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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightYemen: Edging towards...

Yemen: Edging towards civil war

Yemen: Edging towards civil war

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday night has launched military operations in Yemen targeting the Houthi rebels in an effort to dislodge them from the country with the backing from a coalition of ten nations.

With the airstrikes launched killing innocent civilians including women and children, the country is seemingly sliding towards a civil war, reminiscent of another Iraq, Syria and Libya. Houthis, the Shiite Muslim minority from Northern Yemen who has the support of Iran, have taken over the capital, the major Yemeni cities and now captured key parts of the port city of Aden. The military operations were announced in Washington by Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir, who said it would last until Yemen’s “legitimate government” was restored. Saudi Arabia has the support of the Gulf countries and OIC member countries like Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan. So far no attempts have been for any mediation efforts to curb or put an end to the war. Meanwhile the Indian government is striving hard to rescue the 3500 Indians stuck in the country. The land and air ways have been disrupted along with communication lines hindering the rescue operations and the hike in the oil prices is adding to the trepidation. The fact that Saudi Arabia is spearheading the airstrikes compounds the apprehensions of the expatriates including Malayalis.

In Yemen the long-running religious conflicts between the Sunni and Shia sects, the two major denominations of Islam, have been going on for a while. The blatant observation and belief that Iran being a Shiite country backs the Houthis and the Sunni majority countries support the rival Sunni group is just a superficial evaluation and analysis. The already existing fight for power and superiority that gained momentum following Zionist intervention and the moves favouring economic advantages have apparently landed Yemen in the present predicament. The parties concerned on the other hand, are merely capitalizing on the conventional communal and sectarian discords. The Houthis represent the Zaidi branch of Shiite Islam from the far north of Yemen adjacent to Saudi border and make up to about 40 percent of the country’s population. Since they do not share the same belief and principles as the other Shias, they align closer to Sunni practices.

When the Houthis entered the scene targeting the capture of power, president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi who is a Zaidi Shiite himself, launched several attacks on the militia. Toppled from power, he fled to Saudi Arabia with the vice president Abd Rab Mansoor Wahidi taking over the reins. He later reappeared in Yemen posing a strong opposition against the Houthis. The president now cannot assume office due to the lack of adequate power and military arsenal and around 125 of the military advisors sent by the US to aid him have returned. Its ironical that the Obama administration is using them to counter the Sunni-salafi terrorist group Al Qaida and the Islamic State. According to the reports, Al Qaida and the IS are carrying out individual attacks on the Houthis. The intervention of these terrorist groups who are opponents of peace and humanity and known for their brutality, would only aggravate the scenario.

The civil war is likely to affect Saudi Arabia too. The country’s safety would be at stake if the Houthis who has the backing of Iran and Syria, capture Yemen. The war would also augment the terrorist groups. The same is applicable to Bahrain as well. GCC Countries like Egypt, UAE and Kuwait have sided Saudi Arabia in its move along with the support of Turkey. The much hyped nuclear deal involving Iran and its military upper hand might be the reason for these nations backing Saudi Arabia. The UN, Arab League and the OIC should strive to put an end to the civil war and restore the peaceful atmosphere in the country. The military operations are likely to continue destroying the nations until a ‘legitimate’ democratic government assumes office.

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