Situation Assessment 25 August, 2015

Civil War in Yemen: A Complex Conflict with Multiple Futures

Aleksandar Mitreski

​Aleksandar Mitreski is a security and defense analyst based in Dubai, UAE. He has worked with private and government agencies on national security and foreign policy issues. His interests include security and politics in the Gulf.

Yemen’s full-blown war was the result of a series of events that succeeded one after the other. Violence escalated during the second half of 2014, when citizens grew massively discontent with the political instability of Yemen’s transitional government. Once violence became the norm, parties to the dispute quickly polarized, and as violence ramped up, polarization accelerated.

The triggers to this violence came when Yemen’s already-weak transitional government led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi was further weakened as Houthi rebels captured Sanaa in September 2014. The president’s Peace and National Partnership Agreement had emerged as a kernel of hope for an early resolution to the violence but it did not produce its promised results. Boasted by their early success in capturing Sanaa, the Houthis had their militias take control over key institutions in the city. They installed their own people within major institutions and media outlets, and in other cases ‘puppeteered’ members of the government whose members were ultimately put under house arrest. All hopes for the Peace and National Partnership Agreement were lost in January 2015, when Hadi resigned shortly after his escape from house arrest in Sanaa. Following a brief residence in the city of Aden, he took refuge in Saudi Arabia. Out of immediate danger, Hadi decided to revoke his resignation and continue his presidency from abroad. At the same time the Houthis decided to promote their own version of a national constitution and create their own government bodies. In the meantime, the Houthi insurgency continued, pushing all of Yemen into a civil war.


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