The people of Makeb have remained neutral in wars between the great political powers in the galaxy. Relying on their wealth, isolation, and an army of mercenaries, the citizens have enjoyed centuries of prosperity. However, in the midst of the current galactic conflict, the Hutt Cartel has recognized the planet as a crucial stepping stone to increase their organization's standing and reclaim the strength of their ancestors’ empire. They've hired Makeb's mercenaries away and have made the citizens prisoners in their own homes, forcing them to reach out to the Republic in a desperate bid for rescue.
I guess the thing I am failing to see is why is this unknown planet important to the Hutt's or either faction? If this planet has remained neutral throughout all the galactic conflicts in the last 300 years, what value does it hold that would actually change the tide for either the Empire or Republic? Crucial hyperspace route? Minerals/ore? Technology? Any one of these should have thrown this planet into the conflict far earlier than a decision by the Hutt's to make a power grab. And could this single planet really have that much of a mercenary force to alter the power distribution in the galaxy? As much as I am intrigued by the idea of the Hutt's making a power play, I'm not seeing the bigger picture yet with respect to this planet. Hopefully things will be made clear in the future.