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Yemen

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The Trump administration is making its first radical policy change in the Middle East by escalating American involvement in the civil war in Yemen. Wrecked by years of conflict, the unfortunate country will supposedly be the place where the US will start to confront and roll back Iranian influence in the region as a whole.... Read More
In the south west corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Britain is complicit in one of the worst and least noticed crimes against humanity in the 21st century. Thanks to Saudi air strikes starting two years ago, a localised civil war in Yemen was transformed into a devastating conflict which has brought 12 million people to... Read More
As recently as two years ago, Saudi Arabia’s half century-long effort to establish itself as the main power among Arab and Islamic states looked as if it was succeeding. A US State Department paper sent by former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in 2014 and published by Wikileaks spoke of the Saudis and Qataris as... Read More
They have done it again. The US, Britain and regional allies led by Saudi Arabia have come together to intervene in another country with calamitous results. Instead of achieving their aims, they have produced chaos, ruining the lives of millions of people and creating ideal conditions for salafi-jihadi movements like al-Qaeda and Islamic State. The... Read More
A shaky truce has stopped the fighting in only some parts of Yemen, as UN-backed efforts get under way to end a civil war that has killed 6,200 Yemenis and enabled al-Qaeda to set up its own mini-state in the south of the country. Often referred to as the “forgotten war”, the conflict has torn... Read More
Saudi Arabia will be pleased that the furore over its execution of the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr is taking the form of a heightened confrontation with Iran and the Shia world as a whole. Insults and threats are exchanged and diplomatic missions closed. Sunni mosques are blown up in Shia-dominated areas of Iraq. The Saudi... Read More
Air strikes and blockade threaten humanitarian disaster for millions
Dozens of Saudi soldiers and Yemeni fighters have been killed in clashes on the border between the countries as five weeks ofSaudi air attacks fail to bring the war to an end. Air strikes and heavy artillery fire in the southern port of Aden have left much of the city in ruins and the attempted... Read More
The main outcome of the Saudi air campaign will be terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants
Yemen is short of many things, but weapons is not one of them. Yemenis own between 40 and 60 million guns, according to a report by UN experts published earlier this year. This should be enough for Yemen’s 26 million people, although the experts note that demand for grenades that used to cost $5, handguns... Read More
...Despite having no decisive impact on the opposing Houthi militias
Yemenis are wondering if the 28-day Saudi bombing campaign is really over or whether the war has simply entered a new phase. Air strikes were still taking place in Aden, Taiz and other Yemeni cities hours after they were supposed to have ceased. And nobody in Yemen supposes that the war the Saudis escalated when... Read More
Al-Qaeda-type movements are gaining ground, and there's only one way to stop them
The ghost of Osama bin Laden will have been chuckling this month as he watches the movements he inspired conquer swathes of the Middle East. He will be particularly gratified to see fighters from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) storm into Al Mukalla, the capital of Yemen’s eastern province of Hadhramaut from which the... Read More
As the US and Iran reach accord, Saudi Arabia endangers the status quo in the Middle East
A succession of crucially important military and diplomatic events are convulsing the political landscape of the Middle East. The most significant development is the understanding between the US and five other world powers with Iran on limiting Iran’s nuclear programme in return for an easing of sanctions. But the muting of hostility between the US... Read More
Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis
Foreign states that go to war in Yemen usually come to regret it. The Saudi-led military intervention so far involves only air strikes, but a ground assault may follow. The code name for the action is Operation Decisive Storm, which is probably an indication of what Saudi Arabia and its allies would like to happen... Read More
The Islamist group is receiving support from Sunni tribes, and offering a sanctuary for Western jihadists such as the Kouachi brothers, who visited in 2011
Al-Qaeda in Yemen is becoming more powerful because it provides the troops for a Sunni community that feels under increasing threat from a Shia insurgency that has seized much of the country. Its increased strength has nothing to do with foreign jihadists like Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, who killed 12 people in Paris last weekand... Read More
An intensive bombing campaign carried out jointly by US drones and Yemeni government forces has left a reported 68 people dead in a three-day-long operation against al-Qa’ida suspects in the south of the country. The “massive and unprecedented” operation – as one Yemeni official was quoted as describing it – marks a significant escalation in... Read More
Three Guns for Every Person
Protestors are walking confidently down a street a street in the southern Yemeni port of Aden when there is a rattle of gunfire as the security services shoot into the crowd and people run panic-stricken seeking cover. A man in a check shirt is left lying face down in the dust in the empty street,... Read More
The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa
The US embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, which has just closed its doors because of the al-Qa'ida threat, is a spectacularly ugly building that has been designed as a fortress to withstand a military assault. It is easy to understand why the State Department may be feeling nervous about the embassy's security. It was... Read More
Walking Into the Al-Qaeda Trap
This is the tribal chant of the powerful Awaleq tribe of Yemen in which they bid defiance to the world. Its angry tone conveys flavor of Yemeni life and it should give pause to those in the US who blithely suggest greater American involvement in Yemen in the wake of the attempt to destroy a... Read More
Multiple Crises
Yemen is the Afghanistan of the Arab world. It is the poorest Arab country, its government is weak, its people are armed, it already faces a serious rebellion, it is strongly tribal and its mountain ranges are a natural refuge for groups like al-Qa'ida. There is nothing new about the growing political, social and economic... Read More
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Patrick Cockburn
About Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn is the Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent. He was awarded the 2005 Martha Gellhorn prize for war reporting. His book on his years covering the war in Iraq, The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (Verso) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for non-fiction.


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