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Houthi victories in Yemen make Saudi Arabia nervous

The rapid victories of the Shiite Houthi group in Yemen make Saudi Arabia worry that Iran is surrounding the kingdom.
Followers of the Shi'ites Houthi group shout slogans as they celebrate Eid al-Ghadir in Sanaa October 12, 2014. The celebration marks al-Ghadir day, a day Shi'ites believe Prophet Muhammad nominated his cousin, Imam Ali, to be his successor. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah (YEMEN - Tags: RELIGION ANNIVERSARY) - RTR49UNU

It’s the House of Saud’s worse nightmare come true. The stunning success of the Zaydi Houthi rebellion in Yemen places a Shiite group with connections to Iran on the soft underbelly of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, erasing years of Saudi efforts to stabilize Yemen and keep it in the Saudi orbit.

The Zaydi Houthi movement, which calls itself Ansar Allah, took control of the capital, Sanaa, in September and now has taken control of the main northern port of the country at Hodeida. The Houthis have expanded far beyond their traditional stronghold in the north of Yemen around Saada near the Saudi border to take control of much of northern Yemen. They are dictating who and what they will accept in the nominal government of Yemen. They rejected President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s first choice for a new prime minister, and rejected his requests that they evacuate Sanaa and return to their bases in the north.

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