Thursday, March 26, 2015

Billy Joel - We Didn't Start the Fire

Video - President Obama Holds a Roundtable on the Economy

Video - President Obama Delivers Remarks on Protecting Consumers from Abusive Payday Lending Practices

Why the U.S. Is Fighting Beside Iran in Iraq and Against It in Yemen


Tehran and Washington share an interest in re-establishing state authority in Iraq, but in Yemen their agendas diverge

Just to set the scene: In Iraq on Wednesday, U.S. warplanes began providing air cover to Iranian-backed militias in Tikrit, in a joint effort against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) coordinated through the Iraqi government. On the same day, 1,200 miles to the south in Yemen, the U.S. was providing guidance to Saudi pilots bombing Shia insurgents who are supported by Iran. So the U.S. was bombing Iran’s enemies in one country, and helping to bomb Iran’s allies in another.
Meanwhile, in Switzerland, American and Iranian diplomats wereresuming their intense talks about how to contain Tehran’s nuclear program. Both sides insisted the negotiations were confined to matters atomic, nothing else. And that’s a good thing, because the ever-complex Middle East has never looked more so than it does at this moment.
And yet, in an important way, Wednesday’s events are wonderfully clarifying. March 26, 2015 may go down in history as the day that Arab states came out into the open to fight, putting their names and ordnance into a conflict that had been carried out by shadowy armed groups the governments quietly equipped, sheltered and cosseted, previously preserving a deniability that only muddied the situation even further.
Saudi Arabia declared it sent 100 warplanes to strike targets inside Yemen, and now has 150,000 troops standing by at the border. The intervention was backed by nine other nations, and the announced “logistical and intelligence” support of Washington, where the Saudis chose to convene the news conference revealing the campaign. The governments lined up behind the Saudis were all fellow Sunni governments—Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Morocco, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait, several providing planes of their own. Egypt, according to a fresh report, is also preparing to send troops. The only holdout from the Gulf was Oman, which prides itself on maintaining the trust of Iran: the sultan of Oman played the role of mediator when U.S. and Iranian diplomats secretly met there to talk about formally launching the nuclear negotiation.
So the divide is clearly Sunni v. Shia, the same tension that created ISIS and has torn asunder Iraq and Syria. Iran’s foreign minister kindly pointed this out in an interview with Iran’s state-run satellite channel Al-Alam: “We have always warned countries from the region and the West to be careful and not enter shortsighted games and not go in the same direction as al-Qaeda and Daesh,” said Mohammad Javad Zarif, referring to ISIS by its Arabic initials.
The warning was a bit disingenuous, given Iran’s role as overlord of the Shia side of the divide. Tehran has been an essential ally of the Shi’ite-inflected Syrian regime led by President Bashar Assad, and a major player in Iraq, where on Thursday, three of the Shi’ite militias it backs announced they were dropping out of the fight for Tikrit, to protest the new American role in the battle.

