Saudi Arabia has Unrealistic Goals in Yemen
On March 26, 2015, a Saudi Arabian-led military coalition — composed of ten Sunni Muslim states, including all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members except Oman — launched “Operation Decisive Storm” in Yemen. The coalition’s objectives were three-fold: to roll back the gains made by Ansar Allah (Yemen’s dominant Houthi militia), to restore President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi’s government, and to bring security and stability to the country. Though the Saudis have since declared their mission accomplished, military operations have resumed under the re-branded moniker “Operation: Restoring Hope.” It is difficult to imagine how a military campaign, especially one limited to air strikes, could achieve these objectives.
The coalition’s strikes, albeit aggressive in nature, have thus far had little effect on Ansar Allah’s advances. One of the original goals was to prevent the Houthis from seizing Aden. Although the city remains heavily contested, the Houthis were able to seize portions large enough to force Hadi to flee to safety in Riyadh. As of this writing, the Houthis are making a final push for the Tawahi district, perhaps one of the last remaining bastions of the Hadi government within Yemen.
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