Conflict in Yemen
The Conflict that could spread throughout the Middle East
Yemen has been in a Civil War since 2011 when the Houthi people of Yemen went to war with the Sunni people from the South. The Houthi practice a form of Shia Islam. Shia's and Sunni's have been in conflict with each other across the Muslim world ever since Islam became a major religion. On March 30, 2015, Tom Lister with CNN wrote an article that illustrated the increasing danger from the Yemen crisis spilling over into the rest of the Middle East:
Lister, Tom. "Yemen in freefall: How chaos could spiral into all-out regional war." CNN, 30 Mar. 2015. Web. 1 May 2015.
This article can be viewed using the link above.
The main opponents in this conflict were originally the Houthis and the Sunnis from Yemen, but now the Iranians are backing the Houthis and the Saudi Arabians are backing the Yemen Sunnis. Iran is a Shia country and Saudi Arabi is a Sunni country - they have been major rivals in the Middle East for 100 years. The Houthi people are the minority in Yemen, yet they are causing the most violence in this Civil War. This stems from their resentment over the fact that Yemen has been governed by the Sunni's.
The Houthi are conducting the war by using militia to attack and take over key cities and ports. They try and target places where they can get their hands on weapons, or resources, such as Yemen's oil fields. This gives them a better ability to win the Civil war. The Houthis do not have sophisticated weapons. Saudi Arabia starting getting very involved in March by launching airstrikes against the Houthi to stop their advance. The Houthi have responded to this by threatening terror tactics, such as starting suicide attacks actually inside of Saudi Arabia. Iran has not used any violence so far, but they keep warning that the Saudi Arabian involvement is escalating the violence.
There are no real efforts at this time to solve this conflict using non-violent methods. The UN is not very involved. As was discovered in Afghanistan and Iraq, there are big problems when you put foreign troops into Arab countries, even if those troops are there to keep the peace.
Just War Theory:
1) Just Cause? This seems to be a war over culture and power, not because of any significant injustices. NO.
2) Legitimate Authority? The Houthis have not been recognized by any international bodies. The Saudi Arabians have not been given any power by the UN to get involved. NO.
3) Right Intention? Both sides just want to be in control. NO.
4) Last resort? No real peace negotiations seem to have occurred. The UN has not yet got involved. NO.
5) Probability of success? With Saudi Arabia and Iran involved, it seems like this war is headed for a stalemate. LOW.
6) Comparative Justice? Killings is not justified by either side. They should negotiate. NO.
7) Noncombatant Immunity? Civilians have been hurt by the fighting, and neither side cares. Each side wants to get rid of, or get control over the other side, so they don't care if civilians get killed. NO.
8) Proportionality? No good will come out of the Civil War, or Iran and Saudi Arabian involvement. Only peaceful negotiations where both sides compromise will there be any good outcome. NO.
This is not a Just War on any of the criteria.
This map of Yemen shows which sides control what parts of Yemen:
This BBC News Report from March highlights the significant problems with the crisis in Yemen: