QATAR JOINS ARAB OFFENSIVE AGAINST HOUTHIS IN YEMEN
QATAR TODAY > APRIL 2015 > 13
In a dramatic turn of events, Saudi Arabia, with the support of 10 countries, led air strikes against the Houthis just as they were starting to close in on Aden.
Over the last few weeks, the situation in Yemen has been fluid and fast-acting. While the globally recognised president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi moved to Aden to continue his rule from there, the Shia rebels in the north continued south to cement their coup. It is widely believed, especially in Saudi Arabia, that Iran is supporting the Shia insurgents militarily, and that this helped the rebels sweep across Yemen, taking Taiz and capturing the airport at Aden. President Hadi went underground but immediately after that Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes, together with Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, against the Houthis and their allies, which include forces loyal to Yemen's former leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Arab offensive, called "Operation Decisive Storm”, targeted Houthi militia movements and all air defence armaments, including surface-to-air missile systems, anti-aircraft artillery and ballistic missile platforms. Tehran has condemned the Saudi-led attacks and called for an immediate halt to the campaign, which includes threats of a land invasion. While Egypt has sent its warships to Aden and the Saudi army is reportedly being amassed at the Yemeni border, analysts believe that a ground offensive is unlikely. Meanwhile, it is unclear how these events will affect the delicate Iran nuclear talks that are ongoing in Switzerland.