Ethnic Clashes in Yemen: Article Review

This paper discusses a current event in news concerning the ethnic conflict in Yemen. The article that will be used for this paper is “Yemen Gov’t Vows to Fight Separatists as Clashes Erupt in South”, and it was published on Aljazeera on May 12, 2020. The article talks about armed clashes that have been witnessed in southern Yemen since 2014 when a separatist group, the Southern Transnational Council (STC), declared self-rule in the port city of Aden. According to the article, on April 25, 2020, the STC had threatened to reopen a new front in the country’s long-running conflict, specifically during this coronavirus pandemic era (News Agencies, 2020). Yemen’s foreign minister, Mohammed al-Hadhrami said that the separatist group had refused the government’s plea and the international community’s directives to reverse its declaration and maintain peace at the time. Therefore, al-Hadhrami said, “The army will do “everything necessary to preserve the state, its institutions, and the safety of its citizens against (the STC)” (News Agency, 2020, para. 4). The threat by the STC to renew conflict in southern Yemen and the government’s threat to counter such a declaration is at the center of this article. STC’s leader, Aidarous al-Zubaidi, had called upon his forces in the south to be prepared to defend their territory and national gains. Government forces and STC rebels engaged in bloody clashes in May 2020 on the outskirts of the capital of Abyan province, Zinjibar, which left several people dead and scores injured, including military officers. According to the article, this unending confrontation has ravaged Yemen’s healthcare system and pushed millions into famine and disease, which compounds the current coronavirus pandemic (News Agency, 2020). The southern city reported “most of the country’s 58 coronavirus infections and the government said the political issues with the STC were hampering the fight to contain the pandemic, while the council has accused the government of incompetence and corruption” (News Agency, 2020, para. 16). This conflict, since it started over six years ago, has led to the killing of tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians, and it does not seem to have an end in sight.

Importance of the Conflict to the Global Community

The armed conflict in Yemen matters to the global community for several reasons. First, the country is experiencing an ongoing humanitarian crisis due to the prolonged war, which started in 2014. Millions of civilians are at the brink of famine and the international community should be concerned and not let these people suffer unnecessarily. Second, Yemen, the conflict in Yemen creates a convenient environment for the breeding of terrorism, which is a serious threat to humanity anywhere in the world. According to Spiress et al. (2018), “Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, has been the source of several prominent terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies, including al-Qaeda’s bombing in 2000 of the USS Cole in the harbor at Aden, Yemen” (para. 10). Therefore, the global community should get involved to ensure that the issue of terrorism is addressed before attacks start being experienced in different places around the world. Third, Yemen’s geographic location is unique as it occupies the “mouth of the Red Sea” (Spiress et al., 2018, para. 11), which is close to the world’s most crucial shipping lanes. Therefore, the continued instability in the country could potentially threaten global trade. Lastly, the country is at the brink of economic collapse and currently, humanitarian aid is what is keeping it afloat (Spiress et al., 2018). Therefore, there is an urgent need to address these problems, which calls for the involvement of the global community.

Outside Influences

Three major outside forces might help change the course of the Yemeni conflict. The first two players, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are directly involved in the clashes. On the one hand, Saudi Arabia supports the government; while on the other hand, the UAE backs the rebels. Therefore, Saudi Arabia and the UAE should come together and help solve the crisis because they are key determinants of whether the conflict escalates or not. The UAE could present the rebels’ demands to the Yemeni government through Saudi Arabia and come up with an amicable and peaceful solution. The other player that could be involved in the United Nations (UN). Since the conflicts broke out in 2014, the UN, which represents other major world authorities, has been actively engaged in talks to resolve the underlying issues. However, the UN needs to do more by pressurizing the UAE and Saudi Arabia to show leadership and goodwill to bring peace to Yemen.

The article is written professionally and impartially hence neutral. The reporter presented facts concerning the situation in south Yemeni without being subjective. In addition, the reporter quoted words by other people clearly. For instance, Mohammed al-Hadhrami and Aidarous al-Zubaidi’s words are clearly cited with proper quotation marks. Therefore, the reader could easily distinguish the reporter’s words from those by other individuals, which underscores the objectivity of the article.


News Agencies. (2020). Yemen gov’t vows to fight separatists as clashes erupt in the south. Aljazeera. 

Sipress, A., Karklis, L., & Meko, T. (2018). Five reasons the crisis in Yemen matters. The Washington Post.