“The capital of Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest and perhaps most chronically unstable nation, has new masters. Anti-American Shiite rebels man checkpoints and roam the streets in pickups mounted with anti-aircraft guns. The fighters control almost all state buildings, from the airport and the central bank to the Defense Ministry. Only a few police officers and soldiers are left on the streets……….”
This title of “Arab world’s poorest and perhaps most chronically unstable nation” is debatable. The Arab world includes other candidates for this honor that are also members of the Arab League: Somalia, Mauretania, Sudan, Djibouti, the Comoros. So, there are several candidates for this honorary title. And if the unrest and war and mayhem continue to spread, several more Arab states may also join the competition. Libya, liberated by NATO and Bernard-Henri Levy and John McCain in 2011, may be well on its own merry way toward that list.
This piece looks like it could have been edited by Saudi and UAE censors before its final version was approved. I like the part about “Anti-American Shiite rebels“: a cute but useful touch. They tend to use the “sectarian” angle whenever they can, these Persian Gulf princes and potentates. I am not sure the Houthis actually think of imitating Hezbollah, they have their own very complex Yemeni issues to deal with. The sectarian narrative is not as powerful or clear-cut in Yemen as it is in Lebanon and Iraq and Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, for example. It is complicated by tribal and regional issues. And they don’t have the Israeli military on their border as a further distraction.
But I can see the temptation, at least from a Western point of view, to simply declare them the “new Hezbollah”. One size fits all: it is simpler that way.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum