People gather near a tank burnt during clashes on a street in Yemen's southern port city of Aden March 29, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
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Yemen's descent into chaos – with jihadi groups jumping in to fill the vacuum of authority – has startled many observers.Yemen's trajectory should not surprise anyone. It follows a familiar pattern in the Arab world, one that we are likely to see again – possibly in larger and more significant countries such as Egypt.Yemen was ruled for 33 years by a secular dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh. He ruthlessly suppressed opposition groups, especially those with a religious or sectarian orientation (in this case, the Houthis, who are Shiite). To understand how power politics is often behind religious and sectarian opposition, consider this: Saleh is himself a Shiite, but cracked down on the Shiite Houthis forcibly.This is the pattern that has produced terrorism in the Arab world. Sisi's regime has killed hundreds of protesters and jailed tens of thousands, mostly members of the political opposition, according to Human Rights Watch.It is hardly unusual for an Arab military dictator to want a moderate form of Islam.
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