Iran has strong option for “victory” in Yemen

Minutes after Saudi Arabia just proclaimed a new King, neighboring Yemen has been plunging further into chaos following the resignation of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi – a decision which has been rejected by the Parliament according to Chinese sources – as the Shiite rebellion of the Houthis – the “Partisans of God” – was seizing the capital city Sanaa. Contradictory information announced a consensus in extremis.

The agreement reached in September 2014 between Hadi and the Houthis has failed over the latter’s refusal of a plan that would turn Yemen into a 6-region federal state. Also, they are likely seeking more political influence by showing off their operational strength given that their ability to de facto control the country’s strategic places has now been largely demonstrated.

The United States government supports a peaceful political transition – Iran does too – although it is wondering to what extent the ongoing political developments can potentially disrupt Yemen’s combat against Al Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula (AQAP) that is said to be currently the world’s most experienced and therefore most dangerous Islamic terrorist group, intelligence sources stated.

Such situation will certainly be the most urgent issue that the new King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, will have to deal with. Beyond the popular claims of the Houthis, this is another proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran in which the latter has taken, on the ground, a very strong option for victory. This will not come without consequences for the energy prices and geopolitical context.