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Yemeni Crisis (2011present)

2.1 2011

The Yemeni Crisis began with the 201112 revolution


against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had led Yemen
for more than two decades.[7][8] After Saleh left oce
in early 2012 as part of a mediated agreement between
the Yemeni government and opposition groups, the government led by Salehs former vice president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, struggled to unite the fractious political
landscape of the country and fend o threats both from Al
Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Houthi militants that
had been waging a protracted insurgency in the north for
years.[9][10] In 2014, Houthi ghters swept into the capital of Sana'a and forced Hadi to negotiate a unity government with other political factions. The rebels continued to apply pressure on the weakened government
until, after his presidential palace and private residence
came under attack from the militant group, Hadi resigned
along with his ministers in January 2015. The following month, the Houthis declared themselves in control
of the government, dissolving Parliament and installing
an interim Revolutionary Committee led by Mohammed
Ali al-Houthi, a cousin of Houthi leader Abdul-Malik alHouthi.[11][12] However, Hadi escaped to Aden, where he
declared he remains Yemens legitimate president, proclaimed the countrys temporary capital, and called on
loyal government ocials and members of the military
to rally to him.[13][14]

Yemens political crisis began in 2011, amid the Arab


Spring and the ongoing Houthi insurgency.

2.1.1 Protests against Saleh

Protesters in Sana'a on 4 April 2011, during the early stages of


the Yemeni Revolution.

Main article: Yemeni Revolution

Background

Popular protests broke out in early 2011, led by both secular and Islamist opposition groups.[15] Longtime rebel
groups like the Houthis and the Southern Movement also
participated in the protests.[16][17] Saleh responded with a
violent crackdown, and the country nearly disintegrated
into an all-out civil war as several army elements broke
with the government and joined the protesters, beginning
in March.[18][19]

The wave of protests known as the Arab Spring did not


take long to arrive in Yemen after the Tunisian Revolution. Yemen was a poor country with a government
widely acknowledged to be corrupt, with a large amount
of weapons in private hands. By 2011, the country was
already facing challenges from al Qaeda-linked militants
and separatists in the south and Zaydi Shia rebels in the
north. Yemen had only been unied since 1990, and deep
divisions persisted between the north and south.

Saleh was almost killed when a bomb went o in a


mosque where he and other top government ocials
were praying on 3 June, apparently in an assassination attempt.[20][21] While his condition initially appeared
grave, Saleh recovered and returned to work on 23
September after several months of medical treatment in
2 History
Saudi Arabia.[22] He left Vice President Hadi in charge
during his absence. As acting president, Hadi met with
Further information: Timeline of the Yemeni conict the opposition and reportedly expressed openness to po(2011present)
litical reforms. However, he rejected the idea of forcing
Saleh from power without the presidents consent.[23]
1

2
2.1.2

2
Deal brokered

The Gulf Co-operation Council applied no small amount


of pressure on Saleh to negotiate an end to the uprising
by stepping down.[24] Weeks after returning from Saudi
Arabia, Saleh nally agreed on 23 November to resign in
exchange for immunity. As part of the deal, the opposition agreed to allow Hadi to stand unopposed for the
presidency in 2012.[25]

2.1.3

Siege of Dammaj

HISTORY

Main article: Yemeni presidential election, 2012


Although Hadi ran and was elected president without opposition, his election on 24 February 2012 was widely
seen as the completion of the revolution that began a
year prior.[27] Hadi, a southerner, especially enjoyed support in former South Yemen, quieting the murmurs of
separatism,[28] although the Southern Movement boycotted the presidential election, as did the Houthis.[29]
Hadi did not give the restive Houthis any seats in his
cabinet.[7]

Main article: Siege of Dammaj

2.2.2 Dammaj clashes continue

Meanwhile, the insurgent Houthis in northern Yemen laid


siege to a Sala town in Saada Governorate, Dammaj.
Fighting was worst in November and December. The
Yemeni military was unable to restore order due to the
crisis elsewhere in the country.[26]

The conict in Dammaj was renewed in April when ghting broke out between Houthi tribesmen and Sala students. Both sides accused the other of breaking a truce
agreement.[30]

2.3 2013
2.2

2012

Despite some signs of dtente, the SunniShia conict in


northern Yemen broadened in 2013.

The Yemeni Revolution came to an apparently successful


conclusion in 2012 for the opposition, as Saleh left oce.
However, unrest continued in both northern and southern 2.3.1 Hadi makes inroads
Yemen.

