Saudi-Arabia Goes to Battle: The US-Iran Strategy Under Pressure

03/30/2015 03:34 pm ET | Updated May 27, 2015

Yemen is not the ideal country for foreigners to intervene in. It was in 1962, when a Sunni general, Abdallah Sallal, brought down the Shi'ite Imam Al Badr, called upon Egypt of Gamal Abd Al Nasser to come to his help, and the rest is history. Nasser lost his aura as the undisputed leader of the Arab world, and finally in 1965 he called his troops back. Two years later came the disaster of the June 1967 war. The Wahabbis of Saudi Arabia then supported the Shi'ite Imam because they did not want a revolutionary pro-Egyptian regime on their door step. Today they do not want a revolutionary Shi'ite regime on their doorstep. They do not want Iran, and unlike the early 1960s, today they view the danger presented by the Houtis Zaidi Shi'is, helped by Iran, as an existential threat, so they send their air force and threaten to send ground forces.

Some clarifications are needed before we get to the REAL story here; this is surely not the last fallout of the emerging American-Iranian rapprochement. First, while the Zaidis represent a version of Sh'ia Islam different than the Twelfth Shi'ism of Iran, the latter are up in arms to help them, as much as they do the Alawites of Syria, as part of the grand strategy to create a Shi'ite crescent in the Middle East; in fact an Iranian-dominated sphere of interest. Second, the Saudis are terrified by this expansionist plan, and they are certain that the next in line are the 2 million Shi'ites of the Hasa Province in Eastern Saudi Arabia. When the Shi'ite majority revolted in Bahrain, the Saudis intervened there in force. Third, the Saudis will hesitate before sending ground troops to Yemen. This is because they do not have such troops and they may need them in the Kingdom itself, and then they remember the lessons of Egypt in the 1960's. So will President Al Sisi be careful before sending ground troops to help his Saudi allies and financial supporters? If, however, the Saudis and Egyptians are tempted to send such troops, it may indicate the gravity with which they view the situation, but without doing that, they will face the same dilemma as the Americans face with regard to ISIS, which is how to defeat well-entrenched ground forces, without a ground campaign....

The Yemen war is taking place as part of the "Great Game" in the Middle East, which is Iran and the US [???], versus the rest. The issue at stake is Sunnis vs. Shi'ites, the Iranian nuclear program and the impending agreement with the US and its allies is the great shadow hovering over it all, and the pawns on the ground are the various Shi'ite militias operated by Iran in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The same with the Sunni forces fighting them. On the ground, the immediate loser is the US, which lost its intelligence infrastructure in Yemen, as well as the large arms shipments to the Yemeni army. But the American loss is more than just that. It is developing into a strategic debacle, as not one of America's allies in the Middle East has any clue where the US is heading to. Arab and Palestinian colleagues told me directly that the American policy towards Iran, including the deepening rift with Israel, seems to destroy American credibility, rather than pleasing the Arab world. Sure, the Arabs are not too unhappy to see Netanyahu sweating in an effort to prevent the deterioration of relations with the US, but they think first and foremost about themselves. If the US deals like that with President Mubarak in 2011, and with Israel now, who is next in line? The Saudis think that they may be the ones, and they do not like it, and this is to put it very mildly. Al Sisi as well, and so does even President Erdoghan of Turkey, who evoked the other day the old, traditional suspicion of Sunni Turkey towards Shi'ite Iran. Whether some planners in DC view it this way or not, they are arousing too many sleeping dogs and increasingly motivate those who are already roaring with fear and suspicion And in the background lurking Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel.

Free advice from here to him: the best tactics for you right now in dealing with Iran and the impending agreement is not to deal with it... yes, keep mum about it, let the Arabs do the job against it and against Iranian expansionism, and let the impossible current American strategy run into the inevitable limbo that is awaiting her. The work of righteous people, as Judaism teaches us, is done sometimes by others.