Officials of Yemen's embattled government have expressed confidence that a Saudi-backed offensive would suppress rebels who have torn the country apart. But outside experts are less sure that the Saudis will bring things under control anytime soon.
Energy markets have closely watched the fighting in Yemen—where Saudi Arabia and other regional powers are pounding Shiite Houthi rebel positions from the air—as it could potentially threaten oil supplies from the area. The United States on Thursday pledged to safeguard a major nautical passage near the fighting.
Officials from the region have predicted that the entire conflict could be over relatively quickly. Yemeni Foreign Minister Riyadh Yaseen, asked if the campaign would last days, weeks or more, told Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television: "I expect that this operation will not go on for long, I think it will be days."