Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why Fighting in Yemen: Sunni Against Shi'a WHO ARE THE PLAYERS?

Nadene Goldfoot                                                             
Saleh today
Young Saleh

Yemen is the Arabic name of SW Arabia which is or was an independent state.  

It all started with the old president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the one before the present President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who has resigned and then not resigned his position.  
First, in early 2011, there was the Tunisian revolution that overthrew their overly long-time president.  Opposition parties tried to do the same thing in Yemen.  The opposition started by leading the protesters and demanding that Saleh, president then, had to end his 3-decade long rule because of his lack of democratic reform, widespread corruption and supposed human rights abuses carried out by him and his allies.  Things were rotten in Yemen. 

As it turns out, Saleh is a Zaydi (non-Hashimi)" Shi'a.  This means he is not a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad's grandfather and so is actually ineligible to rule under the Zaydi Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen that has ruled the country until 1962.  Yemen is 99% Sunni/Shi'a and an Islamic State of about 23,580,000 people.  They follow the main figh of Shafi'i and Zaidi.  

Saleh (March 21, 1942) who is a Shi'a Muslim politician ,  was President of Yemen from 1990 to 2012.  Before that he was President of North Yemen from 1978 until the unification with South Yemen in 1990.  His education has been less than an elementary school education. and then he joined the North Yemeni armed forced in 1958.  

Because he had been in a seat of power for many years, he signed the Gulf Cooperation Council agreement in November 2011 so that his vice president could be the next acting president until February 21, 2012. It was in 2011 that there was an assassination attempt on his life in June.  He went to Saudi Arabia for hospital treatment and they took oout fragments of shrapnel.  He received gifts by kings, presidents and world leaders over the course of his rule.   On January 22, 2012, the Parliament passed a law that granted Saleh immunity from being prosecuted (being he was ineligible) and he left Yemen for medical treatment in New York City..  He had stepped down and formally ceded power to his deputy, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi at the Palace  on February 27, 2012.                                           
Young Hadi

Hadi of today

 Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi (September 1, 1945)  is a Sunni Muslim Yemeni general and politician.  He took over as president of Yemen since February 27, 2012. and was the Vice President from 1994 to 2012.  

During 2011, Hadi  was the acting President of Yemen when Saleh was undergoing medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. after an attack on the palace during the 2011 Yemeni uprising.  On November 23rd, he became the acting president again, after Saleh moved into a non-active role pending the presidential election in return for immunity from prosecution.  Hadi was expected to create a national unity government and also call for early elections within 90 days while Saleh was the president in name only.  

Saleh has been a behind-the-scenes leader of the 2014-2015 Yemini coup d'etat led by Shia Houthi forces.  Tribesmen and government forces loyal to Saleh have joined the Houthis in their march to power.  Evidently Saleh didn't really want to lose his presidency.  

On January 22, 2015, Hadi, the newest president,  resigned.  Then the Houthis seized the palace.   They  placed him under virtual house arrest. A month later, he escaped to his hometown of Aden, rescinded his resignation, and denounced the Houthi takeover as an unconstitutional coup d'état. The Houthis named a Revolutionary Committee to assume the powers of the presidency, as well as the General People's Congress, Hadi's own political party. On 25 March 2015, Hadi reportedly fled Yemen in a boat as Houthi forces advanced on Aden.   He arrived in  Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,  the next day, as Saudi Arabia began a bombing campaign in support of his government.  Saudi Arabia wouldn't support Saleh as he is not a descendant of Muhammad.  

"The Houthis on Wednesday called for a return to U.N.-sponsored peace talks to resolve the conflict. In New York, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the United Nations stood ready to play any role to facilitate the peace negotiations."  This is because the Saudis are still bombing the Houthis in Yemen.  "Yemeni officials said coalition forces on Wednesday struck at Houthi rebels in Taiz, Yemen's third-largest city. The rebels had seized control of a military brigade headquarters near the old airport to the city's southeast.
Airstrikes also hit the southern port city of Aden, blasting rebel forces in outlying districts there."
Houthis are The "Shi'a Supporters of God."   They are a Zaidi group operating in Yemen. The group takes its name from Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, who launched an insurgency in 2004 and was reportedly killed by Yemeni army forces that September.  "As of April 2015, the Houthis retain control of Yemen's capital, Sana'a, and the parliament.  They have 100,000 fighters.  
Houthi leaders such as Issam Al-'Imad stated as early as 2011 that they were religiously and ideologically influenced by Iran,  and as of 2014 it has been observered that “The Houthi group's approach is in many ways similar to that of Hizbollah in Lebanon. Similarly religiously based and Iran-backed, both groups follow the same military doctrine and glorify the Khomeini revolution in Iran”.

1. Saudi Arabia and President Hadi (Sunnis)

2. Houthis and former President Saleh and Iran (Shi'as)

Where do the Jews come into play?  They don't, but in 1992 there were about 1,400 Jews still 

living in Yemen.  Most were taken out in 1949-50 in Operation Magic Carpet.   However, what 

goes on in Yemen doesn't stay in Yemen today.  Yemen can adversely affect what goes on in

 Syria which can affect Israel.  

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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