Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Hezbollah's Friends in Yemen Are Trying to Lure the Saudis Into a Ground War

| June 11, 2015

The Houthi rebels are using the playbook that foiled Israel during the 2006 war in Lebanon.

For over two months now, Saudi Arabia has been leading an intense air campaign in Yemen against the Houthis, a Shiite movement that Riyadh sees as a dangerous Iranian proxy on its southern border. Yet despite thousands of airstrikes, the Saudi military operation has yielded anything but a decisive victory. The mission that started off as Operation Decisive Storm has failed to decisively alter the balance of power in Yemen, reinstall exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, or wrest the capital of Sanaa from Houthi control.

If anything, the Saudi campaign bears a remarkable similarity to Israel's 2006 war against the Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah. That conflict also laid bare the limitations of air power in a war against an elusive guerilla organization: Israel, despite launching 12,000 air raids over a 34-day period, failed to stop Hezbollah from firing daily rocket barrages and paralyzing all of northern Israel. Nearly a decade later, Hezbollah remains a formidable foe and the most powerful actor in Lebanon....

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Sobelman, Daniel.“Hezbollah's Friends in Yemen Are Trying to Lure the Saudis Into a Ground War.” Foreign Policy, June 11, 2015.

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