Tags: Al-Qaida | Iran | saudi arabia | houthi | rebels | iran | yemen

Saudi Fears Over Iran Could Trigger Ground War in Yemen

By    |   Monday, 30 Mar 2015 09:14 PM

Saudi Arabia — increasingly alarmed about mounting evidence of Iran's role in aiding and training Houthi rebels — continued airstrikes on Houthi positions in Yemen Monday amid reports that a Saudi-led ground incursion into that country may be imminent, CNN reports.

The Houthi rebels have captured key parts of Yemen and driven out that country's pro-Western government. Its ouster has left the United States unable to carry out drone strikes against Al-Qaida in the Arabia Peninsula, one of the world's most dangerous terrorist franchises, and raised the danger that Saudi Arabia, a top U.S. ally, could find itself surrounded by Tehran and its loyalists.

Riyadh is worried that Houthi forces — battle-hardened guerrillas loyal to Tehran — might attempt to cross the border into Saudi Arabia. The Houthis have threatened to carry out suicide bombings inside Saudi Arabia, CNN reported.

Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt have discussed the possibility of putting boots on the ground in Yemen. The two countries are critical components of a coalition of at least nine Sunni Muslim countries which aims to blunt the advance of the Tehran-backed Houthis, who are Shiite Muslims.

Egyptian warships have deployed to the Bab-el-Mandab Strait — determined to protect the passage that provides the only access to Egypt's Suez Canal from the Red Sea.

Saudi officials have said that if they do enter Yemen, they will not leave the country until they have degraded the Houthis' ability to wage war.

The United States is increasingly concerned about training by Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards for the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

U.S. officials said last week that Tehran's direct involvement with the Houthis was limited but that U.S. intelligence assessments had concluded that Iran's Revolutionary Guards were training and equipping Houthi units.

The officials expressed concern that "the Revolutionary Guard's mission could include training the Houthis to use advanced weaponry they acquired after seizing Yemeni military bases," Reuters reported.

Saudi Arabia has emphasized that the Houthis were receiving extensive support from Tehran, the kingdom's regional rival.

"We see ... Iran playing a large role in supporting the Houthis," Saudi ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubeir said Thursday.

"There are Iranian advisers advising them and Hezbollah operatives advising them," Jubeir said, referring to the Lebanese terror group.

He said that when the Houthis overran Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, "the first thing" they did was to set free imprisoned members of the Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah.

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Saudi Arabia – increasingly alarmed about mounting evidence of Iran's role in aiding and training Houthi rebels – continued airstrikes on Houthi positions in Yemen Monday amid reports that a Saudi-led ground incursion into that country may be imminent, CNN reports.
saudi arabia, houthi, rebels, iran, yemen, airstrikes
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2015-14-30
Monday, 30 Mar 2015 09:14 PM
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