The situation, overall in the area from Palestine, to Syria, to Yemen involves much suffering by the innocent civilian population. And there are not many, meaning few who will “Dare to Venture into a Moral Discussion About the Three Countries as a Subject with Equivalence Moralization.”
The problems in all three countries are, of course, related. However, because so few even talk about Yemen and so few media report on Yemen, this report is about Yemen.
When the Saudi Arabia lead coalition launch their campaign on Yemen, there were lots of speculation as to why and the discussion and argument finally settled on the age old answer about Oil, Competing Countries in the Region, including great of the region, and Nation Security, with some mentioning terrorism. Since then, most of the news that have come out about Yemen is about the humanitarian situation there, such as access to the population for food, medicine and water.
But moistly, global press are not reporting much on the war, except when there is much casualty to the innocent civilians. Yeman, for many global media, is the un-desirable little sister of the much more in the media Israel, Palestine & Syria.
However, if you dare to venture into the Yemen situation, and look at what is going on, the following is from Wikipedia.
Yemen (i/ˈjɛmən/; Arabic: اليَمَن al-Yaman), officially known as the Republic of Yemen (الجمهورية اليمنية al-Jumhūrīyah al-Yamanīyah), is an Arab country in Western Asia, occupying South Arabia, the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen is the second-largest country in the peninsula, occupying 527,970 km2 (203,850 sq mi). The coastline stretches for about 2,000 km (1,200 mi). It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea to the south, and Oman to the east-northeast. Although Yemen’s constitutionally stated capital is the city of Sana’a, the city has been under rebel control since February 2015. Because of this, Yemen’s capital has been temporarily relocated to the port city of Aden, on the southern coast. Yemen’s territory includes more than 200 islands; the largest of these is Socotra.
Yemen was the home of the Sabaeans (biblical Sheba), a trading state that flourished for over a thousand years and also included parts of modern-day Ethiopia and Eritrea. In 275 AD, the region came under the rule of the later Jewish-influenced Himyarite Kingdom. Christianity arrived in the fourth century, whereas Judaism and local paganism were already established. Islam spread quickly in the seventh century and Yemenite troops were crucial in the expansion of the early Islamic conquests.Administration of Yemen has long been notoriously difficult. Several dynasties emerged from the ninth to 16th centuries, the Rasulid dynasty being the strongest and most prosperous. The country was divided between the Ottoman and British empires in the early twentieth century. The Zaydi Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen was established after World War I in North Yemen before the creation of the Yemen Arab Republic in 1962. South Yemen remained a British protectorate known as the Aden Protectorate until 1967 when it became an independent state and later, a Marxist state. The two Yemeni states united to form the modern republic of Yemen in 1990.
Yemen is a developing country, and the poorest country in the Middle East. Under the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen was described as a kleptocracy. According to the 2009 international corruption Perception Index by Transparency International, Yemen ranked 164 out of 182 countries surveyed. In the absence of strong state institutions, elite politics in Yemen constituted a de facto form of collaborative governance, where competing tribal, regional, religious, and political interests agreed to hold themselves in check through tacit acceptance of the balance it produced. The informal political settlement was held together by a power-sharing deal between three men: president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who controlled the state; Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who controlled the largest share of the Republic of Yemen Armed Forces; and Abdullah ibn Husayn al-Ahmar, figurehead of the Islamist Islah party and Saudi Arabia’s chosen broker of transnational patronage payments to various political players,including tribal sheikhs. The Saudi payments have been intended to facilitate the tribes’ autonomy from the Yemeni government and to give the Saudi government a mechanism with which to weigh in on Yemen’s political decision-making.
