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Yemen’s ‘Forgotten War’

It seems as though war and violence are in the news every day. Be it the Ebola crisis, the Syrian crisis or the ongoing threat posed by ISIS, they are everywhere. Such stories seem so distant and yet are a constant presence in our day-to-day lives. With such a high exposure to such situations we have become somewhat immune to the horrifying realities behind such catastrophes, so much so that there is one country which the world has completely forgotten about, and it is completely falling apart. Since January,  Yemen has been gripped in a bloody Civil war which has affected more than 7.5 million people and claimed many lives, yet most of the world has no idea that they are even in trouble.

A major problem when it comes to media coverage of this issue is that it is highly complex with a history that dates back years. Once divided into two different states, the Republic of Yemen is a fairly new addition to the world sphere. Since their unification in 1990, tensions between the North and South of the country have been continuously rising and in 1994 it seemed as though the two countries would split again. In 2004,  the Houthis, a rebel group from the North, led an uprising which they hoped would see them gain more power within the country. In February 2015 they finally gained some of the success they had been hoping for by forcing the President, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, to resign, allowing them to gain control of the major cities in the North. However, whilst they control the majority of the Northern territories they do not have much support in the South and certainly not amongst the International Community.

In fact, outside factors have also been causing trouble for the people of Yemen. In an attempt to end the conflict and restore democratically elected Hadi, the US carried out a number of airstrikes earlier this year in the North of the country. These had little success however and were short lived due to the interest IS and Al Queda were showing in the state. Yemen is a strategically important country due to the Bab Al-mandab Strait which links the Red Sea and the Gulf of Adel,  through which much of the world’s oil passes. For this reason, Yemen’s recent political unrest has attracted both IS and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) who have carried out a number of attacks from their strongholds in the South and Southeast of the country, hoping to make use of this passage for themselves.

For the ordinary people of Yemen this war has brought nothing but fear and destruction, and it shows no signs of ending anytime soon. Even if a resolution to the political issues between the democratic leaders and the Houthi can be found, and this is not looking likely anytime soon, there is still the threat from other terrorist groups gaining greater support than they already have within the country.

The future of Yemen is far from certain, yet the world is oblivious.

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Katherine Halliday

I am an English and History graduate from Dundee with a passion for travel and a passion for writing.

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