Feeling that its back was against the wall as Iranian-backed Shi’ite Houthi forces moved to take over neighboring Yemen, Saudi Arabia has lashed out with its own Sunni coalition, threatening to take the sectarian conflict to a new level.
Reports that the Pakistanis and Egyptians are sending troops and that the Turks are also on board, have set the stage for a major expansion of the regional Sunni-Shi’ite struggle.
Iran said that it would not directly intervene in Yemen, but if it does, what would that mean for the escalation of regional tension? “The Saudi-led GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] intervention in Bahrain, the participation of UAE and Qatar warplanes in the NATO operation against [Libya’s Muammar] Gaddafi, and more recently, the Egyptian bombings against the Islamists in Libya (and an earlier air raid of UAE warplanes from Egyptian territory), all mark enhanced assertiveness by the conservative Sunni states,” Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, a principal research fellow at the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University and a contributor to The Jerusalem Report, told this paper.
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