The forgotten war: Multipolar support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The war in Yemen has been largely forgotten. The involvement of international actors goes a long way towards explaining why. China, Russia, and the USA have all lent varying degrees of support to the Saudi-led coalition, which came to the aid of Yemeni leader Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi after Houthi rebels took Yemen’s capital in September 2014. These global powers deem the Gulf monarchy an essential partner. Riyadh has leveraged increasing global power competition for its own ends, especially following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As the West has become increasingly dependent on Saudi Arabia, Riyadh has sought to diversify its alliances and punish disloyal foreign leaders. Due to Western boycotts of Russian oil, Saudi Arabia has become essential to US President Joe Biden’s economic plan for America. This chapter analyses the ways in which Saudi Arabia has used increasing global multipolarity to its own advantage. It also considers how Russia, China, and the USA use their relationship with Saudi Arabia to undermine their competitors. Together, these dynamics have further whitewashed Saudi war crimes in Yemen – crimes that international actors are partially responsible for. All actors have a vested interest in covering up, undermining, and justifying the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. As global powers compete for Saudi Arabia’s attention, the Kingdom constitutes a key case study for observing increasing multipolarity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChina, Russia, and the USA in the Middle East
Subtitle of host publicationThe Contest for Supremacy
EditorsBenjamin Houghton, Kasia A. Houghton
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003372011
ISBN (Print)9781032444079
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameChanging Dynamics in Asia-Middle East Relations

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