The Saudi war on the Shiite Houthis in Yemen and ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh united competitive royal family, plagued hidden rivalries and a divided nation.
On March 26, Saudi launched airstrikes on Houthi rebel’s in Yemen after obtaining the support of all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with the exception of Oman to back military action. After the strikes Saudis announced that other Arab countries including Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan would join the military effort to halt the Houthi expansion toward Aden and return elected Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to his seat in Sanaa, now under the control of the Houthis. Saudi Arabia is pursuing an aggressive military interventionist policy in the Arabian Peninsula.
There is more to Saudi military intervention than halting Iranian expansion at its southern border, blocking Shiite Houthi empowerment or obtaining revenge against Saleh, who had been guaranteed immunity under the GCC Yemeni Accord but turned against his patrons in Riyadh and allied himself with their arch-enemy in his own country to regain power in Sanaa.
The wars in Iraq and Yemen have forced the US to form some surreal and painful decisions, starting from reluctantly accepting the rising influence of Iraqi Shiite militias in the campaign against ISIS, to making an attempt to destroy the American arsenal that fell into the hands of ISIS in Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen. President Obama words last year that America war against Al Qaeda in Yemen has been successful have return to haunt him.
The Islamists, who have demanded more civil and political rights, an elected government in a constitutional monarchy and accountability, have been put behind bars. There is no sign that they will be released under the Saudi monarch. Such internal divisions have persisted and even became more obvious with the mass protests sweeping the Arab world. However they all aspired toward defeating Iran and thwarting its expansion toward Arab lands. They were all disappointed with the unsuccessful efforts of the Saudi regime to depose Bashar Al Assad of Syria. Saudi regime failure to score a victory over Iran, coupled with the US-Iranian rapprochement over the Iran nuclear program to interpret as a serious Saudi defeat. Hence war on Yemen promises to nourish an aggressive and unifying hyper-nationalism at least in the short term.
Saudis began their usual hash tag activism under the moniker Asifat Al Hazm (Operation Decisive Storm). The war is seen as a revival of the Muslim duty particularly Saudi duty to purify religion from the “Majus” Safavids and heretic Shiites. Less racist and religiously bigoted opinions invoked Arab nationalism to defend the Arab identity of Yemen. Saudis seemed desperate for a war with Iran, albeit through a Houthi proxy. As long as this war remains confined to Yemen rugged mountains and destitute cities and so long as it does not spill over to southern Saudi Arabia.
According to IRIB, Ansarullah Movement spokesman Mohammad Abdul Salam gave interview to television on Friday; he adscititious that the Yemeni revolutionaries are ready for a long battle against the Saudi regime and the individuals of Yemen will definitely emerge victorious during this confrontation. Mohammad Abdul Salam also warned the Saudi regime against continuation of airstrikes against his country.
On other side Muqtada Al Sadr said in a statement on Friday that nations should decide their fate independently, stressing that the Saudi-led offensive against Yemen is a clear instance of foreign meddling in the Muslim country internal affairs. Saudi invasion of Yemen is at odds with Islamic-Arabic unity.
Saudi-led offensive targets have carried out strikes in different parts of the Yemen and third day also continue. There are at least 54 people dead and 187 wounded in armed clashes; Said by senior health official
The war on Yemen may well be what Saudis both commoners and royalty have wanted for a long time. A victory over the Houthis is important for domestic reasons, not least to mend internal Saudi divides, but also to save the Saudi leadership from embarrassment over its complete failure to score victory over Iran in Syria and Iraq and over Washington new policy to mend its ties with Iran and possibly lift sanctions.
The orchestra is thrashing the drums of war however whether this war is within the interest of the war-ridden Yemeni factions or goes to deliver peace in Yemen remains to be seen.