The war in Yemen has greatly affected migration and refugee movements from and to the Horn of Africa, but not in the way one would expect. Instead of a large number of Yemenis fleeing the country because of war, violence and the horrific humanitarian situation, relatively few have left. Yet, an astonishing number of migrants from the Horn has entered Yemen since the outbreak of the 2015 war.
Four years of war in Yemen have not only devastated the poorest country of the MENA region, but they have also generated new transnational layers of instability affecting the Arabian Peninsula and its neighbourhood.
Soqotra is a place apart. An isolated island located in the middle of the Arabian Sea roughly between mainland Yemen and Somalia, Soqotra boasts an almost antediluvian landscape. Much of its vegetation and wildlife is found nowhere else on earth, while its natives speak an ancient language that’s also unique to the island. While other areas of Yemen have been wracked by conflict, irrevocably changed over the last four years of war, standing in Soqotra’s beaches or rock-hewn valleys, the conflict on the mainland could scarcely feel further away.
The Yemeni province of Mahra, on the border with Oman, has not been reached by the war so far. However, Saudi Arabia – as Oman used to do to defend its influence – has started to support a large number of Mahari tribes. This has led to large community divisions in local tribal society, for the first time in the history of this eastern province. This support is not limited to the financial domain but also extends to the military.
More than other countries, Yemen is about permeable boundaries, human connections and ideological contaminations. Nevertheless, Yemen has been widely investigated as an unicum detached from the neighbouring Gulf monarchies, although sharing with them ties and similarities. But the civil conflict, begun in 2015, has triggered dynamics of transnational instability at the forefront: this affects the Arabian Peninsula and its neighbourhoods as a whole, transcending Yemen’s borders and thus requiring holistic lenses of study.
Following the parliamentary election in May 2018 and after 9 months of negotiations, designated Prime Minister Saad Hariri was able to form a government in Lebanon. Although it appears to be a national unity government, bringing together almost all political factions in the country, the formation process received a lot of criticism, as it was considered a break from custom and was eventually perceived as Hezbollah's government in many Western circles.
January 25th marks the 8th anniversary of the popular protests that brought an end to Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian regime. At the turn of 2011, almost three decades of worsening economic conditions, restriction of political space and gross abuses of human rights had left Egyptians – literally – hungry for change. However, eight years after the beginning of the 18 days that brought a country together and toppled a dictator, it seems like the cries for “bread, freedom and human dignity” have long been forgotten.
On June 24 Turkish citizens will vote for both presidential and parliamentary elections on the same day for the first time. These elections are crucial for Turkey. First, the vote will complete the transition started with the April 2017 constitutional referendum and mark the transformation of Turkey from a parliamentary system into a presidential republic a year and a half ahead of schedule.
On 13 June, the Saudi-led coalition started airstrikes on Hodeida, the biggest urban centre of Yemen’s Western, Red Sea coast. A city of 600.000 inhabitants, Hodeida is controlled by the Iranian-backed Huthi insurgents since 2015.