International security, which defines the amalgamation of efforts employed by states as well as other international organization to promote mutual survival, is a critical concept that every individual, government and even country should aim to promote. This is because there is no government or country, no matter how powerful, can be able to shield itself from severe insecurity threats emanating from regional as well as the international arena (Bernard, 2015). As such, state governments are increasingly being obliged to cooperate with other states in their respective regions and beyond to promote global security, which in return will ensure that they themselves are secure. On this note, a nation should not only aim to cater for the wellbeing and defense of its citizens but it should aim to improve stability in its region, which would eventually contribute to the overall global security (Cordesman, 2009). This paper investigates the recent security problems in Yemen so as to determine how they impact the Middle Eastern and the ultimate international security.
Security problems in Yemen
Although stability in the Middle East is a key contributor to international security, the region has recently become a theatre for major security crises, which ultimately affects overall global stability. This is particularly because states within this region have failed to establish a rational security as well as the corporation network, thereby being unable to work towards a common goal, which is promotion of regional security (Ferris, 2013). As such, there is a perpetual state of insecurity within the region, which results from recurring conflicts among other problems in different states in the region. If any plan to promote regional security in Middle East is to succeed, it is important for regional leaders to understand how specific states in the region contribute to the security problem. Yemen is one the major states facing significant security problem in the Middle East, and hence, its impact spills as well as impacts the wider Middle Eastern community (Bernard, 2015).
Yemen, which is officially referred to as the Republic of Yemen is a country in the Middle East that occupies the southwestern region in the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen ranks among the developing nations and it is renowned for having significant governance challenges (Ferris, 2013). The country has for a long time been in a state of political turmoil with major protests being inclined against poverty, joblessness, corruption as well as president Saleh’s mission to modify Yemen’s constitution. Recent developments have however seen Yemen experiencing more complex problems that may not only violate its national stability but which might affect the wider Middle Eastern security (Anthony, 2014).
Unlike the various problems that Yemen faced in the past, its current problems are widespread and interconnected, and as they potentially seem to overwhelm the countries limited abilities, they might end up affecting the wider Middle East region thereby becoming regional rather than national problems. According to Salmoni (2010), Yemen is currently facing serious economic, demographic as well as the domestic security issues. The country’s oil reserves have for example declined significantly and they are expected to disappear in the next five to ten years. This means that the country’s financial resources generated through oil extraction will continue to decline, which will significantly reduce its economic stability. As explained by Bernard (2015), the country reported significant decline in crude oil reserves in January 2014, which was mainly due to significant sabotage of oil pipelines in the country. While oil constituted to over 92% of all Yemen’s exports, decline in oil reserves is expected to significantly reduce the revenues generated from these exports. The significant implication that this problem could have on the wider Middle Eastern community is that Yemen could become a serious burden for countries in this region to bear. Neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia are for example likely to assume the central role in supporting Yemen’s budget to aid in keeping it afloat amid other problems (Anthony, 2014). While oil constitutes to over 75% of state income in Saudi Arabia, supporting Yemen would indicate that a significant amount of oil resources cannot be exported to meet the high demand for energy in wealthy nations. This will in return affect the country’s ability to generate enough income to support its development projects, which subsequently increase regional instability and insecurity (Stephen, 2015).
Yemen is also experiencing a water crisis problem, which is directly linked to a rapidly growing population density on one hand and the country’s increasingly inability to supply it with water on the other. According to Salmoni (2010), other neighboring countries such as Egypt and Tigris have natural water resources that mainly include rivers but Yemen does not have any rivers to supply water to people residing in remote areas. Similarly, Yemen, compared to other countries in the Middle East, does not have sufficient wealth to establish desalination plants that can supplement the limited available water. While Yemeni agricultural land consumes more than 90% of the country’s water, it is mainly rain fed or irrigated using water extracted from aquifers. This has led to over-extraction and uncontrolled usage of available water, which may ultimately lead to depletion of water resources (Weir, 2007). Sanaa is expected to be the first city in the country to run out of water within the next ten years. While this is expected to go hand in hand with drastic increase in human population, the country will not be able to support the growing demand for water. As such, Yemen will diversify its dependence of water sources in the neighboring countries within the Middle East, which might eventually spark more tension and conflict over resources within an already unstable region. While more than 80% of the current conflicts in Yemen are as a result of struggles for water, it is obvious that the struggles will spill over to the neighboring countries in the Middle East, which will eventually affect its overall stability and regional security (Stephen, 2015).
Yemen is also in a political crisis that has seen it being disintegrated between the Houthi coalition that controls the northern part of the country and the anti-Houthi coalition that is widely being supported by the Western and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) followers. This political unrest started to unfold in 2014 when Houthis laid siege in a military base situated in Aden city and took the security minister into hostage. This has led to several states in the Middle East starting a military campaign intended to stop the Houthi from advancing in his mission as well as restore his government. According to William (2010), Yemen blames Iran for directing as well as offering financial support towards the insurgency. This has seen the turmoil taking a regional dimension as crashes explode between the northern Houthis and Saudi security personnel along two other countries that joined forces with the Saudis to form an anti-Houthi offensive. While the Houthis have continued to blame Saudi Arabia for offering military support to attack them, there is a growing possibility that the turmoil will escalate to other nations in the Middle East thereby promoting regional instability. According to the Houthi accusations, Yemen received more than ten million dollars every month from Saudi Arabia to finance the insurgency while Saudi military forces were physically involved in 2009. Saudi Arabia has also lost a significant number of military troops in attempt to support the Yemeni government in the political turmoil. This might encourage other countries in the Middle East to take sides in the conflict thereby translating the insurgence from the local to regional sphere (Anthony, 2014). Similarly, there is a growing possibility for terror attacks in Yemen and other nations in Middle East. This is because the Al Qaida is taking advantage of the current political turmoil to reestablish itself into a regional franchise with stable organizational structure that can withstand the loss of key leaders. For instance, al Qaida has occupied the under-governed regions in Yemen thereby converting them into a springboard of terror attacks not only within the Yemeni territory but also in the wider Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia has also intercepted potential suicidal bombings as well as discovered various hideouts linked to Al Qaida (Bernard, 2015).
Yemen is facing significant problems that are likely to translate into regional problems thereby affecting the wider Middle Eastern region. This is in return likely to affect overall global security as global stability is largely dependent on stability in various nation states and regions. Yemen is facing severe problems pertaining to oil and water resources, which are expected to get depleted in the near future. This is likely to promote regional turmoil in the Middle East as Yemen is likely to diversify its demands for these resources to the neighboring countries. Yemen is also going through political transition, which does not only affect political stability in the neighboring nations in Middle East but it also increases the potential for terror attacks.
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