Recently a reader asked if we could provide an overview of the conflict in Yemen so I thought I would direct our readers towards a handy guide I found. The European Council on Foreign Relations has put together a guide that covers the historical context, factions, and multiple fronts in what has become a very complex war. Yemen also represents the first step, in terms of kinetic action, of what is likely to become an long term cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, fought via proxy forces. -Jack
Yemen’s president recently returned to the country after nearly six months in exile, but the conflict appears far from reaching a tidy conclusion, growing, if anything, more complicated by the day.
President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi was forced to flee the country by the Houthis – a Zaidi Shia-led rebel group targeted in six wars by the central government – and their new-found allies in the Yemeni Armed Forces, including many key backers of the country’s former leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh. This prompted an ongoing, Saudi-led military campaign aiming to restore Yemen’s internationally-recognised government to power, and now President Hadi and his Prime Minister and Vice President Khaled Bahah have returned to the port city of Aden.
Rather than being a single conflict, the unrest in Yemen is a mosaic of multifaceted regional, local and international power struggles, emanating from both recent and long-past events. The following maps aim to illustrate distinct facets of this conflict, and illuminate some rarely discussed aspects of Yemen’s ongoing civil war.