Yemen has been in a state of political crisis since 2011, starting with street protests against poverty, unemployment, corruption, and president Saleh’s plan to amend Yemen’s constitution and eliminate the presidential term limit, in effect making him president for life. President Saleh stepped down and the powers of the presidency were transferred to Vice President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was formally elected president on 21 February 2012 in a one-man election. The transitional process was disrupted by conflicts between the Houthis and al-Islah, as well as the al-Qaeda insurgency. In September 2014, the Houthis took over Sana’a, later declaring themselves in control of the government in a coup d’état. Since then, a Saudi-led intervention has taken place, however, it could not stop the civil war. The Saudi-led intervention has caused massive damage to Yemeni infrastructure and has resulted in the bombing of hospitals and funeral processions among other civilian targets.
Arab nationalism made an impact in some circles who opposed the lack of modernization efforts in the Mutawakkilite monarchy. This became apparent when Imam Ahmad bin Yahya died in 1962. He was succeeded by his son, but army officers attempted to seize power, sparking the North Yemen Civil War. The Hamidaddin royalists were supported by Saudi Arabia, Britain, and Jordan (mostly with weapons and financial aid, but also with small military forces), whilst the military rebels were backed by Egypt. Egypt provided the rebels with weapons and financial assistance, but also sent a large military force to participate in the fighting. Israel covertly supplied weapons to the royalists to keep the Egyptian military busy in Yemen and make Nasser less likely to initiate a conflict in the Sinai. After six years of civil war, the military rebels were victorious (February 1968) and formed the Yemen Arab Republic.
The revolution in the north coincided with the Aden Emergency, which hastened the end of British rule in the south. On 30 November 1967, the state of South Yemen was formed, comprising Aden and the former Protectorate of South Arabia. This socialist state was later officially known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen and a programme of nationalisation was begun.
Relations between the two Yemeni states fluctuated between peaceful and hostile. The South was supported by the Eastern bloc. The North, however, was not able to get the same connections. In 1972, the two states fought a war. The war was resolved with a ceasefire and negotiations brokered by the Arab League, where it was declared that unification would eventually occur. In 1978, Ali Abdallah Saleh was named as president of the Yemen Arab Republic. After the war, the North complained about the South’s help from foreign countries. This included Saudi Arabia.
In 1979, fresh fighting between the two states resumed and efforts were renewed to bring about unification.
Unification and civil war
Main article: Yemeni unification
In 1990, the two governments reached a full agreement on the joint governing of Yemen, and the countries were merged on 22 May 1990, with Saleh as President. The President of South Yemen, Ali Salim al-Beidh, became Vice President. A unified parliament was formed and a unity constitution was agreed upon. In the 1993 parliamentary election, the first held after unification, the General People’s Congress won 122 of 301 seats.:309
After the invasion of Kuwait crisis in 1990, Yemen’s president opposed military intervention from non-Arab states. As a member of the United Nations Security Council for 1990 and 1991, Yemen abstained on a number of UNSC resolutions concerning Iraq and Kuwait and voted against the “use of force resolution”. The vote outraged the U.S. Saudi Arabia expelled 800,000 Yemenis in 1990 and 1991 to punish Yemen for its opposition to the intervention.
Following food riots in major towns in 1992, a new coalition government made up of the ruling parties from both the former Yemeni states was formed in 1993. However, Vice President al-Beidh withdrew to Aden in August 1993 and said he would not return to the government until his grievances were addressed. These included northern violence against his Yemeni Socialist Party, as well as the economic marginalization of the south. Negotiations to end the political deadlock dragged on into 1994. The government of Prime Minister Haydar Abu Bakr Al-Attas became ineffective due to political infighting
An accord between northern and southern leaders was signed in Amman, Jordan on 20 February 1994, but this could not stop the civil war. During these tensions, both the northern and southern armies (which had never integrated) gathered on their respective frontiers. The May – July 1994 civil war in Yemen resulted in the defeat of the southern armed forces and the flight into exile of many Yemeni Socialist Party leaders and other southern secessionists. Saudi Arabia actively aided the south during the 1994 civil war.
Saleh became Yemen’s first directly elected president in the 1999 presidential election, winning 96.2% of the vote.:310 The only other candidate, Najeeb Qahtan Al-Sha’abi, was the son of Qahtan Muhammad al-Shaabi, a former president of South Yemen. Though a member of Saleh’s General People’s Congress (GPC) party, Najeeb ran as an independent.
