By Mohamed Mukashaf
ADEN – The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday imposed an arms embargo targeting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels who now control most of Yemen as battles in the south of the country intensified.
Egypt said it and Saudi Arabia had discussed holding a “major military manoeuvre” in Saudi Arabia with other Gulf states, following talks on the progress of the three-week-old Saudi-led campaign of air strikes against the Houthis in Yemen.
The statement from the Egyptian presidency appeared to be a sign that members of the Sunni Arab coalition attacking the Houthis may carry through on threats to eventually follow their air campaign with a ground intervention or at least have a show of force next door. [ID:nL5N0XB4WQ]
Arab states have been bombing the Houthis in support of militias resisting an advance by the group and army units loyal to ousted former president Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The conflict, though rooted in local rivalries, has become a proxy battlefield for Sunni-ruled Saudi and mainly Shi’ite Iran, the main regional powers.
The U.N. resolution also demanded the Houthis stop fighting and withdraw from areas they have seized, including the capital Sanaa.
On the ground, southern militiamen claimed gains against the Houthis on several battlefronts across southern Yemen, including districts of the port city of Aden, the last stronghold of loyalists to Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Iran meanwhile prepared to submit a four-point peace plan for Yemen to the United Nations on Wednesday, state media said.