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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

Monthly DNA

15 Feb, 2021

16 Min Read

Endless war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen

GS-II : International Relations West Asia

The endless war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Introduction

  • The Biden administration’s decision to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s Yemen war is a signal to Riyadh that the Trump-era open support it had enjoyed is a matter of the past.

Background

  • The U.S. offered support to Saudi Arabia’s campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen when Barack Obama was the President.
  • Donald Trump continued that policy, overlooking the disastrous effects of the war that has turned Yemen, one of the poorest Arab countries, into a humanitarian catastrophe.
  • Trump State Department designated the Houthis, who are backed by Iran, as a terrorist organisation.
  • Rights groups have condemned the move, saying that the designation would complicate aid efforts as the Houthis control a sizeable part of Yemen, including the capital (Sanaa).

Rewriting U.S.’s West Asia Policy

  • Mr. Biden has now initiated steps to remove the Houthis from the terror list, among other actions.
  • This is part of his larger attempts to rewrite the U.S.’s West Asia policy which, under Mr. Trump, was almost entirely focused on containing Iran.
  • Saudi Arabia ended a nearly four-year-long blockade of Qatar, another American ally, after Mr. Biden was elected President.
  • Saudi Arabia also signalled that it would carry out domestic reforms keeping human rights in focus. But it is yet to make any definite moves to wrap up the Yemen conflict.

Situation at Yemen

  • Yemen is a case study for a war that has gone wrong on all fronts.
  • When the Saudis started bombing the country in March 2015, their plan was to oust the Houthis from Sana’a and restore a pro-Riyadh government.
  • Despite the Saudi-led attacks, the Houthis held on to the territories they captured, while the Saudi-backed government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi was teetering on the brink of collapse.
  • After five years of fighting, the United Arab Emirates pulled out of the war last year.
  • And the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council wants southern Yemen to be an independent entity.
  • While these multiple factions continued to fight, more than 10,000 people were killed in attacks and tens of thousands more died of preventable diseases.
  • Yemen also stares at famine.
  • It is a lose-lose war for everyone.
  • Saudi Arabia has failed to oust the Houthis from Sana’a and is now facing frequent rocket and drone attacks by the rebels.
  • The Houthis are living in permanent war, unable to provide even basic services to the people in the territories they control.

Conclusion

  • Yemen’s internationally recognised government practically lacks any power and legitimacy at home as the war is being fought by other players.
  • Ending the war is in the best interest of all parties. Mr. Biden should push Saudi Arabia and its allies to end their blockade of Yemen and initiate talks with the country’s multiple rebel factions.

The endless war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Introduction

  • The Biden administration’s decision to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s Yemen war is a signal to Riyadh that the Trump-era open support it had enjoyed is a matter of the past.

Background

  • The U.S. offered support to Saudi Arabia’s campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen when Barack Obama was the President.
  • Donald Trump continued that policy, overlooking the disastrous effects of the war that has turned Yemen, one of the poorest Arab countries, into a humanitarian catastrophe.
  • Trump State Department designated the Houthis, who are backed by Iran, as a terrorist organisation.
  • Rights groups have condemned the move, saying that the designation would complicate aid efforts as the Houthis control a sizeable part of Yemen, including the capital (Sanaa).

Rewriting U.S.’s West Asia Policy

  • Mr. Biden has now initiated steps to remove the Houthis from the terror list, among other actions.
  • This is part of his larger attempts to rewrite the U.S.’s West Asia policy which, under Mr Trump, was almost entirely focused on containing Iran.
  • Saudi Arabia ended a nearly four-year-long blockade of Qatar, another American ally after Mr. Biden was elected President.
  • Saudi Arabia also signalled that it would carry out domestic reforms keeping human rights in focus. But it is yet to make any definite moves to wrap up the Yemen conflict.

