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Building Peace in Yemen From the Ground Up

How to End the Conflict

The aftermath of air strikes, Saada, Yemen, January 2018 Naif Rahma / Reuters

Many diplomats and observers now see Yemen’s three-year-old civil war as yet another crisis that has barreled out of control. The conflict began in September 2014 when Houthi rebels from the north and groups loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh seized Sanaa, taking President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi hostage, first figuratively and then literally. In March 2015, their slow-burning coup escalated and internationalized with the intervention of a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which launched an intense but often disjointed campaign to restore Hadi’s government and counter the Houthis, whom the Saudis claim are an Iranian proxy. Over the last three years, the situation on the ground has dramatically deteriorated: today, nearly seven million Yemenis are at risk of famine and thousands have already died in the worst cholera outbreak in history. Yet even as the crisis worsens, efforts to stop the fighting have come up wildly short.

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