Author: Maysam Behravesh
A chapter in “Navigating the Regional Chessboard” (Ed. Vogt, Achim & Schmid, Sarah), December 2020
This article addresses Iran’s involvement in Yemen from a realist perspective and in the wider framework of the geopolitical rivalry between the Islamic Republic on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and its allies, particularly the United States, on the other. Focusing on the “demand” side of the civil war, or motives and incentives for its perpetuation, it tries to delineate how Iranian leaders perceive Yemen and how Tehran uses this pivotal node of “strategic depth” in the Arabian Peninsula for deterrence, security provision as well as power projection purposes. The article concludes Iran is in Yemen for the long haul and therefore urges a holistic policy approach to conflict resolution that recognizes long-term interests and concerns of all major conflicting parties on the ground and seeks to make Iran’s intervention and involvement in Yemen less necessary rather than more costly.