In October 2000, 17 U.S. personnel died after a suicide attack on the U.S. naval vessel USS Cole in Aden which was subsequently blamed on al-Qaeda. After the September 11 attacks on the United States, President Saleh assured U.S. President George W. Bush that Yemen was a partner in his War on Terror. In 2001, violence surrounded a referendum which apparently supported extending Saleh’s rule and powers.
The Shia insurgency in Yemen began in June 2004 when dissident cleric Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, head of the Zaidi Shia sect, launched an uprising against the Yemeni government. The Yemeni government alleged that the Houthis were seeking to overthrow it and to implement Shī’a religious law. The rebels counter that they are “defending their community against discrimination” and government aggression.
In 2005, at least 36 people were killed in clashes across the country between police and protesters over rising fuel prices.
In the 2006 presidential election, held on 20 September, Saleh won with 77.2% of the vote. His main rival, Faisal bin Shamlan, received 21.8%. Saleh was sworn in for another term on 27 September.
A suicide bomber killed eight Spanish tourists and two Yemenis in the province of Marib in July 2007. A series of bomb attacks occurred on police, official, diplomatic, foreign business, and tourism targets in 2008. Car bombings outside the U.S. embassy in Sana’a killed 18 people, including six of the assailants in September 2008. In 2008, an opposition rally in Sana’a demanding electoral reform was met with police gunfire.
In January 2009, the Saudi Arabian and Yemeni al-Qaeda branches merged to form Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen, and many of its members were Saudi nationals who had been released from Guantanamo Bay. Saleh released 176 al-Qaeda suspects on condition of good behaviour, but terrorist activities continued.
The Yemeni army launched a fresh offensive against the Shia insurgents in 2009, assisted by Saudi forces. Tens of thousands of people were displaced by the fighting. A new ceasefire was agreed upon in February 2010. However, by the end of the year, Yemen claimed that 3,000 soldiers had been killed in renewed fighting. The Shia rebels accused Saudi Arabia of providing support to salafi groups to suppress Zaidism in Yemen.
Some news reports have suggested that, on orders from U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. warplanes fired cruise missiles at what officials in Washington claimed were Al Qaeda training camps in the provinces of Sana’a and Abyan on 17 December 2009. Instead of hitting Al-Qaeda operatives, it hit a village, killing 55 civilians. Officials in Yemen said that the attacks claimed the lives of more than 60 civilians, 28 of them children. Another airstrike was carried out on 24 December.
The U.S. launched a series of drone attacks in Yemen to curb a perceived growing terror threat due to political chaos in Yemen. Since December 2009, U.S. strikes in Yemen have been carried out by the U.S. military with intelligence support from the CIA. The drone strikes are protested by human-rights groups who say they kill innocent civilians and that the U.S. military and CIA drone strikes lack sufficient congressional oversight, including the choice of human targets suspected of being threats to America.Controversy over U.S. policy for drone attacks mushroomed after a September 2011 drone strike in Yemen killed Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, both U.S. citizens. Another drone strike in October 2011 killed Anwar’s teenaged son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.
In 2010, the Obama administration policy allowed targeting of people whose names are not known. The U.S. government increased military aid to $140 million in 2010. U.S. drone strikes continued after the ousting of President Saleh.
As of 2015, Shi’a Houthis are fighting against the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and Saudi Arabia. U.S. supports the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen against the Houthis, but many in US SOCOM reportedly favor Houthis, as they have been an effective force to roll back al-Qaeda and recently ISIL in Yemen. The Guardian reported that “The only groups poised to benefit from the war dragging on are the jihadis of Islamic State (ISIL) and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the latter’s most powerful franchise, who are likely to gain influence amid the chaos. ISIL has claimed recent, bloody suicide bombings in Houthi mosques and Sana’a when it once had no known presence in the country, while AQAP has continued to seize territory in eastern Yemen unhindered by American drone strikes.” In February 2016 Al-Qaeda forces and Saudi-led coalition forces were both seen fighting Houthi rebels in the same battle.