Situation at Yemen

  • Yemen is a case study for a war that has gone wrong on all fronts.
  • When the Saudis started bombing the country in March 2015, their plan was to oust the Houthis from Sana’a and restore a pro-Riyadh government.
  • Despite the Saudi-led attacks, the Houthis held on to the territories they captured, while the Saudi-backed government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi was teetering on the brink of collapse.
  • After five years of fighting, the United Arab Emirates pulled out of the war last year.
  • And the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council wants southern Yemen to be an independent entity.
  • While these multiple factions continued to fight, more than 10,000 people were killed in attacks and tens of thousands more died of preventable diseases.
  • Yemen also stares at famine.
  • It is a lose-lose war for everyone.
  • Saudi Arabia has failed to oust the Houthis from Sana’a and is now facing frequent rocket and drone attacks by the rebels.
  • The Houthis are living in permanent war, unable to provide even basic services to the people in the territories they control.

Conclusion

  • Yemen’s internationally recognised government practically lacks any power and legitimacy at home as the war is being fought by other players.
  • Ending the war is in the best interest of all parties. Mr. Biden should push Saudi Arabia and its allies to end their blockade of Yemen and initiate talks with the country’s multiple rebel factions.

Source: TH

UAE’s Hope Probe Enters Mars Orbit

GS-III : S&T Space mission

UAE’s Hope Probe Enters Mars Orbit

  • The probe took off from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan in July 2020.
  • UAE becomes the fifth entity to reach the Red Planet, joining NASA, the Soviet Union, the European Space Agency and India.
  • The mission will collect data on Martian climate dynamics and help scientists understand why Mars' atmosphere is decaying into space.

Other Missions to Mars:

  • Apart from the UAE’s ‘Hope Probe’, two more unmanned spacecraft from the USA and China are set to arrive at Mars over the next several days.
  • All three missions were launched in July to take advantage of the close alignment of Earth and Mars.
  • A combination orbiter and lander from China (Tianwen-1) is scheduled to reach Mars in order to look for signs of ancient life.
  • A rover from the USA named ‘Perseverance’ is also set to reach Mars to bring Mars rocks back to Earth to be examined for evidence the planet once harboured microscopic life.

Source: TH

Dickinsonia Fossils Found in Bhimbetka Caves

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Animals

Dickinsonia Fossils Found in Bhimbetka Caves

Researchers discovered three fossils in Madhya Pradesh. These fossils are possible of the earliest known living animal named ‘Dickinsonia’ (550-million-year-old).

  • The fossils are found on the roof of Auditorium Cave at Bhimbetka Rock Shelters.
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The fossil can be identified from the white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra (central midrib) and connecting veins.
  • These are the only Dickinsonia fossils available in the country. They are similar to those seen in South Australia.

Dickinsonia :

  • It is an extinct genus of basal animals. They lived during the late Ediacaran period in what is now Australia, Russia, and Ukraine. Ediacaran period is marked at 575 to 541 million years ago

Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka:

  • It is a recognized world heritage site by UNESCO. It is located in the foothills of the Vindhya Mountains in the State of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The site spans the prehistoric Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods as well as the historic period.
  • Bhimbetka is also known as Bhima’s Lounge (Bhima was the second of the five Pandava princes in the Hindu epic Mahabharata).
  • Most of the paintings here are in red and white with occasional dashes of yellow and green. Their themes include events of everyday life, thousands of years ago.
  • The scenes depicted are mainly of dancing, playing music, hunting, horse and elephant riding, decorating bodies, and collecting honey. Household scenes too, constitute an occasional theme.

Source: TH

Ashok Dalwai Committee

GS-III : Economic Issues Economic reforms

Ashok Dalwai Committee

  • The government announced to double farm incomes by 2022 in its Union Budget 2016-17.
  • In line with this, it appointed an 8-member inter-ministerial committee headed by Ashok Dalwai, to consider major reforms in the agriculture sector.
  • It was tasked to prepare a blueprint for a transition of farm policies from being production-oriented to based on incomes or value addition.

Source: TH

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