Saudis End Bombing Campaign in Yemen

They say it worked, but facts on the ground suggest otherwise
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2015 5:35 PM CDT
Saudis End Bombing Campaign in Yemen
Smoke rises after a Saudi-led airstrike hit a site in Yemen's capital, Sanaa.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Saudi Arabia has ended its month-long bombing campaign of rebels trying to take over neighboring Yemen, reports Reuters. Saudi officials say the air campaign conducted by it and other Arab nations had achieved its goal of keeping Houthi militants out of power. But the BBC notes that the rebels—widely believed to be backed by Iran—are still very much a force and are still advancing. Plus, the air campaign did not achieve another stated goal of restoring the exiled Yemeni government of Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. He remains out of the country.

So why did the Saudis end the campaign? One theory is "back-channel negotiations" with nemesis Iran that might result in peace talks, reports the New York Times. The newspaper notes that an Iranian official predicted a cease-fire a few hours before the Saudi announcement. Another theory is that the US and other Western nations pressured Saudi Arabia to ease up because of the heavy civilian casualties from the airstrikes. Either way, the Saudis reserved the right to keep military options on the table. (More Saudi Arabia stories.)

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