By Hassan Hanizadeh
The vicious aggression of the Saudi army on Yemen’s residential areas and the advancement of the Saudi army in some parts of Yemen predict the advent of a new crisis in the region.
Regional military experts hold the idea that in case the Saudi army keeps on with its advancement in northern parts of Yemen, it would be entangled in a quagmire, an exit of which would inflict heavy financial and human costs on the regime of Saudi Arabia.
The experts believe that due to its internal peculiarities, Yemen has many similarities to Vietnam. They say Yemen will engulf Saudi Arabia as Vietnam did to the U.S., if Riyadh does not stop war on its neighbor.
One reason to hold such a belief is that the people of Yemen have a relatively significant experience in exercising guerrilla wars. The Egyptian army commenced a prolonged and dragging aggression on Yemen in 1962, which led to the death of 27,000 Egyptians.
At the time, Egypt’s then president Gamal Abdel Nasser dispatched four Egyptian divisions to Yemen to back republicans against the clergy-led rule of Zeidis. However, the skirmishes lasted beyond Abdel Nasser’s death in 1970 and inflicted heavy human and financial losses on the Egyptian army and government.
The 1967 war between Israel and Egypt, which resulted in a total defeat of Egyptians and the Israeli army’s partial occupation of the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm-ul-Sheikh, and Al-Arish, was the outcome of Egypt’s unjustified interference in Yemen’s civil war.
For its tribal and religious outlook, Saudi Arabia, with its political miscalculations, tries to alter Yemen’s realities to its own benefit as it holds an adversarial perspective against Shia Houthis in Yemen.
Yemenis, particularly the Ansarullah movement, who played a key role in the 2012 revolution in the Arab country against the regime of former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, have tried to prevent the interference of Saudi Arabia and some other members of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council in their country’s internal affairs.
Saudi Arabia was behind preparing the condition to impose Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh, on the Yemeni nation as a president, without holding a general election.
On the other hand, the fact that the Yemeni government institutions remained intact as they used to before the revolution meant a blatant confiscation of the Yemeni revolution. This prompted Ansarullah revolutionaries to initiate measures against Saudi elements in the new government of Yemen in 2014.
However, Saudi Arabia has become greatly concerned with the penetration of Ansarullah in Yemen’s power structure and has been trying to interfere in Yemen’s internal affairs and isolate and marginalize the Ansarullah movement.
The Saudi regime holds the idea that the Houthis, for their inclination toward the Shia school of Islam, are an offspring of Iran. This is while the Houthis are an integral part of Yemen’s social structure.
Houthis in Yemen make up 15 percent of the 15 million population of Zeidis, who exercise dramatic influence in northern Yemen. However, Saudi Arabia tries to drive this massive group out of the power structure.
From 2004 through to 2010, Saudi Arabia, enjoying the support of the former regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh, organized six land and aerial assaults against Houthis, in which thousands of Houthis were killed.
During these assaults, Saudis used chemical weapons against the Houthi population. However, due to the Saudis’ financial and economic influence, the international community, particularly human rights organizations, showed no reaction to the Saudis’ use of weapons of mass destruction.
This gave rise to the objections of the Ansarullah, the political wing of Houthis, against Saudis’ military and political interference in Yemen’s internal affairs.
The situation in the Arab country seems to be deteriorating seven months into the internal crisis and the interference of Saudi Arabia and some members of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council in the country’s internal affairs.
The presence of the Israeli regime’s warplanes along Saudi Arabia’s fighter jets for the bombardment of Yemeni people has prepared the ground for the region to enter into a brand new crisis.
Should this crisis pass beyond Yemen’s borders and should Saudi Arabia keep interfering in Yemen militarily, it is certain that Yemen would turn into a new Vietnam for the region, with the international community unlikely to be able to put a stop to such a crisis.