Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Big Bug Out In Aden

With Yemeni President Hadi gone and even despite Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, it looks like there's very little to stop Houthi rebels in Yemen from capturing the port city of Aden and removing the last vestiges of the US-backed government. Foreign diplomats and UN staffers are taking advantage of the Saudis offering an exit by naval route.

Saudi Arabia's navy evacuated dozens of diplomats from Yemen and the United Nations pulled out international staff on Saturday after a third night of Saudi-led air strikes trying to stem advances by Iranian-allied Houthi fighters.

Residents reported heavy clashes between the Houthis and mainly Sunni tribal fighters in the south of the country, while the Saudi-led air campaign sought to stall a fresh offensive by the Shi'ite Muslim group on Aden from the east.

Riyadh's intervention, a surprise move from a conservative monarchy better known for flexing its muscle in oil markets than through military might, is planned to last a month but could extend for five or six, a Gulf diplomatic source said.

He said satellite imagery had shown that the Houthis had repositioned long-range Scud missiles in the north, close to the Saudi border and aimed at Saudi territory. A Yemeni official said Iran was providing parts for the missiles.
Dozens of diplomats were shipped out of Aden to the Red Sea port of Jeddah, Saudi television said, escaping the city where President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi had taken refuge until Thursday, when he left for Egypt to shore up Arab support for his crumbling authority.

Again, the Saudis are involved because the notion of a failed state now fallen to the point of being a base for Shi'a terrorists (not to mention the remnants of Sunni AQ Yemen) is something of a security problem on their southern doorstep.

Hadi running for Egypt shows you just how bad the situation is here, and oh yes, Iraq to Saudi Arabia's north is still very much a problem, with Islamic State running around from Basrah all the way over to Homs in Syria.

The Middle East is in pretty bad shape right now, and nothing I've seen makes me think anything's going to improve after a six month air strike campaign in Yemen.

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