Friday, December 18, 2009

Year 1431: Off to a Rocky Start

Mideast Flashpoints


"Today, Friday Dec. 18, is the first day of the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar; 1 Muharram, 1431 A.H. Unfortunately, the New Year shows all signs of being another troubled one in the Middle East, with multiple hot spots unlikely to cool anytime soon. A brief overview:



Israel-Lebanon border....

Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province....


Although the conflict between the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh and Yemen’s Zaidis in Saada province has received a bit more attention, it sadly has not been from the international community but from intervening countries, notably Saudi Arabia. As their jets pound the area and Yemen’s army continues to maintain its siege, there are now reports from Houthi rebels that the U.S. has joined in the airstrikes. Geopolitical implications aside, it is the humanitarian disaster in Saada that puts Yemen high on the list of flashpoint countries. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has increased the number of internally displaced persons once again, now numbering 200,000 since the onset of hostilities in 2004. Growing child malnutrition and overflowing refugee camps only add to the human misery of north Yemen.

With secessionist unrest in the south, Yemen is set for a turbulent year ahead. As relations deteriorate between Arab countries and Iran, and Israeli expansionism continues unchecked, this is likely to be true for the entire Middle East as well."

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