The War in Yemen
In February 2012, the Arab Spring’s Yemeni Revolution of Dignity ended President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 34-year rule. The transfer of power to longtime Vice-President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was followed by massive internal strife, jihadist attacks, unemployment, and food insecurity.
A two-decade old insurgency of the Shia Zaidis — called Houthis after their leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, grew and acquired Yemen’s northern Saada province. Houthi also acquired capital, Sanaa, in 2015. Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia. Hadi is also opposed by Saleh and his supporters.
Saudi Arabia vs Iran
As in many military and non-military conflicts in the region, Saudi and Iran are on opposite sides in Yemen as well. Houthi are supported by Shia Iran and Hadi government is supported by Sunni Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s intense bombing campaign against the Houthis and the loyalists of Saleh was provided logistic and intelligence support by the United States, United Kingdom, and France.
Air strikes in Saudi
American officials have cited intelligence assessments and satellite pictures in support of claims that the attacks that penetrated Saudi air defences were carried out using sophisticated drones and cruise missiles that could not have originated from Yemen. But the Houthis have claimed responsibility while Iran has denied involvement.
State of Yemen
Yemen’s coastline along the Gulf of Aden and its unique location on the mouth of the Red Sea, the gateway to the Suez, gives it enormous strategic value.
Yemen is in the middle of what has been called the world’s worst man-made humanitarian disaster. International groups believe some 70,000 people have been killed since January 2016, and that about 80% of Yemenis — about 24 million people — desperately need humanitarian aid.
Source: The Indian Express