In Yemen, Tehran is the primary sponsor of the Houthi tribe, providing training, arms and money. The Houthis were once largely confined to the country’s north, seat of its Zaidi brand of Shi’ism, but in September they took over the capital city of Sana. After linking up with Ali Abdullah Saleh, the longtime Yemeni president who was deposed during the Arab Spring, the Houthis marched on the southern port of Aden, where the elected president, Abed Raggo Mansour Hadi had been holed up before fleeing Yemen by boatahead of Wednesday’s airstrikes. He was later seen meeting with the Saudi defense minister.
In peace, Yemen is an amazing country to visit. It doesn’t look like anywhere else on Earth, except maybe the illustrations in a storybook. It’s also an ideal example of what happens when a state collapses—or really, never coalesces in the first place. And that lesson really explains what the United States is doing in both Yemen and Iraq.
States were designed to bring coherence to human affairs, first and foremost by monopolizing the use of violence. In Iraq the government of Saddam Hussein used to manage that coherence—albeit brutally. And then the U.S. invasion of 2003 dismantled Iraq’s military, and distributed political power on sectarian lines. Now, in the battle against ISIS, which rushed into the void left by a state that has continued to fail, the U.S. finds itself joining Iran in an effort to re-establish the power of the weak central government in Baghdad. That government is dominated by Iraq’s Shi’ite majority—as well as by Tehran, which does not want chaos on the long border the two countries share.
Yemen, on the other hand, has never really managed to function as a state. It was two countries—plain old Yemen in the north, and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen in the south—as recently as 1990, when the collapse of the Soviet Union brought the cleavage to an end. Tribal authority has often trumped the state’s. And the country’s long border is with Saudi Arabia, that seat of Sunni power, and great regional rival of Tehran. Yemen, known as Arabia Felix, or “Happy Arabia” was so close to the Saudi kingdom that the border was not even demarcated until June 2000, in an agreement signed by Saleh, who like two-thirds of Yemenis, is Sunni.
So the Iranians are not terribly bothered by turmoil in Yemen, especially if the turmoil ends—as it looked like it might—with the Houthis more or less in charge, by dint of their new alliance with Saleh, and the large sections of the Yemeni military that remain loyal to him. But the end is not yet in sight, and in the meantime, al-Qaeda has maintained its most lethal branch in Yemen, and ISIS has been making its mark, claiming responsibility for the March 20 bombings of Shi’ite mosques that killed more than 130 people. The ensuing chaos forced 100 U.S. advisers off the air base from which they operated the drones that searched for al-Qaeda targets.
Those U.S. advisers are likely to return in some form behind elements of the 150,000 Saudi troops on the Yemen border awaiting orders from King Salman, photographed in his war room surrounded by generals in chocolate chip desert fatigues. The uniforms, pattrened after American combat fatigues, say a lot: First, about where the U.S. is in this fight. “We are establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support,” the White House said in a statement. The other use of uniforms? Making clear, for a change, who’s actually fighting.

Yemen’s rapidly escalating war: a simple explanation

The chaos in Yemen has, in the last few days, gone from bad to much, much worse. The president, after a brief disappearance, appears to be in Saudi Arabia. Rebels control the capital city. And Yemen's neighbors have already started bombing the country and could soon invade.
Here's a guide to the basics of what's going on.

This all started with a rebel uprising in Yemen's north

yemen map
The Houthi rebel group is the key player in this drama. This Yemeni group has been around since the 1990s and has been in an on-and-off conflict with the central Yemeni government since 2004.
The Houthis are from the country's northwest and are religiously Zaydi, an offshoot of mainstream Shia Islam. Yemen's Zaydis are concentrated in the north, while southern Yemen is largely Sunni. This conflict isn't over religion, but that religious divide ends up being important for understanding what's going on.
Yemen's Zaydi community believes the central government has repressed them and hasn't addressed their interests. "Regionalism — not sectarianism — is still the most decisive factor in Yemen until now," Farea al-Muslimi, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, writes. "The Houthis revived a sectarian conflict that had nearly gone extinct in Yemen."
That conflict got worse after the 2011 Arab Spring, in which Yemenis toppled dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Houthis supported that uprising. And the chaotic collapse of Yemen's central government helped strengthen their military forces relative to the government.
After Saleh was kicked out, the international community helped set up a transitional government intended to help Yemen establish a stable, permanent new government. Appointed to lead it was Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the transitional president.
But the Houthis "had no representation in the transitional government," Towson University's Charles Schmitz explains. So they saw "the transitional government as no different from the old regime that conducted wars against them — in other words, a body that cannot be trusted."
So the Houthis kept fighting — and still are today. Only now, they're winning.

The rebels have grown so powerful they captured the capital and declared themselves in charge

pro-houthi forces
A rally of pro-Houthi fighters in Sanaa on March 26, 2015. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)
Throughout most of 2013 and part of early 2014, the Yemeni held a series of meetings to try to find a national consensus on the country's future. But they barely represented the Houthis, though the Houthis were quite powerful.
Outraged, and believing the transitional government was deliberately refusing to represent them, in mid- to late 2014 the Houthis organized demonstrations against the Cabinet and some of the government's specific economic policies. Houthi forces mobilized, and the protests eventually became a full-on military conflict.
Houthi fighters marched on the capital city of Sanaa, where fighting spread by September 18. The Houthis swept away government resistance and established control of much of Sanaa. After occasional clashes in Sanaa, Houthi forces took over the presidential palace in January. The next month, they formally deposed Hadi.
The Houthis have been able to achieve so many victories against Yemen's military in large part because the transitional government is very weak. Yemen is already a poor country, and decades of Saleh's corrupt dictatorship had weakened government institutions.
"No unified and autonomous military, replete with a functioning chain of command and esprit de corps, existed" under Saleh, according to UCLA historian James Gelvin. Saleh's regime's demise only weakened the official forces, creating a power vacuum that the Houthis stepped into.

