Italy, to enter Britain due to its superior living conditions.

In addition, the ‘Leave’ camp also cited the provision for European nationals to seek employment in Britain, who have been accused of competing for jobs with local residents. The ‘Leave’ camp cited a figure of close to ‘2 million’ European nationals entering in the past decade, and opined that many more would follow as ‘new, poorer countries join’ (Vote Leave Take Control, n.d.).

*The Schengen Area is the territory of countries, primarily within the EU, which have abolished immigration and customs checks, allowing for free and undisturbed passage between borders.


Ash, S. (2018, October 19). EU rules into UK law: How’s that going? BBC, Retrieved from

Bateman, V.N. (2016, November 23). Brexit: two centuries in the making. The UK in a Changing Europe, Retrieved from

Bloomberg (2015). The U.K. Election 2015. Retrieved from

Langfitt, F. (2019, March 17). U.K. Reflects On Identity As Brexit Saga Drags On. NPR News, Retrieved from

Margaret Thatcher Foundation (1988, September 20). Speech to the College of Europe (“The Bruges Speech”). Retrieved from

Raidió Teilifís Éireann (2013, January 24). David Cameron pledges EU referendum if Conservatives win next election. Retrieved from

Wilson, S. (2014, April 1). Britain and the EU: A long and rocky relationship. BBC, Retrieved from

Vote Leave Take Control (n.d.). Why Vote Leave. Retrieved from


The Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulations Act is a topic that has sparked discourse and controversy among Singaporeans recently. Find out more in this issue of Periscope.

Written by: Sit Jie Ren (19-I4), Current Affairs Team

Designed by: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)


With the inception of internet penetration and new media in the 21st Century, the proliferation of online falsehoods and manipulative statements has become ubiquitous1 in recent years. This article will examine the various implications of deliberate online falsehoods, and discuss the recent legislation passed by the Singapore Parliament. Do use the Universal Concepts (UC) to guide you.


Fake news bring about wide-ranging ramifications to society. Firstly, it can be used to influence political sentiment. For example, in the recent Indonesian elections, online “buzzers” were used to spread fabricated information about some candidates  (Mokhtar, 2019). These misinformation attempts aimed to manipulate the opinions of voters in an appeal to sensitivities, with the potential to affect the outcome of elections, which clearly demonstrates the damage which fake news can potentially inflict on democracy, and politics as a whole.

In addition, fake news can also pose a cataclysmic menace to social cohesion and stability (Yahya, 2019). As Singapore has a racially diverse societal structure, fake news perpetuated with racial overtones could influence the mindsets of Singaporeans, and result in increased communal tensions.

Therefore, the government has recently implemented the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulations Act (POFMA), which seeks to grant the state new mechanisms to combat fake news.

Under this Act, any Minister of state may issue a direction to remedy false statements of fact online, which the individual issued with the direction may then appeal to the Minister. Should the Minister uphold his decision, the individual may then appeal to the courts. There are also other provisions under the bill which allow for the Minister to direct that the social media site or website to take actions to curtail the spread of fake news, restrict false accounts, as well as requiring internet service providers to block websites which fail to comply (Singapore Statutes Online, 2019).

Points of Contention

Who decides on what is false? (UC: Power & Influence)

However, the allowance for any Minister to decide on what constitutes a false statement of fact initially, as opposed to the judiciary has been highly controversial. This is provided under Section 10(1) of the bill, which states that any minister may issue a directive if (Singapore Statutes Online, 2019):

  • It is a false statement of fact being communicated in Singapore
  • It is for ‘public interest’

This is in contrast to the mechanism employed in other countries such as Germany (German Law Archive, 2017) where the government files an injunction2 to the courts, and the arbitration of truth is solely done by the Judiciary. Singapore’s involvement of the Executive while being more efficient in controlling fake news, could be seen as granting too much power and influence to the government.

