Saudi Arabia has answered the calls of Yemeni President Hadi to tackle the Houthi rebels who have pillaged much of Yemen over recent years. The formidable coalition, lead by Saudi Arabia, includes Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Somalia, Turkey and Pakistan. The grand Sunni alliance named “Operation Storm of Resolve” was announced first on Wednesday night.

Saudi armed forces praying during the operation

Saudi armed forces praying during the operation

The Iranian backed Houthis had rejected peaceful talks and went further on to threaten the two holy mosques of Islam. The senior leader of the Houthi’s Abdul-Karim al-Khiwani, said “We will circle the Ka’bah next Hajj in Makkah as conquerors”. Khiwani was killed days later.

King Salman had recently been meeting many across the Muslim world and experts guessed something was in the works either against the Houthi terrorists in Yemen or the Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

Saudi King Salman leading the operation

As the air-strikes weakened the Houthis, Iran responded with anger and went on to say “We will make all efforts to control the crisis in Yemen”. Iranian sponsorship of militias in the region has long been an unwelcome sight for Arabs and the move by the Saudi lead coalition couldn’t have come sooner. Top Houthi leadership killed in the air-strikes include Abdulkhaliq al-Houthi, Yousuf al-Madani, and Yousuf al-Fishi.

Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman in discussion with military leaders

Saudi Defence Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman in discussion with military leaders

While Saudi Arabia has deployed 150,000 ground troops, Egypt announced four of their warships entered the Suez Canal along with the Pakistani Navy while UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan sent fighter jets to join 100 of Saudi Arabia’s jets. As of yet a ground troops have not been deployed however it has been reported that troops are on stand-by.

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Who Are the Houthis?

The Houthi group, also known as Ansar Allah, began like most terror organisations as a peaceful group in 1990. It didn’t take long for them to take up militancy and reject the rule of law. Initially welcomed by the Shi’ite of Yemen they soon began terror attacks throughout Yemen.

During the Arab Spring protests they claimed they would also remain peaceful, a promise which they broke soon after and began an aggressive military campaign in the north funded by Iran. In 2014, with the influx of new weapons from Iran, they increased their attacks.

While they claimed they wished for a peaceful resolution and were only trying to implement an interim government, they plunged Northern Yemen under their brutal control and continued their military dominance. The savage way in which they took over Sunni towns left many Yemenis in fear of where their next move would be.

Former President Saleh began losing control of the country after he made some bad military decisions which lead to resentment from the tribes and the Yemeni military. The Houthis took advantage of this and placed the Yemeni government on the back foot leading to Saleh to hand power to, the now President, Hadi.

President Hadi set up the National Dialogue to resolve the situation through diplomacy. However former President Saleh began meddling in affairs and attempting to regain power, which undermined President Hadi’s control over the military. The Houthis came to the negotiation table, they did not pause their military campaigns over Northern Yemen. They then went even further and began dictating conditions which the President rejected.

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In January 2015 the Houthis began a massive attack on the capital, taking control of the Presidential palace and forcing President Hadi to sign a resignation. After President Hadi had signed it, he escaped to his stronghold in Aden and revoked his resignation heading to Saudi Arabia once the military action against the rebels had begun.

In March 2015 the Houthis became bolder and announced their intentions to attack the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, saying they would conquer them.

Muslim World Unity Agreed

Today the Arab countries agreed to form a unified military force. In a step not seen before, Arab leaders agreed that their armies united held a better chance of dealing with regional instability. Experts predict the Yemen campaign is the beginning and will lead to dealing with IS in Iraq and Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on Iran and terrorist groups to leave Yemen. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said any threat on Saudi Arabia is seen as a threat to Pakistan. The Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi arrived in Riyadh for talks and today will go to Egypt. King Salman held talks via phone with the leaders of the countries involved in the grand Sunni coalition. President Obama has also leant support of U.S. intelligence to the operation.

The former Sunni Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad al-Hariri said “we all have good relations with Iran, but Iran cannot intervene with the way it is intervening in Yemen.”

Prophetic Narration Shared on Social Media

Experts are now speculating that the grand Sunni coalition’s next target is likely to be Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. This lead some Muslims on social media took this as a sign. There is a narration in which the Prophet Muhammad foretold a war in Yemen and Syria.

Abu Hawalah said that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “It will turn out that you will be armed troops, one in Syria, one in Yemen and one in Iraq.”
Ibn Hawalah said: “Choose for me, Messenger of Allah, if I reach that time.”
He, peace be upon him, replied: “Go to Syria, for it is Allah’s chosen land, to which his best servants will be gathered, but if you are unwilling, go to your Yemen, and draw water from your tanks, for Allah has on my account taken special charge of Syria and its people.”
-Abu Dawood