Houthis

The world media’s attention has focused on the very real humanitarian crisis gripping hurricane-ravaged nations in the Caribbean and regions of the United States, but the “world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe” (in the words of The New York Times in August) is in Yemen.

The unfolding disaster in Yemen is entirely human-made, is worsening and is the result of policies pursued by the United States and Britain.

An air strike by the US-backed Saudi-led coalition on a hotel near the Yemeni capital Sanaa killed dozens of people on August 23, multiple news agencies have reported. It came as a humanitarian crisis extended its grip on the impoverished nation.

US naval forces fired cruise missiles at targets in Yemen on October 12. This was the first direct Western involvement in the war in Yemen. However, Western powers — in particular the US and Britain — have been arming and bankrolling Saudi Arabia throughout the war.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia, along with its Gulf State allies, has pursued a relentless bombing campaign and siege of the nation of Yemen. It aims to influence its neighbour’s political order.

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, his prime minister and entire cabinet resigned en masse on January 23, just 24 hours after Houthi rebels occupied the presidential compound in Sana'a. The resignations give unprecedented power to the Houthis, a Shi'ite minority from the country’s isolated northern highlands.

The political crisis also opens the door to an all-out war over control of the Yemeni capital, involving Sunni political factions and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The conflict could also draw in Saudi Arabia, the United States and Iran.

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