The US State Department has signed off on the sale of $1.29 billion worth of weaponry to Saudi Arabia, including tens of thousands of bombs that will restock a Saudi arms stockpile depleted by the country’s air campaign in Yemen, which has been linked to civilian deaths.
At the Dubai air show, a General of the US Air Forces Central Command remarked that he is impressed with the GCC nations and every nation in the (Saudi) coalition. Secretary James also said that the US is making progress in defeating militant group Daesh in Syria and Iraq. Are these people ignorant of the fact that the Saudi coalition includes Al-Qaida and IS (Daish) forces in Yemen? Surely not!
The arrival of reinforcements from Eritrea and Sudan (with dismal human rights records) has the potential to plunge Yemen even deeper into chaos and may put the United States in an extremely awkward position, as it has repeatedly criticized these countries for committing atrocities.
But as the conflict drags on, mounting civilian casualties, a worsening humanitarian crisis and massive destruction of infrastructure, have drawn criticism from international rights groups and lawmakers in the United States. More than 5,400 people have been killed since the intervention began, and UN officials warn of famine.
The EU urged the Government of Yemen to assume its responsibility in the fight against extremist and terrorist groups, such as Al Qaida and Da’ish in Yemen, which are taking advantage of the current instability. They condemned all terrorist attacks in the strongest terms, in particular those against civilian and religious targets. They are also extremely concerned about the use of cluster munitions and the disruption of essential services on the civilian population and the damage to civilian infrastructure and cultural heritage.
British Foreign Secretary called for an investigation into whether the use of British weapons sold to Saudi Arabia had violated international law.
In a letter to President Obama, 13 congressmen called on the administration to work with their allies in the Saudi collation to protect civilians to reduce possible backlash against the U.S. U.S. intelligence officials have also expressed concern that the conflict has strengthened Yemen’s Al Qaeda affiliate.
Ex-President Hadi said there will be no negotiations with the Houthi alliance and that peace talks in Geneva will only be a discussion about how to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
Meanwhile, the Houthi alliance spokesman said that the Hadi presidency is over since the period set by the Gulf initiative had ended, was extended and then Hadi himself resigned. He also stressed that the Houthi alliance consisting of the Yemeni army and the popular committees loyal to Ansarullah revolutionaries are untouchable because they are defending the country against the Takfiri threat represented by al-Qaeda and ISIL, sponsored by the Saudi coalition.
The UN has described the humanitarian situation in Yemen as catastrophic with more than 80 percent of Yemen’s 25 million people in dire need of aid.
The Saudi military is trapped in a protracted and devastating conflict that is straining relations with its allies. It is hobbled by divisions and unable to find a face-saving way to exit the costly conflict.
It is unclear how Saudi Arabia can end its military involvement without coming off as the loser. A ground assault to wrest Sana’a and northern areas from rebel control could produce many casualties. UN-backed peace efforts, moreover, have repeatedly failed while the Houthi alliance is escalating the fight by launching cross-border attacks into southern Saudi Arabia.
“This war is draining the Saudis militarily, politically, strategically,” the Washington Post quoted a Yemen analyst, saying. “The problem is they’re stuck there.”
An expert on Persian Gulf countries said: “As far as Iran is concerned, this war demonstrates that Saudi Arabia just isn’t as formidable a counterweight as many people had thought!”
Written by Akram Abu Abs exclusively for SouthFront
- November 12, Houthi artillery killed and wounded tens of Saudi coalition’s Sudanese mercenaries in Taiz, destroying 3 of their armored vehicles. They also destroyed ISIL and al-Qaeda positions in Southern Yemen in artillery attacks, killing and wounding several terrorists. In the past two days 56 terrorists were killed, tens of others were wounded and another 10 captured.
- November 12, in an attack on a command center in Wadi al-Qadi, Ta’iz province, dozens of Saudi coalition’s forces were killed including senior commanders (including a Saudi) and several others were injured. A large number of forces of the Saudi coalition were killed in fierce clashes of al-Jahmalia, Ta’iz.
- November 12, the Malhama military base in al-Khoba, of Jizan province and Al-Sadis and Al-Ash military bases, were hit by Houthi alliance artillery, killing a large number of Saudi troops. The Houthi alliance also took control of a military base in Ta’iz province and killed a senior Saudi commander and some of his troops. Their counter-offensive failed to recover it and they managed to escape the region after losing a number of their vehicles.