However, the oversight by the government over free speech may not be welcomed by all. Opposition leader Pritam Singh recently said in Parliament that the law “gives broad latitude to the Executive to clamp down on what it deems to be even misleading statements which may not be false per se” (Sim, 2019). Many, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur3, David Kaye, also believe that Ministers should not be granted such overarching powers (Hakeem, 2019). In addition, several “broadly defined” clauses such as the definition of “public interest” in the act could result in the misuse of the law to stifle meaningful discussion and as a result, the freedom of speech (Channel News Asia, 2019). Thus, the implication of this law on freedom of expression still remains a contentious point of debate.

Free Speech vs Regulation of Falsehoods (UC: Beliefs & Values)

The dichotomy4 of free speech and regulation was clearly encapsulated in this recent legislation. Despite repeated assurances from the government that it will not affect freedom of speech (Tham, 2019), some concerns remain over the fact that the law provides for a third party to judge a statement of fact as false will, which could inadvertently result in a limitation on the freedom of speech (The Guardian, 2019).

However, it must be noted that the intent of the bill is aimed at preserving the values which our nation ascribes to, which Minister Shanmugam stated in the parliamentary debates (Mokhtar and Lim, 2019). These values have also been articulated in the 1991 “Shared Values White Paper” which stated that Singapore is a fundamentally Asian society, valuing collective interests over individual interests, which is said to have “strengthened social cohesion” (National Archives Singapore, 1991). Thus, it can be argued that the regulation of falsehoods could be deemed as a necessary evil in the preservation of our social cohesion, in spite of its implications on freedom of speech. Therefore, the beliefs & values of our society are imperatives5 in the intent of the legislation.


Ubiquitous1 – seeming to be everywhere

Injunction2 – an official order given by a law court, usually to stop someone from doing something

Rapporteur3 – someone chosen by an organisation to prepare reports of meetings or to investigate and report on a problem

Dichotomy4 – a difference between two completely opposite ideas or things

Imperatives5of vital importance; crucial

* Word definitions sourced from the Cambridge and Oxford Online Dictionaries


For more in-depth reading about this issue, feel free to access the following links.

Mokhtar, F. (2019, April 14). Fake news causing confusion in Indonesia presidential election. Today, Retrieved from

Yahya, Y. (2018, September 21). Select Committee on fake news: Singapore a target of hostile info campaigns. The Straits Times, Retrieved from

Singapore Statutes Online (2019, April 1). Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulations Bill. Retrieved from

German Law Archive (2017, September 1). Network Enforcement Act (Netzdurchsetzunggesetz, NetzDG). Retrieved from

Sim, F. (2019, May 7). Worker’s Party opposes online falsehoods Bill, says Pritam Singh. Channel News Asia. Retrieved from

Kaye, D. (2019, April 24). Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression OL SGP 3/2019. United Nations, Retrieved from

Channel News Asia (2019, May 1). NMPs propose amendments to draft online falsehood laws. Retrieved from

Tham, Y.C. (2019, April 2). Parliament: Law against online falsehoods will not stifle free speech: Shanmugam. The Straits Times, Retrieved from

The Guardian (2019, May 9). Singapore fake news law a disaster for freedom of speech, says rights group. Retrieved from

Mokhtar, F. and Lim, J. (2019, May 9). Laws to fight fake news passed, Worker’s Party rapped for opposing move. Today, Retrieved from

National Archives Singapore (1991, January 2). White Paper on Shared Values. Retrieved from

This is the link for the image used in the design. 

PERISCOPE: Summary on Streaming/ Banding

Have you heard of subject-based banding? Find out more about it in this issue of Periscope!

Are there certain current affairs issues that you specifically want us to cover? Fill in our feedback form here!

Written By: Ernest Tan (19-E6)

Designed By: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)


Just last month, it was announced that streaming in secondary schools would be replaced by subject-based banding, replacing the current status quo of streaming students into Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) based on their PSLE results, allowing students to take subjects at different levels according to their abilities (Chia, 2019). In this installment of Periscope, we present a short summary on the key details of the streaming system so that Eunoians become more informed about the local educational landscape. Do use the Universal Concepts (UC) to guide you.


