Yemen is the latest epi-centre of conflict in an increasingly turbulent Middle East. US and UK forces, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, struck “a number of targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels” in a bid to thwart their capacity to endanger international shipping moving through the Red Sea which in recent weeks has threatened to destabilise world trade.
The Houthis emerged in the early 1990s as an opposition movement to Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who they accused of corruption and being backed by Saudi Arabia and the United States. Allied to Hezbollah, the Houthis adopted an official slogan against the United States, Israel and the Jews. Assumed to be an Iran-proxy they are also on the other side of the great Islamic Sunni-Shia split.
Taking a step backwards to try to encapsulate Yemen’s background might be helpful since historical memories and past injustices tend to fester more than usually in this part of the world.
Yemen has existed at the crossroads of civilisation for more than 7,000 years, home to Sabaeans and the Queen of Sheba, a primary producer of coffee and in the 7th century, a center of Islamic learning. At this time, Yemen was the most advanced region in Arabia. Now it is described as a humanitarian disaster, one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking second-worst on the Global Hunger Index.
By the 19th century the country was divided between the Ottoman (Turkish) and British empires. The British took over Aden in south Yemen as a protectorate and then a Crown colony (1937 to 1963) to facilitate the trade route to India. Up to the 1960s the Port of Aden was one of the busiest ship-bunkering, duty-free shopping, and trading ports in the world. The British exit in 1967 was a botched up and violent mess.
In the latter half of the 20th century Yemen was split between north and south with the two states uniting in 22 May 1990 to form the modern Republic of Yemen. Ali Abdullah Saleh was the first president until his resignation in 2012 in the wake of the Arab Spring. Since 2014 a civil war has been raging, widely regarded as part of the Iran-Saudi proxy conflict, with Saudi Arabia invading in 2015, their brutal methods attracting international condemnation. The Houthis are now reckoned to have won in the north and the Saudis have attempted to make peace with them.
The Yemen Republic 22 May 1990 chart has a Gemini Sun with the triple conjunction spread out through Capricorn. It did register the Saudi Invasion of 26 March 2015 on an exact Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn hitting the Yemen Neptune – so it works well enough but the political situation is and has been for decades frankly dizzying with a revolving carousel of violent unrest, civil wars and coups.
Wiki: In March 2020, the Trump administration and key U.S. allies, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, cut off tens of millions of dollars for health care programs and other aid to the United Nations’ appeal for Yemen. As a result of funding cuts, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated that the UN agencies were forced to either close or reduce more than 75 per cent of its programs that year alone, affecting more than 8 million people.
More background than astrology but it clarifies two things. 1) The cauldron of history is constantly bubbling: empires and dynasties rise and fall, dark ages are followed by cultural peaks and then the process reverses. It might damp western arrogance to absorb the heights reached in the past by nations that are now regarded as ‘below the salt’ (= of lesser rank).
2) I am beginning to revise my antipathy to the mindless mantra about the British Empire which I regularly delete from troll posts. Well I still think the word salad diatribe of psychopathic, narcissistic, neoliberal blah blah deserves to be despatched into a cyber black hole. But there is no doubt the old Empire left behind some gaping wounds. Aden being one of them. Ditto ditto US and UK support for autocratic corrupt rulers in the region over the decades has also created understandable antipathy.
See previous posts – Iran pushing USA out of ME 31 December 2023; and 8 October 2023.
PS February is brewing up to be a challenging month with Mars joining the Sun, Pluto and Mercury there midmonth to form an immediate conjunction with Pluto and two days later Venus moves into Aquarius also to conjunct Pluto. Often violent clashes break out when Mars Pluto is around especially in the Middle East; and Venus Pluto will only ramp the emotionally intense mood up more.
Add On: There has been more talk since this latest conflict broke out about whether the Ben Gurion Canal project will be pushed ahead, with talk from the Arab side about it being driven through Gaza – though that may just be conspiracy theory.