The Saudi Defense: The Kingdom Has Shown True Wisdom Towards Resolving The Yemeni Crisis
20 April 2015
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Two days before the announcement of the end of Operation Decisive Storm,
fires were still burning across Yemen and explosions could be heard in the
mountainous areas around the Yemeni capital Sana'a.
The coalition's jets raced against time to destroy warehouses of heavy
weaponry and ballistic missiles. The Houthis would, no doubt, have used these
arms to shell cities in southern Saudi Arabia like Jizan, Abha and Najran.
There were also fears that the Houthis were in possession of Scud missiles
whose greater range would have allowed them to strike Jeddah.
The Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes ended after all the major threats were
eliminated, specifically the Houthis ballistic missile stores. However
airstrikes may resume in order to pursue armed groups or support the Popular
Committees backing legitimate President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
During the crisis, Iran sought to repeat its experience in southern Lebanon,
namely by backing an armed group in Yemen whose mere presence represents a
threat to southern Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis are nothing more than a clone of Lebanon's Hezbollah group and
the Yemeni militia aims to dominate through the force of arms in precisely
the same manner as its Lebanese sibling. When the Houthis took over the
Yemeni capital, they seized its missile system. At this point, the militia
became a direct threat to Saudi Arabia and it was incumbent on Riyadh to deal
By destroying the Houthis command and control centers, lines of
communication, arms and military facilities, Operation Decisive Storm has
completed its objectives. The UN Security Council's recent resolution banning
the arming of militias in Yemen resulted in an international naval siege on
Yemeni ports across its 1,900 km coastline in order to prevent the Iranians
from providing the Houthis with arms.
The other important development is US President Barack Obama's statement
warning the Iranians against any attempt to provide support to Yemen's armed
militias. In addition, the US navy has even begun to search ships entering
Yemen suspected of bringing in arms from the Islamic Republic.
Following all this, it is now possible to assist Yemen's resistance forces to
support the legitimate government to liberate the areas under control of the
Houthis and forces loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Secondly, this
also opens the door for talks leading to a peaceful solution.
I believe that if Saleh can be eliminated from the new political formula then
reconciliation will be possible based on the Gulf Initiative. After all, the
Houthis initially accepted this, before later joining Saleh in rejecting the
The objective of the military intervention in Yemen is not to eliminate
rivals but to push them towards accepting a compromise solution.
By ending the air strikes early, abstaining from a ground invasion,
supporting the forces of Yemen's legitimate government and giving a political
solution a chance, Saudi Arabia has shown true wisdom towards resolving the
Al Rashed is the general manager of
Al -Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-
Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a
senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a
US post-graduate degree in mass communications. He has been a guest on many
TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.