The deaths of at least 1,000 Yemenis, including 115 children, and over 3,500 injuries has seemingly been the main result of the Saudi-led military strikes against the country. The conventional wisdom of these attacks on Yemen has been that it is the latest battlefield in a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Such portrayals of the conflict often frame Iran as the aggressor, parroting claims that Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen was somehow forced due to Iranian meddling in its backyard. However, such assertions ignore not just the realities of Yemen’s internal politics, but also more than a little bit of history.
As the Yemen attack shows, Saudi Arabia’s regional strategy is bent on using Iran as a scapegoat to justify its ownaggressive policies. These policies appear geared at maintaining and expanding uncompromising Saudi hegemony across the Arabian Peninsula and the Middle East. However, by aiming to preserve authoritarian governance in Yemen and further marginalizing vast segments of Yemeni society, Saudi Arabia is only damaging its own interests and opening the door for violence to spill over into its own territory. The Saudis should be cognizant that, just as it is with other crises in the Middle East, the only solution to the Yemeni conflict is a political solution based on addressing the concerns of all parties involved.
“Is Iran really to blame for Yemen conflict?” Hossein Mousavian, Al Monitor, May 8, 2015.