Will Saudi Arabia’s Intervention In Yemen Trigger A Regional War?

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Following the conquest of the outskirts of the southern Yemeni city of Aden by Iran-backed Shiite Houthis last week, Saudi Arabian forces entered the civil war in Yemen. This was the first time that the monarchy had directly intervened in the bloody Sunni-Shia struggle that has devastated Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

Until now, Saudi Arabia had limited its involvement in that battle to financial and military support for Sunni militias and armies.

Last year, for example, Saudi Arabia pledged $3 billion to the Lebanese army to strengthen its capabilities. The move came after Hezbollah won the battle in Qusair in Syria and threatened to change the power balance in the region. There were also reports that the Islamic State received aid from Saudi Arabia at the start of its conquest of parts of Syria and Iraq.

Fighter planes from Saudi Arabia’s Air Force, aided by jets from the other Gulf states–Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, and Morocco–have targeted numerous Houthi bases, rocket launchers, and weapon depots since the beginning of the air campaign four days ago.

The air assault, dubbed “Operation Determination Storm,” has succeeded in driving the Houthis out of contested air bases and has destroyed all military aircraft in Yemen. The state-run Saudi Press Agency claimed that most launching pads for Yemen’s Scud missiles were now destroyed.

Saudi Arabia has amassed 150,000 soldiers along the border with Yemen, but no ground operation is expected. Ground force operations are limited to securing the border and the shelling of Houthi militias located opposite the Saudi southern border.

The Saudi-led coalition has received the full support of the Arab League. During a summit of the League in Egypt on Saturday, the idea of the creation of a regional Arab military force was discussed.

President al-Sisi of Egypt was one of the Arab leaders who came out in support of the creation of such a force, which is meant to counter the rise of the Iranian axis in the Middle East.

The decision by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab countries to intervene directly in Yemen is connected to the failure of U.S. operations in the country and certain developments involving Iran.

The U.S., in coordination with the now ousted Hadi regime, had been waging a drone-led anti-al-Qaeda offensive in Yemen. But two weeks ago, the U.S. Army evacuated a base housing 100 troops. The move was a response to the offensive of the Houthi force and came after the closure of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen at the end of February.

The Saudi Arabia-led Gulf Council Cooperation (GCC) and other Arab Sunni states such as Egypt realize they can no longer rely on the United States to protect them from Iran and Islamist groups.

They saw the failure of the Obama administration to put an end to the chaos in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. They witnessed the engagement of the Obama administration with their enemy Iran and the negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program, which will likely result in a deal that is unacceptable to the Arabs.

They were shocked when the U.S. allowed Iran and the Islamic State to take over Iraq after the withdrawal of U.S. forces. They were flabbergasted when Obama refused to help Egypt in her fight against Islamic State affiliate Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Sinai while, at the same time, U.S. airplanes bombarded IS positions in Syria and Iraq.

They understood that the Obama administration does not have a coherent strategy in the Middle East, as the U.S. in one country supports an Iran-backed Shia coalition fighting a Sunni force (ISIS in Iraq) and, in another Arab country, sides with a Sunni coalition fighting an Iran-backed Shiite militia (Houthis in Yemen). The U.S. provides logistical and intelligence support to the Saudi-led coalition.

So when the Houthis took over Yemen and threatened to seize the strategic Bab al-Mandeb Straits, Iran finally crossed Saudi Arabia’s red line.  By seizing Bab-el-Mandeb, Iran would have been able to control two strategic waterways that are vital for the supply of Arab oil to the world.

But that was not the only reason the Gulf States intervened in Yemen. As Western Journalism reported earlier, Iran’s actions in Yemen could be a prelude to an assault on Saudi Arabia; and that is the reason the country has amassed 150.000 soldiers along the border.

Here’s what we wrote at the time:

Shortly after the turmoil in the Arab countries started, the Iranian regime produced a documentary in which it explained the chaotic events from the perspective of the Hadith. The intention of the movie was to show that the crisis in the Middle East foretells the imminent arrival of the Shiite messiah Mahdi and the unification of the world under Islam. This process was to be led by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Yemen was explicitly mentioned in the documentary as a country that would witness “a holy revolution” and would then serve as a beachhead in an ensuing assault on Saudi Arabia’s holy Muslim places Mecca and Medina. Since the beginning of the Shiite insurgency against the Sunni-dominated central government in Yemen in 2004, fighting has occasionally spread to the Saudi province of Jizan.

