An Arab alliance attacking Shi'ite Muslim Houthi forces in Yemen initially plans a month-long campaign, but the operation could last five or six months, a Gulf diplomatic official said on Saturday.
The official, from a country that belongs to the alliance, said Shi'ite Iran, the Houthis' main foreign ally, was likely to retaliate
indirectly, by encouraging pro-Iranian Shiite activists to carry out armed attacks in Bahrain, Lebanon and eastern Saudi Arabia. Iran, in a tug-of-war with Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia for influence across the Middle East, has denied supporting the Houthis militarily, and has criticised the Gulf Arabs for their military action. Since the Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes against them early on Thursday, the Houthis, seeking to overthrow the Western- and Saudi-allied President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, have continued to make gains.