Revolution and aftermath
The 2011 Yemeni revolution followed other Arab Spring mass protests in early 2011. The uprising was initially against unemployment, economic conditions, and corruption, as well as against the government’s proposals to modify the constitution of Yemen so that Saleh’s son could inherit the presidency.
In March 2011, police snipers opened fire on the prodemocracy camp in Sana’a, killing more than 50 people. In May, dozens were killed in clashes between troops and tribal fighters in Sana’a. By this point, Saleh began to lose international support. In October 2011, Yemeni human rights activist Tawakul Karman won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the UN Security Council condemned the violence and called for a transfer of power. On 23 November 2011, Saleh flew to Riyadh, in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, to sign the Gulf Co-operation Council plan for political transition, which he had previously spurned. Upon signing the document, he agreed to legally transfer the office and powers of the presidency to his deputy, Vice President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Hadi took office for a two-year term upon winning the uncontested presidential elections in February 2012. A unity government – including a prime minister from the opposition – was formed. Al-Hadi will oversee the drafting of a new constitution, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections in 2014. Saleh returned in February 2012. In the face of objections from thousands of street protesters, parliament granted him full immunity from prosecution. Saleh’s son, General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, continues to exercise a strong hold on sections of the military and security forces.
AQAP claimed responsibility for the February 2012 suicide attack on the presidential palace which killed 26 Republican Guards on the day that President Hadi was sworn in. AQAP was also behind the suicide bombing which killed 96 soldiers in Sana’a three months later. In September 2012, a car bomb attack in Sana’a killed 11 people, a day after a local al-Qaeda leader Said al-Shihri was reported killed in the south.
By 2012, there has been a “small contingent of U.S. special-operations troops” – in addition to CIA and “unofficially acknowledged” U.S. military presence – in response to increasing terror attacks by AQAP on Yemeni citizens. Many analysts have pointed out the former Yemeni government role in cultivating terrorist activity in the country. Following the election of new president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the Yemeni military was able to push Ansar al-Sharia back and recapture the Shabwah Governorate.
The central government in Sana’a remained weak, staving off challenges from southern separatists and Shia rebels as well as AQAP. The Shia insurgency intensified after Hadi took power, escalating in September 2014 as anti-government forces led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi swept into the capital and forced Hadi to agree to a “unity government”. The Houthis then refused to participate in the government, although they continued to apply pressure on Hadi and his ministers, even shelling the president’s private residence and placing him under house arrest, until the government’s mass resignation in January 2015. The following month, the Houthis dissolved parliament and declared a Revolutionary Committee under Mohammed Ali al-Houthi to be the interim authority in Yemen. Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, a cousin of the new acting president, called the takeover a “glorious revolution”. However, the “constitutional declaration” of 6 February 2015 was widely rejected by opposition politicians and foreign governments, including the United Nations.
Hadi managed to flee from Sana’a to Aden, his hometown and stronghold in the south, on 21 February. He promptly gave a televised speech rescinding his resignation, condemning the coup, and calling for recognition as the constitutional president of Yemen. The following month, Hadi declared Aden to be Yemen’s “temporary capital”. The Houthis, however, rebuffed an initiative by the Gulf Cooperation Council and continued to move south toward Aden. All U.S. personnel were evacuated and President Hadi was forced to flee the country to Saudi Arabia. On 26 March, Saudi Arabia announced operation al-Hazm Storm and began airstrikes and announced its intentions to lead a military coalition against the Houthis, whom they claimed were being aided by Iran, and began a force buildup along the Yemeni border. The coalition included the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Egypt, and Pakistan. The United States announced that it was assisting with intelligence, targeting, and logistics. Saudi Arabia and Egypt would not rule out ground operations. After Hadi troops took control of Aden from Houthis, jihadist groups are active in the city, and some of terrorist incidents were linked to it such as Missionaries of Charity attack in Aden in 4 March 2016.