Yemeni Civil War – Why Should Other Actors Intervene in Another State?

Why Should Other Actors Intervene in Another State?

You will prepare your Research Paper on the topic Why should other actors intervene in another state.  Choose which state will require intervention or be in conflict within the next 2 years.  Discuss the threat (war, famine, economic callapse, coupe, genecide, terrorist attacks, etc.), the method used to intervene, the outside states or groups (IGOs – NGOs) that will respond, political leaders inside the state in conflict, and how religion is hurting or helping the situation.

In your Research Paper, explain both why you selected your state/actor and why you selected the other outside states or groups involved in the conflict or intervention.  Biblically speaking, do these outside actors have the justification to intervene?  Explain your position.  Do not just repeat a timeline or history.

United States and Saudi Arabia Intervention in The Yemeni Civil War

The Yemeni Civil War (2015- ) represents one of the most protracted conflicts in contemporary times. It has created one of the most devastating humanitarian disasters since the Second World War (1939-45) with the death toll currently estimated at 100,000. The human and economic costs of the conflict are also expected to increase considerably within the next two years if an amicable settlement is not reached.  This stark reality has prompted calls for state intervention by regional and global powers to help stem clashes between Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebels and the Yemeni government.  The situation has also created a man-made catastrophe characterized by widespread famine in the Yemeni hinterland as a consequence of the Saudi-led blockade on major port cities.

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Furthermore, the conflict in Yemen has also fostered a climate of abuse for vulnerable sections of society. The accompanying anarchy that has gripped the country now exposes women and children to the risk of human trafficking by illegal outfits taking advantage of the chaos. Child soldiers are also common within the conflict, especially since opposing sides have resorted to unconventional practices in order to win the war at all cost. This, coupled with incessant airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition, has created a state in dire need of aid to support a desperate population. Social and health services have also come to a grinding halt as the Sana’a-based Republic of Yemen government (ROYG) struggles to maintain its waning grip on power within a precarious environment. Furthermore, constant skirmishes have made it virtually impossible for the education system to function, with most parents going as far as preventing children from attending school. The United States and Saudi Arabia are major powers capable of intervening in Yemen in the hopes of finding a solution to this long-standing stalemate. This evaluation will, thus, evaluate the Yemeni Civil War as an imminent threat to regional and global stability, most appropriate intervention, outside states and groups, political leaders inside the state in conflict and how religion has become a hindrance to the peace process.

The Yemeni Civil War as a threat to Stability

            The Yemeni Civil War has been raging on for the past five years and with no end in sight. Although popular media houses only focus intermittently on the conflict, the human toll inflicted on the Yemeni people continues to mount. According to a 60-page report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the death toll in Yemen could easily surpass the 233,000 mark by the end of 2020.  A sizeable number of those affected most by the conflict include women and children caught in the crosshairs of fighting between the two major opposing sides. Apart from the imminent threat of violent death, the quality of life has also plummeted. The indiscriminate nature of urban warfare in Sana’a has created an environment of destitution for the local population. Furthermore, this is further exacerbated by the fact that seemingly mundane actions such as working or shopping in the market square for provisions have become a dice with death. Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebels have, time and again, been blamed for using anti-personnel improvised devices (IEDs) within their spheres of influence, with deadly consequences for civilians. IEDs are now a major cause of death in Sana’a and Aden where civilians now grapple with maiming as a contemporary reality within their localities. Political pundits such as Auke Lootsma, now view Yemen as a failed state whose population is at the mercy of armed groups. It is for this reason that Yemeni civilians are currently seeking refuge in Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Ethiopia, and even Somalia in a bid to escape the violence in their home country. Yemeni asylum seekers and refugees now total over 300,000 and represent an emerging challenge for war-torn nations such as Somalia. The war is also likely to spill over into the Gulf region, thus signaling the beginning of instability within states in Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.

Appropriate Intervention Methods in Yemen

            Military intervention, providing financial aid to the Sana’a-based government, and brokering peace deals are some of the most viable strategies to consider as a precursor to ending this longstanding conflict. The main parties involved in the conflict, Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebels and the internationally recognized Yemeni government, have continually hindered diplomatic progress.  The Stockholm Agreement, a cease-fire agreement brokered by the U.N Secretary-General Martin Griffiths, was broken by al-Houthi rebels and further worsened the humanitarian crisis along the besieged port city of Hudaydah.  Military intervention is, therefore, necessary since influential world powers such as the United States and Saudi Arabia have a moral obligation to defend the legitimate Yemeni government while protecting the civilian population. Part of this strategy should also involve the imposition of an arms embargo to prevent the shipping of arms into the region.

