Highlights on Yemen – Iranian backed Houthi contorl the capital of Yemen and a US friendly leader is no longer in control. The Houthi will like start fighting Sunni’s in another province. Saudi Arabia will take away economic support for Yemen. Yemen seems likely to go into economic collapse and chaos.
After days of gunbattles in the Yemeni capital that left President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a key U.S. ally, confined to his residence, the country appears to be at risk of fragmenting in ways that could provide greater opportunities for al-Qaeda, whose Yemeni branch claimed responsibility for directing the Paris terrorist attack this month.
Although the Houthi rebels who now effectively control the capital are at war with al-Qaeda, they are also allied with Iran and with Yemen’s former president, Abdullah Saleh. The Houthis’ rise to a dominant position may set off local conflicts that would give more breathing room to al-Qaeda’s local branch, which has repeatedly tried to strike at the United States.
The Houthi takeover, which began in September and was reinforced in recent days, has deepened sectarian and regional divisions in a poor country that has long been a sanctuary for jihadi followers. And though the latest round of fighting appeared to end Wednesday when Hadi conceded to the Houthis’ political demands, the underlying crisis will continue to fester
The Houthis appear to be gearing up for a major battle with their Sunni rivals in Marib province, to the east of the capital, where much of Yemen’s oil infrastructure is. That could prove devastating to Yemen’s government and economy, which is dependent on oil.
The Houthis’ public humiliation of Hadi — a southerner — prompted southern rebels to close the country’s chief port in Aden and shut the border between the north and south this week, raising the specter of actual secession. Armed tribesmen have cut off oil exports in three southern provinces. And Saudi Arabia, which sees the Houthis as a proxy of its regional rival, Iran, has shut off almost all aid to the Yemeni government, leaving it virtually penniless and unable to pay salaries.
The Saudis, who have long been Yemen’s economic lifeline, pumping in more than $4 billion since 2012, say they would rather allow the Houthis to take the blame for the approaching economic collapse than provide aid to an Iranian client, according to a Yemeni official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
SOURCE – Dallas News