Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Clusterfuck Continues

I don't follow the Yemen civil war closely. But al Qaeda took a hit.

Nearly a year and a half ago, Saudi-led ground forces used mechanized forces to rapidly rescue the non-jihadi Sunni side from defeat against Shias backed by Iran and jihadi types running around the country. Since then, the fighting has stalemated as neither side seems ready to engage in a bloodletting to end the war.

Or ready to just end the war through negotiations that require compromise.

As I've said, it has long been a clusterfuck and it continues to be one. Even if "our side" wins it will still be a clusterfuck waiting to happen.

But at least the jihadis had a bad day:

Yemeni government forces backed by Arab coalition aircraft and gunboats drove al Qaeda militants out of the city of Zinjibar in eastern Yemen on Sunday, residents said.

The article notes that 6,500 hundred people have died in the civil war in 16 months of fighting. Ponder that.

For a country of 25 million people, that's a pretty small death toll when you consider that in over 5 years of civil war in Syria, more than 400,000 are likely dead in a population just a bit smaller.

Really, Yemen is suffering deaths at a rate of a little over 400 per month. Syria's rate is over 6,000 per month.

Bad months in the Iraq War 1.0 (2003-2008) saw 2-3,000 dead. Good months between that victory and the beginning of Iraq War 2.0 in June 2014 saw Yemen levels of violence as part of the normal fabric of near-peace.

It strikes me that Yemen is just experiencing its usual turmoil but with a little more publicity because the Saudis and Iranians are backing different sides, while al Qaeda and other jihadis try to exploit the lack of government to set up shop, hoping not to draw the attention of American strike aircraft.

You will note that I have never advocated major American intervention in Yemen. I really just don't see the point.