The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis (Ansar Allah) in Yemen has dismissed its use of old footage from Iraq in a failed propaganda stunt as a “marginal error”.
The coalition shared on January 9 footage showing what it claimed to be a ballistic missile workshop of the Houthis in the western Yemeni province of al-Hudaydah. The footage was later found to be taken from the 2009 US film “Severe Clear” which documents the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.
In an attempt to justify the failure, Saudi-led coalition spokesman, Brig. Gen. Turki al-Maliki, said that the false video was provided by one of their intelligence sources in Yemen.
“We have many sources [in Yemen], and this comes within the marginal error of dealing with these sources,” the spokesman said at a press conference on January 11. “The fact that the footage passed by one of the sources was false does not mean that the Houthi militias do not use port camps and do not use civilians for the purpose of protection.”
The Houthis called the propaganda stunt a “major scandal,” and accused the Saudi-led coalition of “lying, deceiving and red herring”.
Even if the old, edited footage were passed by a deceitful source, the coalition would still be at fault for not making any efforts to vet its sources or verify their claims.
The whole scandal raises some serious questions about the intelligence capabilities of the Saudi-led coalition and the information it had been using to justify its recent airstrikes on heavily populated areas in Yemen, especially in the capital Sanaa.