A Yemeni man paints the face of a child on a wall in the capital Sanaa on August 11, 2016, to raise awareness about the death and exploitation of children in war. AFP / MOHAMMED HUWAIS
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The whitewashed dome of a Sufi shrine in the Yemeni city of Taiz gleamed for centuries until a band of hard-line Sunni Islamist gunmen blew it up last month, victim to a civil war that may have disfigured a once-tolerant society beyond repair. After a year and a half of fighting, rivalries based on tribe, region and sect have deepened and Yemen appears no longer able to resist the hatreds that have fueled wars without end in other Middle Eastern countries. The armed Houthi group, once an obscure revivalist movement of Zaidi Shiites, predominant in the north, controls the capital Sanaa along with many other cities and pushed President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi's internationally recognized government, backed by Saudi Arabia and its fellow Sunni-ruled Gulf states, into exile last year.Despite gains, Yemen's recognized government operates from Saudi Arabia and is therefore finding it hard to build a power base inside the country.With the central bank guaranteeing food imports as Yemen approaches famine, one senior Western diplomat wondered whether the government had put its war aims before ordinary people's needs – something the government has denied.
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