Six years ago and today, Saudi Arabia announced the start of Operation Decisive Storm From Washington, DC. Riyadh said the initial air strikes were aimed at driving the Houthi rebels out of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and returning interim President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power. War started Saudi Arabia has said that Obama administration officials will take about “six weeks.”Saudi Arabia has not achieved any of its military objectives in Yemen. President Hadi is still in exile, his government is weak and in a state of chaos, and the Houthis are stronger now than they were when the fighting began.
In fact, after six years of war, thousands of rockets and bombs appeared, hundreds of thousands of dead, and The worst humanitarian crisis in the worldYemen is so torn that it is unlikely to be reconfigured as a single country. The country will not return to the division between north and south before 1990. Instead of one or two oaths, there are now multiple right-wing and small states and areas of control controlled by an increasing number of armed groups, each with different objectives and paths.
The Seven Yemen
In the northern highlands, where much of Yemen’s population lived before the war, the Houthis are in control. In 2015, Saudi Arabia decided that it must intervene militarily to prevent the Houthis from becoming a Hezbollah-like group – backed and armed by Iran – on its southern border. But the war pushed the Houthis and Iran to rapprochement. Smuggling Iran Missile components for the HouthisAnd providing them with coaches, and Supports them economically. In 2019, the Houthis appointed ambassador to Iran, and the following year Iran responded in kind Hassan Erlo, a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, as ambassador in Sanaa..
When Saudi Arabia intervened in 2015, the Houthis ruled the heights in partnership with former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The two were enemies: the Houthis and Saleh fought six wars against each other between 2004 and 2010. While they distrusted each other, they worked on a common cause against Hadi and the Saudis. The passage of time, thanks prof Poorly designed UN sanctions regimeDisproportionately weakening Saleh’s network, the Houthis overcame their local rival, eventually killing Saleh in December 2017. Since then, the Houthis have embarked on an ambitious program to restructure governance in areas under their control, which aims to remove the Houthis and restore The unification of Yemen is impossible.
Along the Red Sea coast, Saleh’s nephew, Tariq Saleh, who heads a group of fighters backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (Emirates) stationed against the Houthi fronts in Hodeidah.
More inside Taiz, The conflict is largely between members of the anti-Houthi coalition. The Houthis control the northern part of the governorate, but Islah, a political party affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, won the battle within the anti-Houthi coalition, defeating rival fighters from the 35th Armored Brigade and the Abu Abbas group. Control of the city of Taiz and a large part of the countryside south of the city.
The separatist-minded Southern Transitional Council controls the southern port city of Aden After Hadi’s forces were expelled in August 2019. The Southern Transitional Council and its military units are backed by the UAE, which opposes reform on the basis of its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
North of Aden, another group backed by the UAE, the Giants Brigades led by the Salafists, is operating in Lahj. Many of these fighters prefer secession as well, not STC-led.
In Marib The location of the current Houthi offensiveThe reform is responsible. Hadramawt is divided between the UAE-backed Hadrami Elite Forces that control the coast, and Islah-affiliated units at home.
In Al Mahra on the eastern border of Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Oman are playing a non-secret game of influencing local tribes. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has strengthened its military presence on the Omani border, establishing at least twenty bases over the past three years and recruiting locals into paramilitary groups. Oman, which counts Al Mahrah within its sphere of influence, has become increasingly wary of the Saudi military presence on its borders and is working to undermine it. The Southern Transitional Council controls Socotra Island, and Hadi’s units control “Power triangleOil and gas fields in Marib, Shabwa and Hadramout.
Yemen will never be unified again
None of these various armed groups – whether the Hadi forces, the Houthis or the Transitional Council – are strong enough to impose their will on the rest of the country. Yet almost all of these groups possess enough men and ammunition to act as spoilers for any national peace agreement that they feel does not adequately address their interests. Even more disturbing is the fact that the longer fighting continues, the more likely armed groups will emerge. The Southern Transitional Council did not exist in 2015; Today it maintains the temporary capital of Hadi Aden.
Combine that with the fact that Yemen has a shrinking economic pie – exports are largely confined to the oil and gas fields of Marib, Shabwa, and Hadramawt – and the recipe has been around for years of conflict to come. In the future, more and more groups will fight over fewer and fewer resources. This is already shown in Marib. The Houthis know they will need export revenues to survive as an independent state in the highlands. These accounts are a major reason for the recent Houthi attack, which targeted the city of Marib and the surrounding oil fields.
None of the various peace efforts – be it the United Nations, special envoys of the United States, or Saudi Arabia’s recent offer of a ceasefire – He seems to understand this. The Houthis do not want to be part of a state. They want to be The status. They are not about to give up at the negotiating table what they think they have won on the battlefield.
Even if the Houthis and the STC are willing to negotiate to be part of a restructured Yemeni state, there is no guarantee, at this late date, that the state will truly reunify. Thanks to a short-sighted decision Hadi made to divide the Central Bank of Yemen in 2016, The country has two separate economies. The Yemeni riyal is traded at one price in Houthi-controlled Sanaa and another in Aden, which is controlled by the Southern Transitional Council. The newly printed riyal bills issued by the Hadi government, Banned in Houthi areas.
The disintegration of Yemen raises a number of challenges for the United States. The United States will not recognize all the different warlords and armed groups that have influence on the ground in Yemen. But for a variety of reasons, from counterterrorism to humanitarian and refugee concerns to shipping lanes in the Red Sea, the United States will have to deal with many of them.
The nation-state system is the basic building block of diplomacy, international relations, and national security. The United States, like most countries, is prepared to engage with other nation states. The military prefers to operate “through, with, and through local partners.” But what happens when there is no partner on the other side, when the chasm between what the internationally recognized Yemeni government claims and what it already controls becomes so huge that the imagination of one country finally collapses?
The answer is unclear, but increasingly in countries like Yemen, Syria and possibly even Libya, it is a question the United States has to solve.