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No end to Yemen war in sight as Saudi Arabia, Iran lock horns

The war in Yemen drags on even as it continues to bleed Saudi Arabia while increasing international pressure on Iran.
Saudi soldiers stand in line at an airfield where Saudi military cargo planes land to deliver aid in Marib, Yemen January 26, 2018. Picture taken January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser - RC1D0C8D9D00

As the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen nears its third year, the war doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon. The internal strife between Iranian-backed Ansar Allah, more commonly known as the Houthi movement, and the Saudi-supported government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is no longer at the core of the struggle. Rather, the center lies in the heart of the broader confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. In this battle, the Saudis are ready to raise the stakes and continue their war even as the desired outcome remains elusive. Meanwhile, the Iranians are much more comfortable seeing their bitter rivals drowning in the Yemeni quagmire. At the same time, Iran is coming under international pressure that is bringing its ballistic missile program under scrutiny.

While many might ask whether Tehran and Riyadh might one day head toward a win-win regional settlement, the outcome of the Yemeni war is proving day after day that both sides are not winning but are rather mired in a lose-lose situation that is draining the two regional powers in different arenas. Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia is the one paying more money and is directly involved in the war, while Iran’s main cost in Yemen is the additional international pressure for backing its Ansar Allah allies with weaponry and expertise without being directly involved in the fight.

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