SHAFAQNA – Adam Lester, an analyst with the Brooking Center told Shafaqna in a phone interview this Wednesday he believes developments in Yemen will act a domino effect in the region and lead to the end of Saudi Arabia’s hegemony in the Middle East. “Looking at events in Yemen, Syria and Iraq it has become abundantly clear that Tehran’s policy and network of allies is growing bigger and stronger by the day.”
He added, “Iran has become an essential cog in the Middle East make up. I would actually argue that western powers need Iran to bring back balance and stability to the region. Without Tehran it is likely the region will fall into the hands of ISIS and Al Qaeda. Looking again at Syria and Iraq, Iran’ support to Baghdad and Damascus has helped turned the tide against ISIS. In Yemen, the Houthis have gained against radical elements of Al Islah party and those tribes which have aligned themselves to Al Qaeda.”
Lester anticipates Saudi Arabia will attempt to escalate tensions in Aden – former capital of South Yemen – in view of regaining control over the world oil route. “Riyadh will be very concern Tehran and its regional allies might use Bab El Mandeb to choke the kingdom and force western powers to bow to its political will.”
And indeed, sources in Saudi Arabia have warned that King Salman is considering a military incursion into north Yemen, into Houthis territory to break the group’s impetus in the south and allow the opposition to gather its strength.
But Lester believes such plan will only bring about the fall of Al Saud. “Saudi arabia might have billions of petrodollars but it does not have a army … only mercenaries. Besides Washington and the UNSC made already clear they wish to broker a deal with Sana’a not start a regional war.”
He further emphasized, “You will note that the Egyptian Foreign Minister already refuted claims that Cairo would send boots on the ground to fight the Houthis. And since Egypt is pretty much Riyadh’s guard dog in the region I think it is evident no foreign military intervention will take place.”
Although developments in Yemen remains very fluid it appears today that the balance of power has tilted in favor of Iran and against Saudi Arabia.
“This is actually a good thing. Iran has always favored diplomacy and political cooperation over military intervention and soft imperialism, so we could see a new Middle East arise from this chaos. Of course neo-cons in Washington will argue Iran is the root of all evil but in all objectivity, Saudi Arabia has become too much of a liability for us to ignore. Change in this case will be for the better I believe.”