Yemen “On the Verge of Total Collapse”

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As expected, things are going from bad to worse in Yemen:

The United Nations’ human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, warned on Tuesday that Yemen was on the brink of collapse, as his office said that heavy fighting in the southern port city of Aden had left its streets lined with bodies and its hospitals full of corpses.

….Houthi forces were reported to have forced their way into Aden’s northeastern suburbs despite airstrikes by the Saudi Air Force and a naval blockade intended to sever the flow of weapons and other supplies to Houthi forces.

Well, perhaps the pan-Arab military force announced a few days ago will restore order? Unfortunately, Laura King of the LA Times reminds us that the last time Arabs fought together was during the 1973 war—which ended in disaster:

Now, nearly 50 years later, Arab states are joining forces again — this time, with the immediate aim of restoring order in chaotic Yemen, and moving as well to quell other regional conflicts.

But analysts say the nascent military alliance, whose planned formation was announced over the weekend by Arab leaders meeting in Egypt, could usher in new regional crises and intensify existing ones, sharpening sectarian differences between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and complicating already tangled national conflicts.

Yemen, whose tribes have for centuries been hostile to outsiders, could prove a deadly quagmire if conventional infantries from elsewhere in the Arab world attempt to wage a ground war against a homegrown, battle-hardened guerrilla force, the Shiite Muslim Houthi rebels. And a momentary sense of unity among Arab comrades-in-arms may fade as their sometimes-conflicting agendas come to the fore.

Read the whole thing. If it wasn’t obvious already, King’s piece makes it clear that the various Arab actors all have different goals and different agendas in Yemen. This is not likely to end well.

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