Photo Credit: KSA

Yemen, the Middle Eastern country which is in the process of being taken over by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, is under attack by Saudi airstrikes.

Saudi Arabia which shares a long border with Yemen, is threatened by the Shia rebels supported by its ideological opponent, Iran. When other nations failed to respond to the ouster of the U.S.-backed Yemeni government, the Kingdom stepped into the breach.


The Saudi airstrikes began early morning on Friday, and were announced by the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir. The airstrikes began one day after Yemen’s president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled his nation by boat.

For years the Houthi rebels remained in their strongholds in the north, but over the past year they began advancing towards the center of Yemen, eventually overtaking Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, and the presidential palace there.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Riad Yassin told Al-Arabiya TV that he officially made a request to the Arab League on Wednesday to send a military force to intervene against the Houthis. Depicting the Houthis as a proxy of Shiite Iran, he warned of an Iranian “takeover” of Yemen. The Houthis deny they are backed by Iran.

Both the U.S. and England recently evacuated dozens of soldiers from Yemen. The U.S. evacuees included Special Forces commandos.

The objective of the airstrikes is to “defend the legitimate government” of Yemen and prevent the takeover of Yemen by the Houthi militia groups, Saudi ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters at the Saudi embassy in Washington.

Al-Jubeir said attempts to negotiate a power-sharing arrangement were made over the last several weeks, but the effort was “thwarted by the Houthis” who have “always chosen the path of violence.”

A spokesperson for the Houthis said that Saudi Arabia started the attack and would have to deal with the consequences, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“They started the attack and we have the right to defend ourselves and we know what we will do to stop and stand against the attacks of [Saudi Arabia] and all other [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries that participated in the attack against Yemen,” the spokesman said.

Hadi on Tuesday asked the U.N. Security Council to authorize a military intervention “to protect Yemen and to deter the Houthi aggression” in Aden and the rest of the south. In his letter, Hadi said he also has asked members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League for immediate help.

Saudi Arabia warned that “if the Houthi coup does not end peacefully, we will take the necessary measures for this crisis to protect the region.”


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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: [email protected]