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myates@mi.comApril 1, 2014 

The ongoing conflict in Yemen saw Saudi Arabia on Thursday press its campaign to turn back an insurgency that controls the capital, Sanaa, and was on the verge of capturing, the southern city of Aden, Yemen's main seaport.

Yemen: Three years after Arab Spring

After three years of casting Yemen as an Arab Spring success story, UN Envoy Jamal Benomar told an emergency UN Security Council meeting that the country was on the “edge of a civil war.”

In September, the Houthis, a Zaidi sect based in Yemen's far north, overran Sanaa. The group, followers of the Zaidi branch of Shiite Islam, initially signed a power-sharing deal with the president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who replaced the country’s longtime former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a deal to end Arab Spring-inspired protests. But tensions soon emerged, eventually erupting in January as a disagreement over the country’s new constitution spurred the rebels to besiege the homes of Hadi and other officials. Hadi and his cabinet resigned en masse Jan. 22.

Opposing governments emerge

The Houthis moved to formally take power, dissolving parliament in a “Constitutional Declaration” in February. But the situation took a sudden twist on Feb. 21 when Hadi escaped to Aden, rescinded his resignation and declared that he remained Yemen’s legitimate president.

Since then, Sanaa and Aden have effectively served as rival capitals. Hadi is backed by Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s other oil-rich neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The Houthis, meanwhile, signed new agreements with Shiite-governed Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia's chief regional rival.

Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the regional affiliate of he Sunni terrorist network, has attacked the Houthis on sectarian grounds. Despite the Houthis’ gains in former AQAP strongholds in the central al-Bayda province, AQAP continues to launch attacks there and elsewhere, leaving the Houthis enmeshed in a continuing war of attrition.

On March 20, suicide bombing attacks on two Zaidi Shiite mosques in Sanaa killed 137. A group claiming to be the Yemeni branch of the Islamic State took responsibility.

Who's joined the anti-Houthi coalition

  • Said it would contribute naval and air forces, and possibly ground troops
  • Aircraft and possibly naval vessels
  • 100 fighter jets and 150,000 troops
  • 3 fighter jets
  • 15 fighter jets
  • 10 fighter jets
  • 30 fighter jets
  • 15 fighter jets
  • 6 fighter jets
  • 3 fighter jets
  • 6 fighter jets

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