The question is now what Iran will do.

Until now, Iran has only issued condemnations of Saudi Arabia’s ‘aggression’ in Yemen; but the official Iranian news agency Fars News indicated that Iran might have a red line too. The agency published an interview with Mohammed al-Bakhiti, who is a senior member of the Houthi political council.

He issued a clear threat to Saudi Arabia about a possible ground operation:

“Any ground attack on Yemen will receive a rigidly harsh response, al-Bikhiti said on Sunday.

“We have not responded to the Saudi aggressions in the past five days because we wanted to allow the Arab countries to reconsider their action and stop their attacks,” he said, and added “but from now on everything will be different.”

Al-Bakhiti described the Saudi-led alliance against Yemen as a moral crisis, and said, “Whatever the Arab conference decided about Yemen will end in serious crisis.”

As things stand now, both Saudi Arabia and Iran are not interested in a confrontation in Yemen. Such a confrontation would almost certainly spin out of control and spark a regional or even global war because non-Arab countries such as Pakistan and Sudan have already pledged an alliance with the Saudi-led coalition.

As analyst Jennifer Dyer pointed out on Sunday, Iran’s main interest is to hold the territories conquered by the Houthis. Iran’s al-Quds Force is already overstretched and running multiple operations in Syria and Iraq. The Iranians have shown that they have a lot of patience and are advancing their goals in a very calculated manner. The model for Yemen will most likely be Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria–where Iran, using proxies, slowly advanced her goals.

Whichever way this war works out, it won’t go smoothly. Yemen will probably face the type of prolonged war that the country faced in the 1960s when Yemen was the arena for a proxy war between rival Arab powers.

For now, the only party that has suffered a decisive defeat in this war is the United States. The ouster of the last remnants of U.S. troops from Yemen has seriously compromised its ability to wage war against Al Qaeda in the Arab peninsula.

President Obama has announced the defeat of Al-Qaeda on numerous occasions; but as we can see in Iraq (ISIS), Syria (ISIS and al-Nusra), Nigeria (Boko Haram), Libya (Ansar al-Sharia and ISIS), and Yemen (AQAP), the organization didn’t die with Osama Bin Laden. On the contrary, Al Qaeda is on the rise and will certainly be emboldened by the U.S. retreat from Yemen.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Large Foreign Players Are Starting To Take Sides In Middle Eastern Sunni/Shia Conflict

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Russia has operated a naval facility in Syria for decades, since the early 1970s. Syria is their gateway to the Mediterranean and NATO’s soft underbelly. There is no way Russia will allow Bashar al-Assad to be forced from power. The Russian Federation has been supplying the Shia Syrian dictator for four years now in his battles with the rebels. Now Syria is “welcoming” an increased Russian presence in their country.

The large foreign players are starting to take sides in this Middle Eastern Sunni/Shia conflict that is almost sure to widen over time due to American incompetence and appeasement of Iran.

Zero Hedge reports:

Following Vladimir Putin’s demands for an “immediate cessation of military activities” in Yemen, AFP reports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s comment during a recent interview that “with complete confidence that we welcome any widening of the Russian presence in the eastern Mediterranean and on Syrian coasts and ports, “including the port of Tartus. Amid the Western-backed opposition National Coalition’s planned boycott of talks, Assad pointedly remarked, “the negotiating parties must be independent and must reflect what the Syrian people want… people would not accept that their future, their fate, or their rules are decided from outside.”

Syria would welcome an increased Russian military presence at its sea ports, President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Russian news channels published Friday. As AFP reports,

“I can say with complete confidence that we welcome any widening of the Russian presence in the eastern Mediterranean and on Syrian coasts and ports,” including the port of Tartus, Assad said. “For us, the larger this presence in our neighbourhood, the better it is for stability in this region,” he told journalists.

Pax Americana has held the peace internationally since World War II. Our economic weakness and lack of competent leadership is now coming home to roost. Military weakness is not a way to prevent war; in fact, it usually hastens it. This is a proven historical truth that the Left does not want to accept despite the evidence.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Ralph Peters: ISIS Propaganda Is More Powerful Than ‘Any Super Bowl Commercial’

Fox News

Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters told Fox News Channel’s Martha McCallum on America’s Newsroom that the Islamic State does not respect borders between nations, especially the border between Iraq and Syria because “it doesn’t exist for them.”

