Bushra al-Maqtari writes: There is no shortage of people to blame for Yemen’s catastrophe: the sectarian, tribalist Houthis, who seized the capital in January; Mr. Hadi, who led an incompetent government and is now supporting our northern neighbor’s effort to turn us into a Saudi protectorate; and his vindictive, irrational predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was forced from power in 2011 but refuses to step aside.
These culprits have effectively made Yemen the battleground between two great external powers, Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Yemenis today are more divided than they ever have been.
The pro-intervention side claims that the legitimacy of Mr. Hadi’s government must be upheld, and that the Houthi assault on the government must be stopped. The other side presents itself as the defender of national autonomy, even though it was the Houthis who sought Iran’s military and financial help and thereby helped to turn Yemen into a proxy for a regional struggle against Saudi Arabia.
Like other democratic activists, I am in a third group — one that has been rendered nearly invisible. We reject external military intervention absolutely. We also reject the Houthis’ coup and their vengeful campaign against Yemenis in the north and the south. Our brief hope for a peaceful democratic transition, after Mr. Saleh officially ceded power more than three years ago, has given way to despair. [Continue reading…]