The Yemen war began in 2014 when the Houthi movement took advantage of the weakness of the new Yemeni president and took control of the northern Saada governorate and surrounding areas. Then they took control of the capital, Sanaa, which forced the new Yemeni president to flee abroad.
Who are the Houthis?
The Houthi movement was formed out of the armed conflict with the central government in Yemen, at the beginning of the 1990s, the Houthis are Zaydi Shiites. Shiite Muslims are the minority community in the Islamic world and Zaydis are a minority of Shiites.
The Houthis follow an ideological approach that is influenced by the general ideas of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The movement turned into an armed organization in 2004 in confrontations with the Yemeni government forces, and the movement took different names until it finally settled on the name “Ansar Allah.”
The Houthis participated extensively in the demonstrations against Saleh’s rule during 2011 and were a key party in the national dialogue sessions. The fall of Saleh’s rule in 2012 represented a valuable opportunity for the Houthis to consolidate their position and influence in Yemen.
In 2014, the Houthis completely took control of the capital, Sanaa, and in early 2015 they besieged the Republican Palace and imposed house arrest on President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and members of the government who later fled to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
On March 26, 2015, King Salman of Saudi Arabia ordered the start of Operation Decisive Storm against the Houthi militia in Yemen, after a request for intervention by Yemeni President President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to support constitutional legitimacy and end the coup and armed rebellion carried out by the Houthis.
King Salman’s decision was followed by the participation of a number of Arab countries with ground and air forces and providing intelligence and logistical support to the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia.
Months after the launch of the first planes of Decisive Storm, the Yemeni president and his legitimate government returned to Yemen, after the Saudi-led Arab coalition succeeded to rescue its neighbor from the Houthi gangs and Saleh’s militias and defeat the rebels.
The Saudi-led coalition feared that the continued success of the Houthis would lead to the stabilization of Iran, which has a Shiite majority, in Yemen, which is the regional power rival to Saudi Arabia that threatens the security of the Arab Gulf states.
As there are clear reasons that led to Operation Decisive Storm, this causes negatively affected not only Yemen, but also the Gulf states and the region.
Iranian influence grew in the south of the Arabian Peninsula with financial, political and media support to the Houthis. Iran proffered that its mere presence in Yemen meant it encircled Saudi Arabia from all directions. At issue is strategic control of the Bab al-Mandab Strait.
Terrorist movements also appeared in the region, which led to the outbreak of a conflict between Al-Qaeda in Yemen and the Houthis. Al-Qaeda’s threat escalated, giving the conflict two ideological dimensions.
Among the reasons that prompted the “Decisive Storm” was the departure from the terms of the Gulf initiative, where the Houthis took control of power by force of arms, which contradicted the terms of the Gulf initiative proposed by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries in November 2011.
As well as striking Gulf interests in Yemen, and protecting the Bab al-Mandab strait from Houthi control, as it is the main route for oil movement, as well as other economic interests that the Gulf Cooperation Council countries seek to preserve, is one of the real motives for launching Operation Decisive Storm.
The number of violations practiced by the Tehran-backed Houthis in the capital, Sanaa, in 2016 reached 4,850 cases of violations, including 93 cases of deliberate killing of civilians but not fighters, including women, and more than 1,281 wounded, by Houthi bullets or by returning anti-aircraft guns, 1725 kidnappings and four deaths under torture.
Many buildings and facilities were bombed including 94 homes and the village of (Al-Janadaba) in the Arhab district, north of Sanaa. Some 340 government and private facilities were stormed and 180 of them were looted, and the Houthis stormed 329 homes of their opponents in search of opponents. They were kidnapped, while 123 of them were looted and stolen, and 49 farms, 48 cars and 5 motorcycles were looted. In addition to their storming of 34 and taking control over party headquarters, 28 media institutions were taken over and 61 websites blocked inside Yemen.
The United Nations said in 2019 that the four-year-old conflict had left more than 250,000 people dead and caused widespread destruction, “making it among the most destructive conflicts since the end of the Cold War.”
In a recent report issued by the United Nations Development Program, they added that if the war stops this year, Yemen’s losses are expected to reach about $ 88.8 billion. The report pointed to the war’s destruction of two decades worth of achievement and set the country back 20 years.
Christians and Jews in Yemen
Historically, there are no Christians in Yemen except foreigners and a few Indian immigrants who embraced Christianity and some Yemeni Christian converts.
Yemen has a Jewish minority in addition to Muslim Community. Most of Yemen’s Jews immigrated to Israel and other countries. As for the remaining Jews of Yemen, they were evacuated in 2016 after the State of Israel paid to repatriate them in coordination with the Jewish Agency for Israel and Jordan.
This transfer was carried out due to the poor security situation in Yemen and manifestations of anti-Semitism. The Jewish Agency sought the help of the U.S. State Department, which in the past contributed to the transfer of Jews from Yemen to Israel.