How Will The Yemeni Civil War End?

by | Mar 25, 2015


The Civil War in Yemen is rapidly expanding. We have been forced to close our embassy and military base located there. It is now clear that Obama’s optimism for fighting terrorism in Yemen was misplaced. It hardly sets a standard for dealing with constant conflict and chaos throughout the Middle East. It now looks like the two major participants in this war are Iran and Saudi Arabia. In this region there has been competition between these two nations for hundreds if not thousands of years. The conflict ongoing in Yemen relates to the age-old conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims. It also reflects the contest over who will control the oil in this region. Not only is there a conflict between the Shia of Iran versus the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia, there has been long-term animosity between Arabs and Persians.

Now there are essentially three factions fighting for the control of Yemen. Our support for president Hadi has failed and he is essentially out of power although still involved in the conflict. Former president Saleh, who remains a powerful force in Yemen, is taking advantage of the chaos in his desire to return to power. So far the various factions that we have supported over the years have been poor choices, as usual. Today the, Houthis, supported by Iran, seem to be the ones who have gained the upper hand. However there’s no sign that this civil war will soon end or without major ramifications throughout the Middle East and maybe even beyond.

This turn of events will not make the neoconservatives happy, nor will this go unnoticed by the Saudis. It seems that al-Qaeda has gained the grassroots support from a large number of Yemeni citizens. Currently the chaos in the three-way battle for control of Yemen will guarantee that even though we have been literally run out of Yemen, our interests will remain. Being “allies” of sorts with the Iranians in Iraq will not carry over to the US sympathizing with the Iranian growing influence in in Yemen.

The Iranian supported rebels, who have gained the upper hand, have been blessed with $500 million worth of weaponry that we left behind in our rapid retreat. This is obviously not a new development considering the fact it’s getting to be commonplace and happening wherever we go. This is of course the very same situation that occurred in Syria and Iraq when the troops that we supported dissipated once they encountered military opposition. One thing is for certain: the military-industrial complex will not suffer and more weapons will flow into the region.

Hopefully someday our government officials will wake up. The counterinsurgency doctrine that was supposed to be the answer to all our military shortcomings is a total failure. This idea that we can run an Empire with military threats, missiles, and economic sanctions is a fallacy. A goal of military intimidation without the military troops necessary to maintain control of country we occupy, never works. The policy itself is foolish even if we did send our troops, because we are seen as the outsiders, coming from 6000 miles away, getting involved in internal affairs and civil strife and border disputes and religious wars that is highly resented by the citizens of the countries involved.

Though we have left Yemen, to a large degree we will not go far. Our CIA will remain. The drone missiles will continue. Financing different factions will probably accelerate. We can be certain that our government, whether run by Republicans or Democrats, will be prepared to use military force once it’s decided it’s necessary to restrain Iran and protect Saudi oil.


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