Saudis, Gulf Allies Launch Military Campaign in Yemen

The Saudis have begun a multi-national air campaign against Houthi forces in Yemen, with the backing of its Gulf Arab allies, regional Arab partners, and logistical and intelligence support from the US, the country announced Wednesday. The move comes as Iran-allied Houthi forces close on the port city of Aden, the temporary home of Yemen’s displaced President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi. The Saudi Press Agency state news wire declared the first wave hit at midnight on March 25 Riyadh time, which “resulted in the destruction of all Houthi air defenses,” an airfield at Al Dalimi, and four aircraft. The Gulf Cooperation Council released a statement immediately saying the action was in response to a request for help from Hadi, and that the “coup” by the Houthis represented a “threat to the security of the region.” In a press conference at the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C., late Wednesday, Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir said more than 10 nations participated in the operation, which would be “limited” and designed to protect Yemen’s “legitimate government.” National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said Wednesday the US is providing “logistical and intelligence support” for the GCC, and US forces are establishing a joint planning cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military support, but are not participating in “direct military action.” Saudi military forces began building up on Yemen’s border earlier this week, according to Reuters, and the US has withdrawn all of its diplomatic and military presence from the country.