The ousting of the Yemeni government by the Houthi rebels should not have been grounds for an intervention. This was an internal conflict, many decades in the making. There have been cases of similar ethnic conflict, like Rwanda in 1994 and Sudan during the last decade, where internationally, states have refrained from intervening. Additionally, any intervention needs to be sanctioned on humanitarian grounds… even the US invasion into Afghanistan was by UNSC agreement (though Iraq was not). But for Yemen, there has been no discussion of the legality of Saudi air strikes, and the effect it will have on the destruction of life and property in Yemen. All that is being discussed internationally is who will side with Iran, and who shall side with Iran.

The UNSC has imposed an arms embargo on the Houthi rebels in Yemen and blacklisted a Houthi leader and a son of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. An all-inclusive arms embargo on all parties in the Yemeni conflict, was suggested by Russia but was rejected. International policy at the UN is strange, to say the least. Would the UNSC ever dare to ask Israel to withdraw from Palestinian land and freeze the assets of Israeli leaders for violating the international laws? And while here a rebel army is being bombed in Yemen, in Syria, rebels are being armed.

Saudi Arabia is losing troops and the idea of a united Sunni front is collapsing. Riyadh is on a trajectory to end up stuck in a costly war against Iranian ghosts — all at an insignificant cost to Tehran. One need only look at the two major recent events — the Iran nuclear deal and the capture of Tikrit with the help of Tehran’s military advisors — to get a sense of who’s winning. Saudi Arabia should have learnt a lesson from the US and its various international interferences. The United States supported the war, despite its reservations. Of the kingdom’s close allies, only Pakistan has so far resisted pressure to join the fight and should be congratulated for its courage.

America should act as a brake on Saudi Arabia’s outsized expectations in Yemen, seeing as Iran is its only hope to clear Iraq of ISIS. But the US doesn’t really matter in all this. The main event is the regional struggle for influence between the Iran and Saudi blocs now. The coalition behind Saudi Arabia will determine what will happen to Yemen.

Only the Saudis could turn the US into a sideshow.