The Ansar Allah movement, widely known as the Houthis, has been successfully resisting to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen since 2015. The Houthis have remained in control of the Yemeni capital of Sanaa and a large part of the country despite the fact that they have faced a formally superior strength of the intervention forces and a lack of supplies.
Some media and experts like to compare this situation with the Soviet operation in Afghanistan (1979-1989), which was also marked by an inability of the USSR to defeat the insurgency of the so-called Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen (IUAM).
However, there is a big difference.
The IUAM, an alliance of armed groups including al-Qaeda then operating in the country, was created and supported by the world superpower – the US – and its allies – NATO member states, Pakistan and others. The US-led block was directly provided the IUAM with supplies, intelligence, training and other needed assistance.
The Houthis have no such support, besides a limited assistance from Iran and Hezbollah. Teheran, which has limited resources and a variety of own problems, is not capable of supporting the Houthis by unlimited supplies and assistance. No superpower is backing the Houthis. Russia and China have limited their participation in the Yemeni conflict by solely diplomatic measures denouncing the deterioration of the humanitarian situation caused by the Saudi-led intervention.
Therefore, the Houthis are forced to rely on the weapons and munition, which remained in the country, were captured from the coalition or coalition-backed forces and were obtained on the black market and then smuggled into Yemen.
The conflict in Yemen is a public failure of forces of the Western satellites in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and its key allies within the coalition have been for a long time building a consumerist society. In most of the cases, their officers and soldiers are not motivated by ideology and are seeing the conflict as an opportunity to get additional revenue. This financial motivation creates conditions allowing the Houthis to smuggle and buy the needed weapons despite the land and naval blockade imposed by the coalition.
Unlike the Houthis, coalition troops have no motivation to sacrifice their lives in this war. At the same time, the Houthis’ attitude can be compared to the commitment of Japan’s kamikazes during the final phase of the WW2. However, then, the US and the USSR were also highly motivated.
Thus, forces of the Saudi-led coalition have much less chances to deliver a deceisive blow to the Houthis in the ongoing Yemeni war.