Tag archive

civil war

Yemen: the forgotten crisis

Middle East - Africa/Politics di

The 48-hour cease-fire in place from November 19 to 21 between the Al Houthis and forces loyal to President Hadi in Yemen has failed. Since the beginning of the truce, violations have been committed by both sides, thus an extension resulting impossible. Similarly, the ceasefire scheduled for the night of 17 November did not take place, following the clashes occurred in the city of Taiz, which had killed more than twenty people.

If the end of hostilities on the ground is still a dream, it is even more unlikely for a political settlement -which should end a conflict that has affected the country for 20 months- to be set in the near term. In the past few weeks, negotiations and meetings have taken place between the US Secretary of State John Kerry, the special UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed and mediating countries such as Oman in order to deal with the conflicting parties and to draw up an acceptable plan to restore stability and security in the country.

Several proposals have been rejected, including the last one presented by Kerry, according to which President Hadi would relinquish his power to a new vice president in return for the Al Houthis withdrawal from all major cities and the handover of their weapons to third neutral parties.

To date, indeed, no agreement has been achieved, considering the reluctance of both the players to give up those power and control they have in the country. On the one hand, President Hadi refuses to relinquish his powers; on the other, the Al Houthis want to keep their weapons. This allows them to maintain a certain power in national politics, making them a good candidate to be a new Hezbollah in Yemen -not just a major political opponent but also a militarily strong one.  Although international attention is currently focused on other issues, the conflict in Yemen becomes day after day more relevant in regional and international political games.

Let’s go back to the beginning of the conflict, in November 2011, when following a popular uprising, the then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to give in power to Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The new president, however, did not manage to deal with several domestic issues, such as unemployment, corruption, hunger, terrorism, leaving the population at the mercy of plagues that eliminate any hope to restore stability in the country. In September 2014, with the support of former President Saleh, the rebel group known as Al Houthis, Zaidi Shia-led political-religious movement, took control of the northern region of the country, entering the capital Sana’a. The then-President Hadi was put under house arrest and forced to flee to Aden the following month.

Confrontations started between two factions: the Al Houthis, allied with Saleh, who control the capital Sana’a and the internationally recognized government of President Hadi, based in Aden. Supporters and allies on both sides complete the bigger picture. In March of 2015, a Saudi-led military coalition began an air campaign against rebel positions, in order to restore Hadi government. Since then more than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict and living conditions in the country have deteriorated drastically, resulting in a humanitarian crisis.

On the other side, though repeatedly denied, there seems to be Iran’s political and military support, something similar to what we have already seen in Lebanon with Hezbollah.  According to Brigadier General Ahmad Asseri, spokesman for the Saudi coalition, a link would exist between the terrorist group Hezbollah and the Houthis. Members of the Lebanese group have been seen among the Shiite militants in Yemen.

Moreover, the terrorist groups of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State (ISIS) add chaos to this picture, exploiting the instability of the region to pursue their political agenda. Indeed, they managed to take control of some areas in the southern provinces (government-controlled area), making even more difficult to restore security in the country.

It is clear that the conflict in Yemen is not limited to the political parties on the ground, but affects several external actors and is connected to the political dynamics of the Middle East. Once again, in fact, we see the couple Saudi Arabia-Iran, fighting for hegemony in the region and the division between a Shiite component, currently controlling the North of the country, and a Sunni-dominated south region, headed by Hadi government.

It should be added that the conflict in Yemen in not just a theatre for the proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran, but also a destabilizing factor for the international trade. Houthis’ missile arsenal, indeed, guarantees the rebels an effective means to hit ships transiting the Strait of Bab el-Mandab, one of the busiest routes of world trade. About 4 million barrels of oil a day pass through this strait; therefore, the security in this area is a necessary condition not only for regional actors but also for other stakeholders, such as European countries and the United States, heavily dependent on energy coming from this region.

