March 1, 2015

The rulers of the Gulf States are bent on destroying countries that refuse or escape their influence

    Sunday, March 01, 2015   No comments

Saudi Arabia and Yemen
by Ahmed Souaiaia

During the early days of the so-called Arab Spring, nervous for their own continued rule, the rulers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), led by the King of Saudi Arabia, proposed the expansion of the GCC to include Jordan and Morocco—but not Yemen. Yemen shares borders with two GCC member states yet it was excluded from this club of rich Arab countries. Yemen is not a good candidate because, despite poverty and political corruption, its people actually have a genuine desire to move towards representative governance. That is a non-starter for the Guff States. They prefer countries with similar governing tradition: exclusive family or clan rule and no prospects for democratic rule. That is why Jordan and Morocco were good candidates but not Yemen.

Now that the Houthis are controlling half the country, the rulers of Saudi Arabia and its proxies decided to preserve their control over the other half. To do so, they helped a former interim president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, escape to the southern city of Yemen, Aden, and moved their embassies out of the capital Sana`a. Today, Hadi declared Sana`a “occupied capital”.

The Gulf States are playing a dangerous game similar to the one they played in Syria. They are likely to use proxy groups, mostly salafi fighters, as a counterweight to the Houthis. Should they do that, and should these ISIL-like fighters become strong enough, such groups will not just attack Sana`a, they will claim Riyadh as they march north to meet their allies who would be marching south from Iraq and Syria.


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