World View: Yemen’s Houthis Capture Taiz, Advance South to Fight Hadi’s Forces in Aden

AFP Photo/Mohammed Huwais
AFP Photo/Mohammed Huwais

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Yemen’s Houthis capture Taiz, advance south to fight Hadi’s forces in Aden
  • UN Security Council urges ‘peaceful dialog’ in Yemen
  • France’s center-right party edges out far-right National Front in elections

Yemen’s Houthis capture Taiz, advance south to fight Hadi’s forces in Aden

Houthis fire tear gas at anti-Houthi protesters in Taiz on Sunday (Reuters)
Houthis fire tear gas at anti-Houthi protesters in Taiz on Sunday (Reuters)

The Iran-backed ethnic Houthis that captured and occupied Yemen’s capital city Sanaa last year are following up from Friday’s announced military mobilization by seizing much of the city of Taiz and the surrounding province. They have taken control of the airport and security and intelligence buildings in Taiz, and have set up checkpoints in the area.

Yemen’s internationally recognized president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi was forced last month to flee Sanaa– which is Yemen’s largest city and is in the north of Yemen– to Aden, which is Yemen’s second largest city, and is a port city in the south of Yemen. Taiz is Yemen’s third largest city, and it is located about halfway between Sanaa and Aden, so it is a critical waypoint on the Houthis’ planned assault on Hadi’s forces in Aden.

The Houthis have been using Yemen’s air force for bombing strikes on Aden every day since Thursday. Now that the Houthis have control of Taiz airport, it’s expected that further air strikes will be launched from there.

It now seems unavoidable that within the next few days there will be a sectarian civil war between the Shia Houthis versus Hadi’s Sunni tribal militias. This will be further complicated by the presence in Yemen of two Sunni terrorist groups, the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The Houthis are now in control of the army and air force, and they are backed by Iran, which is suspected of shipping additional weapons to them. Saudi Arabia and the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have expressed deep dismay at the Shia takeover of Yemen, but it remains to be seen whether they take any military action to counter it. If they do, then the result will be a sectarian proxy war in Yemen between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The National (UAE) and CNN and AFP and AP

UN Security Council urges ‘peaceful dialog’ in Yemen

Jordan called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Sunday to discuss the “rapid downward spiral” in Yemen. According to special Yemen envoy Jamal Benomar:

Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations. Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war. […]

I urge all sides in this time of rising tension and inflammatory rhetoric to appreciate the gravity of the situation and deescalate by exercising maximum restraint. Peaceful dialogue is the only way forward.

According to one web site, “peaceful dialog” means “to create a consciousness among members of society – through multilayer dialogue – that they are responsible for peace and that they are vested with the right to demand peace. Peace Dialogue strives to create the conditions for mutual cooperation and support between members of conflicting societies who see no alternative except the peaceful resolution of conflicts. This is achieved through the development of civil peacebuilding potential, strengthening respect for human rights and democratic values, promoting civil peace initiatives, and advocating on behalf of victims of conflict.”

So, now that the UN Security Council is on the job, advocating peaceful dialogue, we can all feel relieved that the problems in Yemen are over. After all, as we all know, war never solves anything. United Nations and Anadolu (Turkey)

France’s center-right party edges out far-right National Front in elections

Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front National party did well in Sunday’s elections, but not well enough to defeat Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right UMP party in regional elections in France on Sunday. (The phrase “far right” has different meanings in Europe and America.) The stridently anti-immigrant, anti-EU, “anti-Islamization” Front National party has been surging in polls, and many European officials had been concerned that they would win.

President François Hollande and his Socialist Party government have been plummeting in the polls in recent months, so never expected to do well in these regional elections. In a surprise move, the Socialists teamed up with the UMP party to issue dire warnings about Front National. Marine Le Pen derided the tactic as “trying to lead a campaign against the people, a filthy and violent campaign that stigmatized millions of French voters.”

According to initial projections, the UMP received 31% of the vote, National Front received 24.5%, and the Socialists received 19.7%.

However, this was not the final election. There will be a second election next Sunday, March 29, pitting the top two parties from this election, UMP and Front National. The winner of next Sunday’s election will determine which leader, Nicolas Sarkozy or Marine Le Pen, will be most likely to win the 2017 presidential election.

Feminists should be jumping for joy over this election. Voters do not select an individual, but they select a pair of candidates, one man and one woman. This should guarantee that half of those elected will be women. AFP and VOA and AFP

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Yemen, Houthis, Taiz, Sanaa, Aden, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, Iran, United Nations, Jamal Benomar, France, Front National, Marine Le Pen, UMP, Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande
Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.