Now the rebels are advancing south, threatening to consolidate their rule over Yemen

Houthi control March 25
The remnants of Hadi's government are based in Aden, a coastal city in the country's far south. In recent weeks, Houthi forces have pushed in that direction, seizing Yemen's third largest city,Taiz. They're still fighting against forces loyal to Hadi, and the risk that they could push the transitional government out of Yemen entirely is what makes this crisis seem so immediate.
It's not clear whether the Houthis actually have the military might to conquer the whole country. But even if they don't, the possibility of a protracted civil war in Yemen is looking increasingly likely, and scary.
Complicating matters further, the old dictator Saleh, who supposedly stepped down a few years ago, is back — and now he's working with the Houthis.
"[Saleh] has helped lead units of the Yemeni military and security services to swing to the side of the Houthis," the New York Times's David Kirkpatrick reports. "Some of the Houthi allies have even begun calling for the election of the former president’s son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, as Yemen’s next leader."
So this isn't a matter of "old regime versus rebels," as you might think. It's elements of the old regime AND sectarian rebels ganging up on forces loyal to what's supposed to be an internationally backed transitional government. So things are not great.

Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries are turning this into a regional war

hadi forces Aden
Pro-Hadi forces in Aden on March 19. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
On Wednesday evening, a coalition including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and several Gulf states announced the beginning of an anti-Houthi campaign, turning this into a much larger conflict.
Saudi Arabia initially took the lead in the offensive, as its jets pounded Houthi positions. Now the coalition is threatening a ground invasion of Yemen, using at least Saudi and Egyptian troops, to push back the Houthis. Why are Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Gulf states getting involved in what seems like a mostly local conflict? One word: Iran.
Iran, a Shia theocracy and a fierce rival of Saudi Arabia, has been supporting the Houthis, who are Zaydi Shia. While the Houthis sometimes deny getting Iranian support, it's widely understood that they have ties to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy. Both Yemeni and Western officials have said Iran's support for the Houthis goes even deeper.
"It's been happening for over a year. We've seen Houthis going out to Iran and Lebanon for military training," an unnamed Western official told Reuters. "We think there is cash, some of which is channeled via Hezbollah and sacks of cash arriving at the airport. The numbers of those going for training are enough for us to worry about."
For the Houthis, this is partly ideological.
"A key aspect of the Houthis' ideology was shoring up Zaydism against the perceived threat of the influence of Saudi-influenced ideologies and a general condemnation of the Yemeni government’s alliance with the United States," Yemen expert Adam Baron writes in Politico Magazine.
The sectarian and political links between Iran and the Houthis have really scared Sunni Saudi Arabia. Houthi rhetoric is deeply anti-Saudi and anti-Western; Yemen, of course, shares a long border with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis and other nearby Gulf states see the Houthi takeover as creating an Iranian bulwark unacceptably close to home.
"The Saudis have always seen themselves as the exclusive outside power in Yemen and to that extent they worry about the Houthis because they see the Houthis as an extension of Iranian influence," Texas A&M's F. Gregory Gause told Susris.
The Saudi decision to support Hadi, then, is really about its fear that the Houthis are an Iranian proxy. This proxy war dynamic is very dangerous. In Syria, Iranian support for Bashar al-Assad's regime and Gulf state support for anti-government and Islamist rebels deepened the conflict and further divided the country on sectarian lines. It also helped give rise to ISIS.
Oh, and one last thing: al-Qaeda's strongest branch, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is based in southern Yemen. The Hadi government had been a strong American counterterrorism partner, cooperating with American bombing campaigns against AQAP. The Houthis also despise AQAP, but they're more focused on fighting the Yemeni government, and that fight has forced the US to withdraw some of its counterterrorism efforts there, thus giving al-Qaeda a freer hand.
Currently, the US is backing the Gulf state offensive in support of Hadi with, according to the White House, "logistical and intelligence support." The supposedly local Yemeni conflict, in other words, just got a whole lot more international.

