The Buzz

10 Events That Changed the World in 2015

Every year has its share of significant events, and this year is no exception. Here is my list of the ten most significant events of the year. You may want to read what follows closely. Several of these stories could continue to dominate the headlines in 2016.

10. Saudis Intervene in Yemen. Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes in late March against its neighbor Yemen with the help of nine other, mainly Arab, countries. The move came after Houthi rebels captured Yemen’s capital Sana’a and drove Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi into exile in Saudi Arabia. The Houthis, who belong to a minority Shiite sect, receive support from Iran, Saudi Arabia’s mortal enemy. The Houthis also have the support of forces loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was ousted during the Arab Spring and who once had good relations with Riyadh. The Saudi-led intervention put the United States in a bind. Washington feared that the intervention could become a quagmire and worried that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an enemy to the Houthis as well as the United States, would benefit from the ensuing chaos. But the desire to prevent a rift with Riyadh prevailed, and Washington provided intelligence information, weapons and aerial refueling capabilities while urging the Saudi-led coalition to minimize civilian casualties. The civilian toll in Yemen has nonetheless been substantial, as airstrikes and a maritime blockade have intensified Yemen’s many existing problems. As predicted, AQAP has used the fighting to its advantage, as has ISIS. In a potentially positive development, a seven-day ceasefire went into effect today so that peace talks could begin.