It is more understandable why negotiations held by US and UN include the handover of rebels’ weapons to neutral units; similarly, it is clear why the Houthis want to maintain at least their light weapons, as a key tool to keep power in national, regional and global dynamics. Consultations will continue in order to reach an agreement as soon as possible. However, it has to be seen how the new US administration will deal with this issue. According to Donald Trump, the United States should stay out of conflicts that do not directly threaten its national interests and the war in Yemen does not seem to be a priority.


Paola Fratantoni


President Obama criticized Iran and Russia’s roles in Syria’s civil war

Obama, during a wide-ranging press conference in Peru on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, criticized Iran and Russia’s role in Syria’s brutal civil war. He also said he was “not optimistic” about the immediate future of Syria, where government forces backed by Russian warplanes have been bombarding rebel-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo. The president said once Russia and Iran backed the Syrian government, it was “very hard to see a way in which even a trained and committed moderate opposition could hold its ground.”

Artillery strike on Syrian army targets launched by IDF

BreakingNews @en di

On Wednesday the IDF launched an artillery strike on Syrian army targets in the norther Golan Heights in response to a mortar shell that fell in Israeli territory earlier in the day. The mortar shell was thought to have breached the border as fallout from fighting in Syria, however the IDF said it holds the Syrian regime responsible for all activities emanating from its territory. No injuries or damages were reported in the attack.

Errant fire from the conflict in Syrian has sporadically landed in Israeli territory during the country’s more than five-year civil war.

Ukraine, Kiev, at least one dead and 90 injured

BreakingNews @en/Europe di

At least one dead and about 90 injured, mostly policemen and volunteers of the National Guard Ukraine, after a series of bombs exploded in Kiev, in front of Parliament, by nationalist militants, in particular due to Svoboda. Protests flared up following the approval of the first draft of the constitutional reform on institutional decentralization, in line with Minsk 2, which provides special status for Donetsk and Lugansk.

Therefore, a return to protests in Kiev clashes of Maidan one year and half ago. If Minsk 2 so far had not been observed yet in Donbass, now Nazis groups do not want to give autonomy to Eastern Ukraine. The same political party that, in recent months, has enlist the highest numbers of volunteers against pro-Russian separatists.

Beyond jihadists’ question, in addition to Ukrainian economic crisis and to a public debt out of control, there is the problem of cohabitation in Ukraine. The question is not only the end of conflict within the country and, at international level, involving NATO and Russia, but the return to normality: far-right and Islamist militants may constitute a real problem near Europe.
Giacomo Pratali


Ukraine: failure of Minsk 2 is around the corner

Europe di

Clashes between army and separatists returned to the same level in February. On the domestic front, agreement is distant. On the international side, Nato and Russia continue to flex their muscles.

With the help of summer, civil war in Eastern Ukraine has again become bloody. The approach of winter, with the gas issue, contribute to intensify violence. On August 3, three soldiers have died following clashes with separatists. At the same time, it’s been the failure of negotiations to establish a buffer zone between the contact groups of Minsk Protocol 2.

There are many signs of this escalation. Domestic, between the Ukrainians, calling for the deposition of the weapons to pro-Russian in exchange for concessions of autonomy in the Constitution, and separatists, determined not to give in and will participate in the legislative process.

International. As a resurgence of the Cold War, Ukrainian civil war is an International showdown. With NATO, which wants to intensify even more the contribution of Force Integrations Units in Eastern Europe. With the United State and European Union, which intends to further increase sanctions against Moscow. With Russia, determined to exit from isolation from the Western partners.

This economical sanctions could push the Kremlin to not back down. The growth of separatists’ military training in Donbass is a clear indicator. Finally, the privileged relations with Syria and Iran, the new economic and commercial channels established with China and India, may tempt Washington to soften. The degeneration of the Ukrainian war and the chaos of the country are around the corner.
Giacomo Pratali


Giacomo Pratali
0 £0.00
Vai a Inizio