Alwaght- Since decades ago and up to now Yemen has been an area of influence for Saudi Arabia, and has been of great significance for Riyadh. During all these decades Saudi Arabia intervened in the internal affairs of the neighboring Yemen. Riyadh brought under its influence an array of movements and groups inside Yemen. Although, Yemen does not have considerable energy resources to supply Saudi Arabia with, holding a sway in the neighboring country is important for the kingdom in terms of prestige and legitimacy of the ruling Al Saud family. Meanwhile, the Saudis see Iran's role in Yemen as coming with the aim of utter saber rattling, an effort for strategic encirclement of Saudi Arabia, and also a threat to existence of this Persian Gulf Arab state.
According to Khaled Fattah, a researcher at Carnegie Middle East Center, the Saudi Arabian intelligence and security services consider Yemen as the weakest line of the security chain of the Arabian Peninsula and thus an easy prey for the Iranian sway and manipulation. Although Saudi Arabia and the Arab allies took this as a justification for their military campaign in Yemen, their military operation so far proved unsuccessful, and only imposed heavy burden of war costs on them. In fact, the Saudi airstrikes at Yemen have only sent the humanitarian crisis even further deteriorated, and left many people died as a result of bombing taking place on a daily basis. Most of the victims are the civilians.
The kingdom's anti-Yemeni struggles have so far failed to yield any outcomes for Riyadh, however, some experts suggest that the US needs to support this Saudi Arabian policy to confront the Islamic Republic of Iran in the region. But let's remove the counter-Iranian policy of Riyadh; then what is Saudi Arabia's goal in Yemen?
At the present time, Yemen is a bankrupt country. With a population of over 25 million that the below 25-year-old people account for 60 percent of it, Yemen is a poor country with no essential natural energy resources. A series of factors including war, unemployment, drug addiction, and poor health conditions have pushed the Yemenis to seek migration to other countries, and at worst this can allure the youths into joining the terrorist groups. The neighboring Saudi Arabia is a natural destination of the Yemeni immigrants, as well as the terrorists. This means that economically dominating Yemen not only is not profitable for Riyadh but also the ongoing war and devastation in Yemen would pose security challenges to the Arab kingdom.
At the same time, since 2007, there have been efforts to push Yemen be part of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, or (P) GCC for short. Once Yemen joins the Council and Ansarullah movement as a key side of the conflict wins the war, the absolute loser would be Riyadh because entry of Yemen's Ansarullah to the (P) GCC would mean weakening of position of the kingdom in its backyard. Considering this situation, the Saudi policy in Yemen only further deteriorates the country's conditions. The conflict conditions so far displaced a large number of the Yemenis from their country or dragged them into extremism. So, the policy of Saudi kingdom is not in compliance with its strategic objectives and in fact has so far backfired.
In such conditions, the Saudis argue that their major push for their military intervention in Yemen is Iran's entry to the backyard of Saudi Arabia. Actually, Riyadh has continuously focused on two main factors for starting the war: religion and politics. The kingdom believes that the conflict in Yemen is a religious war that would refashion the balance of power between the Shiites and Sunnis. Politically, the Saudi policy hopes to contain Tehran’s influence in the Arab world and stop expansion of Iran in the region. The Saudi leaders think that if Ansarullah is not checked, it would turn into another Hezbollah this time in their backyard. These reasons are given while Tehran’s ties with Yemen's Ansarullah are not similar to its ties with Lebanon’s Hezbollah. In fact, the Islamic Republic does not directly support the Yemeni resistant movement. However, the closeness of thinking of Ansarullah to the ideologies of Iran's Islamic Revolution and the ideas of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Imam Khomeini as well as having potentials from decades of experience, strategic understanding of the country's conditions, the organizational structure, and military knowledge have turned Ansarullah into a nightmare for Al Saud. Having popular backing and relying on democratic values, Ansarullah is shouldering the responsibility for leading the Yemeni people's revolution close to the Saudi borders.
Therefore, while Tehran is adopting a policy of avoiding direct intervention in Yemen, the Saudis' understanding of Iran's intervention in Yemen can provide them with the needed excuses for launching aggression against the neighboring country. But the key reason for Saudi campaign in Yemen is not the so-called interventions of Tehran but are the struggles of the kingdom to put out the sparks of popular uprisings in the region, and particularly in Yemen. In fact, the Saudis are well aware of the results of success of the Yemeni revolution and also aware of its possibility of outspread to Saudi Arabia and other monarchies of the Arab Peninsula. In other words, they feared that the successful revolution turns into a pattern for their communities, something provoked them to form a military coalition and start their aggression against the Yemenis.
Therefore, while spiritual supports of the Islamic Republic of Iran for Ansarullah-led Yemen's revolution cannot be disregarded, it shouldn't be ignored that what at the end of the road brings forth success for the Yemeni resistance over the Saudis is their revolutionary, ideological, and anti-arrogance spirit in the face of Saudi aggressors.