A Beginners Guide To The Conflict In Yemen

Authored by Stucky via The Burning Platform blog,

Don’t have the time to do research on the Yemen conflict? Here ya go, as brief as we can make it...

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- Yemen was a divided country for hundreds of years

- North Yemen gained independence from the Ottoman Empire when it collapsed in 1918

- North Yemen was then ruled by a Zaydi Shiite Imam. Zaydi Shiism is a branch of Shiite Islam found almost exclusively in Northern Yemen.

- in 1962 the military staged a coup against the Zaydi monarchy.

- the conflict lasted several years and essentially became a proxy war between Egypt (who supported the military) and Saudi Arabia (who supported the royalists).  The war ended in 1970.   The royalists and Saudis lost.

- Meanwhile, South Yemen gained its independence from British and Saudi rule in 1967.

- South Yemen aligned itself with the Soviets (the only communist country in the Arab world).

- North and South Yemen clashed for the next several decades



ONE YEMEN under Ali Saleh (1990 -2011)

- The Soviet bloc disintegrated which led to the merger of North and South Yemen  in 1990

- The new ruler for unified Yemen was Ali Saleh, who prior was the ruler of North Yemen.

- Civil war broke out in 1994.  South Yemen felt Saleh’s regime was marginalizing them.,  Saleh quickly squashed the opposition.

- Saleh soon ran into more problems, this time right in North Yemen. Sheikh Hussein al-Houthi (1956 -2004) was a political and military leader.  He began a religious revivalist movement in the early 1990s.  His goal was to reassert traditional Zaydi Shiism which was losing ground to the fundamentalist Sunni (particularly Salafism) proselytizing supported by Saudi Arabia.  His followers and movement were called Houthis.

- The Houthi movement eventually shifted from a religious bent to political. From wiki; — “In 2003 the Houthis’ slogan “The God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam”, became the group’s trademark.”  Between 2004 and 2010, there were six conflicts between Houthi rebels and Saleh’s government.

- In September 2004, the Yemeni government announced that their military killed al-Houthi along with 20 of his followers. The Yemeni government creates a martyr.

REVOLUTION!!  (2011 – 2014)

- Inspired by the protests in Tunisia, tens of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets in January 2011, demanding Saleh’s resignation.  Saleh refused and many were killed.

- But, Saleh is forced to bow to domestic and international pressure and signed an agreement to cede power.  In Feb 2012 his vice president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, takes over. The agreement was brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Saudi Arabia, and United States.

- The peace did not last long. Hadi lost control quickly.

- There were al-Qaida attacks, the economy was tanking, southern Yemen wanted to secede again, and Houthi rebels were engage in brutal fighting with Hadi’s government. Attempts were made to broker a new constitution, but no one could agree on anything.

- Yemen borrowed money from the IMF.  The IMF as part of the loan agreement demanded austerity measures. So, in 2004, Hadi announced cuts to fuel subsidies. The huge increase in fuel prices hit the mostly poverty stricken population very hard, and served to provoke the Houthi-backed protestors to further destabilize the government. Hadi rescinded the cuts, but the damage was done.

HOUTHI RULE  (2014 – 2015)

- Houthi rebels seize control of most of the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014.

- Hadi signs a U.N.-brokered peace with the Houthis to form a new, more inclusive government within a month.

- By January 2015 the Houthis reject the new government and constitution. They place Hadi under house arrest but, Hadi is able to escape to Aden.

- In February 2015, the Houthis dissolved parliament and formed a new transitional government.

- The GCC, United Nations, and United States quickly denounce the coup.

- In March 2015 Houthis expand their military campaign. They’re able to take over large parts of the country. Hadi flees to Saudi Arabia.

SAUDI INTERVENTION  (2015 – current)

- Saudi Arabia is Sunni.

- Yemen (the Houthi part)  is Shia.

- Iran (Shia) supports Yemen.

- Saudi Arabia hates Iran.

- Yemen (Houthis) / Iran (Shia) were winning.

- This was too much for the Sauds. So, they formed a military coalition with eight other Arab states.  But, the intelligence, arms, and logistical support came from the United States and England. The coalition began their airstrike campaign in March 2015 in order to defeat the Houtis and restore Hadi to power.

- With overwhelming superiority in weapons, fire power, and support from the World’s Lone Superpower the Sauds thought the campaign would be over in a few short months. In over a year of bombing the coalition has made only minimal territorial gains.


- Yemen is functionally two countries, or governments; the Houthis in Sanaa, and Hadi in Aden.

- all the various brokered peace talks have gotten nowhere

- the Trump administration is siding with the Sauds, and wherever possible blaming the various war atrocities on Iran.  But, it is the coalition with bombs and airplanes, and there is zero doubt, as evidence exists, that coalition armaments have struck schools, hospitals, and civilian areas.

- 75% of Yemenis need some kind of humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs, about 8 million are at risk of starvation, cholera is becoming an epidemic, Riyadh is even preventing fresh bottled water from entering the country  … the country meets every definition of a failed state.


