So much for the truce in Yemen. As Reuters reports:
Air raids, naval shelling and ground fighting shook Yemen on Sunday in some of the most widespread combat since a Saudi-led alliance intervened last month against Iranian-allied Houthi militia who have seized large tracts of the country.
There were at least five air strikes on military positions and an area near the presidential palace compound in the Houthi-held capital Sanaa at dawn on Sunday, while warships pounded an area near the port of the southern city of Aden, residents said.
Far from being over, the fighting seems in some ways to have escalated: the Sunni militias are reportedly using tanks and Katyusha rockets for the first time, and seem to have made progress around the city of Taiz.
In response to these developments, a spokesman for Iran’s navy said that the vessels it had sent two weeks ago to “combat piracy” would remain in the Gulf of Aden for at least several months. The United States sent the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt to the Gulf of Aden last week in response to intelligence indicating that an Iranian flotilla had set out to arm the Houthi rebels. That flotilla turned back, but Iran’s naval vessels will linger.
As if the standoff at sea wasn’t dangerous enough, Iran is openly taunting Saudi Arabia. A high-ranking Iranian general said Iran hopes and expects to see the Saudi family fall any day now, and, in the most devastating of insults, accused the Kingdom of “following the path of Israel.” The Ayatollah himself made a similar remark in a recent speech, his first open attack on the Sunni monarchy.
As it happens, the Kingdom is pretty much on the same page as Israel, at least when it comes to Iran. Both goggle at a U.S. Administration that tries to haggle over nukes while letting Iran run loose in their backyard. Now Tehran gloats while dragging out the nuclear negotiations and torching the Kingdom’s deck chairs. Has the Obama Administration seen the error of its ways and pulled back towards balancing the Sunnis against Iran’s regional ambitions? One can only hope.