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Yemen’s Humanitarian Nightmare

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Yemen’s Humanitarian Nightmare

The Real Roots of the Conflict

Foreign Affairs,

5 mins. de lectura
5 ideas fundamentales
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¿De qué se trata?

Is Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen’s civil war really about Iranian influence?

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  • Eye Opening
  • Background


Yemen’s brutal civil war has been depicted as a part of the broader Saudi-Iranian conflict. But as Yemen expert Asher Orkaby explains, the conflict has more to do with Yemen’s historic intranational disputes and Saudi Arabia’s concerns about the security of its southern border. By framing the conflict in the context of Iran, however, Saudi Arabia can dampen closer scrutiny of its bombing tactics, which have led to the collapse of Yemen’s economy and brought seven million people to the brink of starvation. getAbstract thinks you should know this about the conflict in Yemen.


In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states embarked on a military campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen who had ousted Yemeni president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and taken over the government. Saudi Arabia justified its intervention by emphasizing the need to counter Iran, which had provided some assistance to the Houthis. The Houthis had also been chanting anti-Saudi and anti-American slogans – a main reason why American officials supported Saudi intervention and allowed the use of US military bases. The roots of the conflict have little to do with...

About the Author

Asher Orkaby is a research fellow at Harvard University and the author of Beyond the Arab Cold War: The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962–68.

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