Unending war in Yemen
The Yemen conflict, ignited by the Saudi-led coalition, is a perfect example that how a war can go directionless if started with any proper strategy. The initial parties to the conflict were the Iran-backed Houthis and Saudi-backed Yemen’s internationally recognised Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi government. The ill-conceived interference by the Saudi coalition in the internal affairs of Yemen four years ago has now a new player: the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC). The Saudi coalition jumped into the poorly strategised conflict on the pretext of pushing back Houthi rebels with little or no care about human lives. Despite its massive aerial power, and the total military and political support of the US, the coalition has yet to reach Yemen’s capital Sana’a. After failing to meet their own stated goal to restore the ousted government, the coalition has now declared Aden the new capital. This feat was attained at a heavy cost: a horrible humanitarian crisis. The country faces a food crisis while thousands of its citizens and non-combatants have been killed in aerial bombings and tens of thousands have been displaced.
Among the flurry of crises, the entry of the STC, a militia group, earlier a partner of the Saudi-led coalition, is partly ironic and partly tragic. The ironic part is the STC staged a rebellion against their masters and captured the presidential palace in Aden and the main port. The tragic part is that now the conflict has become a three-way war. Now, Saudi jets are raining most of their gunpowder on STC-controlled strategic sites whereas the Shia Houthis continue controlling much of the country’s north. The toothless government of Hadi, which controls much of southern Yemen, is being run from Saudi Arabia. It faces huge challenges from the STC which wants the separation of south Yemen.
The STC is allegedly backed by the UAE, which signals cracks in the Saudi-led coalition. The UAE was a key Saudi partner when it triggered the conflict four year ago. Also, the UAE has been a traditional ally of Saudi Arabia in the region on all fronts like Egypt, Iran, Syria, and Qatar. The UAE has shown its frustration with the endless war on several occasions. The basic point of contention, however, is the Saudis’ support to the Hadi government, which has several Sunni Islamic parties as allies. Of them, Islah is stated to be an offshoot of the Brotherhood. For those reasons, the UAE is banking on the STC to build southern Yemen, leaving the northern part to the Houthis. The best course for the warring factions is to declare a ceasefire and enter into talks to end the war.
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