Yemen - Music Video - Arwa - Youm Wahed / Arwa - one day

Saudi activist: Yemen developments are the outcome of the Kingdom's failed policies

Saudi activist and renowned academic Dr Madawi Al-Rashid has outlined a series of failures in Saudi foreign policy since the beginning of the Arab Spring that she claims have led to the current situation in the Arab region, but more specifically in Yemen, which has been almost completely taken over by Houthis rebels.
Al-Rashid said in a series of tweets that "the Saudi regime is reaping the fruits of the failure of its foreign policy since the beginning of the Arab revolutions, which the regime considered a direct threat to the hereditary regime. The Saudi regime stood in the face of the inclination of the masses of all forms especially the Islamic masses, which joined the democratic process and succeeded in the elections. The Saudi regime has reaped the enmity of the most horizontally widespread current in the Arab societies but stood alone and found none but new dictatorships to stand by it."
Al-Rashid went on to say: "In North Africa, the Saudi regime contributed to the re-production of despotism in a new format especially upon dreading what happened in Egypt after the revolution and in Iraq after its occupation, to which the Saudi regime contributed. The Saudi regime did not succeed in restoring Iraq to the Arab house. Instead it took a hostile position toward it, permitting Iran to penetrate it freely."
Al-Rashid pointed out that the Saudi regime failed in Syria too, and was not able to save it from Iranian influence. Instead, it considered the Syrian revolution a vehicle for bringing down the regime in Syria without any consideration for the interests of the Syrian people. It also failed in Lebanon when the Saudi operation fell after the Saudi regime "held the Lebanese responsible for the Israeli war in 2006 and hence took the side of the aggressor rather than the victim."
Al-Rashid also commented that "in Palestine, the Saudi regime sided by one faction against another and therefore its claims and initiatives for Palestinian reconciliation were no good." Also, "the Saudi regime erred in reading Washington's policy under the Obama administration when it thought it was the cornerstone in the administration's Middle East policy. But Washington pulled the rug from underneath its feet. Washington surpassed Riyadh and went straight ahead to initiate dialogue with Iran. It was in this way that the siege was tightened on the Saudi regime and it ended standing alone."
According to Al-Rashid, the Saudi regime's policies also failed in Bahrain, where it managed to preserve the monarchy but at the expense of dialogue between Bahrain and its opposition.
As for Yemen, "Saudi Arabia believed that it had allies in Yemen but they turned against its initiative and today it is incapable of military intervention and is just watching the begetting of a new entity in Yemen."
Dr Al-Rashid concluded that, "this foreign policy needs a new Saudi approach that includes sitting down around a table to have dialogue with the regional players Iran and Turkey instead of the alleged Sunni coalition, which will fail because politics cannot simply be based on an alleged Shiite-Sunni conflict."
Al-Rashid also believes that "the current situation necessitates changing those who are in charge of foreign policy in Saudi Arabia. A new team, who thinks strategically and not in a stupid sectarian fashion, should be appointed. Saudi Arabia also needs to disengage its internal fears about a popular movement from its foreign policy. The revolutionary tide cannot simply be stopped. It should not embroil itself in a military adventure in Yemen while knowing that Yemen is a nest of wasps that will sooner or later come back to sting it."
It is worth noting that Dr Al-Rashid's tweets came in the aftermath of reports about clashes within the city of Aden and the seizure of the airport by troops loyal to deposed president Ali Abdullah Salih, not to mention reports that President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi has fled to a location outside Yemen. Some reports have talked about his presence in Saudi Arabia.

Video - Conversation: President Obama and David Simon

Video - Secretary Kerry Hosts Dinner in Honor of Afghan President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah

