In 2011, as part of the Arab Spring, Yemen – one of the world’s poorest countries – revolted against then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. When Saleh deployed an army against the protesters in March 2011, the situation escalated.
The international community intervened, Salih was forced to resign, and his former deputy Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi became president.
BUT: During this time, the Shiite rebels gained strength from the Houth and initially managed to control the province of Saada in northern Yemen and the surrounding areas. In 2015, insurgents captured the Yemeni capital Sanaa and President Hadi fled abroad.
In order to stop the Shiite minority from taking power, a coalition of majority Sunni countries, the “Arab Alliance” led by Saudi Arabia, intervened. Background: Saudi Arabia suspected that the Houthi rebels were supported by Shiite Iran, a political adversary.
The United States, Britain, France and Germany support the Arab Alliance in an effort to stop the Houth rebels.
According to the UN, around 380,000 people have died as a result of the conflict, most of them starvation, disease and lack of drinking water. Millions more people had to flee.
The UN considers the crisis in Yemen to be the biggest humanitarian catastrophe in the world.