Today marks the fifth anniversary of the US-backed Saudi coalition’s military intervention in Yemen. Yemen’s internationally recognised government has been
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the US-backed Saudi coalition’s military intervention in Yemen.
Yemen’s internationally recognised government has been battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2014, when they captured the capital, Sanaa, and forced the resignation of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. In its effort to restore Hadi to the presidency, the Saudis have led over 257,000 airstrikes, which have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and millions displaced in what the UN has deemed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
After a three-month lull in violence at the beginning of the year, recent clashes in the northern provincial capital of Al-Hazm threaten to end hopes of a more permanent de-escalation. By taking Al-Hazm, the rebels now threaten the oil-rich city of Marib, which the government will be particularly keen on defending.
Despite mounting political pressure to end the conflict, the Saudi coalition retains military backing in the US. With support from the White House, Riyadh is unlikely to accept more cities falling to the rebels and the Houthis moving further into the orbit of regional rival Iran. Without a political process in which the US scales back its support of the Saudis and opens the door for further peace talks, a further escalation of violence threatens to drag the country back into years of conflict.
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