Window of Opportunity

The Yemenis are in the middle of a war that is simply never-ending.

By Amjad Ali Siyal | June 2020

It was hoped that the Arab Spring would usher in the Arab world a new era of democracy, prosperity and a promising future. No one imagined that it would sow the seeds of destruction for many states like Yemen. People rose up against the autocratic regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, envisaging better prospects in the coming times. However, their legitimate struggle was marred by geo-political rivalry. With its ill-equipped health infrastructure, outbreak of cholera, malnutrition and now the Covid-19 pandemic, Yemen has been dragged into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Since the Saudi-led coalition has announced a unilateral ceasefire, this opportunity must be seized by all parties as a peace-building measure so that further damage could be averted.

Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has always been politically unstable. Prior to its unification in 1990, it remained divided into North and South Yemen. Later Ali Abdullah Saleh emerged as the ruler of unified Yemen. Despite several abortive attempts to dislodge Saleh, the people of Yemen, having been inspired by the Arab Spring, protested against Saleh. After he stepped down, his vice president Abd Rabbu Mansoor Hadi took over, paving the way for unending instability.

In 2014, the Houthi rebels seized control of vast territories and internationally recognised President Hadi was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia. The Zaydi Shia affiliation supported the Houthis and their growing influence was bolstered by Iran. The Saudi-led Sunni coalition comprising Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan and the UAE intervened to restore the Hadi government in 2015.

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