Asher Orkaby remarks on the failure of the Saudi-led war on Yemen:
Despite emerging evidence that the Saudi-coalition’s aerial campaign is not only ineffective but counterproductive to the promotion of a political settlement in Yemen, the bombings continue with no sign of concluding. The relentless pursuit of an aggressive military stance towards the Houthi movement is in part a reflection of Saudi Arabia’s struggle against the ghost of Iranian involvement in South Arabia. There is no Saudi exit strategy in which the bombing can stop, short of a complete Houthi political withdrawal. Otherwise, this war will demonstrate a weakness in Saudi policy towards Iran.
This is the other trap that a government creates for itself when it foolishly opts to go to war to “send a message” to its rival. If the war goes badly and is failing to achieve its objectives, the Saudi government can’t simply call of the reckless intervention for fear of appearing to have “lost” to Iran. Because it is using the campaign to demonstrate its “resolve” in dealing with its rival, it cannot back down from its calamitous and costly blunder without appearing to yield to the rival, and for that reason it will persist in a ruinous course of action in order to avoid appearing “weak.” Such are the bitter fruits of dimwitted preoccupations with “credibility” and “resolve.”
This is a ridiculous attitude, but unfortunately it is quite a common one. It is even more ridiculous in this case, since attacking Yemen did nothing to harm Iran and halting the campaign now would not represent an Iranian victory. The Saudis are now too invested in the lie they told about Iranian “expansionism” that they used to start their war, and so they cannot put an end to what everyone can see to be a failed military intervention. The Saudis are prisoners of their own propaganda and their obsession with Iran, and in the process they are destroying Yemen for no reason at all.