The Washington Post reports: Two weeks into a Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, airstrikes appear to have accelerated the country’s fragmentation into warring tribes and militias while doing little to accomplish the goal of returning the ousted Yemeni president to power, analysts and residents say.
The Yemeni insurgents, known as Houthis, have pushed ahead with their offensive and seem to have protected many of their weapons stockpiles from the coalition’s bombardments, analysts say. The fighting has killed hundreds of people, forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes and laid waste to the strategic southern city of Aden.
The battles are increasingly creating problems that go beyond the rebels opposing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the forces supporting him. The conflict has reduced available water and food supplies in a country already suffering from dangerous levels of malnutrition and created a security vacuum that has permitted territorial advances by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
For the Saudi government and its allies, the military operation in Yemen may be turning into a quagmire, analysts say.
“What’s a potential game changer in all of this is not just the displacement of millions of people, but it’s this huge spread of disease, starvation and inaccessibility [of] water, combined with an environment where radical groups are increasingly operating in the open and recruiting,” said Jon B. Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. [Continue reading…]