Discourse of the Day, Meanwhile in Countries not called America

Meanwhile in Countries Not Named America- Civil War in Yemen

The world is a big place. With over 7 billion people divided among nearly 200 nations it’s easy to see how even the most well informed of individuals may not be aware of everything that is currently happening in our world. One of the goals of Meanwhile in Countries Not Named America is to select issues of importance and brief my readers in such a way that they are at least generally aware of the players and principles involved. With global attention tied up in the future of the EU, tensions in the Ukraine, President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Trade agreement, and the tragedy of yet another massive earthquake in Nepal I felt that one story with the potential for major ramifications may have escaped your notice. That story is the current Civil War in Yemen.
The origins in of this conflict date back to 2011 and the events of the Arab Spring. The immense pressure of that movement manifested itself in Yemen with the removal of Ali Abdullah Saleh from office. Saleh had been president of North Yemen from 1978 to 1990 and following the reunification of North and South Yemen in 1990 held the position of President of Yemen until his resignation in February 2012. A resignation that came more as a result of people continually trying to kill him and less as result of a sincere desire for democratic reform.
Saleh’s deputy Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi succeeded him having won the 2012 Yemeni election after running unopposed. On September 21, 2014 Houthi insurgents (who take their name from their leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi) seized the Yemeni capital of Sana’a and eventually forced the resignations of President Hadi and Prime Minister Basindawa in a textbook coup d’état. The conflict also has a religious tint (because it’s the Middle East so why wouldn’t it) as the Houthi are Shia and have close ties with Iran whereas the rest of Yemen is Sunni with historical ties to Saudi Arabia.
Hadi was held under house arrest by the Houthis until he managed to escape to the Southern Yemini city of Aden in February 2015. Hadi reclaimed the title of president with international support and proclaimed Aden the new, temporary capital. By the end of March however the Houthis were marching on Aden and Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia.
As convoluted as that may seem that is actually the simplest recounting of events that I could manage. All of which lead us to where we are now a full blown civil war in Yemen with a Saudi led coalition force seeking to end the Houthi rebellion and return Hadi to power. To complicate matters further it appears that both Iran and former president Saleh may be assisting the Houthi.
Saudi Arabia has attacked Houthi strongholds to such devastating effect that a five day humanitarian cease fire has been called for. Many international organizations have accused the Saudi’s of indiscriminate bombings attacking not only military targets but refugee camps, humanitarian aid warehouses, and residential neighborhoods resulting in a massive humanitarian crisis for the civilian population of Yemen.
The implications of this conflict have the potential to be far ranging. While there has always been a great deal of enmity between Iran and Saudi Arabia the idea that these two sides of the Yemini Civil War might simply be fighting a proxy war sets a disturbing precedent and is more than a little unsettling. Combined with the fact that a massive humanitarian crisis now seems inevitable in a region of the world that has always been a prime recruiting ground for Al Qaeda and the Islamic State and this war could create multiple threats to regional stability and global security. So Meanwhile in Countries Not Called America there is a civil war in Yemen and you should really be paying attention.

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