Yemen is a country located in the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It has a population of over 29 million people and is the second-largest country in the peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Sana’a.
Yemen has a long and complex history, with a rich cultural heritage. The country was once a center of civilization, and its ancient cities of Sana’a and Aden were important trade centers along the Silk Road. Yemen was also home to the ancient kingdom of Sheba, which is mentioned in the Bible and the Quran.
In recent years, Yemen has been plagued by conflict, with a civil war that began in 2015 and has caused widespread destruction and displacement. The conflict has also created a humanitarian crisis, with millions of people in need of aid and protection. The situation in Yemen remains complex and fragile, with ongoing efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
There are several rebel groups operating in Yemen, but the most well-known are the Houthi rebels, also known as Ansar Allah. The Houthis are a Shia Muslim group that originated in the northern part of Yemen and have been fighting against the Yemeni government and its allies since 2004.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when the Houthis, supported by Iran, seized control of the capital city of Sana’a and other areas of the country, leading to a military intervention by a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The conflict has caused widespread destruction and a humanitarian crisis, with millions of people in need of aid and protection. The Houthis have been accused of human rights abuses, including using child soldiers and committing war crimes. The group has also been accused of receiving support from Iran, which has fueled tensions in the region.
Efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict have been ongoing, including negotiations and ceasefires, but the situation remains complex and fragile. The conflict in Yemen has had a devastating impact on the country and its people, with no clear end in sight.
Who are Yemen’s Houthis?
The Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, are a Shia Muslim rebel group that originated in the northern part of Yemen in the 1990s. The group is named after its founder, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, who was killed in 2004 in a confrontation with Yemeni government forces.
The Houthis have a political and military wing and have been fighting against the Yemeni government and its allies for several years. They have been accused of human rights abuses, including the use of child soldiers and the suppression of political dissent.
The group is known for its anti-Western and anti-Israeli rhetoric, and has been accused of receiving support from Iran. The Houthis have denied receiving direct support from Iran, but have acknowledged receiving political and ideological support.
The Houthis have gained control of several areas of Yemen, including the capital city of Sana’a, and have been involved in a protracted conflict with the Yemeni government and its allies, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The conflict has caused widespread destruction and a humanitarian crisis, with millions of people in need of aid and protection.
MAPPING THE YEMEN CONFLICT
The conflict in Yemen is complex and multifaceted, involving multiple actors with different agendas and interests. Mapping the conflict requires an understanding of the various parties involved and their respective goals and strategies.
Here is a brief overview of the key actors in the Yemen conflict:
- Yemeni government: The internationally recognized government of Yemen is led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is based in the southern city of Aden. The government is supported by a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
- Houthi rebels: The Houthis are a Shia Muslim rebel group that originated in the northern part of Yemen and are supported by Iran. They have gained control of several areas of Yemen, including the capital city of Sana’a, and have been involved in a protracted conflict with the Yemeni government and its allies.
- Southern separatists: The Southern Transitional Council (STC) is a separatist group that seeks the independence of southern Yemen. The group has clashed with both the Yemeni government and the Houthis, and has received support from the United Arab Emirates.
- Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP): AQAP is a Sunni Muslim extremist group that has been active in Yemen for many years. The group has taken advantage of the conflict to expand its operations in the country.
- Islamic State (IS): IS has also established a presence in Yemen, but its activities have been limited compared to AQAP.
- International actors: The conflict in Yemen has drawn the attention of several international actors, including the United States, Russia, and Iran. These countries have been accused of supporting different sides in the conflict and have played a role in shaping its trajectory.
Mapping the conflict in Yemen requires a nuanced understanding of these various actors and their relationships with each other. The situation in Yemen remains complex and fluid, with ongoing efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Why do Houthis Hate Saudi Arabia?
The Houthis’ animosity towards Saudi Arabia is rooted in a number of historical, political, and religious factors.
Historically, the northern part of Yemen, where the Houthis originated, has had a difficult relationship with Saudi Arabia. Yemen and Saudi Arabia share a long border, and there have been tensions and conflicts over territorial disputes, smuggling, and cross-border infiltration.
Politically, the Houthis have accused Saudi Arabia of meddling in Yemen’s internal affairs and supporting the Yemeni government in its efforts to suppress their movement. Saudi Arabia is part of a coalition of countries that has been involved in a military intervention in Yemen since 2015, supporting the Yemeni government against the Houthis.
Religiously, the Houthis are followers of Shia Islam, while Saudi Arabia is predominantly Sunni Muslim. The two sects have a long history of animosity and have been involved in sectarian conflicts in various parts of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of supporting the Houthis, who they see as a proxy for Iran, and this has fueled tensions between the two countries.
In addition to these factors, the conflict in Yemen has also been shaped by geopolitical rivalries and strategic interests. Saudi Arabia and its allies see the Houthis as a threat to their security and stability, while the Houthis see the intervention by Saudi Arabia and its allies as an attempt to undermine their movement and gain control of Yemen.
The relationship between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia is complex and multifaceted, and there are no easy solutions to the conflict in Yemen. Finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict will require addressing the underlying issues and grievances of all parties involved.