Yemen’s Unrest (RELS 348)

The article “Fighting grips Aden as Houthis continue to push South” published by AlJazeera, reports that fierce fighting is taking place in the coastal city of Aden where rebels known as Houthis are pushing South to claim power. At the same time Saudi Arabia has started air strikes to stop the advance, but this hasn’t stopped the rebels, and neither have the loyal fighters of the current president of Yemen, who are also battling the Houthis. In the past few days, 100 people have reportedly been killed due to the violence. Saudi Arabia has stated that the air strikes will continue until the Houthis put down their weapons, while the foreign minister said that their options would remain open on sending troops into Yemen. He went on to state the current objective is being achieved through air campaigns. Some of the air strikes being conducted are targeting the Houthis air defense capabilities. The article further talks about how air strikes were halted for a few hours to allow non-citizens to evacuate the country. The past president of Yemen stood down from his position after a violent uprising in 2011, but he still has a wide influence over Yemen. He appealed at the Arab leaders meeting in Egypt to halt the attacks and resume talks on political transition. He also promised that neither he nor anyone from his family would try to seek power within the country. His son also aired a proposal on television where he spoke about a plan to break with the Houthis, but it was rejected by the powers in Saudi Arabia and the air strikes have been continuously occurring.

The current emerging conflict that is taking place in Yemen can be seen as a religious war. Two different types of Muslims (Sunni and Shia) are causing this fight. Saudi Arabia is getting heavily involved because they do not support the Shia Houthis taking power in Yemen. Saudi Arabia prefers the power in Yemen to be Sunni, because most of the Arab states are Sunni. Yemen is also a strong religious symbol in Islam, and hence Saudi Arabia is very involved in this fight. The country has been divided politically into the North and South, with peace possibly only being possible with a full split.

The heavy involvement of Saudi Arabia and other nations, reminds me of the Vietnam War that is discussed in The Triumph of the Absurd. In this book the author speaks about how so many lives were lost just because of different countries stepping in and trying to reach peace. US and West Germany tried to help Vietnam, but instead lost its battle at the end and many lives as well before disappointingly leaving the country. The current situation seems like a reliving of this scenario, with foreign countries under the guise of “help” invading Yemen, primarily Saudi Arabia trying to keep a Sunni influence in Yemen. The story of Vietnam serves a good lesson that it is best to not step in and let the country sort out its own battle that exists within its own people.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s