QATAR JOINS ARAB OF­FEN­SIVE AGAINST HOUTHIS IN YE­MEN

QATAR TO­DAY > APRIL 2015 > 13

Qatar Today - - AFFAIRS > LOCAL -

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.

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