In October, I attended the panel discussion with Dr. Landis and Dr. Mahdi. The discussion was about the civil war in Yemen and the events that led up to the war. I thought this was interesting because I was not aware that there was even a war happening in Yemen. We hear about the Syrian Civil war with the rebel groups, ISIS, and the Assad Regime from mainstream media, but barely a single thing about Yemen. Dr. Mahdi mentioned was that 80% of Yemenis need humanitarian aid with basic needs of water and food and there are 3.5 million internally displaced people in Yemen.
For the last thirty years, there has been many conflicts occurring in Yemen. One of them is the North and the South have been fighting for power and influence. The socialist party controlled the South, while the GPC control the North. Both had difference agendas and interests culturally, tribally, and politically. The GPC eventually obtained power and Ali Saleh became the first president. When the ruling party collapsed in 2011 during the Arab Spring, Saleh stepped down with the agreement with the UN. Then, the Houthi slowly gained more and more power, spreading across the North and took control of Sanaa, the capital city.
I think it was interesting when Dr. Mahdi said that John Kerry’s tactic would not work any longer in Middle Eastern conflict. Many of the Yemenis believe that the United States has a big part of the conflict between Saudi Arabia. There were many groups and tribes that were ready to fight against the terrorist groups, but the U.S. did not reach out to them for help or alliances. Instead, the U.S. supported Saudi Arabia to take down the Houthi rebels. Dr. Mahdi wants a more sustainable way for peace, than the United States being involved with the fight against the terrorist groups and then leaving the situation when the threat is gone. I agree with Dr. Mahdi we need to have a better solution towards theses conflicts because when we pull out of countries, we are leaving a country in pieces and it becomes a power struggle between conflicting parties.