It is incontrovertible that Singapore’s education system can be considered crème de la crème, with Singapore students topping the prestigious global benchmarking test, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is notably dubbed the ‘World Cup for Education’ (Davie, 2016). However, this seemingly exemplary education system is not without its shortcomings. Specifically, the streaming system in Singapore has been one of controversy, with the “unintended side effect” on how pupils view themselves and are perceived by others (Cheng, 2018). The newest changes, while commendable, may still not be able to eradicate these dire corollaries as many have hoped because the very nature of segregation is still existent. Some have also questioned whether this is simply a substitution of labels (Chua, 2019).

Points of Contention

The Ambivalent Nature of Streaming and Banding (UC: Beliefs and Values)

While the streaming system was intentioned to help some students of different aptitudes and abilities learn at their own pace efficiently, it has inevitably led to the self-limiting stigmatisation of students, especially those in the lower bands or streams (Cheng, 2018). However, former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng has noted that streaming has reduced the drop-out rate, which has contributed to Singapore becoming an “educational powerhouse” (Mokhtar, 2019). It can be argued that how we view streaming is very much premised on our beliefs and values. From a utilitarian or capitalistic standpoint that values outcomes, streaming or banding might be desirable because of its more efficient outcomes (Ang, 2019). However, from a collectivist standpoint, it could be argued that streaming or banding is not desirable, because it does not allow students to progress collectively, and that it is cold of society to do so, because after all, education systems can be viewed as a reflection of societies’ morals and values.  

Discussion: In this day and age, do you think that the government should prioritise collectivism or utilitarianism?

The Education System and Inequality (UC: Systems, Structures and Freedom)

The streaming system may have also led to elitism and class segmentation, due to its systemic segregation of students. Statistics have shown that a disproportionate number of students in top schools come from affluent backgrounds and have well-educated parents. In top-tier Integrated Programme (IP) secondary schools, more than fifty-percent of students had parents who were university graduates while the figure was only about ten-percent for neighbourhood school students (Ng, 2011). As the streaming changes are not likely to affect the Integrated Programme Schools, there might still be an ideological cleavage or “class mismatch” because of the lack of interaction and stratification between students of different bands. Also, the differentiated networks at such schools may also lead to differential access to current and future connections and resources (Ng and Senin, 2019), resulting in greater inequality for students in the future.

Discussion: Research other countries’ education system and point out any systemic flaws in comparison with Singapore’s.


For more in-depth reading about this issue, feel free to access the following links.

Chia, L. (2019). Current approach to streaming in secondary schools to be phased out by 2024. Retrieved from

Chua, M.H. (2019). Streaming changes: Evolutionary, bold but not far enough. The Straits Times, Retrieved from

Davie, S. (2016). Singapore students top in maths, science and reading in Pisa international benchmarking test. The Straits Times, Retrieved from

Mokhtar, F. (2019). The Big Read: Streaming — the good, the bad and the ugly side of an outdated policy. Channel NewsAsia, Retrieved from

Ang, J. (2019). If not for streaming, many might not have made it through school, says principal. The Straits Times, Retrieved from

Ng, I.Y.H. (2019). Phasing out streaming: First step to decreasing educational inequality. The Straits Times, Retrieved from

Image credits: 

PERISCOPE: Going Digital: The Singapore Roadmap

Singapore has been stepping up its digitalisation efforts, in a bid to become a ‘Smart Nation’. Find out what this means for you, me, and your GP marks in this issue of Periscope.

Written By: Ernest Tan (19-E6)

Designed By: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)


Driverless cars, pervasive e-payments, and Artificial Intelligence are amongst the prominent breakthroughs that mankind has seen in recent years. In this installment of Periscope, we present a short summary of the key details of the Smart Nation Initiative and digitalisation efforts in Singapore, so that Eunoians become more informed about the technological changes that shape the world around us. Do use the Universal Concepts (UC) to guide you.