Video - Houthi protesters denounce Saudi Arabia over airstrikes

#‎YemenUnderAttack‬: Pakistanis condemn Saudi Arabia’s illegal attack on Yemen

On behalf of Pakistani liberals and rights activists, we condemn Saudi Arabia’s illegal attack againts a soveign nation, Yemen. Saudi Arabia has violated internaitonal law and UN charter by attacking a sovereign country.
We condemn the tragic loss of life in Yemen where at least 40 innocent women, men and children have been killed in overnight airstrikes by Saudi Arabia on their homes in Sana’a. Here are a few pictures of destroyed homes in Sanaa that were targeted last night (26 March 2015) by Saudi Air Strikes on Yemen. Innocent Sunni Sufi and Shia children, women and men are being killed and injured in Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen.
The Saudi aggression seems to be motivated by the recent losses suffered by the Al Qaeda, ISIS and other Takfiri Salafi and Wahhabi militants in Yemen at the hands of Yemeni armed forces and Ansarallah (known as Houthis). Saudi Arabia wants to export Takfirism and Salafism (i.e., Al Qaeda, ISIS) to Yemen and doesn’t want to see stability and democracy in a neighbouring country.
Through aggression on Yemen, Saudi Arabia wants to save ISIS from a sure defeat in Tikrit and Mosul, by diverting Iran, Hezbollah, Kurds to Yemen.
Al-Qaeda and Takfiris are about to be wiped off from Yemen. Therefore Saudi Arabia is worried and using naked aggression against Houthis.
We are concerned to note that Saudi Arabia announced “its” war against Yemen from Washington. United States seems to have given a tacit nod to Saudi Arabia in this aggression. We urge Russia, China and other nations to play their own role to counter this act of aggression by Saudi Arabia and its Western sponsor.
According to Yemen’s government, “there is a great anger among the population in Yemen against those countries like USA and Saudi Arabia who support Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The Saudi Arabia are offering a clear support to AQ in Yemen. 25 million (Ymenen inhabitants) will move to respond”.
We support Pakistani cricker Shoaib Akhtar’s social media campaign: Kindly use this tag #PakistanRejectsSaudiWarOnYemen‬ to condemn the Saudi aggression on Yemen being a Pakistani.

We note that mainstream media hiding the fact that this is an attack on Yemeni Armed Forces which comrise Yemen Army includuing Republican Guard, air force, navy and the popular movement Ansarallah. It’s not an attack on Houthis alone, it is an atack on Yemen, its capital and its armed forces.
We fully support Yemen Amed Forces in defence of their motherland from the Saudi Aggression. We hope that every single Saudi, UAE or Bahrain sodier or Al-Qaeda/ISIS terrorist who illegally steps on Yemen’s soil will be eliminated by brave Yemen army.
We are concerned by the Saudi media (Al-Arabiya) report that Pakistan has agreed to dispatch jet fighters to take part in the Saudi attack and Pakistani troops are now a part of 15,000 strong Saudi-led army on the Saudi-Yemn border. UK’s Guardian newspaper confirms that Pakistan army is a part of 15,000 Saudi troops ready for ground attack on Yemen
Al-Monitor‘s article being circualted by PML-N propagandists is 11 days old. Pakistan troops are alrady on Saudi-Yemen border. PM Nawaz Sharif is a liar.
Saudi TV Al-Arabiya confirms that Pakistani troops are a part of Saudi aggression against Yemen. Shame on PM Nawaz!
We believe that Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif has exceeded his legal mandate by committing our armed forces to support the Saudi attack on Yemen. We urge PM Nawaz Sharif to refain from committing Pakistani troops in support of Saudi aggression on Yemen in any form or shape, directly or indirectly.
We condemn the Saudi-backed pro-Taliban Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif’s decision to join Saudi aggression against Yemen. After curshing pro-democracy uprising in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia is massacring the democratic revolution in Yemen. Pakistan must stay away!
We urge Pakistan army / ISPR to clarify its position through an urgent press release.
We also urge Pakistani lawyers to move to Supreme Court and parliamentarians to call an urgent session of Senate and National Assembly forcing the Nawaz Sharif gov to explain clear facts about the current or future Pakistani role in Saudi attakc on Yemen. Questons to be asked: 1. Are there currently any Pakistani troops, planes, ground forces on the Saudi-Yemen border? 2. Who authorized them? 3. What exact is their direct or indirect role in Saudi attack on Yemen?

Libya, Syria, Yemen: Sectarian conflict threatens entire Middle East

A coalition of 10 Sunni Arab states is on a military offensive against Shiite Houthi militants in Yemen, recently proclaimed by America’s president as a brilliant example of war on terror, but now catapulting the Middle East into the inferno of battle.
Saudi Arabia has initiated an international military operation in Yemen that many experts are already calling a proxy war against Iran, since Houthi fighters are believed to have strategic backup from Tehran.

