The Saudis clearly will not tolerate an Iranian client state on the Arabian peninsula. The question is how far they and other Sunni states will be willing to go to prevent it. This could escalate far beyond Yemen.
“Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels,” by Ahmed Al-Haj and Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press, March 26, 2015:
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The turmoil in Yemen grew into a regional conflict Thursday, with Saudi Arabia and its allies bombing Shiite rebels allied with Iran, while Egyptian officials said a ground assault will follow the airstrikes.
Iran denounced the Saudi-led air campaign, saying it “considers this action a dangerous step,” and oil prices jumped in New York and London after the offensive.
The military action turned impoverished and chaotic Yemen into a new front in the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Yemen’s U.S.-backed President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled the country Wednesday as the rebels known as Houthis advanced on his stronghold in the southern port of Aden, reappeared Thursday. He arrived by plane in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh, Saudi state TV reported.
Starting before dawn, Saudi warplanes pounded an air base, military bases and anti-aircraft positions in the capital of Sanaa and flattened a number of homes near the airport, killing at least 18 civilians, including six children. Another round followed in the evening, again rocking the city.
Rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi angrily accused the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel of launching a “criminal, unjust, brutal and sinful” campaign aimed at invading and occupying Yemen.
“Yemenis won’t accept such humiliation,” he said in a televised speech Thursday night, calling the Saudis “stupid” and “evil.”
The Houthis, who have taken over much of the country, mobilized thousands of supporters to protest the airstrikes, with one speaker lashing out at the Saudi-led coalition and warning that Yemen “will be the tomb” of the aggressors.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters on Air Force One en route to Alabama that President Barack Obama had authorized logistical and intelligence support for the strikes, but that the U.S. is not joining with direct military action.
In the air assault codenamed “Operation Decisive Storm,” Saudi Arabia deployed some 100 fighter jets, 150,000 soldiers and other navy units, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV reported. Also involved were aircraft from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Egypt, though it was not clear which carried out actual strikes….