The Yemeni War is the name given to the ongoing conflict in Yemen between US-led coalition forces and the provisional government established by Houthi militants. The conflict began with coalition airstrikes in mid-February 2015.
In September 2014, Shi'ite militants calling themselves "Houthis" took control of most of the Yemeni capital Sana'a. In January 2015, the internationally recognized government of the US-backed president Mansur Hadi was overthrown. The existing parliament was dissolved and Hadi was placed under house arrest. A provisional government was established by Houthi forces who had been responsible for the coup. However, no nation recognized the new provisional government as the legitimate government of Yemen.
The United Nations began by urging the Houthi militants to withdraw from government buildings and release Hadi. However this was mostly ignored. Yemen's Arab neighbors soon began calling for the international community to take action against the Houthis. On 15 February, after days of negotiations, the UN Security Council passed resolution 2201 demanding Houthi militants to return power to the legitimate Hadi government. The resolution allowed the demands to be enforced through military action in the form of airstrikes. Three permanent UNSC members, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France voted in favor of the resolution while Russia and China abstained from voting. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia was not entirely against airstrikes, however would strongly oppose a US-led ground invasion.
Phase I: Airstrikes
Main article: 2015 bombing of Yemen
On 16 February, US airstrikes against Houthi forces began. 12 targets were struck in the first four hours of bombing operations. US president Barrack Obama also authorized the deployment of up to 10,000 US ground forces to be prepared in the event of a ground invasion. Saudi troops also began mobilizing along the Yemeni border. Obama said that he was seeking a coalition of nations to take action in Yemen. As a result of this, Saudi aircraft began striking Houthi targets on 18 February. French and Australian airstrikes began the following day. On 20 February, motions were passed in both the British, Danish and Canadian parliaments to allow airstrikes in Yemen. French airstrikes began that same day and Australian airstrikes began on 21 February. British airstrikes began on 22 February and Canadian and Bahraini airstrikes began that same day. By 26 February, it was confirmed that a total of 84 coalition airstrikes were launched with 57 of those being American.
Phase II: Ground offensive
Main article: 2015 invasion of Yemen
On 22 February, 2015, US president Barrack Obama made an address to the nation stating that American, Saudi, Turkish and Qatari forces had began entering Yemen to retake control of government buildings and give power back to the legitimate authorities and security forces of Yemen. Obama said that all negotiations had failed and that a ground intervention was the only remaining option. He reassured the public that this intervention would not lead to a lengthy ground war such as the previous ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that major troop withdrawals would begin as soon as Yemen's legitimate authorities regained control of most of the country. It was revealed on 26 February that British, Canadian and Australian special forces were also engaged in covert operations on the ground, with several photos of British ground forces entering Yemen being leaked.
Battle of Hajjah
Main article: Battle of Hajjah
Coalition forces advanced to the city of Hajjah in Northwest Yemen on 24 February. The resulting three-day battle for control of the city resulted in the first three coalition casualties and heavy casualties on the Houthi side.
On 26 February it was reported by coalition forces that Iranian forces had entered Yemen to defend the Houthis. It was estimated that Iranian forces numbered as many as 10,000. Tehran responded to these claims by denying them.