“I felt strongly – even at that age – that with an education I could become anybody and do anything I wanted,” writes Yemeni film director Khadija al-Salami in her book The Tears of Sheba. At the age of 11, she was married off to an older man, but freed herself from her shame-fearing conservative family and landed herself a job as diplomat in France.
Results for Category: Yemen
Ever since Hadi took over the presidency, things went wrong. Despite some reshuffles in the leadership of the armed forces, he did not manage to get rid of the remains of the Saleh-clan. Instead, he started appointing his own family members and cronies to strategic positions. It made the Yemeni’s doubt his sincerity and leadership skills.
But due to (still relatively small) Iranian influence in Yemen, the Saudis and Emiratis will be obliged to work together in the medium term. As the Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel put it, ‘The war costs Tehran a few million dollars per month, while it costs Riyadh $6 billion per month.’ Any disagreement between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi could increase Iran’s influence.
The brutal civil war in Yemen has become further complicated after Saudi officials announced on 4 November 2017 that they had intercepted a missile fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen near Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport. The officials blamed Iran for the missile attack. However, the Saudis cut off access to all of Yemen’s ports, which have been blockaded since a Saudi-led coalition launched Operation Decisive Storm in March 2015.
Following the 2011 protests and ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s new political agreement signalled initial optimism for greater media freedom. Yet the country’s ongoing instability and the Saudi-led armed intervention have created an atmosphere of fear that makes the country one of the most dangerous for journalists to operate in.
The civil war in Yemen is a complex situation, but the various conflicts in different cities have one thing in common: everywhere, the humanitarian situation is dire. Millions are on the brink of starvation. Hunger is not new to Yemen, but used to affect mostly its lowest class. Now it’s creeping upwards, hitting the middle-class as well. Aid organisations are having trouble reaching the areas where the need is the direst, and when they do, supplies often end up on the black market.
Peace talks have been underway since 21 April 2016. The Houthi/Saleh alliance and the Hadi government are the only official negotiating parties, with the UN as broker. Assuming they know what they want to get out of these negotiations (which is not at all certain), they cannot simply proceed; there are numerous players outside the palace, buzzing in their ears.
Yemen has made reservations to international conventions, thereby partly undermining some classical – regionally seen as Western and not universally applicable – human rights. But it is law enforcement where a bigger problem lies: even the less controversial rights are not implemented. A stable state with a firmly established rule of law is far from reality.