“WASHINGTON — To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood.”
“Gen. David H. Petraeus, who commanded U.S. troops in Iraq during the 2007-2008 surge, was back in that country last week for the first time in more than three years. He was attending the annual Sulaimani Forum, a get-together of Iraqi leaders, thinkers and academics, at the American University of Iraq – Sulaimani in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
In his most expansive comments yet on the latest crisis in Iraq and Syria, he answered written questions from The Post’s Liz Sly, offering insights into the mistakes, the prosecution and the prospects of the war against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, which he refers to by its Arabic acronym, Daesh.”
“More openly than ever before, Iran’s powerful influence in Iraq has been on display as the counteroffensive against Islamic State militants around Tikrit has unfolded in recent days. At every point, the Iranian-backed militias have taken the lead in the fight against the Islamic State here. Senior Iranian leaders have been openly helping direct the battle, and American officials say Iran’s Revolutionary Guards forces are taking part.”
“The resignation of Yemen’s government in late January 2015, after President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah (both from the south), as well as cabinet members, were held under house arrest by northern Houthi rebel forces, has led the United States and several other countries to close their embassies in the capital Sanaa. On Feb. 15, the U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution demanding that Houthi forces “immediately and unconditionally” relinquish control of government institutions and release the president and other government officials. Nearly a week later, on Feb. 21, Hadi and his family managed to flee Sanaa to the southern port city Aden, where he reclaimed his post as president and denounced the “Houthi coup.”
These developments in Yemen pose a serious threat to hopes for political stability inside the country and in the wider region, but not for the reasons popularly assumed. The recent turmoil should not be understood as an Iranian-backed coup or part of the Islamic State’s spread in the region. These are broader narratives in the Middle East that have little to do with Yemeni realities. The Houthi movement’s actions follow a familiar dynamic in Yemeni politics, which closely matches those described in my 2012 book “Regionalism and Rebellion in Yemen.”