Charles Krauthammer: Iran’s emerging empire

A Shiite Huthi militiaman sits near a tank confiscated from the army in the area around the presidential palace in the capital Sanaa, on January 22, 2015. (Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images)

While Iran’s march toward a nuclear bomb has provoked a major clash between the White House and Congress, Iran’s march toward conventional domination of the Arab world has been largely overlooked. In Washington, that is. The Arabs have noticed. And the pro-American ones, the Gulf Arabs in particular, are deeply worried.

This week, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized control of the Yemeni government, heretofore pro-American. In September, they overran Sanaa, the capital. On Tuesday, they seized the presidential palace. On Thursday, they forced the president to resign.

The Houthis have local religious grievances, being Shiites in a majority Sunni land. But they are also agents of Shiite Iran, which arms, trains and advises them. Their slogan — “God is great. Death to America. Death to Israel” — could have been written in Persian.

Why should we care about the coup? First, because we depend on Yemen’s government to support our drone war against another local menace, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It’s not clear if we can even maintain our embassy in Yemen, let alone conduct operations against AQAP. And second, because growing Iranian hegemony is a mortal threat to our allies and interests in the entire Middle East…

h/t Marvin

Related: Jan 24, 2015 Thousands rally against Shiite militia in Yemen capital

Long War Journal, Jan 24, 2015 President Obama’s ‘successful’ counterterrorism strategy in Yemen in limbo

Long War Journal, Jan 24, 2015 AQAP issues guidelines for suicide operations (Al-Qaeda, based in Yemen)

Reuters, Jan 24, 2015: Some counter-terrorism efforts in Yemen frozen for now – U.S. officials

A Houthi fighter wears a traditional dagger with a picture of a slain comrade on it as he poses for a photo in SanaaA Houthi fighter wears a traditional dagger with a picture of a slain comrade as he poses for a photo outside a presidential guards barrack on a mountain overlooking the presidential palace in Sanaa January 20, 2015. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Supporters of separatist Southern Movement demonstrate to demand the separation of the south Yemen, in the country's southern port city of AdenSupporters of the separatist Southern Movement demonstrate to demand the separation of the south Yemen, in the country’s southern port city of Aden January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Yaser Hasan

  • Rosenmops

    Don’t worry the genius John Kerry will fix everything. He’ll bring a troop of folk singers — that will scare the crap out of Iran. /s

  • Billy Bob Thornton

    Iran is already abiding by the rules set out in the agreement with the P5+1. I don’t really even see evidence of a nuclear program. Iran has every right to have their own nuclear power because well it is done within their borders. The comments people talk about regarding Israel were poorly translated on purpose. People have spoken about Iran having a nuclear program since the 80’s. Those that want war with Iran are doing so since they obviously feel war is the only way to resolve a disagreement you know instead of negotiating, mediation, diplomacy. You know that my way or the highway bit which got up Iraq, Afghanistan and many of the other wars. The fact is neocons on Fox and in both the Democrat and Republican parties are the ones that I feel in the end will let Israel attack the reactors and thereafter will cause WW3. I mean even though there is no proof. When will people realize that the mainstream parties are not the holier than thou and we should not be listening to them. We have our own minds.

    • Billy Bob Thornton

      Which is why I tell people to think for themselves and to do your own homework. Don’t listen to the corporate owned and party favourable media. Find media that will report the news, be about peace and will not favour any party but will be about growing democracy and about independence from the political class.

    • Norman_In_New_York

      Yes, and your own mind resents being confused by the truth. Go with MSNBC. Their pundits think like you do.

      • Billy Bob Thornton

        MSNBC is in the tank with the Democrats. Why would I want party favourable media. I like RT and Press TV.

        At least they want peace, challenging the messages of the politicians and they seem to favour well-thought out discussions.

        I mean who wouldn’t want the public to know everything before going to war. I mean the Democrats launched 7 wars under Obama; Bush 4. So, therefore, the mainstream is only about the other parties as an issue and then they turn around and do the exact same things. Think about that.

        • Norman_In_New_York

          RT is Putin’s baby while Press TV is the mouthpiece of the ayatollahs.

    • Iran is enriching uranium still. As it is led by a mad theocrat, it obviously is a worry to others in the region, Jews and Arabs alike.

  • Jim Horne

    IMHO Obama will, in the end, betray Israel. Whether he can be stopped at this point is debatable. Once again, the world could be facing a Jewish holocaust.

    Charles Krauthammer on how Israel tension raises questions on Iran