The United States, Britain and France said Wednesday they were closing their embassies in Yemen amid the turmoil in the wake of the Shiite rebels’ takeover of the country. The closures – almost four years to the date since the start of an Arab Spring uprising that ousted Yemen’s longtime autocratic ruler
- were an ominous sign for the faltering, UN-brokered negotiations between the Houthi rebels and their political rivals, They also threatened to plunge this impoverished Arabian Peninsula country further into international isolation. Yemen has been in crisis for months, with the Iran-linked Houthis besieging the capital, Sanaa, and then taking control. In January, the rebels put US-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and all his Cabinet ministers under house arrest, leading to their resignations. Subsequently, the Houthis – who are followers of the Shiite Zaydi sect in the Sunni-majority Yemen – dissolved parliament and declared they were taking over the government.