A Houthi militant mans a weapon mounted on a patrol truck while securing a street where women are demonstrating against Saudi-led air strikes in Yemen's capital Sanaa January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
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Worsening enmity between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran is jeopardizing peace prospects in Yemen where a 9-month-old war has given Islamist militants a foothold in Riyadh's backyard.The Riyadh government cut diplomatic ties with Shiite Iran in a row sparked by Saudi Arabia's execution of Saudi Shiite Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on Jan. 2 .Saudi Arabia's campaign in Yemen marks the first time it has openly confronted what it sees as Iranian regional expansionism.Daesh (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda have both emerged in Yemeni regions where they had not previously been present before Saudi Arabia entered the conflict and an Arab coalition – of which Saudi Arabia is a part of – began bombing the Houthis in March 2015 .Saudi Arabia and Iran blame each other for Yemen's conflict, further embittering a regional rivalry between the two nations being played out from Syria to Iraq and Lebanon to Bahrain.Coinciding with Saudi Arabia's cutting ties with Iran, the Arab coalition intensified airstrikes on Houthi positions.
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