2.2.1

Election of Hadi

National reconciliation talks were held with the participation of many separatist elements, as well as the
Houthis.[7][28]
Nine years after the death of Hussein Badreddin alHouthi, the Yemeni government turned over the remains
of the Houthi patriarch to his family and he was buried
in northern Yemen in June 2013, with a representative of
the Hadi administration in attendance.[31]
Hadi visited the United States, a key overseas ally, in
July 2013. The U.S. also lifted a ban on transferring detainees from its Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba
to Yemen.[32]
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia deported as many as 300,000 to
400,000 Yemeni migrant workers to their home country
during 2013, causing an inux of poor, landless Yemenis
into northern Yemen.[33]
2.3.2 Renewed clashes

Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the second President of Yemen.

The conict between Houthis and Salas in Saada Governorate was renewed in October and November. Saada
government ocials accused Houthi ghters of attacking a Sala mosque in Dammaj in an attempt to drive the
Sunnis out, while the Houthis accused the Salas of using the religious institute as a staging ground for foreign
Sunni ghters. The government attempted to intervene to
stop the ghting.[34]

2.5

2015

Sectarian ghting in Al Jawf Governorate lasted throughout the year. Dhamar Governorate also saw clashes between the Houthis and Salas toward the end of the
year.[35]

government, claiming it was unacceptable to them.[46]


The boycott prompted sanctions against Saleh and senior
Houthi leaders from the United Nations Security Council
and the United States Department of the Treasury.[47]

2.4

2.5 2015

2014

In a dramatic turn of events, the rebel Houthis took broad Yemen was riven in 2015, with the Houthis establishing
control of northern Yemen, including the capital of Sana'a a new government in Sana'a and Hadi retreating with his
itself, in 2014.
supporters to Aden, and later Saudi Arabia. The Arab
League, led by the Saudis, began a bombing campaign
and mobilization of various armed forces in the region
2.4.1 ShiaSunni conict spreads
for a possible invasion.
Clashes in Dammaj spread to the Amran Governorate
by January 2014.[36] The Houthis achieved victory in
Saada when the Yemeni government brokered a deal un- 2.5.1 Houthis consolidate power
der which Sala ghters and their families were evacuated to the neighboring Al Hudaydah Governorate.[37]
According to reports, the Houthis then blocked government troops from fully deploying throughout the territory,
in spite of a signed agreement.[38]
Fighting in the Amran Governorate intensied during the
year, with clashes between Houthis and supporters of
the Islamist Islah Party eventually leading to a Houthi
takeover of the entire governorate. The conict spread
to the Sana'a Governorate by July.[35]
2.4.2

Houthis take Sana'a

A Houthi ocial announces the dissolution of House of Representatives and the formation of a Houthi-led transitional authority on 6 February 2015.

Main article: Battle of Sana'a (2014)


Main article: 201415 Yemeni coup d'tat
The Houthis began protesting against Hadis government
to demand concessions in order to resolve a years-long
insurgency they had been waging against the Yemeni state
in mid-2014.[39] The uprising escalated dramatically as
Houthi ghters swept into Sana'a, the capital, and eectively seized control of the city from the Yemeni military
within a couple of days in September. The forces of General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmer surrendered to the Houthis after a brief ght.[40] Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president, was widely suspected of aiding the Houthis behind
the scenes and helping pave the way for their takeover.[41]
Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa resigned on 21
September as part of a deal meant to end the stando.[42]
2.4.3

Unity government formed

The Houthis stepped up their pressure on Hadis weakened government, seizing the presidential palace and
strategic military installations in Sana'a and shelling the
presidents private residence on 20 January. The following day, they took control of Hadis home, stationing
armed guards outside to keep him under virtual house
arrest.[48] Hadi, Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, and the
cabinet resigned the following day, saying they could not
continue to work under the conditions the Houthis had
imposed. The rebel group welcomed Hadis resignation,
but continued to keep him under house arrest. The news
prompted four southern governorates to announce they
would disregard all orders from Sana'a.[49] The House
of Representatives was to meet on 25 January to discuss
whether to accept or reject Hadis resignation under the
Yemeni constitution, but the session was cancelled after the Houthis took control of the parliament building.
The United Nations stepped in to attempt a negotiated
resolution to what many in Yemen regarded as a Houthi
coup.[50]