The internal Yemeni conflict has the potential to transform into a military standoff based on religious background between the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf on one side and Shiites of the region supported by Iran on the other.
US President Barack Obama has authorized “logistical and intelligence support.”
People carry the body of a man they uncovered from under the rubble of a house destroyed by an air strike near Sanaa Airport March 26, 2015. (Reuters / Khaled Abdullah)
People carry the body of a man they uncovered from under the rubble of a house destroyed by an air strike near Sanaa Airport March 26, 2015. (Reuters / Khaled Abdullah)

The coalition is bombing a country that used to have heavy American presence for years, since Washington used to station a fleet of assault UAVs in Yemen, waging drone warfare against militants of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
“This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the frontlines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years,” said Obama as recently as September 10, 2014.
This longstanding fruitful cooperation between Sanaa and Washington has had a bitter ending, as Houthi fighters captured Yemen’s major cities and are offering a reward for US-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, while the US were forced to evacuate its embassy from Yemen along with diplomatic missions of other western countries in early February.
Yemen's territory has become increasingly fragmented, with Sunni militant groups operating in the south of the country and AQAP becoming active again.
The base with deployed US killer drones remained operable until last week, when it was abandoned like all other US installations in the country.
The developments in Yemen have drawn attention to Obama's policy of dealing with terrorism hot-beds around the world from Republican Senators John Mc Cain and Lindsey Graham.
They rebuked the Obama administration over Yemen's descent into a regional proxy war threatening to engulf the Middle East, calling it “another tragic case of leading from behind.”
Yemen now in many ways resembles Libya, disintegrating after foreign intervention, or Syria, devastated by years of civil war, as fighter jets of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition are pouncing Yemeni military installations and infrastructure facilities.
The meltdown in Yemen is causing embarrassment in Washington, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, Abayomi Azikiwe, told RT.
“It is a very dangerous situation. What it represents is a total collapse of the US foreign policy in Yemen,”Azikiwe said, stressing that it was “clearly miscalculation” on the part of the Obama administration, which underestimated power of Houthi groups.
“It is clearly a failure of the US foreign policy in Yemen,” he said.
The US withdrawal from Yemen has revealed a massive property lost, as the US government is believed to have lost track of about $500 million worth of military aid provided to Yemen in recent years, beginning in 2007.

Officials acknowledge that they’re unable to account for more than a million rounds of ammunition, 160 Humvees (HMMWV) vehicles, 200 M-4 assault rifles and 250 body armor suits – and this is far from being the full inventory of lost property.
The US has no intention of stabilizing other nations, retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski told RT.
“What the US government is focused on is putting arms out there and creating bias for those arms. The US taxpayer subsidizes foreign weapon sales. So we’re always out there, our government is always out there looking for places to market our weapons,” Kwiatkowski said. US foreign policy is aimed at creating markets for the US weaponry and is good at it, not at solving crises, promoting good governments etc.
“That’s not our expertise. We don’t spend time and money on that. We spend time and money on creating consumers for our weapons,” she said.
Meantime Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Pakistan, Morocco, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain are bombing Yemeni territory using mostly US-made weapons and hardware, with a proclaimed objective to prevent President Hadi from losing power.
“We will do whatever it takes in order to protect the legitimate government of Yemen from falling,” Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, told a news conference while announcing the operation.
After the Iran’s advances in Iraq – which borders Saudi Arabia to the north – the kingdom is worried that Yemen, on its southern frontier, is going to become a proxy for Iran as well.
“In the absence of the Americans, who have temporarily quit the field, the Saudi’s will think they have no choice but to go in pretty hard. We are going to see redesign of the region,” President of the Australia Institute of International Affairs John McCarthy told Reuters.
The key to the unwinding military conflict is going to be reaction of Iran, which has its finger in many ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.
If Tehran decides to play big, oil exports from the region - crucial to the world economy - could fall victim to the regional conflict. That in turn will threaten energy supplies of many countries, particularly China, Japan and South Korea.

Saudi Arabia Ask Pakistan for Sending Ground Troops to Yemen

"We have been contacted by Saudi Arabia," said spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam in response to a question about whether Pakistan would send troops. "The matter is being examined."
Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf region allies launched military operations including air strikes in Yemen on Thursday which killed and wounded many and cause so much civilian destruction. Saudi officials said, aim is counter Ansarullah besieging the southern city of Aden, where the U.S.-supported Yemeni president had taken refuge.
Media reporting that the kingdom was contributing as many as 150,000 troops and 100 warplanes to the operations and that allies Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Pakistan were ready to take part in a ground offensive in Yemen.
Former President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has recently called on his allies for help. Up to ten countries appear to be participating including the US with logistical and intelligence support.
Saudi warplanes bombed Huthis in Yemen, launching a military intervention by a 10-nation coalition to defend of former President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

