AREA OF SPECIALIZATION
Yemen is fast becoming a violent battleground due to the competing interests of many rebel groups and regional players. The crisis is so serious that countries are closing their embassies and evacuating their people. On the surface, it appeared to be a direct fight for power between Shia Muslims, better known as Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the government headed by President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, a Sunni. After rebel forces closed in on the President's southern stronghold of Aden in late March this year, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia responded to a request by Hadi to intervene and followed by air strikes on Houthi targets. The coalition comprises five Gulf Arab states and Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Sudan.
Yemen is a very strategically located country, because it sits on the Bab al-Mandab strait, a narrow waterway linking the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden, through which much of the world's oil shipments pass.
Middle Eastern countries especially Saudi Arabia fears a Houthi takeover would threaten free passage through the strait.
As Houthi rebels are Shia Muslim group, Saudi Arabia is finding it as a serious threat. The rise of the Shia Houthis makes Yemen a significant battleground in the wider Sunni-Shia struggle.
Particularly, it's a battle for influence between Riyadh and Tehran, Saudi Ar
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