Yemen crisis is one of the ongoing Islamic sectarian conflicts in the middle east, which is pushing the region towards instability. The conflict has made the world a living hell for almost 28.5 million residents of the war-torn country.
The 2011 upspring:
The twist started with a failure of transition in political power, which was predicted to bring stability in the country. In 2011, as Yemenis were looking up for a peaceful political change, something happened that will shape the further events brutally.
The 2011 upspring forced president Ali Abdullah Saleh to hand over power to his deputy Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Abdulah Saleh faced charges of corruption and failed governance.
Parties to the Conflict:
One major party to the conflict is the Saudi led government while the other is The Houthis, an armed group in the north of Yemen, the members of which belong to Shi’a Islam and are allegedly supported by Iran. Besides, Al-Qaeda also controls a part of the country and it also attacked the country with time to get the benefit.
Mass Protests of 2014:
On August 18, 2014, Houthis got angry with the government on the removal of fuel subsidies and called for a mass protest. As the protests built. Houthis took control of the critical government buildings of the country and forced the president and the government members to flee.
UN-brokered a peace deal on September 21 and sought a unity government 2014, which is still a pipe dream today.
Houthis tried to capitalize on the differences and claimed their control over sa’ da and nearby areas. Meanwhile, they did not leave their mission and continued to expand their claimed territory.
The emergence of Coalitions in the Yemen crisis:
Saudi Arabia and the UAE led the coalition to pull up their socks as President Hadi sought help from them to include themselves in the Yemen crisis. As Saudi’s claimed their prime purpose is to put internationally recognized government back to power. And this is where the armed conflict started, which is going to kill thousands of people in the near future.
Iran is often blamed by the USA and the Saudis to support Houthi rebels, and thus Yemen crisis is yet another Saudi-Iran conflict in the Middle East.
The Saudi coalition included the Gulf Cooperation Council states (with the exception of Oman), Egypt, and Sudan, and was backed by the United States and the United Kingdom.
Starting off the armed War:
With 2015, the proliferation started in the conflict and the entire country was pushed into the war in the matter of no time. The worst of famines started in the subjected country. Saudi led coalition bombing Houthis on daily bases became a new normal.
The key position of the Houthis is still in Sanaa, and it remained under Houthis control despite Saleh’s assassination. While the government controls other areas.
Saleh was ditched by his own allies, Houthis, which resulted in turning the pro-Saleh forces against Houthis. Even the most stable parts of the country depict ruins due to the indiscriminate bombing of the conflicted parties.
Sectarian Divisions in Yemen, a root cause of the Yemen crisis:
Shia Muslims constitute the northern part of the country, and Sunnis form the remaining. Yemen was one of the Muslim countries with very little sectarian violence until recently. People used to observe inter and intra sectarian marriage on a huge scale, and people of different sects used to offer prayer at each other mosques. The people had no idea that what awaits them is a deadly conflict that will be driven along the sectarian lines. The rise of political Islam worsened the situation. The likes of the Islamic Brotherhood and Zauidi Houthis raised tensions. Similarly, the rise of Salafism, a Sunni ideology, also deteriorates the situation. This leads to the emergence of different movements, including the Houthi movement in the country.
With the passage of time, the alliances have also disrupted, and Saudi Arabia backed the Yemeni government. At the same time, UAE started supporting Southern Transitional Alliance, and the UAE has also launched airstrikes against Saudi led Yemeni government.
The Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen crisis:
Amidst all the conflict, the most vulnerable to the crisis are the Yemenis who are the victim of the power politics among the parties to the conflict. All of the rival groups, including the Yemeni government, STC, and Houthis disappeared scores of people for the sake of their own goals and made people pay the price to live in the conflicted country.
The weaponry of the United States of America and the United Kingdom have been used against the innocent civilians of Yemen, with which the Saudi led coalition is doing indiscriminate airstrikes. UN has already blamed all the rival parties to commit war crimes, including rape, torture, kidnapping, and murdering masses.
According to human rights watch, the Yemen crisis is currently in the worst form, where almost 17,500 have been killed since 2015—nearly a quarter of the deceased people women and children. The crisis is so severe that it has pushed almost 20 million people to food insecurity. The catastrophe does not stop here, as 10 million of them are at the risk of famine. Besides, the UN has already listed Yemen in the countries which are about to face the famines of “biblical proportion” due to COVID-19.
“The international community must stop turning a blind eye to these violations, and the intolerable humanitarian situation,” the chairman of the panel of international experts said in a statement.
With no end is in sight, the global community has failed miserably to settle an argument between contesting parties. In one form or another, every country is supporting any alliance and hence contributing to yet another global conflict, the chances of which to get solved in the near future are minuscule. The sheer display of offensive realism is at its peak and can be described by John J. Mearsheimer’s words, a well known offensive realist.
“The cycle of violence will continue far into the new millennium. Hopes for peace will probably not be realized, because the great that shape the international system fear each other and compete for power as a result. Indeed, their ultimate aim is to gain a position of dominant power over others, because having dominant power is the best means to ensure one’s own survival.”