Why is Riyadh flexing its muscles?

Saudi Arabia’s air strikes on Yemen are causing concern among its allies

The World Today Published 31 July 2015 Updated 14 December 2020 3 minute READ

Peter Salisbury

Former Senior Consulting Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme

Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen is now well into its fourth month but the endgame remains unclear. Perhaps that is because Yemen itself has been a secondary concern for the new Saudi king, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and his son Prince Mohammed who, in making unprecedented use of the kingdom’s military hardware, have set down a marker for a new, more assertive role for Saudi Arabia in the region. Yet if the kingdom is to retain support from abroad it may have to rein in the Yemen campaign.

Since March 26, the kingdom and its coalition partners have bombed the Arab world’s poorest country while imposing a blockade on its borders, at a cost of tens of billions of dollars and thousands of Yemeni lives in what the United Nations now says is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

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