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.