Houthis paying the price for deceit
“It is a short, sharp campaign which really we have been forced to request,” he said. No Arab likes to see another sisterly country being bombed, but Saudi Arabia was forced to do so after the Houthi rebels ignored repeated warnings not to advance southward toward Aden, and yet they kept on pushing. Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was forced to formally request Saudi and Arab intervention after the Houthis took control of all the ministries in Sanaa and bombed his office in Aden, forcing him to leave the country last week.
“We have exerted all possible efforts to end these Houthi aggressions against our people, which left deep wounds in each Yemeni home. We sought with all our power to reach a peaceful solution to get Yemen out from a dark tunnel… But all our peaceful efforts and our continuous determination faced a categorical refusal by the Houthi coup orchestrators,” wrote Hadi in his letter.
The Houthis and their supporters in Tehran were undoubtedly taken aback and surprised by Saudi Arabia’s determination when it began the bombing campaign. Now 10 nations, including the GCC states, the US, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Turkey have all offered support to the Saudi intervention, offering fighter jets, naval support, refueling planes, logistical support and even ground troops if necessary. It is truly a proud moment to see Saudi Arabia and its allies carrying out this military campaign to reassert their interests and help bring back the legitimate government of President Hadi to power. Some analysts in the western press are trying to spin this story as one of the Kingdom being an imperialist bully, but not too many people are buying it. Iran has indeed overextended itself throughout the Arab world, from arming Hezbollah in Lebanon to sending militias to fight alongside Assad’s troops in Syria; to the Shiite militias it has deployed in Iraq ostensibly to fight the forces of the so-called Islamic State. Iranian expansionism in the Middle East and its hegemony has got to be stopped and the Saudis are doing just that in Yemen.
For sure, the Iranians are not the only ones to blame for the Houthis’ show of force and boldness in advancing toward Aden. The former Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and his son Ahmed are the main culprits here, joining forces with the Houthis in their hatred of Hadi and wish to overthrow him. But make no mistake, the former president and his son are only using the Houthis to try and achieve their objectives. It is a marriage of convenience that will break up at any moment.
For the past year, the Hadi government has been negotiating with the Houthis in order to reach a power-sharing agreement. In an interview with CNN, the Saudi Ambassador to the US, Adel Al-Jubair, said that the Houthis had broken every single agreement they had signed with the government.
“The Yemeni government has tried repeatedly over the past year to reason with them, to negotiate with them, to go through a political process to resolve their differences peacefully, and every time agreements were reached the Houthis have reneged on every single one of them — 67 agreements to be precise,” said Al-Jubair.
Residents in Aden celebrated the beginning of the Saudi bombing campaign with fireworks, being fierce opponents of the Houthis and fearing that the rebels would overrun their city. “People celebrated with fireworks at the decision and the strikes that hit the Houthis and Saleh’s forces,” Kafa Hashli told GlobalPost.
Another Aden resident told the GlobalPost she too was happy for the Saudi intervention as a means of stopping the Houthi advance.
“We hope that these strikes don’t stop until the Houthis and Saleh are taught a lesson,” said Arwa Al-Sakkaf.
I sincerely hope that these limited bombing campaigns will be enough to bring the Houthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh to their senses and to the negotiating table without their outrageous demands that made talking to them useless in the past. A ground invasion of Yemen would be terrible for all Yemenis, but it is a step that Saudi Arabia and its allies are ready to take if necessary in order to restore stability and the legitimate government.
The writer is a Saudi journalist based in Brazil.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view