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Noel Brehony

Noel Brehony , CMG, joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office after completing a PhD on Libya and research on the West Bank. He served in Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan and Egypt. He was subsequently director of Middle East Affairs for Rolls-Royce. He is a past president of the British Society...
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The current situation in Yemen: causes and consequences

Noel Brehony, 4 November 2015

The war in Yemen reflects the failure of the 2011 transition deal to end the influence of the powerful patronage networks of the Salih regime and deal with the marginalisation of the Huthis and the south. Huthi leaders used militias developed in the 2000s, their skills in mobilising tribal support and a Faustian pact with Salih to defeat Islah and, in the process, force President Hadi out of the country. Hubris may have led to their attempt to move out of their Zaydi heartland, but this provoked a Saudi-led coalition to mobilise against them. Fighting has continued for six months with much destruction of human life, infrastructure and the economy. The war may soon culminate in battles to capture Sanaa and Ta’izz. The combatants are not ready for serious negotiations. When they do talk they will find it difficult to establish a regime that enjoys the support of a majority of Yemenis. The war has empowered local groups and created sectarian tensions that previously did not exist. The conflict will not lead to a clear victory: the Yemenis and the coalition will need to make some difficult compromises. Meanwhile, the destruction continues and al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula and Islamic State terrorists are exploiting the situation.

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