Sunday, March 22, 2015

Huthis Capture Taiz

Yemen's Third Largest City
Iran-backed Ansar Allah (Huthi) insurgents today captured Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, BBC reported. They also overran the city’s international airport. The Ansar Allah militants took control of Yemeni capital Sanaa and overthrew the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in February. Hadi is now in Aden, the country’s second largest city, trying to defend the city, which was the capital of the independent South Yemen until 1990.

On Saturday, the U.S. announced it was withdrawing about 100 Special Forces operators stationed in Yemen. They have been waging a drone-attack campaign against Al-Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula. The Al-Qaeda-affiliated group has been operating in Yemen since 2001.  The U.S. said the withdrawal was due to the worsening security situation in the country.

Taiz lies between Sanaa and Aden. It seizure puts the forces loyal to the Huthi government to within 140km (86 miles) of Hadi’s new base in Aden. Hadi has declared Aden the temporary capital of the country. The capture of Taiz now increases the chances for a full-blown civil war in the impoverished country.
Photo credit: The Houthi insurgents use tear gas against anti-Huthi demonstrators  in Taiz (Reuters/BBC)
Map credit: BBC


Anonymous said...

I suppose the Islamic regime is not satisfied with their handywork in Syria? And now they are going to encourage and fan sectarianism in Yemen? I guess it's alright for Islamic regime to have "imperialist" agenda? But woe betide the previous Iranian regime for acting like the "gendarme of the persian gulf". We saw what tantrums that caused by certain members of Iranian society. I hope Iranians won't be fooled by this new so called "persian empire" because it is rotten to its core and will lead to it eventual implosion.

Anonymous said...

And the opportunists never cease to jump on any and every chance they get to criticize Iran. Now the "experts" are talking about an Persian Shia Safavid 2.0 empire, lol!

By all accounts, Iranian intervention in Yemen has been limited and the roots of the conflict go far beyond Iran. In Yemen, the Shia’s goal is to gain what they consider to be their basic rights. Iran did not instigate a Shia movement. Furthermore, the Yemenis, who were forced to surrender part of their lands to the Saudis, resent Saudi overlordship. The Saudis have bought the loyalty of various Yemeni tribes and have tried over the years to keep them disunited, so as better to control them. Yemen is a relatively big and populous country whose oil boom in the past had the potential to boost its economic profile. Before its recent troubles, it was an up-and-coming country. Yet the Saudis dislike any country in the region that can be a potential rival.

The recent military success of the Houthis has less to do with Iranian intervention than it does with Saleh (and much of the Yemeni military) supporting the Houthis.

Nader Uskowi said...

I agree with you that the developments in Yemen should not be seen from partisan viewpoints. The crisis in Yemen indeed has its roots in the defeat of the Arab Spring-type movement in the country.

But claiming that "Iranian intervention in Yemen has been limited" is false. Iran is the most important backer of Ansar Allah (the Huthis). The Huthis receive arms, oil and other economic assistance, as well as political backing from Iran, without the help the Huthis would have had difficult time to sustain their "movement" and overrun Sanaa and now Taiz.

Unknown said...

Can't wait to see the blog's comments on (and analysis of) Saudi Arabia's recent, not-so-veiled threat that if things don't get settled peacefully in Yemen, the PGCC would take "other measures".

Nader Uskowi said...

If they have said that they would take other measures, it could probably mean military operation by GCC to save southern Yemen.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Uskowi

The arms that Ansarollah has received have been small arms, limited financial aid, and advisers to organize their ranks. This is not even close to the amount of support Syria and Iraq have received from Iran, so my statement that Iran's support to the Houthis has been limited is, IMO, correct.

In any case, I think this is beyond the point. Western "experts" continue on accusing Iran of empire building and fomenting unrest throughout the region when the underlying problems in Yemen were bubbling long before Iran came into the scene. For some "analysts" to claim Iran now "controls" Yemen is the epitome of hyperbole. Saudi interference should be seen as much more accountable than any Iranian intervention.

Of course, these facts will land upon deaf ears to some regular commenters on this otherwise great blog. They're not interested in truth - their ideological predisposition forces them to hate Iran no matter what.

Anonymous said...

"And the opportunists never cease to jump on any and every chance they get to critcize Iran. Now the "experts" are talking about an Persian Shia Safavid 2.0 empire, lol!"

No one is criticizing Iran.We are criticizing the Islamic regime in which Iran is its first victim of occupation.It is the stated policy of this theocratic regime to export its so called "revolution" across the moslem world. Even if it means to create division among Sunni and Shia in far flung places like Yemen.It is a blatant "imperialist" policy no matter what anybody states.This regime has even tried to convert Nigerians into the Shai faith.What next,a Shia uprissing in Nigeria? Iranian people don't want anything to do with this agenda of the theocratic imperialist regime that is sowing the seeds of sectarianism throughout the region. Thanks but no thanks.

Nader Uskowi said...

Anon 11:44 PM,

You cannot compare the situation in Yemen with that in Iraq. Iran's military, financial and political support of the Huthis obviously are not at the levels of its aid to Iraq or even Syria, but it is huge in Yemeni context. You are talking about an impoverished country with not much of an army or air force. Without Quds Force's support, the Ansar Allah would not have maintained their takeover of Sanaa, the capturing of Taiz, and now planning to move on Aden.

For good or bad, the Yemeni conflict is becoming an overt Saudi-Iran rivalry, unfortunately played out in an impoverished country that cannot afford this war.