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Operation Decisive Storm / Determined Storm

Warplanes from Saudi Arabia and its allies bombed key Yemen military installations seized by the Shi'ite Muslim rebels seeking to overthrow Yemen's president. The attacks on the Houthi rebels, which began 25 March 2015 at the urging of internationally backed Yemeni leader Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, drew angry reaction from Iran and raised fears across the region. Iran supports the Houthi rebels, who follow a similar form of Shia Islam. The Islamic Its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told Iranian TV that "the Saudi-led airstrikes should stop immediately, because it is against Yemen's sovereignty."

Since Saudi Arabia was founded in the 1930s, its leaders tried to keep a friendly regime in power in Yemen and to prevent it from posing a threat to Saudi interests. That often meant meddling in Yemen’s internal politics, keeping populist movements in check, using guest workers as leverage, buying off tribal leaders and occasional military interventions. While the Saudis are quick to label the Houthis as Iranian proxies, it’s unclear how much support they receive from Tehran.

Several other Gulf states also joined in the military operation. The action involved 100 Saudi jets, 30 from the United Arab Emirates, 15 each from Kuwait and Bahrain, 10 from Qatar, and a handful from Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, plus naval help from Pakistan and Egypt. Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates issued a joint statement with the Saudis saying they were protecting Yemen against "Houthi aggression." In Egypt, Arab foreign ministers meeting in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh agreed on a draft resolution to form a joint military force, according to Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby. The development came as the Arab League pledged full support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.

Jordan, Egypt and Sudan confirmed their forces were taking part in the airstrike campaign. The state-run Saudi Press Agency said Morocco had pledged to join as well, while the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya network said Saudi Arabia itself was committing 150,000 troops and 100 warplanes.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised a "strong response" to any threat to Saudi Arabia's integrity. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told France 24 television that Turkey “may consider providing logistical support based on the evolution of the situation.... Iran and the terrorist groups must withdraw from Yemen".

The White House said the United States is coordinating with the Saudi-led military coalition and providing "logistical and intelligence support," but not taking direct military action.

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi arrived in Saudi Arabia on March 26 at a Riyadh air base and was met by the Saudi defense minister. Hadi, a close US ally, fled Yemen as rebel fighters neared his refuge in the southern city of Aden on March 25.

Pakistan — Saudi Arabia's longtime ally — said 27 March 2015 it had not yet decided to join the coalition. Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told parliament Islamabad is ready to defend Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity "at any cost," but does not want to involve itself in a sectarian war.

The coalition said 28 March 2015 it was in full control of Yemen's airspace after destroying almost all ground-to-air missiles in the Houthis' arsenal around Aden and Sana'a. Reports from Aden itself, however, told of chaotic conditions on the ground, with looters pillaging government facilities and some Yemeni troops switching their allegiance to the rebels.

By 01 April 2015 naval operations were continuing upon schedule since the deployment of the coalition forces’ warships to carry out a maritime blockade. The warships had already completed positioning, logistical deployment and monitoring the seaports and islands lying in the Yemeni territorial waters, while the Naval Forces’ Helicopters were monitoring, also, the movements of all lunches into and out of Yemeni coasts.

On 02 April 2015 the US announced it was sending American refueling planes to assist Saudi aircraft. "We have given [US Central Command] the authority to do tanking," a senior military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters. The decision came with a few caveats. Any refueling will take place outside of Yemeni airspace, and the Saudi Arabian government is expected to reimburse the US for any assistance it requests.

The US had been providing satellite and aircraft intelligence for the campaign, which has helped coalition forces monitor the movement of the rebels, according to the official.

Islah Party [Yemeni Rally for Reform], the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen, issued a statement 04 April 2015 announcing support for ongoing operation Decisive Storm led by Saudi Arabia and coalition countries to restore security and stability in Yemen, placing on the Houthis and their allies full responsibility for the crisis. "The Houthis' vanity and belligerence led them to execute a coup against legitimacy, imposing house arrest on the legitimate elected President as well as the head and members of the technocrat government agreed upon. They also disrupted state institutions' official business and invaded and took control of various areas."

Pakistan’s parliament on April 10, 2015 unanimously approved a resolution promising the country will stay neutral in the conflict in Yemen, despite Saudi requests for Islamabad to participate in the coalition fighting Shi’ite Houthi rebels. The parliament reiterated Pakistan’s determination to defend Saudi Arabia against any threat to its territorial integrity.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution on 14 April 2015 imposing an arms embargo on Yemen's Houthi rebel chief, Abdul Malik al-Houthi and other rebel leaders. The council also demanded humanitarian aid for civilians. The resolution was put to vote by Jordan in the Security Council in New York on Tuesday and was approved by 14 countries in the 15-member council. Russia, an ally of Iran which is accused of supporting the Shiite Houthis, abstained from the vote, arguing for an arms embargo on all warring factions.

After almost a month of relentless air strikes, Saudi Arabia said it had wrapped up its bombing campaign in Yemen. Saudi Arabia said Operation Decisive Storm had successfully responded to the appeal of the Yemini government and achieved its objectives, including:

  1. The protection of Yemen from a takeover by Houthi militias and their allies.
  2. The security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries, especially from ballistic missiles and heavy weapons captured by the Houthi militias and their allies.
  3. The neutralization of most of the military capabilities of the Houthi militias and their allies that represented a threat to Yemen and neighboring countries.
  4. The prevention of the flow of weapons from outside of Yemen into the country.
  5. The protection of the legitimate government and its ability to conduct its affairs.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, said 22April 2015 the bombing campaign had achieved its primary objectives. "We destroyed the air force; we destroyed their ballistic missiles as far as we know; we destroyed their command and control; we destroyed much, if not most, of their heavy equipment and we made it very difficult for them to move from a strategic perspective," al-Jubeir said. "So we have degraded their capabilities substantially and thereby eliminated the threat that they posed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the process ensured the safety of our borders, our territory and our citizens," he added.

Commanders hailed Operation Decisive Storm a victory, saying they've achieved their goals. However, they declared a new Operation Renewal of Hope. Riyadh said it will be aimed at protecting civilians and fighting terrorists. At least 944 people had been killed and 3,487 injured during the month-long conflict in Yemen, World Health Organization reported 21 April 2015.

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Page last modified: 23-04-2015 20:19:12 ZULU