- November 12, Saudi coalition airstrikes targeted farms and private properties in several areas in Meedi, Harad, Abbs, and Hairan districts in Hajjah province.
- November 12, Houthi alliance security forces in Sana’a raided a terror cell carrying out terror operations and assassinating political, media and military personalities. The terrorist, Yasir Makharish, aka “Ammar” and another member were killed when they opened fire against security personnel.
- November 12, Saudi coalition air-strikes killed 24 Houthi alliance fighters when two troop carriers were targeted north of Damt, Daleh province. Several others were wounded. Elsewhere in the same region, 11 rebels were killed in two ambushes on their convoys.
- November 12, Bahrain sent a frigate and troops to take part in the Yemen campaign.
- November 13, a Houthi leader was captured in Al Misrakh area when he tried to block a rural road used by the Saudi alliance to send the military reinforcements into Ta’iz city. This road was recaptured using armored vehicles supplied by the UAE in an attempt to break the Houthi coalition siege of Ta’iz.
- November 13, a massive explosion in the al-Qil mosque in Shabam, Mahvit province killed several worshippers and injured many others during Friday prayers.
- November 14, an UAE Patriot missile system shot down two ballistic missiles fired at Saudi coalition military targets in Marib province by the Houthi alliance. The first missile was shot down in the Al Gofainah area, targeting military camps and the second missile was shot down over the control and operations building for military camps in both Marib and neighboring Al Jawf province. Both were intercepted and there were no casualties. Meanwhile, fighting continued in Ta’iz city on several fronts and the Houthi alliance took control of the main road between the city and the provinces of Lahj and Aden cutting off the flow of military reinforcements to Ta’iz to break the Houthi alliance’s siege of the city. Thirty Houthi alliance fighters were been killed and dozens injured in fighting as control in Ta’izz is split between these opposing forces. The Houthi alliance also took control over areas of Al Misrakh and Nagd Qusaim close to Ta’iz city but that by midday the resistance had recaptured parts of Nagd Qusaim.
- November 14, the Markazi refugee camp in Djibouti is accommodating about 30,000 Yemenis, mostly women and children, who have arrived traumatised and in need of psychological support.
- November 14, the Saudi coalition has taken control of Al Najd, a strategic area linking Aden and Taiz where the Houthi alliance was trying to control the supply line of supplies and armaments from Aden. Advancing to the peak of Jabal Saber, the Saudi coalition also attempted to cut off the supply route for the Al Houthi alliance in Taiz. Reinforcements of the Saudi coalition made progress towards Dhabab, near Bab Al Mandeb aiming to liberate the city and port of Mokha in the Taiz province. They also announced the start of a large-scale military operation to liberate Taiz from the Houthi alliance. West of Ta’iz, four Houthi alliance militia and two Saudi coalition fighters were killed and two others injured.
- November 14, a fifth Saudi warship was destroyed off the Mocha Coast in Ta’iz province. The ship had repeatedly fired rockets at residential areas in Ta’iz province, inflicting casualties and destruction there. The Houthi alliance also launched a rocket attack on Saudi military vehicles in Rajla site, Najran.
- November 14, Hodeidah city witnessed a number of terrorist attacks in scattered areas of the city resulting in casualties, when a number of grenades were thrown at the Military Hospital gate, the broken refrigerator of Al-Olfi Hospital, the Martyr Zubairi School and the main post office in the city.
- November 14, the missile forces of the Houthi alliance targeted the gathering of mercenaries and in the Third Military Region headquarters in Marib. Violent blasts rocked the camp, resulting in the killing of a number of mercenaries, as well as the burning of arms caches.
- November 14, a fresh contingent of Emirati forces has taken up positions at Aden’s presidential palace hours after arriving in Aden in preparation of ex-President Hadi’s arrival. They are specialized in protecting high-ranking officials and important institutions
- November 14, two cargo planes carrying 75 tons of medical aid as well as vaccines for measles and polio from UNICEF arrived at Sana’a airport.
- November 15, the Houthi alliance’s missiles hit Saudi Arabia’s Al-Mosanfeq and Al-Shorfeh military bases in Jizan and Najran provinces. Killing and wounding a large number of Saudi coalition forces and destroying an Abrahams tank.
