GUEST: Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of San Francisco, where he directs the program in Middle Eastern Studies.
Yemen, the poorest nation in the Arab world, has become the focus of a new regional war. After a Shiite rebellion calling itself the Houthis, drove President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia, the Saudis this week began bombing Yemen as part of their Operation Decisive Storm. If the name of the operation is reminiscent of a US military campaign, it is because the US is working closely with its Saudi allies in planning and logistics. At least 25 people have died so far in Yemen from the bombings.
Saudi Arabia’s main worry is the expansion of Iranian influence. Iran’s Shia leadership is suspected of supporting the Houthi rebellion. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned the military intervention even as Houthi spokespeople denied Iranian support. To make matters more complicated, the Houthis are supporting Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the son of Yemen’s former dictator who was deposed by the Arab Spring revolution, as a new potential leader.
Read more of Stephen Zune’s work at stephenzunes.org.