Forty-eight people were killed and 182 injured in the Yemeni port city of Aden on Sunday, with Iran-backed Houthi fighters taking the blame.
The Houthis are a group of Shia Muslims which are prominent in the north of Yemen, who captured the capital Sanaa in a February coup which saw president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi flee to Saudi Arabia. The ensuing conflict has led to the deaths of over 3500 people, many of which from Aden. However the Saudi-led assault had thought to have recaptured the city, to such an extent that Hadi announced that it had been “liberated.” But unfortunately for everyone involved, that was not the case.
Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh is in league with the Houthis, but the Saudis also suspect that Iran, a Shia state and long time adversary to Saudi Arabia, is arming fighters to exacerbate the conflict. Iran has of course denied this, but there appears to be enough evidence to at least question that claim.
In any case, if Iran is sponsoring a proxy war on its rival’s back door, it could become yet another pawn in destabilizing the region. Furthermore, the fight with the Houthis is only benefiting Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in addition to Saudi Arabia and Iran’s common enemy of Islamic State, both of which are present in Yemen. They want chaos to coat the region, allowing for more recruits to add to their ranks, in addition to weaker foes to defeat.
And if things continue the way they are, that is exactly what they’ll get.