China - Saudi Attack on Yemen Pushing World into New Turmoil

China's foreign ministry said on Thursday it was deeply concerned about the situation in Yemen after Saudi Arabia launched military operations in that country.
Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that China urges all parties to act in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions on Yemen, and to resolve the dispute through dialogue.
Hua told a news conference that China hopes all parties involved will "quickly resolve the dispute through political dialogue, solve the current crisis and restore domestic stability and normality to Yemen at an early date."
She said that all Chinese people and institutions in Yemen were safe, adding that the foreign ministry and the Chinese embassy in Yemen had warned its citizens not to visit Yemen.
Yemen exports about 1.4-1.5 million barrels of Masila crude each month, mainly to China.
China's crude imports from Yemen in the first two months this year were 4.5 mln bbls, up 315 percent from the same period a year ago.
China has traditionally kept a low profile in Middle East diplomacy despite its reliance on oil imports from the region, although it is keen to demonstrate its role as a force in international politics.
Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Yemen and killed, at least, 25 civilians early Thursday, one day after the US-backed Yemeni president fled the country.
The military adventurism initiated by Saudi Arabia has raised fears of a conflagration, sending jitters across global markets.
Crude oil prices jumped almost six percent on Thursday after Saudi Arabia and its allies started military aggression against Yemen.
Brent crude surged $3 to trade at $59.71 a barrel. US oil rose $2 at $52.24 a barrel.
While Yemen is not a major oil producer, its location near oil trade lanes gives it a potential chokehold and stokes concerns about the security of shipments.
The Gulf of Aden has emerged as the flashpoint area in the conflict where oil tankers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq have to cross in order to get to Europe.
According to the US Energy Information Administration, nearly 4 million barrels a day of crude oil is shipped through the waters between Yemen and Djibouti known as Bab el-Mandeb.
On Thursday, most Persian Gulf stocks took a nosedive. Dubai’s index recorded its biggest loss in more than three months, tumbling 4.3 percent.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index dropped as much as 4.2 percent before trading 1.8 percent lower. On Wednesday, it lost 5.0 percent as preparations for the military strike became evident.
The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, a gauge of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council’s top 200 equities, slid to the lowest level since January.   
“The latest tension in the Middle East adds another geopolitical risk to the market,” Warut Siwasariyanon, the Bangkok-based head of research at Asia Wealth Securities Co., told Bloomberg.
“It’s extra noise that may prompt investors to reduce their risk positions.”
Several Arab states, all of them allies of Washington, have joined the Saudi-led military offensive against Yemen.
Five Persian Gulf States -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait -- backed by the US have declared war on Yemen in a joint statement issued earlier Thursday.
US President Barack Obama authorized the provision of logistical and intelligence support to the military operations, National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said late Wednesday night.
She added that while US forces were not taking direct military action in Yemen, Washington was establishing a Joint Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support.
Riyadh claimed that it has bombed the positions of the Ansarullah fighters and launched attacks against the Sana'a airport and the Dulaimi airbase.
Despite Riyadh's claims that it is attacking Ansarullah positions, Saudi warplanes have flattened a number of homes near Sana’a international airport. Based on early reports, the Saudi airstrikes on Yemen have so far claimed the lives of 25 civilians with more deaths feared, Yemeni sources said.
The Saudi aggression has received growing international condemnation.
Russia expressed “deep concern” over the worsening situation in Yemen.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the Yemen crisis could be solved only through national dialogue.
In Tehran, the foreign ministry deplored the airstrike, calling it a "dangerous" move in violation of international obligations for respecting countries' national sovereignty.
"Resorting to military acts against Yemen which is entangled in an internal crisis and fighting terrorism will further complicate the situation, spread the range of crisis and destroy opportunities to settle the internal differences in Yemen peacefully," Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Thursday.
She underlined the necessity for implementing national agreements among the Yemeni groups and parties as soon as possible, and called for an immediate halt to air strikes and military acts against the Yemeni people and the country.
Afkham expressed concern about the spread of extremism and strengthening terrorism, and said, "This aggression will merely result in the spread of terrorism and extremism and will spread insecurity to the entire region."
Syria said it was "deeply concerned" about dangerous developments in Yemen.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressed deep concern over the civilian deaths resulted from the Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen, demanding warring parties to obey the rules of war.
In a statement, the ICRC urged all sides to protect civilians and medical facilities, ensure the wounded get medical attention, and treat detainees humanely, in line with the Geneva Conventions.
"All parties involved in the current round of violence are bound by the rules governing the conduct of hostilities," said Cedric Schweizer, who heads an ICRC delegation of 300 aid workers in Yemen.
Under international humanitarian law, all countries and parties involved in the conflict must distinguish between military and civilian objects, and uphold the principles of proportionality and precaution, the ICRC said.
The independent aid agency said it had donated supplies to hospitals in Taiz and Aden, which have received dozens of wounded people in recent days.
It also provided body bags and medical supplies to three hospitals that handled casualties from suicide bombings at mosques in the capital Sanaa last week that killed more than 130 people.

