The group notably ignored advice from Tehran not to capture Sanaa back in 2014. Al-Houthi’s independence thus suggests that he is primarily driven by a domestic agenda rather than a desire to help Hezbollah and Iran exert control over the region. That could change, of course, if the Saudis leave him no choice but to increase his reliance on Iran.
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But due to (still relatively small) Iranian influence in Yemen, the Saudis and Emiratis will be obliged to work together in the medium term. As the Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel put it, ‘The war costs Tehran a few million dollars per month, while it costs Riyadh $6 billion per month.’ Any disagreement between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi could increase Iran’s influence.
The coalition countries pay the Sudanese soldiers’ salaries, provoking accusations that the soldiers are little more than mercenaries. Although the amounts of these salaries have not been officially announced, according to some sources, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir asked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman $2 billion for every 1,000 Sudanese soldiers fighting in Yemen.