Iran-Backed Rebels Dissolve Yemen’s Parliament, Announce Constitutional Decrees

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels dissolved Yemen’s parliament and issued a series of decrees calling for a transitional government for a two-year period.

Al Arabiya reports:

One of the decrees mandated the establishment of a transitional national council that would replace the Yemeni parliament. Supporters, who convened in the capital of Sanaa, also announced that that the council will be tasked with electing a presidential council.

An amended version of an already drafted constitution will be put to a vote, supporters and members of the Shiite militias told a gathering in Sanaa.

The rebels have also set a two-year period in which the transition of power would be complete.

The Houthis had threatened on Wednesday that if no political deal was reached to form a new government, they would impose their own solution.

The Houthis took over Yemen’s capital Sana’a last year and prevented the formation of a new government. Iran acknowledged its support for the Houthis shortly afterwards and later boasted that, with Sana’a, it had control of four Arab capitals.

Late last month, the Houthis stepped up its insurgency by  kidnapping a top Yemeni politician and storming the presidential palace. By the end of the week, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his cabinet resigned.

An editorial in The Washington Post this morning cited the Houthi insurgency in Yemen as one example of Iran’s efforts “to extend its influence across the Middle East,” noting that the United States “seems ready to concede Tehran a place as a regional power at the expense of Israel and other U.S. allies.”

In the past week, a number of articles have underlined the problem of allowing Iran to extend its influence throughout the Middle East. An article in The Daily Beast on Sunday observed that coordinating with Iranian-backed militias to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) risked alienating the Iraqi Sunnis that the U.S. and its allies need to effectively counter ISIS. A Bloomberg View article quoted a retired American general who warned that these militias would cooperate with the United States as long as it suited them, but would likely start attacking American forces when it was in their interest.

Former White House official Michael Doran observed that the current administration’s deference to Iranian regional ambitions, as well as in nuclear negotiations, is based in the belief that Iran “shared with Washington the twin goals of stabilizing Iraq and defeating al-Qaeda and other Sunni jihadi groups.”

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