Gulf News

Ye­men at war since 2014


Im­pov­er­ished Ye­men has been mired in dev­as­tat­ing con­flict be­tween Iran-backed Al Houthis and troops loyal to Pres­i­dent Abd Rabbo Man­sour Hadi since 2014.

In 2015, a Saudi-led mil­i­tary coali­tion in­ter­vened on the side of govern­ment af­ter Al Houthi rebels seized the cap­i­tal and sev­eral prov­inces.

Here is an over­view: Re­bel­lion in Sana’a

In July 2014 Al Houthi mili­ti­a­men, who have op­posed the cen­tral govern­ment for a decade, launch an of­fen­sive from their north­ern strong­hold of Saada.

In Septem­ber they en­ter the cap­i­tal Sana’a, seiz­ing the govern­ment’s head­quar­ters.

The rebels ally them­selves with mil­i­tary units loyal to ex-pres­i­dent Ali Ab­dul­lah Saleh, who was forced to quit af­ter a 2011 up­ris­ing.

In Oc­to­ber they cap­ture the vi­tal Red Sea port of Hodeida.

In Jan­uary 2015, af­ter fierce bat­tles in Sana’a, Al Houthis seize the pres­i­den­tial palace and sur­round the res­i­dence of the new pres­i­dent, Hadi, who flees south to the city of Aden.

Saudi air strikes

A Saudi-led coali­tion en­ters the con­flict in March 2015 with air strikes on rebels.

Al Houthis are backed by Iran, a bit­ter ri­val of Saudi Ara­bia.

As the rebels ad­vance on Aden, Hadi quits the city amid in­tense fight­ing and takes refuge in the Saudi cap­i­tal, Riyadh.

In July his em­bat­tled ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounces its forces have re­taken the en­tire prov­ince of Aden, their first suc­cess since the coali­tion stepped in.

The city of Aden be­comes the coun­try’s de facto cap­i­tal, with Sana’a still in rebel con­trol.

By Au­gust pro-govern­ment forces have re­taken five south­ern prov­inces.

In Oc­to­ber govern­ment forces re­claim con­trol of the Bab Al Mandab Strait, an in­ter­na­tion­ally vi­tal ship­ping route off Ye­men’s coast.

Mili­tia kills ex-pres­i­dent

In Au­gust 2016 lengthy UN-bro­kered ne­go­ti­a­tions in Kuwait be­tween the govern­ment and mili­tia col­lapse af­ter fail­ing to reach a pow­er­shar­ing deal.

Splits emerge in the rebel camp in 2017 af­ter Saleh makes over­tures to the Saudi-led coali­tion. Armed clashes rock Sana’a and in De­cem­ber the for­mer pres­i­dent is as­sas­si­nated by his for­mer Al Houthi al­lies.

Hodeida of­fen­sive

In June 2018 govern­ment fight­ers, backed by Saudi and UAE forces, launch an of­fen­sive to re­take the rebel-held port of Hodeida, a vi­tal en­try point for food im­ports and in­ter­na­tional aid.

Within days they say that they have taken con­trol of the city’s air­port, but they halt their ad­vance to al­low ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The UN-bro­kered peace talks in Geneva in Septem­ber fail, with Al Houthi del­e­ga­tion re­fus­ing to at­tend, and the of­fen­sive re­sumes.

In Novem­ber 12 days of bom­bard­ment and fight­ing leave some 600 peo­ple dead, mostly fight­ers from both camps.

New push for peace

On Oc­to­ber 30 the United States makes a sur­prise call for a cease­fire and a halt to air strikes. Bri­tain joins the push for peace.

UN en­voy Martin Grif­fiths flies into Sana’a on Novem­ber 21 for talks with Al Houthi lead­ers. Days later he meets Ye­meni of­fi­cials in Riyadh.

Grif­fiths re­turns to Ye­men on De­cem­ber 3, shortly be­fore 50 wounded rebels are flown out on a UN char­ter flight for med­i­cal treat­ment in neigh­bour­ing Oman.

The next day a rebel del­e­ga­tion leaves with Grif­fiths head­ing for peace talks in Swe­den, hours af­ter the govern­ment and rebels agree to swap hun­dreds of pris­on­ers.

‘Liv­ing hell’

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, around 10,000 peo­ple have been killed in the con­flict, though some rights groups es­ti­mate the toll could be five times higher. The toll has been par­tic­u­larly heavy on civil­ians.

UN agen­cies say up to 14 mil­lion Ye­me­nis are at risk of star­va­tion.

Save the Chil­dren says that be­tween March 2015 and Oc­to­ber 2018 some 85,000 chil­dren un­der five may have died of se­vere mal­nu­tri­tion or re­lated dis­eases.

 ?? AFP & AP ?? Emi­rati, Saudi and Ye­meni sol­diers greet each other near Mukalla, Ye­men, at an air­port. Left: Jo­han­nes­berg Cas­tle in Rimbo, Swe­den, where peace talks are ex­pected to take place.
AFP & AP Emi­rati, Saudi and Ye­meni sol­diers greet each other near Mukalla, Ye­men, at an air­port. Left: Jo­han­nes­berg Cas­tle in Rimbo, Swe­den, where peace talks are ex­pected to take place.
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