The Saudi-led coalition claims that the Houthis are a proxy for Iran, and accuse Tehran of supporting the rebels. The extent of Iran’s backing is disputed, and support from forces loyal to Saleh, armed with his weapons stockpiles — including arms supplied by the US — have played an outsized role in the rebels’ advances. Still, in Washington, the fight in Yemen is often considered a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

A Yemen-based human rights official said that the US is driven to provide support in order to placate the Saudis after their opposition to the nuclear deal that the US and other world powers reached with Tehran this summer.

“It comes down to the Iran nuclear deal, and this is the price to be paid, the pound of flesh,” said the official, who spoke to VICE News on condition of anonymity due to the official’s ongoing work in the country. “The Saudis get to do whatever they want to do in Yemen.”

For the people of Wahija, the geopolitical implications of the war in Yemen are the least of their worries. Jets continue to fly over the town and other villages like it, and civilians continue to live under a daily threat of attack. Residents in the area said recently that they were still finding the remains of friends and neighbors scattered around the town.

Read more at Vice News.