Over 100 jets from Saudi Arabia pounded targets in Yemen Thursday in an attempt to stop the advance of Houthis through that country. Saudi news declared the first night of this offensive had completely disabled the air force aligned with the Houthi.
Iran, the regional rival of Saudi Arabia and the main ally of the Houthis denounced the Saudi assault as an attempt backed by the Americans to create civil war in the country of Yemen.
Television channels controlled by Houthis broadcast footage of wounded civilians and dead bodies blaming aggression that was American backed.
The leaders of the movement warned that this battle could widen into a conflict in the region, but they vowed to overcome the attacks by the Saudis without the help of Iran. A Houthi spokesperson said the people of Yemen were prepared to face the current aggression without foreign interference.
On Thursday, crude prices spiked 4% on the concerns that fighting in Yemen could affects tankers passage through the Bab el Mandeb strait, which is a narrow chokepoint between Africa and Yemen that enters the Red Sea.
Along with Syria, Libya and Iraq, Yemen is the fourth Arab country where attempts at building democracy have been overrun by civil conflict, regional wars and growth of extremists groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
The leadership of the Houthi, which is from the northern region of Yemen, practices a Shiite Islam variant, the religion of the theocracy in Iran.
Saudi Arabia the Sunni Muslim power in the region is supporting the forces that are loyal to Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi the president of Yemen who fled Sanaa the capital and took refuge amongst supporters to the south.
With this intervention, Saudi Arabia increased the threat Iran could retaliate by increasing support to the Houthis with weapons and money as Tehran has done in the past or with a military role that is more active.
However, behind this could be former ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh who appears to have struck a deal with the Houthis in an attempt to return himself with his family back to power.