For now, there is little fighting in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden. But it takes me more than a year to arrange my journey. Everything about getting there drives home how deeply three years of war have broken and divided the country.
I start by seeking a visa at a consulate of the Yemeni government headed by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. My first application in January 2017 languishes in bureaucratic limbo. Unofficially, I am told that Aden is too unsafe for me.
I press for help from the upper reaches of Hadi’s administration, which, far from the complications of life in Aden, are mostly located in exile in Saudi Arabia.… Seguir leyendo »
What exactly happened and what led up to this sudden twist in Yemen’s devastating war?
On 4 December, Huthi fighters killed Yemen’s former president and their erstwhile ally, Ali Abdullah Saleh. His violent death and the military defeat of his loyalists in Sanaa were the culmination of months of growing tensions between Saleh’s General People’s Congress party (GPC) and the Huthis. Before coming to blows, the Huthi-Saleh alliance had fought the Saudi-led coalition, which is backing the internationally recognised government of Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to a stalemate. After nearly three years of war, including a punishing air campaign and a policy of economic strangulation, they still controlled the north, where the majority of Yemen’s population lives.… Seguir leyendo »
On 4 November 2017, Huthi/Saleh forces in Yemen fired a Burkan 2-H long-range ballistic missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh. It was intercepted and destroyed before reaching its target. The attack occurred during a profound political shakeup in Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to consolidate power, and amid dramatic Saudi political manoeuvrings in the region which led to the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister, Saad Hariri. Adding to the volatility, Israel has been making veiled – and not so veiled – threats about its intent to prevent Hizbollah from developing an indigenous capacity to build sophisticated precision missiles.… Seguir leyendo »
The first counter-terrorism raid authorised by U.S. President Donald Trump over the weekend targeted al-Qaeda in Yemen. How effective was the operation, and what is known about the new administration’s broader strategy on Yemen?
The raid in al-Bayda, a key battlefront in Yemen’s civil war where al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its local affiliate Ansar al-Sharia (AAS) are embedded in the conflict, is a good example of what not to do. The use of U.S. troops and the high number of civilian casualties – local sources report that at least ten women and children were killed – are deeply inflammatory and breed anti-American resentment across the Yemeni political spectrum that works to the advantage of AQAP.… Seguir leyendo »
Lo verdaderamente trágico de Yemen es que, en un primer momento, el país logró evitar la guerra civil. A diferencia de Siria o de Libia, el levantamiento de su Primavera Árabe no presagió una violencia inmediata. Durante un tiempo hubo esperanzas de que el país pudiese ser testigo de una transferencia de poder pacífica. Un mecanismo de aplicación negociado por las Naciones Unidas diseñó una transición de dos años que debía ser la piedra angular de la retirada del presidente Ali Abdalá Saleh en noviembre de 2011, su sustitución por un líder provisional, el vicepresidente Abd Mansur al Hadi en febrero de 2012, y una Conferencia de Diálogo Nacional (NDC, por sus siglas en inglés) concebida para guiar la reforma constitucional antes de las nuevas elecciones al cabo de dos años.… Seguir leyendo »
US-ally Saudi Arabia is leading a war against Houthi rebels in Yemen. But after nearly five months, the Houthis have entrenched themselves in captured territory, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) have gained ground, and the war has created a humanitarian catastrophe, with over 4,000 dead and aid agencies warning of impending famine.
The United States has quietly supported a political solution while providing a preponderance of military hardware, intelligence, and logistical support to the war effort. Admittedly, the Obama administration faces tough choices. Relations with Saudi Arabia have suffered over the Iranian nuclear deal and, with the Yemeni conflict encroaching on the Kingdom’s border, sensitive policy differences on how to handle it threaten to strain the relationship further.… Seguir leyendo »
The tide is turning against the Houthis and troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the south of Yemen. But they and their adversaries now face a tipping point in the four-month-old civil war. Both can recognize that neither side can win outright, and choose peace. Or they can condemn the country to another bout of even more devastating conflict.
Backed by new military hardware, airpower and an influx of Yemeni troops trained in Saudi Arabia, fighters captured the city’s international airport and surrounding areas on 14 July. They now appear to be on the brink of consolidating control over Aden for the first time since the Houthis (an armed group that follows the Zaydi a form of Shi’ite Islam largely unique to north Yemen) arrived on its outskirts in late March.… Seguir leyendo »