Nine coalition countries, led by Saudi Arabia, launched on Thursday surprise air strikes against the Houthi terrorists in Yemen resulting in the killing of its top leadership. Iran backs secretly the Houthis the way it backs Hezbollah openly. In response to the surprise air strikes, Iran condemned the military operations and demanded their immediate halt.
The coalition, anchored by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and the GCC countries (Oman excluded) as well as Jordan and Morocco, has deployed a considerable array of land, air, and naval forces to include 185 jet fighters (100 by Saudi Arabia alone) and naval ships provided by Pakistan and Egypt. Additionally, Saudi Arabia deployed 150,000 soldiers on its 1,800Kms borders with Yemen. No one yet knows the military mission of the foot soldiers deployment.
The U.S., for its part, is backing this new coalition by providing intelligence and creating a joint U.S. Saudi task force to coordinate the details of the campaign. It is notable to mention here that while it is sound for this White House to support Decisive Storm, this administration has yet to reconcile between assisting Iran backed militias in Iraq and fighting them in Yemen. Obama’s foreign policy simply defies logic.
The fact Pakistan is joining the Arab countries for the first time in such a military campaign is a significant development that should give Tehran a pause over its dangerously adventurous policies. Pakistan commands the seventh largest army in the world and is a nuclear power. For the Mullahs in Iran, Pakistan’s direct involvement reads, “Don’t mess with Arab countries”.
The last time Saudi Arabia took a leading role in any military campaign was during ‘Desert Storm’, which, in 1991, dislodged Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. The Kingdom takes very seriously any decision to use force; the Houthi terrorists, backed by Iran, seem to have gone too far in testing the resolve of King Salman to protect Saudi southern borders from Iranian influence.
It is also important to note that this is the first major offensive posture the Arab countries take against Iranian terror directly. Ever since Obama came to power, Iran has been on a rampage occupying Arab capitals and engaged in deadly sectarianism. ‘Decisive Storm’ is Arab patience with Iran running out.
Iran is going to respond by doing what it does best: Terrorize. Saudi Arabia and any of the coalition countries run the risk of Tehran activating terror cells to respond to the frontal attack against their Houthi proxy in Yemen. It seems, though, as if the calculated risks any of these coalition countries run in not being spared Tehran’s wrath are dwarfed by the risks of letting Iran run amok in the region. If it were not for Barack Obama, ‘Decisive Storm’ would have started much sooner in Syria, which would have weakened Iran considerably and spared the lives of tens of thousands of Syrians.
In the meantime, crude oil futures were up 3.6%. They traded past the $49 a barrel mark. Prices rose $2 past the $58 a barrel price point; neither is enough to benefit Iran.
‘Decisive Storm’ is intended to halt Iran’s advances in the region. Winning against the Houthi terrorists will have positive implications for all U.S. allies.