Yemen’s Information Minister has declared an “attempted coup” by Shia Houthi rebels and says Government have lost control over the country.
The Shia Houthi rebels (backed by Hizbollah) have surrounded the Presidential Palace in Yemen.
Hopes of a cease-fire deal have faded as the situation has escalated in the last 24 hours.
The Telegraph reports:
While the West was transfixed by jihadi beheadings of hostages in Syria last autumn, another history-shaking episode in the breakdown of the Arab world was playing out 1,500 miles away.
Western leaders hardly seemed to notice. But a once obscure Shia Muslim rebel movement known as the Houthis swept from the north into Yemen’s picture-postcard capital Sana’a, barging aside the US- and UK-backed army, and seized effective control.
Any thought that this was a random event in a country whose politics and feuds have always had the capacity to baffle its own people, let alone outsiders, was set aside with a single statement.
An Iranian politician close to that country’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, could not contain himself. Ali Reza Zakani, an MP, boasted that Sana’a was now the fourth Arab capital in Iranian hands – after Beirut (through Hizbollah), Damascus (through President Assad) and Baghdad (through Iraq’s democratically elected Shia-led government).
The extent to which Iran physically armed the Houthis is disputed, though a ship carrying weapons apparently from Iran was seized in Yemeni waters two years ago.