The conflict in Yemen has exacted a disastrous toll on the country. This paper considers the outside forces in the conflict, seeking to elucidate who they are, what the nature is of their involvement, and what their converging and conflicting interests mean for reconstruction.
Peter Salisbury is a former non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He is also a senior consulting researcher at Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. The former energy editor of the Middle East Economic Digest, Salisbury has worked as a journalist and analyst focused on political economy issues in the MENA region since 2008. He writes regularly for The Economist, Financial Times, and Foreign Policy among other publications and has worked as a consultant to the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the United Nations, and the World Bank. Between 2011 and 2013, he worked closely with the Yemen Forum at Chatham House on a series of research projects on the political economy of Yemen, which led to the publication of the Chatham House report, “Yemen: Corruption, Capital Flight and Global Drivers of Conflict.” Salisbury holds an MSc in international politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.
On June 19, UAE-backed Yemeni forces announced that they had consolidated their control over Hodeidah airport after a week of fierce fighting with Houthi rebels for the facility as part of Operation Golden Victory, a military campaign for Hodeidah port and city.
December brought some of the biggest shifts in Yemen’s civil war since a Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict in March 2015.
Partial or total collapses in state authority, once rare, are no longer outliers in an otherwise stable international state system.
Yemen’s history has seen a number of alliances of convenience unravel spectacularly, most recently the three-year marriage of convenience between former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Zaydi Shia Houthi rebels, who on December 4 killed Saleh in the capital of Sanaa after several days of fighting between their militias and his loyalists.
It is a gamble that has not paid off for secessionists in Catalonia or Iraqi Kurdistan.
For much of the past two and a half years diplomats have argued that Yemen’s civil war will only be ended through political compromise.
March marked the second anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s intervention into Yemen’s civil war at the head of a coalition of Arab military forces.