Will Iran surrender positions in Yemen?

Arab World Materials 30 March 2015 22:00 (UTC +04:00)
Radical groups are today active in all countries that have been previously engulfed with the “Arab Spring”, and only Egypt, at the cost of a military coup, was able to keep relative stability within the country.
Will Iran surrender positions in Yemen?

Baku, Azerbaijan, March 30

By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:

Radical groups are today active in all countries that have been previously engulfed with the "Arab Spring", and only Egypt, at the cost of a military coup, was able to keep relative stability within the country.

An idea was at the time implanted in these countries that the "Arab Spring" is the only way to restore democracy and human rights, but over time these processes fell under control of some interested forces in the region.

There is no doubt that the West, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran initially pursued their aims in the region.

But today, the countries, which were earlier covered by the "Arab Spring", have fallen victims of a chaos. Yemen is one of them.

An international military operation kicked off in Yemen on March 26, with involvement of the armed forces of a number of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia.

The operation is directed against "Ansar Allah", a militant group of the Shiite Houthi movement. It was the members of this movement who on Jan. 20 this year seized the presidential palace in Yemen's capital, Sana'a.

No matter how the international community would evaluate the actions of Houthis (struggle for freedom, the rights of religious minorities), one can assert with full confidence that the events in Yemen are not just a coup, but a real Islamic revolution. It is sufficient to recall that namely Iran openly supports the movement of Houthis "Ansar Allah" (Supporters of God).

Such major Yemeni cities and ports as Saada, Amran, Sana'a, Ibb, Hodeidah and Mocha are under the full control of the Houthis today, which provides access to the Red Sea for Iran through Yemen.

In addition, Iranian authorities have called the international military operation against the Houthis carried out in Yemen together with Saudi Arabia a fatal mistake of Riyadh. At the same time, movement "Hezbollah" even declared war on Saudi Arabia, according to some Lebanese media.

Given the political and economic situation in Yemen, one can say that despite all the efforts of Arab allies to keep president of the country Mansour Hadi in power and prevent the further spread of Iranian influence in the region by the movement of Houthis, Sana'a increasingly finds itself embroiled in a civil war.

By the way, this country has no strong army. Most of the Yemeni armed groups are tribal militias.

Moreover, the coup in Yemen can be regarded as a failure of Saudi Arabia's policy. Earlier, the authorities of this country were busy preventing the spread of the Muslim Brotherhood's influence in the region, including Yemen. Islah movement, considered as an ideological supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, acted in Yemen. This time Iran successfully carried out the policy of expanding its ideological influence on the region.

Thus, Iran has successfully taken advantage of the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood with the help of Saudi Arabia was removed from the political arena of the Middle East.

While speaking about the military operation of international forces in Yemen, one can say that Saudi Arabia's authorities have realized their political mistake and they are more determined to rectify the situation by military means.

Despite Iran won the first round of the battle for the Red Sea and Tehran began to dictate its terms, one must not jump to conclusions that this country will maintain its positions in the region with the help of Houthis.

Waging war on several fronts (protecting Shiite Muslim shrines in Iraq, supporting government armies against the armed opposition and the militants of the "Islamic State" in Syria) will not be an easy task for Iran.

By carefully analyzing the process of military operations in Yemen, one can conclude that aside form Saudi Arabia, Egypt also intends to show its political and military power in the region.

One fact to confirm this is that the majority of statements on the military operation in Yemen were made by Egypt. The latest statement made by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi can serve as an example.

He said Cairo is participating in the military operation of the Arab countries against the militants of the Shiite Houthi movement in order to maintain Yemen's unity and create peace there.

Nevertheless, even if the coalition of Arab countries succeeds to neutralize Iran's influence in Yemen through Houthis, it doesn't give a guarantee for stability and unity in the country.


Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu