This blog is hosted on Ideas on EuropeIdeas on Europe Avatar


Why a military defeat of the Houthis is not enough for Yemen or Europe

When talking about Yemen, one of the most common phrases amongst analysts is that “it’s complicated.” True, to a very large extent. Tribal politics, new movements being infiltrated by old power political structures and when looking at the political actors involved, it becomes less clear how the conflict falls under the ‘Sunni-Shia’ divide that seems to be a top theme when discussing MENA politics. Yet the fact that Yemen is “complicated” does not mean there is no clear power political dynamic.

In a nutshell, if former president Ali Abdullah Saleh did not form an alliance with the Houthis, a group who he has fought six wars with since 2004, including one in 2009 where he requested Saudi support via area bombardment, they would not have been able to stage a coup on Sana’a in September 2014. Before Saleh stepped down, he warned that if he let go of power, Yemen “would turn into another Somalia,” indicating his vengeful intentions. By looking at Yemen today, not only is it clear that Saleh has taken his revenge on his own people for revolting against him, but also against the city that has suffered the most as a result of the Saleh/Houthi tactical alliance: Taiz – the birthplace of the 2011 revolution.

Taiz city, whose province is directly on the old North-South border is currently under a siege imposed by Saleh and Houthis forces. All roads that lead outside the city are blocked. Food prices have soared dramatically as it has become scarce due to the Houthis blocking aid and hospital have run out of medical supplies, including oxygen. The largest public hospital in Taiz, Al Thawra has been forced to close multiple times over the past year and it is only able to function if medical supplies are smuggled through the mountains. Those who do attempt to smuggle basic living needs into the city are usually caught by Houthi and Saleh forces and shot or kidnapped.

read more


Recent Articles

The internationalist case against the European Union

Published on by | Comments Off

For the first time in a generation Britain will vote on its membership of the European Union, probably in the autumn of 2016. How to vote in that referendum is a difficult choice for anyone on the left. Since the 1990s the anti-EU camp has been dominated by the chauvinist and racist right, initially on […]

What Mr Tsipras learned about bargaining power in the EU

Published on by | Comments Off

Shortly after SYRIZA’s electoral victory last January, I wrote on this blog that SYRIZA’s positions showed that they did not understand European Union (EU) politics. They were proposing changes to Greece’s bailout programme, which they did not have the bargaining power to negotiate successfully. Shortly before the Euro Summit on Greece (the summit of the […]

Mr. Tsipras owes the Greek people an apology

Published on by | Comments Off

Little over a month ago, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was still claiming that his party’s electoral victory last January had put an end to bailout programmes. A few days ago, he told the Greek people that a ‘No’ vote in the Greek referendum would lead to a deal with Greece’s creditors within 48 hours. […]

The Beginning of the End for Mr. Tsipras

Published on by | 1 Comment

When Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras decided to unilaterally abandon negotiations over Greece’s so-called ‘bailout programme’ and to propose a referendum on the latest offer that Greece had been made, he employed a tactic that is common in negotiations in the European Union (EU): using difficulties with domestic ratification of EU agreements to extract concessions. […]

What David Cameron can learn from SYRIZA

Published on by | Comments Off

It has been little over a week since its electoral victory and SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) has already begun to back down from some of its most radical positions. Prior to the election, SYRIZA claimed that they would negotiate the forgiveness of the better part of Greece’s debt. Now Greek Finance Minister Yanis […]

Is SYRIZA just another Greek party that does not know what to do?

Published on by | 1 Comment

Less than a week after SYRIZA’s (Coalition of the Radical Left) electoral victory, uncertainty regarding the newly formed Greek government’s economic policy has increased. In a statement emailed to Bloomberg News, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said: ‘we need time to breathe and create our own medium-term recovery programme’. Mr. Tsipras’ statement followed his Finance […]

A Quiet Success? The EU-China Partnership in Practice

Published on by | 2 Comments

How are Sino-European relations doing today? “Rather well, since you ask.” This could have been President Xi Jinping’s reply to a hypothetical question he could have been asked during his recent visit to Brussels. For slightly over ten years since the launch of the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, links between the two giants are wider […]

Why Mogherini’s Appointment as the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Matters Little

Published on by | Comments Off

Last weekend, the European Council (the heads of state or government of European Union [EU] member states) appointed Italian foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, as the next High Representative (HR) of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The holder of this post is responsible for ‘conducting the EU’s foreign policy. As was the case […]

Subscribe to a fortnightly email featuring posts from Ideas on Europe hosted blogs

UACES and Ideas on Europe do not take responsibility for opinions expressed in articles on blogs hosted on Ideas on Europe. All opinions are those of the contributing authors.