Houthi movement arose out of Shia-Sunni friendship.. Air strikes, famine, lakhs of deaths, why is Yemen burning for decades?

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Sana: Saudi Arabia, Houthi rebels, United Arab Emirates, attack, drone attack, assassination…etc, these words have been appearing in headlines and news headlines once again for the past few days. What is the reason for this? In fact, the situation in the Gulf has become tense. The Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, has stepped up its crackdown after Houthi rebels occupying Yemen recently targeted the United Arab Emirates. Indian citizens and civilians living in Gulf countries are killed in Houthi attacks. Similarly, a large number of Yemenis are also affected along with Houthi fighters in Arab coalition attacks. Affected means from death to homelessness. In all this, there is one country which is suffering the most and that is Yemen. Today we will try to know why Yemen is ‘burning’ for so many years?

The rise of the Houthi movement in the 1980sAccording to the BBC report, Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Arab world. Civil war has completely ruined this country. The cause of this war was the Houthi movement, which emerged in the 1980s. The Huti are a large clan belonging to the Zaidi Shia sect, which has its roots in the northwestern Saada province of Yemen. The Zaidi make up about 35 percent of Yemen’s population. The Jedis ruled Yemen for a thousand years until 1962, when they were overthrown, triggering a civil war in the country that lasted until 1970. The Houthi clan revived the Zaidi tradition in the 1980s, protesting the growing influence of Sunni Muslims who were funded by the government. In 2004 the Houthis launched a rebel movement against the Yemeni government named after the political, military and religious leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi. Al-Houthi was assassinated by Yemeni security forces in September 2004.

Shia-Sunni together captured Sana’aThe conflict between the Houthis and Yemen’s Sunni majority government lasted several years. In 2012, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had been Yemen’s president since 1990, was forced to step down due to Arab Spring protests, and his deputy, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, took over Yemen. It was believed that this political change would bring stability in the country but it failed. After becoming president, Hadi faced many problems that he was constantly struggling with. Many problems beset Yemen such as jihadist attacks, separatist movements, security personnel’s loyalty to the former president, corruption, unemployment and food shortages. In 2015, Saleh joined hands with the Houthis against Hadi and sparked an insurgency that was supported by many ordinary Yemenis, including Sunnis. This movement captured the capital of Yemen, Sanaa. Amid the deteriorating situation in the country, the president fled to Aden and later moved to Saudi Arabia, where he spent most of his time.

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9 Arab countries formed alliance in 2015In 2017 Saleh broke the alliance with the Houthi and joined hands with his “enemies” – the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates and President Hadi. Saleh was assassinated in the same December. After Hadi was ousted from power in March 2015, nine countries formed a coalition led by Saudi Arabia. It received intelligence support and logistics from the US. This coalition launched a bombing campaign against the Houthis. The airstrikes were in support of Hadi’s forces, which were seeking to retake Sanaa from Houthi control. At the beginning of the war, Saudi officials predicted that it would only last a few weeks. But even after seven years, the fire in Yemen has not been extinguished. The United Nations says the results of the war are shocking. The UN reported in December 2020 that the conflict had caused an estimated 233,000 deaths.

How ruined is YemenIn this 131,000 people have lost their lives due to indirect reasons like lack of food, health services and infrastructure. Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed or injured as a direct result of the fighting, including more than 10,000 children. The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) had recorded more than 147,000 deaths as of early November 2021. Thousands of people are facing famine-like conditions or are on the verge of famine. Another monitoring group, the Yemen Data Project, blamed the Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes killing 8,780 civilians. UN experts say all sides of the conflict have committed war crimes. The United Nations has called the Yemen crisis the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. 40 lakh people have been forced to flee their homes. At present, more than 20 million – 71 percent of the population – need some form of humanitarian aid or protection for their survival.

[Attribution to NBT]

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