26 March 2015

World on the Brink

6 Nisan 5775

The War in Yemen - have you even heard about it? Take a look at some of today's headlines...

Saudi Envoy confirms: Saudi Arabia, allies launch air strikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen

US official: Saudis consulted US at 'high levels' ahead of Yemen strikes

US authorizes logistical, intelligence support to Saudi operation in Yemen

Saudi Arabia has 150,000 troops for Yemen operation

Houthi official says Yemen strikes will set off "wide war"

According to a BBC report

"Yemen is in the grip of its most severe crisis in years, as competing forces fight for control of the country. 

Impoverished but strategically important, the tussle for power in Yemen has serious implications for the region and the security of the West."

...Shia Iran backs the Houthis (though to what extent is unclear), while Saudi Arabia, which shares a border with Yemen, and the Gulf states, are strong backers of President Hadi. [As is the US]

Yemen is strategically important because it sits on the Bab al-Mandab Strait, a narrow waterway linking the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, through which much of the world's oil shipments pass. Egypt and Saudi Arabia fear a Houthi takeover would threaten free passage through the strait.

...after months of tightening their hold, the Houthis have formally taken power.

US diplomats in hasty Yemen evacuation

The United States, Britain and France rushed to close their embassies over security fears in Yemen on Wednesday [Feb. 11, 2015], with US staff destroying top-secret documents and abandoning vehicles at the airport.

The hasty exit came as thousands joined rival demonstrations over last week's Shiite militia takeover, which was widely condemned as a coup.