Yemen: March into middle ages

The Daily Star

The unfolding situation in Yemen looks set to secure the country among the world’s failed states, but in such a way that it will make Somalia appear like Sweden.

Even before the Houthi rebels took over the capital Sanaa in September, the country was on shaky ground. With one of the most militarized civilian populations in the world, where the vast majority of individuals own a gun, Al-Qaeda is making gains across the country, mainly in the south, where the U.S. is involved in drone operations and more. There is no rule of law and dozens of deaths go unreported, with tribal tensions leading to even more violence across the country.

The former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is still hanging around – the only dethroned Arab Spring leader not to have been killed, sent into exile or jailed – and many believe he has a hand in the current Houthi advances, and seeks to capitalize on the disorder and perhaps make a comeback. Recently added to a U.S. sanctions list, he clearly hasn’t exactly retired from politics, and it appears he still commands an armed force.

And everywhere, we see foreign interference, with external players seeking to manipulate affairs in Yemen for their own advantage, and strengthen their position in the region. Nothing is being done with the priorities of Yemenis in mind, in a replica of a scenario we have seen elsewhere the Middle East.

It appears that the only hope now is for an internal reconciliation to be found, as unlikely as that seems right now. But at the same time, the international community must stop ignoring the growing crisis in Yemen as if it might simply disappear, and act with decisiveness and swiftness if and when intervention on the ground is needed

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Categories: Arab World, Asia, Yemen

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