Officially launched in 2014, the Smart Nation Initiative aims to augment Singapore’s status quo as an economically competitive global city and a liveable home, through a national movement to drive pervasive adoption of digital and smart technologies (Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, n.d.). Firstly, it aims to drive economic development. The world is now witnessing an unprecedented growth in connectivity, big data, and smart technologies. Through digitalisation, new business opportunities can be generated and economic relevance is increased (PMO Singapore, 2014). Secondly, the Initiative also aims to resolve urban-municipal issues through utilising digital smart technologies. For example, to prevent secluded elderly people from having an accident undetected, Smart Sensors were deployed in Yuhua (Loh, 2016), which could be monitored remotely by their family members.

Points of Contention

Challenges Faced In Implementation (UC: Power and Influence)

The successful implementation of the Initiative can be influenced by certain key challenges. Firstly, dominative government involvement, coupled together with a lack of the required manpower, has led the private sector to be less proactive in seeking collaborations with the government (Tan, 2017). This would not be beneficial as the private sector may have the expertise that the government can tap on (GovInsider, 2018). Secondly, another key challenge is being demographically inclusive. Seniors may not embrace such technologies because of a lack of prior knowledge, interest or understanding and cause some seniors to be apprehensive of mobile banking because of unfamiliarity (Today, 2017). Therefore, for the success of this initiative, all stakeholders must be actively and closely engaged.


  1. To what extent should the government involve the private sector in this initiative?
  2. How should the government encourage the involvement of seniors and the private sector in this initiative?

The Ambivalent Nature of Digitalisation (UC: Interdependence)

While there are certainly many opportunities and benefits abound due to digitalisation, it is, however, inevitable that digitalisation efforts can lead to unintended corollaries, in particular, structural unemployment. As the initiative catalyses a paradigm shift towards an automated economy (Monetary Authority of Singapore, 2016), certain “low-skilled work” may be rendered obsolescent or irrelevant.  In 2016, data showed that total employment fell for the second time since the 2009 Global Financial Crisis, which was partly attributed to a spike in such skills mismatches (Chia, 2016). Also, Singapore’s digital infrastructure may be vulnerable to cybercrime if there are only ineffective cybersecurity defences, and this may be exacerbated by the adoption of such hyperconnected technologies (Grosvenor, 2018). This may lead to dire ramifications such as crippling of key infrastructure and compromise of personal data as evidenced by the SingHealth cyberattack where the personal information of 1.5 million SingHealth patients was stolen (Tham, 2018).


Do you think that Singapore should continually pursue digitalisation in light of the possible ramifications?


For more in-depth reading about this issue, feel free to access the following links.

Chia, Y.M. (2016, October 28). Tech disruption may push up unemployment rate. The Straits Times, Retrieved from

Monetary Authority of Singapore (2016, October).  Macroeconomic Review Volume XV Issue 2 October 2016. Retrieved from

Grosvenor, B. (2018, July 24). Smart Nation agenda needs rethink on cybersecurity. The Business Times, Retrieved from

Tham, I. (2018, July 20). Personal info of 1.5m SingHealth patients, including PM Lee, stolen in Singapore’s worst cyber attack. The Straits Times,

GovInsider (2018, 21 June). How the private sector can partner on smart cities. Retrieved from

Tan, W. (2017, April 14). The Big Read: Speed bumps hinder Singapore’s Smart Nation drive. Today, Retrieved from

Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (n.d.). Strategic National Projects to Build a Smart Nation. Retrieved from

Prime Minister’s Office Singapore (2014, November 24). Transcript of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s speech at Smart Nation launch on 24 November.  Retrieved from

Loh, C.J. (2016, April 23). Smart devices trial extended to 3,200 households in Yuhua. Channel NewsAsia, Retrieved from

PERISCOPE: Singapore-Malaysia Water Dispute

A brief summary of the Singapore-Malaysia water dispute. Find out more about geopolitical and strategic considerations across the Causeway!

