The Iran Project

Yemen; a Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam?

Tehran, April 27, The Iran Project – At the time of the nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers, Saudi Arabia launched the first air strike, albeit not authorized by the UN Security Council, in neighboring Yemen on March 26th. This synchronization makes some to analyze it as an immediate reaction to possible Iran deal and expansion of Iranians’ influence in the region, while some other consider it as the regional expansionist politics of Saudi kings.


The Reasons for Waging War

Although US reached a breakthrough framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear program in Lausanne, it soon opened a new front in Yemen, providing the diplomatic, intelligence and logistic support for the Arab allies. At first this may come as a surprise but US historical record reminds us that it is not unexpected that the American plays insincerely on various battlefields. To be sure, this is clearly an indication of the US, Israel and their Arab allies’ failed policies in the face of Iran’s rising power in the Middle East.

Historically the strategic and geopolitical significance of Yemen is the reason for the Saudi Arabia’s greedy eye on the country, making it to consider the neighboring country as a backyard. Given the 1800 kilometers borderline with the kingdom, it’s no surprise that the Al-Saud family has fully taken advantages of Yemen as a vassal state.

In line with this long established politics, the former Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s resignation in January, fleeing from the country and calling for attack by the foreign power push the Saudi Royal family to launch a significant military aggression against Yemen. Lately, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) raising to power, as a Shiite fiction, caused Saudi Arabia to view Yemen as a real threat to its hegemony due to a potential political transition in favor of Shiites. Given to this background, two phases of military operation in Yemen, a 27-day “Decisive Storm” and “Restoring Hope” for the political transition in Yemen have been undertaken by the Saudi-led coalition.

Just as important to note, the US decided to keep low profile in war, opting to present itself as only throwing the logistic and intelligence support to the Arab Kingdom in Yemen. Yet, does it really make someone to forget that the alliance among the Saudis, resigned president Hadi and Al-Qaedeh against Yemenis are occurring right before the Americans’ eyes? Doesn’t it show the public opinion the US’s double standards in fight against terrorism? Doesn’t it shed doubts upon the America’s honesty in war against terrorism?

Moreover, changing the ISIS battleground from Iraq and Syria, after frequent defeats in the later fields seems to be another reason for the invasion. The truth is that the kingdom doesn’t tend to wipe out the ISIS and to turn its own territory to the new battlefield. Admittedly, it doesn’t feel concerned about the civilians too, as it already has committed war crime through intentionally bombing the civilian infrastructures such as refugee camps and children’s schools.


Houthi’s Self-Restraint in War against Saudi Arabia

Do Saudi’s operations, backed by poor United Arab Emirates’ support and logistic support of Turkey, Egypt, and Sudan, will result in victory? The answer is no! There is strong evidence to explain why the Saudi monarchy would not manage to crush the Yemeni Army and Houthis. To overthrow the Yemenis resistance, air campaign doesn’t seem sufficient and prolonged military attacks on the ground may overburden the military and rebound upon the country itself. As Seyed Hassan Nasrullah predicted, the only outcome of the war in Yemen is the Yemenis’ victory for the superiority in weapons and the warfare tactics. On the other hand, although the Ansar Allah is equipped with missiles to attack the Kingdom, it strictly refrains from the direct confrontation and deploying it into the Kingdom’s territory; since it might increase the number of countries engaged in conflict and even may expand it to the Western countries. They seek to take the full control of the strategic parts of the country and meanwhile they are preparing to confront the Arab coalition’s ground troops. The Axis of Resistance’s support of the Houthis and the party’s good ties with Russia, rooted in the cold war era, and Iran are among their significant political resources.


Iran and Hezbollah Aids to Houthis

Iran has publicly denied any military and logistic support of Houthis, yet it has been engaged in training and enabling the Yemenis for the past years, through its regional arm “Hezbollah”. Even, Some of Houthis leader’ have studied in Qom’s Shiite seminaries. It is another indication of the strong spiritual and religious connections between Iran and Houthis. Although, the Islamic Republic has rejected any intervention, it has provided humanitarian aids to the victims of illegal war and some of the injured civilians have been transferred to Iran for medical treatment.
It is difficult to predict if Yemen is really turning to a Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam in case of deploying the ground troops. Yet, to be sure, the Kingdom led-coalition’s military aggression against Yemen would not be easy, considering the logistic and military supports by the Axis of Resistance and the high Yemeni’s morale.


The Persian version of this article was also published in Qom News.


[1] Democracy Now

[2] The Wall Street Journal

[3] The Guardian

[4] International Policy Digest

[5] Press TV

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