Anyone following this blog might be aware that I love including maps in my posts and love it even more when the news source includes the maps for me. This video had an unexpected surprise…. an explanation that includes MAPS. So I highly recommend watching this video, if you’re interested in understanding more about who is fighting who with the aid of color coded maps. The video is only a couple minutes long, but I have included some screenshots and text before the video link at the end of this post.

From Al Jazeera English:

At least 25 clerics, preachers, and religious scholars killed in the south of Yemen in just over 2 years, most of them in just the last 6 months. No one has claimed responsibility for the killings. 12 political parties have said they believe the killers targeted clerics who supported Yemen’s exiled president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and many reportedly had links to the Islah party, the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hadi’s leading ally in the south.

The killings focus attention on a new layer of complexity developing in Yemen’s civil war.

Elisabeth Kendall (Research Fellow, Oxford University): “I think it obvious they’re being targeted for their religious beliefs and quite possibly because they’re linked, many of them to the Islah party. It’s not clear who’s doing the targeting, although there are widely held beliefs on the ground that think it’s being done by the UAE backed forces.”

Screenshot 2018-04-24 at 6.45.47 PM.png

Houthis control this area in the north, including the capital Sana’a, and are supported by Iran. (green)

Screenshot 2018-04-24 at 6.45.51 PM.png

They’re fighting forces loyal to exiled president Hadi, whose power base here in the south and includes Aden. (blue)

Screenshot 2018-04-24 at 6.45.58 PM.png

Al Qaeda controls these areas in black. Three years ago the Saudi-led coalition stepped in to back Hadi’s forces, a coalition that includes the United Arab Emirates. From that time, the UAE has concentrated on growing its influence in the south in large part by funding and training armed Yemeni groups, each with different agendas and which appear to be at odds with the Saudi-led coalition.

Elisabeth Kendall: “The proxy forces don’t necessarily want the same thing and it’s quite possible that the governments of UAE and Saudi are also after slightly different outcomes in Yemen, the level below containing Iranian influence.”

The killings have prompted dozens of religious leaders to abandon their mosques and seek refuge elsewhere. It’s the latest twist in the three year long civil war, which has killed thousands and threatened famine for millions of Yemenis.