Saudis, Egypt prepare to deploy troops to Yemen

Substantial Arab coalition materializes to vanquish Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

A coalition of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia commenced airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen on Thursday.  The coalition, with the backing of the United States includes:  Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.  To date, Saudi Arabia, facing the greatest hazards with Yemen on their southern border, has committed the largest contingent of warplanes, over 100, and has pledged 150,000 troops to dislodge the Houthi rebels.  Early this morning, Royal Saudi Air Force officials announced they had total control over Yemeni airspace. The UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Jordan have delivered an additional 75 aircraft to the effort and late this morning, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Sudan vowed allegiance to the bloc seeking to end civil strife in Yemen.

According to Al Arabiya News, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait stated:  [they] “decided to repel Houthi militias, al-Qaeda and ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] in the country.”

This partnership represents the good side of civilization.

Thankfully, and mercifully, Arab nations have demonstrated the collective capacity and will to police their own region without relying wholly on the United States.  Although a belated intervention, without this alliance Yemen faced the possibility of transforming into another dysfunctional dictatorship with its neighbors quailing in the face of ISIS or Iranian supremacy, both of which were the primary champions of the carnage wrought in the region.

A more important implication, much to the fury of Iran, this military offensive signals a resolve to marginalize Iranian hegemony:  Iran denounced the airstrikes and Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, stated:  “We demand an immediate stop to the Saudi military operations in Yemen. We will spare no effort to contain the crisis in Yemen.”  Dissimilarly, the White House, despite its irresolute strategy and at nearly every critical point chose to be a spectator as the fiasco spiraled out of control, greets the Arab-led military operations with jubilation:  This Arab action likely removes a burden for the Obama Administration to commit any resources beyond lethal aid.

For Saudi Arabia, it has defied the odds:  The Saudis yielded not so much to pressure, but to a real threat.  Saudi leadership in this endeavor is a refreshing departure from years of Saudi financial support and sympathy for terror groups.  While this military operation may not completely reconcile their own culpability in past terrorist acts, the belated acknowledgment, almost fearless, in the shape of confronting terrorist elements hints at a remarkable shift in both policy and temperament.  Saudi Arabia has earned some well-deserved applause.

The cumulative effect of the betrothal of Arab nations is to liberate an oppressed people from an Iranian-ISIS driven campaign, halt the Houthi rebels from their wicked deeds in Yemen and to bring Jihadist Islam terror to its knees.  The miserable alternative, doing nothing, is to witness the spread Iranian-ISIS terror throughout the entire region.

This miraculous Arab response to a long, public laundry list of atrocities reveals Iran, ISIS terrorists and Houthi rebels will suffer lasting consequences meted out by Arab nations.

[Financial Times] [IranDaily] [Al Arabiya]

 

3 Comments

  1. Nick Seebruch

    Good article. I like how you contrast Saudi Arabia’s current involvement against their previous tactics, which have been similar to Iran’s funding of terrorism.

    However, I disagree with your assertion that Iran is connected to ISIS.

    Iran is Shi’ite, ISIS is Sunni.

    Iran has a great interest in seeing ISIS fail, seeing that they are essentially a Sunni army dedicated to the slaughter of Shi’ites, as these two articles explain.
    http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/03/opinion/bazzi-iran-iraq/
    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/28/inside-army-of-terror-rise-of-isalmic-state-review

    Iran is backing the Houthi rebels, a Shi’ite group that has become infuriated by attacks targeting Shi’ites in Yemen which were perpetrated by ISIS and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, both Sunni groups.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/isis-yemen-carnage-houthi-rebels-advance-in-aqap-territory-toward-hadi/

    My perspective, and feel free to disagree with me, is that the whole of the Middle East is descending into civil war, with Sunnis on one side and Shi’ites on the other. Each bloc being backed by its own regional power, Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively.

    ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Houthis will slowly become pawns absorbed to a greater and greater degree into this larger conflict, with the focus of each becoming more and more centered on the destruction of the opposing religious sect.

    What we are looking at is a religious civil war that is going to spread across the whole of the Muslim world, much like the Christian religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries and I don’t know if the United States can realistically do anything to stop this from happening.

    1. Florian Sohnke

      Nick:

      Thank you for your observations. Indeed, I agree with you regarding the distinctions which exist between ISIS and Iran. I did not intend to imply the two are related in a common goal or affiliated, but rather one group and one government with shared ambitions to dominate the region.

      I should have been more clear and addressed each separately instead of identifying the two in a way which left readers with the impression the two are allied.

      As far as your assertion the region is crumbling into civil war, I am in total agreement: The sectarian violence has exploded and is spilling over the Middle East. There are few alternatives, but as I tried to illustrate, Saudi Arabia’s leadership and military action is beyond encouraging. It is very difficult to identify which is worse: Iran or ISIS. I am deeply troubled by nuclear negotiations and even more troubled by ISIS atrocities.

      There is reason for hope: Saudi leadership, military action and coalition building is welcome and governments in Morocco and Egypt can serve as models for the region to embrace moderation.

  2. James Sutton

    It looks like the allies may try to cut off ISIS before it gains an irrevocable strangle-hold on Iraq by forming an integrated force, that I assume will be on the ground. The details haven’t been finalized yet and will probably take a couple of months to put together, according to experts.
    news.yahoo.com/arab-leaders-agree-joint-military-force-egypts-sisi-102805435

    This is more good news for the Administration and the U.S. in general for both the immediate and long-term future prospects of less involvement in a regional conflict that Americans don’t have as much appetite for, like they did in the post-9/11 decade.

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