Fate had it that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died on the same day that the Houthis seized authority in Yemen after it secured their control over the important state institutions and strategic sites. They did so with the cooperation of ousted President Abdullah Saleh and, perhaps, even Saudi and Emirati support, as claimed by some analysts at the beginning of the crisis months ago; the aim was to topple the government formed by Al-Islah Party, which is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
This has been going on within the context of the fierce battle against the Muslim Brotherhood in every country in the region. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have spent billions of dollars to overthrow the Brotherhood government in Egypt; of course, they did not imagine that matters would go so far as they did. They had only aimed to silence the Islamic movement, which is an effective force in the Muslim world and poses a threat to their thrones and Saudi Arabia’s authority over Sunni Muslims. As far as Yemen is concerned, the government in Riyadh has viewed matters from a short-term perspective, which it usually does when it comes to any issue concerning the Arabs and Muslims. As such, the Saudis did not realise that toppling the Muslim Brotherhood would clear the way for Iran and the Islamic State (ISIS) on its doorstep, and that their country would face a military threat on its border with Iraq.
Saudi polices are behind the current situation, following its decision to allow US aircraft to use its air space to bomb Baghdad and open its borders for the American army to invade a neighbouring Arab country. It did not learn its lesson from Iraq, which the Americans more or less handed over to Iran. Now Yemen is being handed over to the government in Tehran on a platter as well due to Riyadh’s political foolishness and lack of vision. Meanwhile, Iran is dealing with the situation smartly, skilfully and patiently, the way that its artisans hand-craft their carpets, while Saudi prefers to make carpets with machines.
Now the Houthis are on the northern border of Yemen, to all intents and purposes this means that Iran is on Saudi Arabia’s southern border; ISIS in Iraq, of course, is on the kingdom’s northern border. At the same time, Iran has a presence in Lebanon in the form of Hezbollah and is now also in Syria, the revolution of which Saudi also sabotaged and tried to thwart because it was being led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
So what are the Gulf leaders going to do? Will they, as usual, turn to the US for protection from the monster that has invaded and expanded in their countries? It is a monster that aims to dominate the region and which has the power, skill and cleverness to do so, although it prefers to do so slowly and patiently, just as it has done over the past 36 years since the success of the Islamic revolution under Khomeini.
“They plot, but Allah (also) plots; and Allah is the best of plotters.” Saudi Arabia will weep from now on until God plans otherwise.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.