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Saudi Arabia building a military base in Yemen nature reserve.

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Saudi Arabian forces located in war-torn Yemen started to build a military base in Yemen’s nature reserve. The reserve is considered to be an important reserve for the Mahri community located in the area. The reserve is located in the eastern province of Al-Mahrah, and is considered an important grazing area for the province. The building of the base will severely affect the income of the Mahri community.

Yemen has been in a state of war and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels invaded the whole country ousting the President of Yemen, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Houthi rebels claimed that they ousted the president due to corruption, unemployment and food insecurity. Mr. Hadi was unable to repel attacks by jihadists and his security personnel remained loyal mostly to longtime authoritarian president before him, Ali Abdullah Saleh. The previous president repelled a series of rebellions from the Houthi movement. Mr. Hadi’s struggle to deal with the rebels fast compared to the previous president, allowed the Houthi rebels to gain support, until in late 2014 they launched an offensive and captured Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. Both the Houthis and security forces that remained loyal to Mr.Saleh launched another offensive to capture the whole country, forcing Mr. Hadi to flee to Saudia Arabia in March 2015.

Since the Houthi rebellion were believed to be supported militarily by Shia Iran, a number of Sunni countries led by Saudi Arabia launched an air campaign. The Sunni countries involved in the air campaign also includes United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Since then, the Saudi-led coalition carried out hundreds of air strikes in Yemen. Amid this chaos, Ansar al-Sharia,a group that has militants from Al-Qaeda and ISIS, took opportunity of the chaos and seized territory and launched several attacks. The ongoing war has devastated Yemen. Around 12,000 citizens have been killed, and the organization Save the Children, estimated that 84,701 children died due to starvation.

Meanwhile Saudi Arabian ground forces continued to establish their presence in Yemen. According to Yemen News Agency, the building of the base in the nature reserve, is the result of Saudi Arabia forcing the exiled Yemeni President, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to agree on signing agreements for Saudi Arabia to maintain a long-term presence in Yemen.

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