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Additionally, intervening in the Yemeni Civil War through foreign aid is central when seeking to manage accompanying effects associated with the war.  Foreign aid will be essential when seeking to support the Sana’a-based government in providing essential services, humanitarian aid, food, and medicine. Facilitating fresh negotiations will also go a long way in restoring peace and stability in Yemen. All parties involved in the conflict, including the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the Republic of Yemen government (ROYG) should participate in US-Saudi-led talks aimed at producing a lasting solution to the problem. From a biblical perspective, nations have a duty to intervene during conflict with the aim of promoting peace and restoring harmony. Mathew 26; 52-53,  urges belligerent parties to put back their swords since those who wage war and kill will also perish by the sword. This pacifist approach is bound to ensure that foreign nations intervene in major conflicts to urge peaceful coexistence and end skirmishes.

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Outside states responding to the Yemeni Civil War

The United States and Saudi Arabia are highly capable of restoring normalcy in Yemen by intervening directly in the conflict. Although the United States has largely remained uninvolved within the public domain, it has quietly pushed for a political solution since the early days of the Obama administration. This is because Yemen has, over the past decade, become a terrorist hotbed for armed groups such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State (IS) whose active cells still remain an imminent threat, especially after the unexpected attack on U.S.S. Cole. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia should also continue to actively seek to intervene in the Yemeni conflict. The stakes are even higher for Saudi Arabia since the al-Houthi rebel movement also poses an overbearing threat to peace and stability in the Kingdom. In particular, the group has displayed its ability to use sophisticated weaponry such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and Iranian kamikaze-drones to target key installations in Saudi Arabia.  However, the United States and Saudi Arabia first need to consider laws of war as outlined in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and craft an appropriate response. This response must also be guided by the application of the Additional Protocol II of 1977. Thus, the United States and Saudi Arabia should avoid serving as both judge and jury, but refer human rights abuses to the International Criminal Court for determination of any direct breach of International Humanitarian Law (ILH). The conflict in Yemen is fluid, with shifting alliances and international actors such as Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) named as major actors.  The latter is not a signatory to the United Nations Human Rights Charter, which presents a looming challenge in case of atrocities.

Political leaders at the center of the Yemeni Civil War

            The Yemeni Civil war has primarily been fanned by political leaders jostling for control of the Arabian Peninsula country.  The current war began as a direct rebellion to the then president, Addrabbuh Hadi, who ascended to power in 2012. The Ansar Allah group (al-Houthis), on the other hand, reignited the conflict from their Shiite stronghold in Sa’dah Governorate to avenge the assassination of their leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi in early 2004. Badreddin was a staunch critic of government policies and was renown in northern Yemen for his anti-government rhetoric. The regime moved swiftly to crash the group using a highly efficient military crackdown which succeeded in quelling the unrest. However the movement reemerged in 2011 under Abdul-Malik al-Houthi during the Yemeni Revolution. The movement sought to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh who they accused of autocracy and corruption. Under the leadership of Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the rebels succeeded in capturing the capital Sana’a from government forces in September of 2014. President Hadi was forced to resign, dissolve the national assembly, and pave the way for the creation of a Revolutionary Committee.

Role of religion in the Yemeni Civil War

            Religion has played a major role in the ensuing conflict witnessed in Yemen. The war essentially pits adherents of the Sunni Islam against their Shiite al-Houthi adversaries. This conflict can be traced back to 1932 when Abdel Aziz ibn Saud, a Wahhabi Sunni, seized parts of Yemeni territory from Zaydi Shia Imam Yahya. The subsequent Yemeni king, Imam Mohamed al-Badr, was also the victim of religious animosities when he was deposed by Sunni Wahhabis in 1962. Efforts by Saudis to force the Wahhabi ideology onto Yemenis fomented anger and dissent among Zaydi Shiites, prompting marginalized groups such as the Houthis to rebel. This marked the beginning of the rebellion in 2004, with religion at the core of the conflict. This Sunni-Shia war is as a result of regional competition for influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It has further created an ideal environment for extremists groups as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State (IS) to thrive as a result of the political vacuum created by the conflict.

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 The Yemeni Civil War is a protracted conflict between the Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebels and the Yemeni government currently responsible for the instability witnessed within the region. Military intervention, providing financial aid to the Sana’a-based government and brokering peace deals are among the most suitable responses to this conflict by outside states such as Saudi Arabia and the United States. Although political leaders have been blamed for the escalation in conflict witnessed in Yemen, religious differences fueled by the Sunni-Shia divide still serves as the primary reason why this still conflict still rages on.

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