The conflict in Yemen, which emerged in 2015 was not a sudden flash of violence, rather it was a consequence of the long-lasting tensions in the country. Since the population of Yemen is half-Sunni, half-Shia, the grievances between the two have existed even before Yemen gained its independence in the 1990s. The Houthis group, which took over Yemeni government in February 2015, has Shias leanings; and, therefore, has been supported by Iran, which wants to expand its sphere of influence over the Middle East. In September 2014, the former Sunni President of Yemen, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, was forced to negotiate with the Houthis due to overwhelming pressure. However, the latter refused to be a part of a coalition government, and aimed for the complete control over Yemen. When the Houthis finally came to power in 2015, predominantly Sunni countries led by Saudi Arabia created a military coalition to suppress Houthis. Pursuing this goal they performed a series of airstrikes and deployed special forces in the area. Currently, the country is in a state of devastating and spreading civil war, which is also affecting neighboring countries.
In this video interview with Mr. Frank Tipton, we aim to decipher the cause behind the Yemenis internal divide and what the current crisis means to Yemen and the Middle East.
Interviewee: Frank Tipton
Mr. Frank Tipton is the instructor of Middle East History at Phillips Academy. He has done extensive studies on the Middle East and has spent time in Yemen before the current conflicts. Mr. Tipton holds B.A. in Middle East Languages and Cultures from Columbia University and M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University
Interviewers: Glib Stronov, Dmytro Babachanakh
Duration: 24 Minutes
Questions & corresponding time (minute:seconds):
1. What led to the Houthis takeover? 00:19
2. Why was Yemen disunited? 04:00
3. What factors led to the current state of chaos after unification? 08:00
4. Why is there so much international interest in Yemen? 12:18
5. What are the U.S. stance and action regarding Yemen? 16:18
6. What is the goal of Saudi Arabia? 18:12
7. Why did the unification of Yemen not proceed well? 19:36
8. How do you see Yemen’s future? 21:48