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War in Yemen Could Mean Peace in Libya

With the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) wreaking havoc in the Levant, Syria reeling from a devastating civil war, and a political crisis in Libya devolving into an entrenched armed conflict, ultimately it was the Houthi takeover in Yemen that galvanized a pan-Arab coalition and military intervention. Led by Saudi Arabia,nine countries have joined Operation Decisive Storm in an effort to drive back the Iran-supported Shia Houthis. Egypt, which has long sounded the alarm about the instability in neighboring Libya and provided assistance to the non-Islamist, Tobruk-based government, has committed its air and naval forces to the mission in Yemen. This could have ramifications over 2,000 miles away in Libya: with Egypt devoting significant military resources in Yemen, it will inevitably have to divert some attention away from its more immediate neighbor, which may help to open the space for success of UN-led negotiations to resolve the Libya’s crisis.

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By Karim Mezran, a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East with a focus on the politics and economics of North Africa.

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