In a month, the Saudi-led bombing of Yemen will be a year old.
Strategic gains have been few. The fractured chessboard of Yemeni politics is as complex today as it was on the day the Saudis began to bomb – 26 March 2015.
Why did the Saudis and their allies start to bomb Yemen? There was no clear casus belli. The transition agreement of 2011 had frayed – President Mansour Hadi’s mandate ended a year before he resigned in February 2015.
Various groups jockeyed for position towards a new agreement, which was not on the horizon. The seizure of Sanaa was not inevitable, but it was not surprising either. The Saudi bombs followed.
Who took Sanaa? Two rival political formations – the Houthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress – came together against Hadi’s government to take the capital. Saleh had prosecuted a war against the Houthis from 2004 to 2010. Nonetheless, they allied for this thrust.