Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s “Operation Decisive Storm” doesn’t look very decisive today. Three months after the Saudi defence minister unleashed his American-made bombers against Iran’s Shia friends in Yemen, the best his own allies in the country can do is tramp on to the apron of Aden’s wrecked airport and proclaim a little victory.
With well over 3,000 dead, half of them civilians, Prince Mohamed’s warriors of the air seem to be having as little effect on his Houthi enemies as America’s are having on Isis in Iraq and Syria.
And now while Prince Mohamed’s father – King Salman of Saudi Arabia – observes the gloomy stalemate in his son’s battle against Iran’s proxies, the monarch has to take a call from Barack Obama so that the US President can assure the king that he has nothing to worry about America’s new nuclear deal with the very same Iranians who support the Houthis. Did the two also talk about the Saudi quagmire in Yemen? Or was this left discreetly – and wisely – to one side?
Ignored these past few days is how central Secretary of State John Kerry has been to both mutually antagonistic projects. The American hero of Vienna, in the eyes of the Western world, is currently the man who spent 18 days persuading the Iranians to castrate their nuclear dreams.
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