Behind Sectarian Lines

Behind Sectarian Lines: A Study On The Political Fragmentation In Saudi-Yemeni Relations

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In comprising a comprehensive analysis of the current Yemeni Crisis, the country’s third Civil War, there are multidimensional factors and various complexities that
shed a very different light to the sectarian framework that has been heavily used throughout much of the global media outlets today. The Yemeni scope is broader and
much more complicated than a mere, one-dimensional sectarian conflict. For the true story entails an intriguing history of shifting alliances that have transcended
religious boundaries for decades- in the objective to serve political and geostrtegic gains. This can be seen in throughout the history of Saudi-Yemeni relations,
internal Yemeni politics, as well as in the connections between non-state actors (Sunni-Extremists) and the (Zaidi-dominant) Yemeni government. The Saudi-Iranian
rivalry certainly has its say in the matter. But the focus must be to illustrate the role Yemen plays geostrategically in relation to this regional competition.
The backdrop entails a story of a narcissistic leader’s (Ali Abdullah Saleh) desperate attempts to reclaim his seat at the helm. Through 33yrs of ‘dancing on the heads
of snakes’, by playing various sides against each other, Ali Abdullah Saleh very much epitomizes the tales of Machiavelli’s Prince. In those 33yrs the fragmentation
and cracks in Yemens poltical system have run deeper, wider and more evident, whilst the various papier-mâché antidotes have eroded almost entirely. It is the build-up
of unresolved matters, further bolstered by steady streams of new complications (Saleh being an obstacle to peace) that have contributed to a broiling effect;
constituting in state collapse, a subsequent power-vacuum and an ensuing struggle for power in itself.


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