Russia slams Saudi war of aggression on Yemen

Russia has censured the Saudi military aggression against Yemen, saying the offensive is not the right way to settle the crisis in the Arab country.
“Such a scenario cannot lead to the conflict’s settlement by definition. By the way, a peaceful settlement of disputes is a UN Charter requirement,” said Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on Thursday as cited in an Interfax report.
The Russian official warned the United States and other countries backing the operation against Yemen of its serious consequences for regional security.
“This is a very serious threat to regional security while the conflict in Syria hasn’t been settled and conflict areas exist actually throughout the entire region of the Middle East and North Africa,” Lukashevich said at a news briefing in Moscow, reacting to the support announced by Washington for the military aggression against Yemen.
“The armed methods of resolving internal Yemeni problems are categorically unacceptable. We will be working with the Yemeni parties and the countries involved in this operation, including on the UN forum, in order to stop this rampancy as soon as possible,” he added.
The Russian official also called on all parties to the Yemeni conflict and their foreign allies to halt any sort of military engagement immediately.
“We deem it extremely important that all parties to the Yemen conflict and their external allies immediately stop any forms of military action and abandon attempts to attain their ends through weapons,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry in a commentary posted on its official website on Thursday, adding, “We are convinced that the underlying conflicts existing in Yemen can be settled only based on a broad nationwide dialogue.” 
Similar concerns were also raised by European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, on Thursday, saying the latest clashes in Yemen risks causing “serious regional consequences.”
“The latest events in Yemen have dramatically worsened the already fragile situation in the country and risk having serious regional consequences,” Mogherini said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia’s warplanes invaded the Sana’a International Airport and a military air base nearby on Thursday. Reports say over a dozen civilians were killed in the airstrikes.
Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in Sana’a announced that there were no immediate plans to evacuate Russian citizens from Yemen due to the deteriorating situation of the impoverished Arab country.
“As there have been very few requests from Russian citizens - they are singular - we are not planning any evacuation measures or actions either in relation to the embassy employees or Russian citizens living in Yemen,” said Russian Embassy spokesman, Timofei Bokov.
Moreover, a Russian expert in Oriental studies who has just returned from Yemen said the military aggression against Yemen will trigger “a large-scale conflict in the region” likely leading to a Saudi defeat.
“In my opinion, the military campaign will be absolutely unsuccessful for the Saudis. I have no faith in the ability of the Saudis to achieve something in Yemen. The Army of Saudi Arabia is really nothing: there is emptiness behind [its] beautiful [military] gear,” said Leonid Isayeve of the Higher School of Economic pedagogue.
 “This army is inferior to the Yemenis by its combat readiness. The Saudi army has never fought anyone in its history. They simply cannot do that," he added, as quoted in an Interfax report on Thursday.
“If they decide that Yemen should strike back on Saudi Arabia, Ansarullah will not be the only movement to fight, the entire population of Yemen will get involved, and that is serious,” the Russian expert underlined, noting “I think that unless the Saudis come to their senses, their actions may lead to a large-scale conflict and I am positive that victory will not be won by the countries that get involved in the war against Yemen.”
Saudi Ambassador to Washington Adel al-Jubair said on Wednesday that his country had started to deliver airstrikes against the Houthis in the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a.
The blatant invasion of Yemen’s sovereignty by Saudi government comes against a backdrop of total silence on the part of international bodies, especially the United Nations. The world body has so far failed to show any reaction whatsoever to violation of the sovereignty of one of its members by Riyadh.