The Arab Spring put the bases on which the Yemen developments during the past decade took form.
Yemen, the land of red agate, has turned to the red land of blood in less than a decade. The county has gone through multiple ups and downs the turn into the example of the worst humanitarian crisis. From popular uprising to regime change, semi-coup d’état to foreign intervention and crackdown, the story of Yemen in 2010s fills in multiple volumes of books.
This four-part series attempts to shed light on the most prominent events that the country went through. First part focuses on the Arab spring before Yemen uprising, as it provided the base for the movement. In the second part, we discuss the popular uprising and the role of Houthi movement in its accomplishments. The third part details the Saudi-led intervention. Finally, the fourth part revolves around post-Trump Saudi Arabia and the new Middle East with Houthis as a main force.
Starting in 2010 and 2011, a surge of pro-democracy uprisings and upheavals swept the MENA region. Several of the area’s totalitarian leaders faced serious challenges by the campaign.
It all started when protesters in Tunisia and Egypt overthrew their governments in close sequence, spawning similar efforts in other Arab nations. The popular uprising did not, however, succeed in all countries. Protesters voicing social and economic concerns frequently faced brutal repression by local security services in their respective nations.
The very first protests of the Arab Spring began late in 2010 in Tunisian capital. The self-immolation of a side-walk seller denouncing the mistreatment by local authorities sparked the movement. The “Jasmine Revolution,” as it was branded by the media, swiftly swept across the country.
The Tunisian regime used force against mass protests in a bid to put a stop to the turmoil. As a solution, they also proposed political and economic sacrifices. Nevertheless, the security services were quickly overpowered, forcing President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to resign and escape less than a month later.
Similar rallies immediately saw young people in Egypt utilizing social media in response to Ben Ali’s departure in Tunisia. Late in January 2011, it drew huge audiences all around Egypt. Egypt’s administration also attempted, but failed, to suppress demonstrations by making concessions. They used a simultaneous violent crackdown approach against protesters, similar to the other Arab state. After many days of enormous rallies and skirmishes, a major breakthrough realized in the same month. The national army has declared that it won’t act against demonstrators seeking for Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.
The viral Arab spring went on to involve a series of other Arab states. From Yemen to Bahrain, Libya, Oman, Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, each county responded in its own way. Yemen was a forerunner.
Arab Spring; Yemen
The Arab spring in Yemen began in January of the same year. During the early weeks of the demonstrations, President Ali Abdullah Saleh‘s backbone of support was undermined. Several of the Yemen’s most influential regional and military figures have demanded Saleh’s resignation.
After unsuccessful talks to depose Saleh, the two sides started the battles in Sanaa. Saleh flew out of the country five months later to seek medical care for injuries he received from a strike. The critics hoped that a transformation would emerge as a result of this. Nevertheless, Saleh reappeared abruptly in October, adding to the bewildering circumstances.
Saleh accepted an international brokered deal a month later. The deal envisaged for a gradual handover of authority to Mansur Hadi, the vice president. Hadi immediately acquired governmental responsibilities and legally accepted the President in compliance with the accord. He ran as the lone candidate in a ludicrous election early in 2012. His administration, nevertheless, was unable to enhance or sustain stability. Hadi’s administration faced armed conflict and revolt, which erupted into a civil war in 2014.
In the next part of this series, the developments during the Yemen civil war will be subject to more investigations.