Regional powers play with fire in Yemen

Yemen, October 2015: pro-government militias march in Taiz, the scene of heavy fighting with Houthi rebels, to mark the 52nd anniversary of liberation from colonial rule (source: dpa)
Yemen, October 2015: pro-government militias march in Taiz, the scene of heavy fighting with Houthi rebels, to mark the 52nd anniversary of liberation from colonial rule (source: dpa)

Islamic militants versus Islamic militants? The inventiveness of extremists when it comes to the wars they are waging in the Middle East and Africa seems inexhaustible. We may have thought that Islamic State was the last threshold of barbarism and the breakdown of traditional state structures. Now, however, even as the group metastasises in Libya, the Sinai Peninsula and Nigeria, it faces competition from such unpleasant movements as Somalia-based al-Shabaab or, even more worrying, the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The rise of the Houthis, a militia that follows the Zaidi branch of Shia Islam, began in earnest last autumn. By January 22, 2015 they had forced the departure of Yemeni Presiden...

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