Saudi bombing raids will continue in Yemen until rebels ‘withdraw and surrender their weapons’: Arab League

Saudi-led bombing raids will continue in Yemen until Shia insurgents who have taken control of swathes of the country “withdraw and surrender their weapons,” the Arab League said Sunday.

Officials from Sunni Arab states, attending a summit in the Egyptian city of Sharm el Sheikh, also announced plans to set up a joint reaction force to tackle uprisings in the region.

The summit was attended by Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Yemen’s president, who fled last week after Iranian-backed fighters known as the Houthis captured the capital Sana’a and closed in on his final stronghold in the south. Saudi Arabia has led air strikes against Houthi positions since Wednesday night, expanding its coalition of allies to include several Sunni states, and attracting logistical support from Britain and the United States. Yemen’s Houthi-controlled health ministry said the bombing killed 35 people on Saturday night.

Nabil Elaraby, the secretary-general of the Arab League, said Yemen had been “on the brink of the abyss”, and that the military operation had been the only option left “to end the Houthi coup.”

Although Yemen’s conflict is the product of long standing, localised grievances, it is morphing into a sectarian proxy war between two of the Middle East’s biggest powers, the Sunni monarchs of Saudi Arabia and the Shia mullahs of Iran. Also playing a role is Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s former president, who has directed loyalist army units to support the Houthis. He was ousted from the leadership after the 2011 Arab Spring.

Full article: Saudi bombing raids will continue in Yemen until rebels ‘withdraw and surrender their weapons’: Arab League (Vancouver Sun)

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