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Yemen: Two Years in Confronting Iran - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Houthis and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s seize of the Yemeni capital Sana’a through the power of arms was the end of the Yemenis’ peaceful uprising and the beginning of the war.

Back then, I had no doubt that it would be a long and harsh war – for a couple of reasons – including that the former president still had control over the armed forces and that Houthis receive instructions form Iran, not to mention the absence of central authority in Yemen and the country’s rough terrains.

Iranians did not hide their involvement in the war, since its early stages, because it saw that it was a regional war. They consider that raging a war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen is part of a geopolitical balance in Syria and Bahrain’s conflicts.

Although many observers denied this probability and mocked it in the beginning, they later admitted the Iranian involvement – Tehran, interestingly, did not conceal that.

Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries have no other option in Yemen but to face the Iranians who are fighting through Houthis and Saleh militias. Also, some Iranian militants were arrested in the fighting zones.

This war is to defend the Gulf countries against Iran’s pursuit to expand and threat its neighbors.

The missiles fired by Houthis on the Saudi kingdom have proven the concerns expressed in the beginning of the war that Saleh and Houthis have a missile system that jeopardizes the security of Saudi Arabia.

Later on, the international maritime forces captured missiles on Iranian ships heading towards Yemeni ports — similar missiles are being used to target southern regions in Saudi Arabia.

Now two years since the Yemeni war has started, it would be good to remember some facts that often disperse during the war.

Firstly, Saleh was ousted and the new political situation was established by the Yemeni people when they turned against him due to the failure of his tenure – one of the longest and the most failing tenures worldwide.

Changing the regime was not a wish or a plan put by the GCC countries but an outcome to the Arab Spring that toppled rulers: Saleh in Yemen, Gaddafi in Libya, Mubarak in Egypt and Ben Ali in Tunisia.

After the uprising’s arrival to Sana’a and out of fears over chaos, the UN pursued managing the situation through appointing secretary general’s special envoy for Yemen who is assigned to maintain national peace and to propose a political project – endorsed by the Gulf countries, the US and the European Group.

The resolution was represented in a democratic regime to be achieved through selecting the presidency and the parliament. It was endorsed by all Yemeni parties and, subsequently, a temporary transitional government for 18 months was formed to prepare the constitution and elections.

During this period, Saleh and Houthis plotted the coup and took over Yemen, arresting the majority of ministers and political leaders.

The only solution for the military coup in Yemen was to respond militarily after the rebels rejected all international mediation and additional concessions granted to them. They insisted on laying hands on the leadership and keeping their weapons – similar to the condition of “Hezbollah” in Lebanon.

Yemen’s war, like other wars in the region, is not a conflict between locals but is funded and plotted by regional forces – Iran on top of them, insisting to expand its power and besieging its neighbors.

War was painfully and sorrowfully imposed on Yemenis, as well as Saudis. It is unacceptable to permit the Iranian regime to use Yemen as a base to attack its neighbor country, without facing it militarily.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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