At the beginning of the programme, Hussain Albukhaiti, a Yemeni based journalist gives an up to date report of what fighting is currently taking place. Greg Roman, the Director of Middle East Forum, a Middle East Foreign Policy Institute in Philadelphia gives a brief history of the Yemeni war, and explains, from his point of view, why civil war broke out. Hussain added that the Houthi rebels are fighting against President Hadi’s government, and that contrary to what many people think, the fighting is not a religious war between the Sunni government and Shia Houthi rebels, but seems to be more politically motivated. Hussain states that the war escalated when Saudi Arabia, the US and UK entered the war. “In Yemen, we had many many conflicts before, but the main problem is the foreign intervention.”
Greg said that the shipping of arms to the Houthi rebels from Iran, which has been used against fellow Yemenis is a major reason for mounting aggression. “We see the Houthi government not recognising international law….The Iranians only seek to cause more trouble…”
The Yemeni conflict can be seen to be another proxy war between Saudi Arabia and her gulf allies and Iran with her allies, fighting it out on Yemeni territory. Hussain disputed this, and said that Iran has no involvement with Yemen, and put the blame squarely onto the shoulders of Saudi Arabia and her allies. Hussein also said that it is highly unlikely that the Houthis would attack a ship in an international shipping lane.
After a year and a half of fighting, no side seems to be close to a military victory. Hussain blames the Hadi government for starting the war. Greg gave an opposite point of view and pointed out — as an example of the Houthi’s methods — the current siege of the city of Taiz which is surrounded by Houthi rebels. 37 out of 40 hospitals are shut, and over 200,000 citizens have very limited access to medical care, food and water and are trapped in the city. Greg’s solution is for the Houthi rebels to back the UN security Council’s resolution for solving the conflict, which includes observing a ceasefire, he also suggests that Yemen would be better off if it were to split into two countries.
The controversial involvement of the US and UK is discussed in the final part of the programme. Greg tried to defend the US and UK’s positions. Such views were naturally disputed by Hussein who sees the US and UK involvement as pretty much the backbone of the war in Yemen. To him, if it wasn't for US support of Saudi Arabia, “the war in Yemen would stop right away.”
The two points of view reflected in this programme represent opposing views about the Yemen conflict, and are hopefully useful in understanding the real situation in Yemen today.
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