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Descending Into Chaos

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Yemen is headed for all-out civil war, another theater of the sadly familiar cast of proxy wars, sectarian violence, state collapse, and militia rule. The only actors who will prosper are the likes of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

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© REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

It is fairly obvious that Yemen is on the verge of a full-fledged civil war. The poor and sparsely populated country on the Arab Peninsula has become increasingly divided between the Shia Houthi movement and a Sunni anti-Houthi coalition backed by a crew of Western and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies cobbled together by President Hadi. On March 29, Saudi Arabia, which earlier had called the Houthis “Iranian puppets,” launched a military campaign, in coordination with a coalition of nine mostly Arab states, officially “to stop the Houthi advance and help restore President Hadi’s government.”

To date, it is unclear what the real Saudi political endgame in Yemen is. Thus far, the kingdom’s actions appear to have only exacerbated tensions in the country. Air strikes have hit Yemen’s critical infrastructure and more importantly have sparked a humanitarian crisis in the country with several million people in need of food and other basic supplies. On April 21, the Saudi-led coalition announced the end of Operation Decisive Storm claiming it had achieved its military objectives. A new operation, called Restoring Hope, should focus on a political solution in Yemen and on counter-terrorism at home. …

Read the complete article in the Berlin Policy Journal App – July/August 2015 issue.

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