Written By: Wong Sean Yew (19-U4) and Aloysius Tng (19-U4)

Designed By: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)

Where’s My Water?

Water, is it really wet? With the current water dispute between Singapore and Malaysia, we may never find out.

On a more serious note, with the paradigm shift in the Malaysian political landscape, there has been a change in official government policy regarding certain clauses of the 1962 water treaty that was signed between Malaysia and Singapore. Following poor fiscal management and alleged corruption by the previous Prime Minister , the current Malaysian government has claimed that the financial situation is now untenable, with a factor being the 1962 water treaty. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir feels that paying 3 sen per thousand gallons drawn is unsustainable, especially due to inflation and the burgeoning federal debt. Hence, Malaysia feels that it is reasonable to request for an amendment to the treaty and raise the price of the water sold.

However, Singapore does not share the same views. It believes that the water treaty has already been finalised, because the Malaysian government did not review the treaty in 1986 and 1987, thus losing the right to amend the treaty. Furthermore, the Singapore government argues that it spends money to maintain water processing facilities on the Johor River, with the construction of the Sungei Linggu Dam. The Singapore government also argues that the agreement benefits Malaysia as Singapore sells treated water back to Johor at 50 sen per 1000 gallons, a small portion of the cost needed to treat the water, making this fair and partial to both parties.

Points of Contention

Symbiotic Relationship between Singapore and Malaysia (UC: Interdependence)

Singapore and Malaysia are neighbouring countries, with a long history of bilateral cooperation. The water provided by Malaysia has been essential for Singapore’s survival, and is still critical for our current water needs (making up 50% of our water supply). Similarly, Singapore provides water to the state of Johor Malaysia at a profitable and generous rate. Both parties rely on each other to fulfil their needs, more so in the case of Singapore, and this longstanding agreement of over 40 years has benefitted Malaysia and Singapore tremendously.

Diametrically Opposed Points of View (UC: Beliefs & Values)

In this dispute, the dichotomy between the beliefs and values these neighbours share can be clearly seen. As a small country, Singapore is vulnerable to the whims of larger countries, and hence strongly believes in the value of international law and bilateral agreements. As such, the governmental stance heavily emphasises on the clauses enshrined in the 1962 Water Treaty, in order to avoid a precedent of amending agreements. In contrast, the Malaysia government feels that the treaty should be updated due to its unfair clauses, which have been rendered obsolescent with the passage of time. In the past, 3 sen was more valuable, and was thus a reasonable price for water, as compared to the current time.

Author’s Comments

This article brings to you a event close to home. The water dispute has been garnering an increasing amount of attention and such an issue could have great ramifications for us Singaporeans. This dispute highlights the relationship we share with our next-door neighbour Malaysia, with the differing views of two parties who feel they are justified in this disagreement. This event will undoubtedly be useful in essays which require you to identify Singapore’s beliefs and it global standing.


Royston, S. (2019), Singapore ‘clear, consistent’ in position that Malaysia has lost right to review water price under 1962 agreement, The Straits Times,

Channel NewsAsia (2019), Malaysia’s former PM Najib to go on trial for corruption.

Naidu, M. (2018), Exclusive: Price of water sold to Singapore ‘ridiculous’; Malaysia to renegotiate deal, says Mahathir, Channel NewsAsia,

John G. and Aradhana A. (2018), Water hazard: Malaysia’s belt-tightening resurrects age-old dispute with Singapore, Reuters,

Channel NewsAsia (2019), Singapore has been ‘clear and consistent’ that Malaysia has lost right to review the price of water: MFA,

Yasmine Y. (2018), Parliament: S’pore will honour 1962 Water Agreement and expects Malaysia to do the same, says Vivian Balakrishnan, The Straits Times,

The Straits Times (2017), Full speech: Five core principles of Singapore’s foreign policy,

Periscope: Yemen Humanitarian Crisis

Periscope is a new current affairs series that serves to ignite passion and spark ideological discourse on geopolitical, strategic and socio-cultural developments that characterise our world today. In this issue, we explore the Yemen Humanitarian Crisis, the little-known ‘worst humanitarian crisis of today’.

