Prepare for the Yemeni Storm: Stopping It From Spreading Is No Longer A Choice
01 April 2015
By Mshari Al-Zaydi
What is currently happening in Yemen is not the first problem Saudi Arabia
has faced with respect to its neighbor to the south. But the current problems
don't just concern Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is of course the most affected
out of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, but it is by no means alone in
being impacted. Other Gulf countries, as well as those along the Red Sea, and
those countries whose ships pass through the Bab El-Mandeb strait and the
Cape of Good Hope, will also be affected by the crisis.
In fact, what is happening in Yemen poses a problem for the whole world,
politically, strategically, and in terms of global security. This is
especially true when bearing in mind how Yemen is currently being transformed
into a regional base for the Persian–Khomeinist camp and a rebel stronghold
for Osama Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda.
Saudi Arabia is the country most affected by the current Yemeni crisis, due
to its geographic proximity to Yemen and the nature of the terrain on the
borders between the two countries, from mountains and valleys to plains and
steppes—not to mention the close links that exist between the peoples of
these two countries.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members have been attempting to lay out a
political road map for Yemen according to specific criteria, which are based
on the outcomes of the Gulf Initiative, the legitimacy of President Abd
Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, the unity of the country and its security.
The Iran-backed Shi'ite Houthi movement, which has staged a coup in Yemen,
refuses all of this, however. Working alongside the Houthis is the country's
ousted former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and his General People's
Congress (GPC) party, both pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, Khomeinist Iran continues its meddling in the northwestern corner
of the Peninsula, using its proven and poisonous abilities in subterfuge and
divisiveness, spreading sedition and fomenting revolution in the happy land
of Yemen and ruining the lives of its good, kind-hearted people.
But Iran was angry after calls were made to hold a conference on Yemen in the
Saudi capital Riyadh. The request came from President Hadi himself—who fled a
Houthi-imposed house arrest last month, later moving his cabinet to the
southern port city of Aden. He was soon followed by his Defense Minister
Mahmoud Al-Subaihi, who also fled Houthi captivity in the Yemeni capital.
After Hadi and Subaihi's escape acts, Houthi leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi was
livid with rage, refusing to attend the Riyadh conference and using the
threat of force to push his agenda. Today he is launching attacks on Taiz and
Aden, the heartland of anti-Houthi sentiment in Yemen. The south is opposed
to the Houthi movement's deviant ideology, one far removed from traditional
Zaydism in Yemen, which the movement claims to follow, though it is in fact
closer to Iranian Khomeinism.
Abdul Malik Al-Houthi also announced a ''mass mobilization'' of forces
against the Taiz, Aden and Lahj provinces and any other regions of the
country opposed to his coup and his dependence on Tehran.
The Houthi leader launched an attack on the presidential palace in Aden as
well as the city's airport. He also provoked the people of Taiz. And now the
country has reached boiling point.
It was for this reason that Yemen's new Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin told
the Al-Arabiya news channel that the current crisis in Yemen threatens a host
of different countries. He said that Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
called on the UN and the GCC's Peninsula Shield Force to intervene in order
to counter Houthi efforts, adding that the GCC countries were already
considering the move.
UN Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar has recently said that the current
events are now pushing the country ''to the edge of a civil war,'' and to
eventual partition, unless some kind of miracle occurs. I believe this
miracle resides in the Yamama Palace in Riyadh, where Custodian of the Two
Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz recently met with other Gulf leaders
to discuss the crisis.
And during his meeting on Monday with his British counterpart Philip Hammond,
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal warned that unless the Houthi
coup ends peacefully, Saudi Arabia and the GCC would be forced to take the
necessary measures to protect the rest of the region.
A storm is brewing in the southern Arabian Peninsula, heading northwards and
outwards. Stopping it from spreading is no longer a choice.
A Saudi journalist
and expert on Islamic movements and Islamic fundamentalism as well as Saudi
affairs. Mshari is Asharq Al-Awsat's opinion page Editor, where he also
contributes a weekly column. Has worked for the local Saudi press occupying
several posts at Al -Madina newspaper amongst others. He has been a guest on
numerous news and current affairs programs as an expert on Islamic.