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Yemen falling out of Saudis' grasp

Saudi Arabia is struggling to form an effective Yemen strategy as its three main adversaries — the Shiite Houthis, al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood — continue to dominate the Yemeni arena.
Shi'ite Houthi rebels drive a patrol truck past a Ansar al-Sharia flag painted on the side of a hill, along a road in Almnash, the main stronghold of Ansar al-Sharia, in Rada November 22, 2014. Shi'ite Houthi fighters recently managed to enter the area, which had long been the main stronghold of Ansar al-Sharia, the local wing of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Picture taken November 22, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi (YEMEN - Tags: CIVIL UNREST TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY CONFLICT) - RTR4F880

Although Khaled Bahah's government obtained the confidence of Yemen's parliament in December and officially started carrying out its duties, the political and military situation in Yemen is getting worse and more complex, as a result of the growing power of Islamist (Shiite and Sunni) militants. It's the last thing that Saudi Arabia would have hoped for, after its alliance with Yemen’s main tribes broke down.

Besides the traditional dangers that Saudi security has been facing across its border with Yemen for decades, such as weapon and drug smuggling and even infiltration and people smuggling, the sharp rise of the Houthis’ Ansar Allah militia is a new danger threatening southern regions of Saudi Arabia. This is especially true since gains made by the Houthis and their military control over the Hajjah governorate, 123 kilometers (76 miles) northwest of Sanaa, is adjacent to the Saudi border. This prompted the Saudis to declare a state of military alert on its border with Yemen in October 2014.

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