Civil War Is Not Civil: Summary On The Situation in Yemen

Written By: Ernest Tan (19-E6)

Designed By: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)


How many of you know about the ‘worst humanitarian crisis of 2019’? Despite this situation being so dire, the Yemen Civil War has been dubbed a “forgotten war” (Sommerlad, 2018), due to a lack of attention to it. In this special segment on the Yemen Humanitarian Crisis, we document a short summary on the key details of this issue, so that Eunoians become informed and empowered global citizens. Do use the Universal Concepts (UC) to guide you. 


Close to entering its fourth year, the protracted Yemen Civil War has shown no signs of subsiding. Waged between the internationally-recognised Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi government and the Houthi armed movement in politically divided Yemen since 2015, this sectarian* struggle further escalated when a Saudi-led coalition started launching military offensives and air strikes against the Houthis (Sharp, 2018). Deplorably, this conflict has culminated in variegated* ramifications such as the displacement of civilians, loss of lives, poor health conditions and devastation of public infrastructure, necessitating humanitarian intervention (Sharp, 2018), constituting the ‘worst humanitarian crisis of 2019’ (United Nations News, 2019). 

Points of Contention

The Humanitarian Crisis (UC: Interdependence)

Why has this humanitarian crisis persisted? The dire ramifications that we see today – the sufferings of the Yemeni people – are inextricably linked to the conflict itself and the dynamics between the parties. Food scarcity, for example, is due largely to the economic crisis which has devalued the Yemeni Rial and caused the loss of livelihoods. As a result, many Yemenis could not afford food (Middle East Eye, 2018), as scarce as they already may be, due to the destruction of infrastructure. Blockades imposed at critical ports and points have also hindered humanitarian assistance, preventing the expeditious* delivery of aid (Oxfam International, 2017). This has led to a prevalence of cholera and malnutrition in Yemen (United Nations News, 2019).

Discussion: Must the civil war stop for the humanitarian crisis to end?

Ethics in Humanitarian Aid and Involvement (UC: Power and Influence)

The Saudi-led coalition has led numerous airstrikes in Yemen, contributing to the overall death toll and also damage of infrastructure. However, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both prominent members of the coalition, are also one of the biggest contributors to humanitarian aid for Yemen. While humanitarian aid is indeed a moral imperative and inevitably leads to more pervasive aid, some have questioned the ethical implications and the paradox of Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s humanitarian involvement, given their involvement in the conflict, believing that the assistance only serves to entrench their military and secure strategic interests through the control of Yemen’s key infrastructure (Rasmussen and al-Batati, 2019).

Discussion: Do you think that humanitarian intervention is always ethical? Why or why not?


For more in-depth reading about this issue, feel free to access the following links.

Rasmussen, S.E. and al-Batati, S. (2019). Saudi attempts to win over locals in Yemen stir anger. Wall Street Journal, Retrieved from

Sharp, J.M. (2018). Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention. Retrieved from

United Nations News (2019). Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN. Retrieved from

Sommerlad, J. (2018). Yemen Civil War: the facts about the world’s ‘forgotten war’. The Independent. Retrieved from

Middle East Eye (2018). Currency crisis: Yemenis live off leftovers as they wait for prices to drop. Retrieved from

Oxfam International (2017). Missiles and Food: Yemen’s man-made food security crisis. Retrieved from


Sectarian – caused by or feeling very strong support for the religious or political group that you are a member of, in a way that can cause problems with other groups

Variegated – marked by variety

Expeditious – quick

* Word definitions sourced from the Cambridge and Oxford Online Dictionaries