Saudi Arabia’s “Decisive Storm” offensive against the takeover of Yemen, in defiance of Iran, has established the kingdom as the leader of the Arab world. So reports Virginia-based Defensenews.com.
Saudi Arabia has launched a series of intense air attacks, with the help of several other Arab countries, to fight off the Iranian-backed Houthi take-over of Yemen. Saudi sources said that its objectives for this first stage of the offensive – mainly, the destruction of most or all Houthi air power – have been achieved.
Saudi analysts say the launch of Decisive Storm this past Thursday has been in preparation for months, since the accession of Salman Bin Abdul Aziz to the throne of Saudi Arabia. His predecessor, King Sahd, was crowned the new king of Saudi Arabia two months ago, following the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah.
“This operation is a very significant move by Saudi,” Defense Newsquoted regional political analyst Ali Shihabi as saying. “First of all, it addresses Saudi public opinion, which was becoming increasingly worried about Iranian power surrounding the kingdom, and the perceived Saudi impotence in the face of it, and the fact that the US is pulling back from the region, thus leaving the arena free for Iran to expand its influence. So the fact that Saudi took aggressive action now is a source of wide public satisfaction within the kingdom.”
“Such a proactive policy is not in traditional Saudi style,” Shihabi continued, “and I think these two younger leaders [Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef and Defense Minister Prince Muhammad bin Salman] played the key role in pushing for it.”
The intelligence gathering over the past several months for the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen has been supported by US forces in the region, said Mustafa Alani, director of the military and security program at the Gulf Research Center. “The ISR capabilities needed for targeting are not present with the member countries of the coalition, but have been provided by the US,” he said. The US has also helped out in the protection of the Gulf of Aden and the strait of Bab el-Mandab, according to US Central Command Commander Gen. Lloyd Austin.
The current operation aims to destroy current Yemeni airpower, which was taken over by the Iranian-backed Houthis, then to establish air superiority and take complete control over the area.
The Iranian response has been one of shock, according to Alireza Nourizadeh, director of the London-based Center for Arab Iranian Studies. “I have been informed by sources in the Iranian government that the Iranian defense council met in disarray at 3 a.m. Tehran time Thursday morning on receiving news of the airstrikes,” he said. “The Iranian intelligence services did not even anticipate such a strike, as the national television channels, only hours before the strikes began, were reporting news of the Houthi factions controlling the city of Aden in the south, and that President Hadi fled the country.”
Saudi sources said that another sign of the kingdom’s leadership role in the Middle East, at the expense of Iran, was the recent foreign policy reversal by Sudan. A former ally of Iran, “Sudan has changed its foreign policy since February,” a UAE government source told Defense News, “and stepped much closer to the Gulf countries,” such as Saudi Arabia.
Defense News, a global newsweekly on politics, business and defense technology, says it “circulates to top leaders and decision-makers around the world.”
Source: Israel National News