By Harry Harwood ’20
The civil war in Yemen that has been escalating since 2015, is currently being fought between two major factions, the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels. To briefly explain who is fighting who, due to the complexity of the warfare, the Houthi rebels are an Islamic religious-political-armed movement that originated in northern Yemen in the 1990s. On March 21, the Houthi movement seized Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, remaining loyal to Yemen’s previous president Ali Abdullah Saleh while the Yemeni government, on the other hand, supports the current president of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Hadi had been struggling with multiple conflicts in addition to the uprising, including attacks by Al Qaeda, a separatist movement in the South, corruption, and unemployment. All of the extra hardship posed on the Yemeni government gave The Houthi the opportunity to seize the capital and expand their rebellion. After the siege of Sana’a, the Houthis began their attempt to control the entire nation causing Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee the country in March 2015.
The Yemeni government is currently being supported by a number of allies, including Iran, Saudi Arabia and eight other mostly Sunni Arab states by launching an air campaign and is being supported by the U.S., U.K. and France in terms of intelligence information. The fighting has been active for over three years and has proceeded to escalate even though three UN-organised peace efforts have occurred. In November 2017, the alliance between Mr. Saleh and the Houthis broke due to the conflict of who had control of Sanaa’s biggest mosque. BBC News reported, “Mr. Saleh subsequently offered to ‘turn a new page’ with the Saudi-led coalition if it stopped attacking Yemen and ended its blockade.” In response the Houthis accused him of an illegal seizure of power and on December 4, 2017 he was announced dead from an attack on his convoy as he was fleeing Sana’a.
To make matters even more confusing, in January of 2018, pro Yemeni government broke into conflict when the separatist Southern Transitional Council accused the government of corruption and wanted the removal of Prime Minister Ahmed bin Daghar, causing the Saudi-led coalition to break into factions which created more division within the nation.
The controversy has led to 8.4 million people being at risk of starvation and as of 2017, 75% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance. The conflict between the Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government under Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi is still a current event with many confusing layers that is leaving Yemen in shambles, affecting over 8 million people’s lives with over 9,245 deaths and 52,800 injured since March 2015.