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VIDEO: Yemen on the brink of collapse

Middle East Eye attempts to summarise who is fighting whom in Yemen in under 90 seconds
The Saudi-led coalition has sent tanks, troops and equipment to fight the Houthis (AFP)

Following the intense fighting and turmoil that Yemen has endured in the past few months, the country is facing its most catastrophic crisis in years.

Nawal Al-Maghafi attempts to summarise who is fighting whom in Yemen in under 90 seconds:

The main battle that's tearing Yemen apart is between the national government and the Zaidi-Shia movement led by the Houthi militias. The Houthis claim they are fighting against corruption and marginalisation of their northern powerbase by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi's government.

Despite Houthi claims of ending corruption and allowing minority representation in government, their opponents accuse them of being Iranian puppets.

The Shia movement is allied with ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Even though he’s no longer in an official seat of power, he remains a significant player.

Saleh ruled for 33 years and waged six wars against the Houthis before being forced from power in 2012 after a violent uprising. He then threw the support of his loyalists in the army behind the Houthis in a sweeping offensive that forced his successor Hadi into exile in March.

After Saleh’s overthrow, he continued to have sway in the military through his allies. The former president gave calculated support to the Houthi advance on Sanaa last year. The militia were able to take over Yemen’s military facilities without a fight.

Had the Houthis not allied with Saleh, they would not have been able to achieve their ascent in the past two years.

The Saudi Arabian-led coalition against the Houthis has added an international dimension to what was already a domestic conflict. This has created a security vacuum, which gave space for al-Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula to grow.

In Yemen’s south, the base of President Hadi, the Southern Resistance and other groups have been fighting the Houthis since the conflict’s beginning. However, Saudi-led airstrikes, in addition to Arab troops and weapons from outside Yemen have helped push back the Houthis, expelling them from Aden province.

In an earlier MEE article, Essam al-Shaeri, the under-secretary of the Aden-based Sah Foundation for Defending Rights and Freedoms, told Middle East Eye that Aden is starting to return to normal and that basic goods are available again in Aden.

"There are basic goods in Aden right now, but the city still needs rebuilding as many of the governmental buildings, places of business and even residential houses were damaged by the Houthis. We are still waiting for construction," al-Shaeri said.

Whatever the outcome of the war, Yemen’s social fabric has been torn. On top of water shortages, separatist movements, al-Qaeda militants and an ousted president still trying to play his cards, airstrikes have only made the situation more chaotic.

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