Yemen Chaos

Vying to Fill the U.S. Vacuum

Armed Houthis rally against Saudi-air strikes
Armed Houthis rally against Saudi-air strikes.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Yemen has become yet another flashpoint in the struggle for dominance between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

  • Facts


    • Houthi rebels based in the northwest corner of Yemen in January overran the capital of Sana and forced the president to resign.
    • In a hasty withdrawal from Yemen, U.S. Special Forces blew up military equipment for fear it would fall into Houthi rebel hands.
    • Sunni Saudi Arabia contends that Shiite Iran is supporting the Houthis to destabilize Yemen on its southern border.
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In a microcosm of the Middle East, Sunni and Shiite worlds are colliding in Yemen with brutal force. Saudi Arabia, in a coalition with other Sunni nations, is leading a military campaign against the Shiite Houthi militia, which is backed financially and militarily by Iran, the region’s leading Shiite power.

The United States supports the Saudi-led effort to oust Houthi rebels and allow the return of the internationally recognized government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

But this is not only about a limited conflict in one nation’s civil war. Attacks by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen – on the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula – is a declaration of war to Iran.

The Saudis and their allies want to prevent Islamic State terrorists – which already control parts of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq – from adding another country to their sphere of influence. Also, it does not want the power vacuum in Yemen filled by the Iranians.

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