“He [Esau] will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” —- Genesis 16:12

The 5,000 year long conflict in the Middle East is not just between Jew and Arab.  It is also (and, probably, primarily) between Arab and Arab. Will things suddenly get better in 2018?  Sure, there have been periods of peace. But, it never lasts. Because Esau is a wild ass of a man. That’s not God talk. That’s history talk.


warsev IntercoursetheEU Mon, 05/14/2018 - 01:15 Permalink

I don't understand why the U.S. gives a flying fuck. No, it's not O-I-L in Yemen. Yemen produces some, but it's a minuscule amount of world production. Appeasement of the Saudi regime is about all I can guess. But then why do the Saudis give a flying fuck? Because the conflict is on their back patio and they don't want it getting into their big tent. So, why does the U.S. give a flying fuck about that, either?

In reply to by IntercoursetheEU

new game warsev Mon, 05/14/2018 - 06:23 Permalink

all wars are over religious ideals fought to death(at the root). the debt/money is the booty to the providers of armament.

it is as fundamental as hating your neighbor so much that that one goes to the extreme of killing.

human tradition. kill thou neighbor cause he worships a different god. winner rules for a moment.

then some zealot comes along with his new and improved god and sect followers brainwashed to kill for this god and another killing field is blood stained.

simple shit maynard....

and that my friend is why i reject all religions, cause some asshole will do the above described scenario every fuking tyme.

repeat this until a nuke is involved and then you can see the future of mankind. grim shit maynard, but this is the reality of our future as  humans, that is if we don't seccumb to the laws of supply and demand of food water and air(breathable without man made death dust)....

In reply to by warsev

The Harlequin warsev Mon, 05/14/2018 - 07:54 Permalink

Simple, the US and the UK have a dedicated client to purchase the latest and greatest weaponry, from small arms to jet fighters and all the logistical apparatus that goes along with it. They also have a dedicated war and proving ground for them to use it all in, a place which most people couldn't give a flying fuck about and couldn't point to on a map (at least, in the US!). It's the best of all possible commercial scenarios, especially for the UK armaments industry and all the f**king pension funds that invest in it! C**ts!

In reply to by warsev

icedoc sheikurbootie Sun, 05/13/2018 - 23:23 Permalink

And it's not just that. It needs to be recognized how unique the peace and prosperity we enjoy in the West-especially the Anglosphere-compared to all of history, and how and why we got to where we are that many of those who enjoy those benefits are the very ones seeking to destroy the source. When it is denied or ignored that white Christian men brought this nation from a third world backwater to the world's economic forefront while spreading the benevolence of our earned riches around the world, and seek to destroy that source and replace it with a known destroyer of peace and prosperity, it is the height of folly and stupidity. Ignore history at your peril.

In reply to by sheikurbootie

OverTheHedge icedoc Mon, 05/14/2018 - 01:03 Permalink

So that would be American exceptionalism at its best, I take it. I won't fill the comments with the vast amount of text required to list all wars involving the us AND the UK, but here are the sources. 





In reply to by icedoc

sarz HRH of Aquitaine 2.0 Mon, 05/14/2018 - 03:14 Permalink

Queen Yesta of Aquitaine. I think you belong to the hasbara department of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. You people have for yesrs been pushing the meme that the middle east hss never known peace because of some special defect of middle easterners. That's a big lie. The main problem in the middle east is also the main problem in the West. The Jew. 

In reply to by HRH of Aquitaine 2.0

Number 9 Sun, 05/13/2018 - 21:26 Permalink

been alive 60+ years and it is damn hard to remember a time we weren't bombing someone.

the middle east has never been at peace and most likely never will..

humans at their finest.. and to think.. somebody actually thinks I am going to willingly disarm knowing full well the nature of the species?


Baron Samedi Reaper Sun, 05/13/2018 - 21:56 Permalink

It looks more like the USA got the Saudis pushing Wahabism as something that could be (and was) weaponized.  See Devil's Game by Robert Dreyfus, and Secret Affairs by Mark Curtis for MI6's contribution (There is a reason they used to call it "Londonistan").

When the "Cold War" ran out and the primary boogeyman ran down, they switched to their prepared backup.  "We've always been at war with _______".


In reply to by Reaper

Mazzy Sun, 05/13/2018 - 21:48 Permalink

"The God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam”,"

Gotta admit, that's a pretty impressive slogan.

HurricaneBrasky Sun, 05/13/2018 - 21:49 Permalink

Hey look, more terrible people killing other terrible people in the ME. This a new thing for those parts. Once this anomaly is over in short order, i'm sure things will restabilize and the area will return to being ruled by benevolent kings who love liberty and the open exchange of ideas.


Piss off. America picked a side in a proxy war, so did you. Let's see who wins.


Chaotix Sun, 05/13/2018 - 21:53 Permalink

Location, location, location. Yemen serves as a threat to the shipping lanes of Saudi oil. Between Yemen and Djibouti is a small place to fit all them oil tankers in and out of the gulf there. It's either that or around Dubai where it gets too close to Iran. But then again, it probably no more than a Sunni vs Shiite vs Baathist vs Israel/Saudi Royalty conflict.

Mazzy Chaotix Sun, 05/13/2018 - 22:00 Permalink

Pretty simple overall, glad to see you've got the hang of it.

Saudi Arabia isn't at all fraying at the seams either.  You've got moderate-modernists on the western coast, Wahabists (there's that desert craziness again) in the middle, and Shiites on the eastern coast.

The government there pays a lot of petrodollars to keep people from rebelling.

In reply to by Chaotix