Foreign Policy Blogs

No Eid for Rebels in Yemen

A month ago a new wave of fighting started between Yemen’s government forces and rebel Shi’ite Muslims. According to Reuters/Alert Net, the conflict has spread and the plight of civilians is at “alarming levels.” The most recent fighting has been on-going for five years, displacing about 150,000 people. The government argues that the Houthi rebels are aiming to reinstate (with the support of Iran) a Shiite state that fell in the 1960s.

On Saturday, according to Al Arabiya, Yemen’s government said it would halt its operations against the rebels for Eid al-Fitr (the holiday at the end of Ramadan). Now, just four days after a brutal air raid on an IDP camp where 87 people died and the supposed cease-fire was put in place, the fighting is continuing.

World-wide this does not appear to be very peaceful Eid for numerous Muslim communities.

According to the BBC, even on Saturday, “statements from both the military and the rebels accused the other side of continuing attacks in spite of the ceasefire.” The government probably expected the continuation of fighting given its condition-based ceasefire proposal, particularly the withdrawal of rebel forces and the order that the rebels abide by the Yemeni constitution. The Houthi rebels naturally wanted an unconditional ceasefire and their own demands met by the government.

Yemen really seems to be facing instability on too many fronts. The BBC concluded its report by reminding readers that the “Yemeni government is also battling secessionists in the south and has been criticized by the U.S. for its failure to tackle Al-Qaeda militants in the east and pirates off the coast.”



Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;


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