First of all, borders are a key issue here. We are obsessed with borders drawn by dead European statesmen. One of the many strengths of the Islamic State is they don’t see the borders. They’re not interested in our borders. The border between Iraq and Syria that hampers our operations – it doesn’t exist for them! And so they’ve got a profoundly different view of the world. There’s actually a much more flexible, healthier one in some respects, in strategic respects.

Colonel Peters went on to say that ISIS is gaining ground with its recruiting campaign.

Of course Islamist fundamentalism is metastasizing. It is a growth industry. It’s got a brand. You saw that video released yesterday of the boy shooting the captive. Man, that is more powerful to the demographic, the target demographic, than any Super Bowl commercial. I mean, these guys are really good at what they’re doing and what their goals are. They know their audience, and by God, they have a level of resolution, of commitment to their cause, that we just have not and may not ever match. And oh, by the way, what was missing from Secretary Kerry’s statement? Any mention of Islam or religion whatsoever. We’re still in denial about the nature of the threat.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Here’s How ISIS Militants May Soon Be Slipping Into The U.S…

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ISIS militants may soon be slipping into the US via the thousands of Syrian “refugees” coming to the country.

According to Michael Steinbach, deputy assistant director of the FBI’s counter terrorism unit, the U.S. does not have the resources to prevent ISIS fighters from slipping into the US alongside the many other refugees being let in.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, recently held hearings on the process of vetting refugees and wrote a letter to the White House voicing the committee’s “serious national security concerns.”

In a letter to National Security Advisor Susan Rice, McCaul and other Republicans stated that “The continued civil war and destabilization in Syria undeniably make it more difficult to acquire the information needed to conduct reliable threat assessments on specific refugees.”

Steinbach told the committee:

“The difference is that in Iraq we were there on the ground collecting (information), so we had databases to use,” he added. “The concern is that in Syria, the lack of our footprint on the ground in Syria, the databases won’t have the information we need. So it’s not that we have a lack of a process, it’s that there is a lack the information.”

Ned Price, a National Security Council spokesman, stated that rigorous screening of all Syrian refugees would take place:

“Our screening protocols for refugees are rigorous, continually refined, and build on years of experience vetting individuals coming to the United States from around the world,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “They permit us to proceed in a way that seeks to both safeguard public safety and serve our mission of providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

Still, McCaul and other Republicans are not so sure about the vetting of the refugees.

What do you think? Are ISIS militants bound to slip in among the Syrian refugees? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

h/t: Pat Dollard

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Krauthammer: The Biggest Error We Could Make Is To Lose The Damn War

Fox News Channel

Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer denounced Secretary of State John Kerry on Special Report with Bret Baier Tuesday night for his comments that the United States’ biggest error is to blame all “Muslims collectively for crimes not committed by Muslims alone.” Krauthammer told the Fox News host that, instead, the biggest error would be “to lose the damn war” because this administration refuses “to recognize who the enemy is and what it requires.”

“The biggest error that we can make, while it would be an error if we blamed all the Muslims in the world for the crimes that are occurring, including the latest one today in Libya, for example. It would be an error, but I’m not sure how many people in this country actually say that. That’s just a straw man. I mean, everyone who is critical of radical Islam prefaces in saying of course it’s a minority of Islam. It’s not a way to attack all Muslims. So this is a non-argument that he is making. And it wouldn’t be the biggest error that we make.

“The biggest error that we make is to lose the damn war because we refuse to recognize who the enemy is and what it requires. That would be a larger error because it would consign people to, for example, the hell that is Syria today, approaching a quarter of a million dead.”

Krauthammer went on to criticize President Obama’s strategy of leaving the region while supposedly arming and training the Syrian rebels.

“And the original sin here is not that Obama sort of is confused — I think he is in a way — but that he has a strategy. He came into office with a strategy: America leaves. This is not something that we should be involved in. We will leave and he didn’t quite understand (which is sort of an axiom of geopolitics) if America leaves, the vacuum does not remain a vacuum.

“There’s a story on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today about the comedy of errors of our supposedly equipping, arming, and training the Syrian rebels. They started almost two years ago. They have gotten nowhere. There was no impetus, there was no urgency. There was no logic behind what the president was doing. Everybody understood that he himself said and thought it was a fantasy. So he says it’s a fantasy and then he says he is going to arm them. This is a president who believes in withdrawal and these are the fruits of withdrawal.”

h/t: The Gateway Pundit

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom