A Yemen extremist group that has all but taken over the country has given political parties until Feb. 4 to resolve a political crisis that has ramifications for the country’s failing economy. CCTV America’s Owen Fairclough reported this story from Washington, D. C.
Yemen's political deadlock leaves failing economy in limboA Yemen extremist group that has all but taken over the country has given political parties until Feb. 4 to resolve a political crisis that has ramifications for the country's failing economy. CCTV America's Owen Fairclough reported this story from Washington, D. C.
One of the most unstable countries in the world, Yemen, is now on track for a fresh crisis. The Shiite Houthi insurgents have overrun Yemen’s capital and forced the resignation of the country’s leaders and given political parties until Wednesday to meet its ultimatum of resolving the crisis.
“The national conference urges parties to reach a solution and fill the vacuum within three days or the revolutionary leadership would take care of the situation of the state,” Ibrahim Jaber, a Houthi spokesperson said.
In addition to threatening a takeover of Yemen, the Shiite Houthi is also fighting for supremacy against the Sunni-led al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. AQAP has carried out devastating attacks within Yemen while also training brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, the Charlie Hebdo attackers.
Yemen’s descent into disorder has ruined an already fragile economy. It isn’t a major oil and gas producer, but those commodities make up more than half of the government’s revenues. Production has dropped off steeply amid attacks on infrastructure, and a failure to exploit reserves.
Other exporters were also nervous. Al-Qaida has threatened to attack oil tankers passing through the Gulf of Aden, part of the crucial Red Sea shipping corridor.
With such political and economic stability at stake, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry used a meeting with Qatar’s foreign minister to appeal for help stabilizing Yemen.
“Most recently, they were particularly helpful with respect to Yemen and our efforts in the last few days to deal with some of the adjustments necessary to what has been happening there, and we’re grateful for that help,” Kerry said.
With the presidential palace under military lockdown, Yemen’s immediate future lies in the hands of key power brokers: the army, tribes, and political groups, who have precious little time.
Journalist Peter Salisbury discusses Yemen’s economy
CCTV America interviewed Peter Salisbury, an Yemen expert, independent journalist, and Middle East analyst about the Houthi demands on Yemen.