In a microcosm of the Middle East, Sunni and Shiite worlds are colliding in Yemen with brutal force. Saudi Arabia, in a coalition with other Sunni nations, is leading a military campaign against the Shiite Houthi militia, which is backed financially and militarily by Iran, the region’s leading Shiite power.
The United States supports the Saudi-led effort to oust Houthi rebels and allow the return of the internationally recognized government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
But this is not only about a limited conflict in one nation’s civil war. Attacks by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen – on the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula – is a declaration of war to Iran.
The Saudis and their allies want to prevent Islamic State terrorists – which already control parts of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq – from adding another country to their sphere of influence. Also, it does not want the power vacuum in Yemen filled by the Iranians.