Yemen operation will keep the region secure
The first anniversary of the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen took place this week.
The columnist Abdelwahab Badrakhan wrote in Abu Dhabi’s daily Al Ittihad: “The campaign was launched as a last resort. It was step that the decision makers would have preferred to avoid, knowing that it would ultimately bring suffering to Arab people and an Arab country.”
Yemen wasn’t supposed to experience this war. Its people succeeded in peacefully overthrowing the former president and, despite confrontation, bloodshed was limited.
The transitional phase wasn’t supposed to collapse as it did, especially following the promising national dialogue. It seemed that Yemen was ready for the next phase.
But a malicious alliance was forged between Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s toppled president, and his former nemesis Abdul Malek Al Houthi, with a view to serve an Iranian scheme to take over Yemen and use it as a platform to target Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
“From a historic point of view, Yemen was on the brink of falling out of its Arab identity to be forced into a new era of its existence under Persian colours,” the writer said.
For a moment, at the height of the coup against legitimacy in Yemen, the Iran-Saleh-Houthi troika believed that it had fooled Yemenis and Arabs.
In fact, even the US and other international powers monitoring the situation in Yemen didn’t see cause for alarm in the troika’s movements. Some might even claim that the world powers used the situation in Yemen as a negotiating card in the nuclear talks with Iran, giving Tehran free rein in Yemen in exchange for its acquiescence to the terms of the deal.
“This is what Operation Decisive Storm was able to change on the ground. It compelled the US to revisit its position and forced Iran to curb its expansionist plans,” Badrakhan added.
This was the second such setback for Iran after the defeat of its project to take power in Bahrain in 2011, the writer said. This time, the GCC states’ response was as explicit as could be expected: any attempt against Saudi Arabia shall be deemed an attempt on all of them.
Time will show that Iran’s scheme was harmed beyond recovery, not only because this past year’s operation has uncovered it, but also because it was the first time Iran was forced into a real confrontation. In the past, Tehran’s tactics relied mainly on stealth and infiltration. Such were the cases in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
“On this first anniversary of the beginning of Operation Decisive Storm, no news could be better than the Houthis’ decision to stop operations and adhere to international resolution 2216,” the writer said. “They have finally conceded that the Arab alliance’s military advances on the ground were too great for them to deny. The war may trudge along for longer, but the defeat of Houthi-Saleh militias was only a matter of time.”
Some may fear that the Houthi leader is looking to end the war now in order for him to retain military power to use later. This is a matter for Yemenis to resolve among themselves as they negotiate the next phase.
In any case, the Saudi-led operation was by no means a plot to take over Yemen, but rather a stratagem to reclaim state institutions and empower them to rise again to administer the affairs of the people of Yemen and to play their role in preserving the security and stability of the Arabian Gulf region.
*Translated by Racha Makarem
Updated: March 29, 2016 04:00 AM