The Saudi war on the Shiite Houthis in Yemen and deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh united both a competitive royal family, plagued by hidden rivalries, and a divided nation. On March 26, Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes on Yemen after obtaining the support of all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, with the exception of Oman, to back military action. Hours after the strikes, the Saudis announced that other Arab countries, including Egypt and Morocco, and Pakistan would join the military effort to halt the Houthi expansion toward Aden and return elected Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to his seat in Sanaa, now under the control of the Houthis. Washington gave its blessing and the Saudis announced that a joint operations room was set up to oversee airstrikes.
Saudi Arabia is pursuing an aggressive military interventionist policy in the Arabian Peninsula. Its first attempt was in 2011, when about 1,000 troops moved into Bahrain under the umbrella of the GCC Desert Shield to support the Al-Khalifa rulers against a peaceful uprising, inspired by the wave of protests in the Arab world.