Arab League backs Saudi military operation
At its summit meeting on Saturday in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Arab League backed the Saudi-led military operation against Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen. Commentators warn that the war could spread through the entire region and suspect the developments in Yemen are connected to the nuclear talks with Iran.
Yemen is a powder keg
The fight against the Houthi rebels led by the Saudi Arabian coalition in Yemen poses a threat to the stability of the entire region, the tabloid newspaper IItalehti writes: "If the fighting intensifies and the participants get more help from abroad, the consequences will be unforeseeable. A key question is how the IS and al-Qaeda terrorist organisations react. They are both Sunni and therefore in principle on the same side as the Yemeni government, President Hadi and the US. It is also to be feared that the terrorist organisations will use the civil war for their own purposes and perhaps engage in acts of war. But while the others suffer from the repercussions of the war, they could also draw fresh impetus from it. However the most ominous question is how Iran will react if the Houthi rebels are left facing defeat. This is above all a fight for dominance of the region in which the other states are weak."
Intervention with a high risk factor
The intervention of the military coalition in Yemen bears a political and humanitarian risk, the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warns: "Should [the new Saudi King Salman] prove unable to reinstate the deposed president Hadi and to push back Iran, it would be an embarrassing start to his rule. Is it a coincidence that Saudi-Arabia is intervening in Yemen just as the negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme enter their decisive round? If the conflict in Yemen drags on for months, the civil war, as in Syria, would create millions of refugees. And they would have just one destination: Saudi Arabia."
Tehran is the real target
The timing of the intervention in Yemen is no coincidence, the tabloid Kurier believes: "The intervention is dangerous because Tehran supports its Houthi fellow believers in their bid to gain a foothold on the Arab peninsula. In the worst case this could culminate in a confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, both vying for dominance of the region. Moreover the intervention is dangerous because the conflict is also being waged as a religious war between Shiites and Sunnis and deepening the rift between these two strains of Islam. And finally the commotion of war on the Gulf is getting in the way of the nuclear talks with Iran in Switzerland, which are supposed to produce a framework agreement by tomorrow. But this disruptive impact is fully intended by Riyadh given that its royal family, together with Israel, is among the harshest critics of a deal with the mullah regime. The thinking behind this: if a compromise is achieved the sanctions would be scrapped and their rival would become even stronger."
Turkey should stay out of conflict
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signalled on Friday that he would support the Saudi-led military alliance in Yemen. Definitely the wrong move, columnist Asli Aydıntaşbaş criticises in the daily Milliyet: "This is an anti-democratic, dirty alliance based solely on religious denomination. Turkey's leaders know that the Saudis' only goal is to protect regimes and not allow democracy to gain a foothold in the Arab world. So what business is this of ours? ... It's one thing to contradict the people of Yemen, but quite another to intervene there hand in hand with putschists and oil kingdoms. Just last month Ankara said about Libya that civil wars should not be bombarded from outside the country. But when we're dealing with the Shiite enemies in Yemen, they're willing to support an attack."