Yemen is currently in a very precarious situation. The country is in the middle of a very destructive and bloody civil war, and to make matters worse, there is likely to be a famine and water is running out. Cholera is spreading across the country like wildfire, and the different factions are fighting uncontrollably. Islamist fanatics are taking advantage of the disorder by spreading further across the country.
However, to top it all off, Iran is putting its weight behind the Houthi rebels that want the Arabian Peninsula. Iran intervened over two years ago, forcing Saudi Arabia to get involved. Neither side is making any progress. All that is happening is that people are dying and now the Saudis have blocked trade and relief supplies.
The situation there is desperate, and Iran is taking advantage of this to provoke other nations. For example, last weekend, a missile supplied by Iran was launched towards Riyadh. Although it was intercepted by Saudi Arabia before it caused any destruction, officials in the kingdom are fuming. They have taken such an act as an act of war.
Saudi Arabia has been trying to figure out how to properly confront Iran and it is no easy task. The Iranian regime is unpredictable and it has been boasting about all its recent “victories”. A regime that feels invincible is a very dangerous one.
Just ten days ago, the Prime Minister of Lebanon, in a televised speech from Saudi Arabia, announced his resignation and cites Iran’s influence over his country as one of the reasons behind his decision.
Iran’s influence over Lebanon is huge, and making it even stronger is the influence it has over the Lebanese Hezbollah which has control over Lebanese politics to a large extent. Hariri was unable to confront Iran, so he removed himself from the situation.
Saudi Arabia, however, cannot remove itself from the situation. However, its military is not very strong and it would prefer to fight from the air. Iran wants a close combat, on the ground, and it has been joining forces and backing numerous militias and proxy groups in the region. Saudi Arabia is on its own.
If Saudi Arabia makes one wrong move with regards to Iran it could spark a regional war that it may not do very well in. Saudi Arabia, aside from Israel, is a strong ally of the United States and there would be no way it could escape intervening.
The last thing anyone wants is for Iran to be in the middle of another regional conflict. As well as its malign influence in Yemen and Iraq, Iran has had a huge involvement in the Syrian civil war. Since the war there started, Iran has been right in the middle of it all, backing Bashar al Assad and causing millions of Syrians to be displaced.