The Houthis and the government agreed on 21 September to form a unity government within one month.[43]
However, the Houthis rejected Hadis original choice of
prime minister, Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak,[44] and Oil
Minister Khaled Bahah was appointed instead with the
armed groups approval.[45] The Houthis and the General UN negotiations were fruitless, and a Houthi ultimatum
Peoples Congress led by Saleh announced abruptly on to Yemens political factions to nd a solution was not
8 November that they would not participate in the unity met. On 6 February, the Houthis declared themselves in

total control of the Yemeni government, dissolving parliament and installing a Revolutionary Committee led by
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi to lead the state in an interim
capacity. The announcement sparked protests in Sana'a
and other cities, especially in the south.[51][52]

REFERENCES

Yemen against Houthi rebels. Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and


the United Arab Emirates issued a statement along with
Saudi Arabia saying their goal is to repel Houthi aggression in Yemen. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan are
also members of the 10-country coalition.[63]

A day later, the Saudis and other Arab League members


began airstrikes against Houthi targets and Saudi Arabia
2.5.2 Post-coup developments
and Egypt began mobilizing their armed forces for an inMain article: Aftermath of the 201415 Yemeni coup vasion.
d'tat
See also: Battle of Aden Airport, 2015 Sana'a mosque
bombings and Southern Yemen oensive (2015)
3 References
Reactions to the Houthi takeover were broadly negative,
with the Arab League, Gulf Cooperation Council, United
Nations, and United States refusing to recognise the constitutional declaration and several governorates rejecting
the Houthis authority. With most political parties criticising the coup, Jamal Benomar, the UN envoy to Yemen,
announced a resumption of national talks over the future of Yemen on 8 February. Benomar said the Houthis
had agreed to participate in the talks.[53] UN SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon called for Hadi to be reinstated as
president.[54]
The Houthis and other factions reached a tentative agreement, announced on 20 February, to keep the House of
Representatives in place despite the constitutional declaration dissolving it two weeks prior. The agreement
also stipulated that a peoples transitional council would
be established to represent southerners, women, youth,
and other political minorities.[55] The next day, Hadi traveled to Aden, where he said all Houthi-directed actions
since 21 September 2014 were invalid, and condemned
the coup d'tat.[56][57]

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[2] Yemens Houthis Seek Iran, Russia and China Ties. The
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[3] Brian Todd, CNN (21 January 2015). ISIS gaining
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[4] Yemen in 2014: 1500 Killed as Extremist Shiites took
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[5] Yemen says 1,480 killed since beginning of unrest. Stars
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[12] Houthi militia installs 'presidential council' to run
2.5.3

Full Scale War

Yemen. Middle East Eye. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 6


February 2015.

Main article: 2015 military intervention in Yemen

[13] Yemens Hadi denies Aden secession. Anadolu Agency.


21 March 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2015.

On 25 March, Saudi Arabia and several other countries


announced that they had begun military operations in

[14] Kerr, Simeon (26 February 2015). UN and Gulf back


Yemeni president Hadi amid fears of civil war. Financial
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[15] Thousands in Yemen Protest Against the Government.


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[16] As Mubarak resigns, Yemenis call for a revolution of
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[17] Yemens Houthi movement and the revolution. Foreign
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[18] Top army commanders defect in Yemen. Al Jazeera.
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[19] Yemens Crackdown on Protesters Escalates to Air
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[20] Yemens Saleh injured by planted bomb source.
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[21] Yemen: President Saleh 'was injured by palace bomb'".
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[22] Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh makes unexpected
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[23] Raghavan, Sudarsan (13 June 2011). Yemens opposition meets with acting president. The Washington Post.
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[24] Al Qadhi, Mohammed (8 April 2011). GCC expects
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[25] Yemen president Saleh to step down; Bahrain acknowledges that crackdown used torture, excessive force. The
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[27] Yemen Gets New Leader as Struggle Ends Calmly. The
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[28] Mukhashaf, Mohammed (20 December 2012). Some
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[33] Down and out. The Economist. 10 December 2013.


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CNN. 3

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[37] Yemeni gov't evacuates Salas from northern conicts.
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[40] Al-Batiti, Saeed (September 2014).
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[43] Ghobari, Mohammed (21 September 2014). Houthi
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[30] HOUTHI-SALAFI CONFRONTATIONS RENEWED


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[31] Yemens Houthi rebel leader laid to rest. Al Jazeera. 6


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[51] al-Haj, Ahmed (6 February 2015). Yemens Shiite rebels


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[32] Kuhnhenn, Jim (25 July 2013). Obama To Host Yemeni


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[52] Thousands protest against Houthi coup in Yemen. Al


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[53] al-Haj, Ahmed (8 February 2015). UN Envoy Says


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REFERENCES

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