- November 15, the Houthi alliance has gained more ground in the southern part of the country where they engaged the Saudi coalition in Lahij, killing four militants and injuring five others. They also managed to expel the Saudi coalition from the strategic areas of Dhubab and Bab el-Mandeb, forcing them to retreat. They also advanced in Dhale and Ta’iz provinces and cleared some areas there. They also destroyed a Saudi armored vehicle in Ta’iz and a number of armored vehicles near a military base near Najran.
- November 15, the Houthi alliance launching heavy missile and mortar attacks and took control of a large number of buildings and military positions in Ma’arib, forcing the Saudi coalition to withdraw.
- November 15, the Houthi alliance continued demolishing Saudi military locations in Jizan, Asir and Najran, firing tens of rockets and artillery shells. A grouping of Saudi military vehicles was destroyed in Rajla military location, Najran. Al-Ain Al-Hara Military Camp as well as Al-Ramlah location in Jizan were also attacked and the governmental compound in Al-Rabou’ah, targeting a grouping for Saudi machineries and soldiers, destroying large numbers of both.
- November 15, Saudi coalition aircraft bombarded the mosque in Sa’ada’s Kitaf district, killing at least one civilian. Earlier, several people were killed and others injured in airstrikes on a market in Ta’iz province. In retaliation, Houthi alliance fighters struck a government building in Asir and launched tens of rockets towards Saudi military bases in Jizan and Najran. They vowed to continue retaliatory attacks against the Saudi border regions of Asir, Jizan and Najran until Riyadh halts its onslaught on Yemen civilians and infrastructure.
- November 16, ex-President Hadi returned to Aden from his refuge in KSA and will oversee the campaign against the Houthi alliance controlling the capital, Sana’a. The Saudi coalition launched an offensive against the Houthi alliance in Taiz, yet their offensives appear bogged down in central Yemen and east of Sana’a and in the south where the Houthi alliance have reportedly regained some ground. Al-Qaeda fighters are also reported to be active in the city, and control areas of southeastern Yemen including the regional capital, Mukalla.
- November 16, dozens of UAE military vehicles arrived in Lahj province from Aden, in preparations for retaking the two mountain areas of Thi Ahdah and Bakheetah that fell into the hands of the Houthi alliance recently. The military reinforcements from the UAE were diverted from the strategic Al Anad military airbase and will be participating in the battle for Lahj province on three fronts – one in Al Madhareba, another in Karesh, and the third near Al Wazeyah in Ta’iz province before resuming the al Anad objective. Fierce clashes continued in Madharebah and dozens of fighters have been killed and injured in this fighting. Saudi coalition forces called on young men to join the battle to stop the Houthi alliance from taking control of the strategic Al Shimayateen used by them to send military reinforcements to Lahj after they advanced in several rural areas in Taez city and took control of Nagd Qusaim, Ta’iz.
- November 16, fierce clashes broke out in the al-Jahmalia, Ta’iz province.
- November 16, dozens of Saudi coalition fighters were killed in an ambush at the al-Omari camp north of the Bab al-Mandeb Strait. A senior Saudi commander was also killed and a large number of Saudi forces were injured and their vehicles destroyed.
- November 16, the Houthi alliance spokesman said a draft proposal put forth by the UN to end the crisis in the country is flawed as it does not address the main crisis in the Arab country and the chief reasons behind it.
- November 16, Saudi coalition forces at al-Omari camp, north of the Bab al-Mandeb Strait were targeted, killing tens, including a senior commander. Saudi coalition forces were also stopped from launching fresh military operations in the Western parts of Ta’iz after heavy fighting when they tried to enter the region of al-Wazaya, western Ta’iz province.
- November 16, Saudi coalition airstrikes and clashes have killed some 40 Houthi alliance fighters in Ibb province and near the cities of Mocha and Taiz. The raids in Taiz also killed four civilians. Thirteen of their own forces were also killed and more than 20 wounded in the Taiz fighting.
- November 16, a Houthi alliance leader revealed that the Saudi fighter jets have staged massive airstrikes against different Yemeni cities using cluster bombs. They pounded the market in al-Ayar, on the road from al-Makha to al-Jamarak in al-Raheda; the road between al-Raheda and Karash in Ta’iz and Lahij provinces; a gas station of al-Jadid region near al-Makha; residential areas of Ta’iz; the presidential palace and al-Omri region; with cluster bombs. These strikes killed tens of Yemeni citizens and wounded dozens others. Saudi coalition fighter jets also pounded residential areas of Khob va al-Sha’af in al-Jawf province, killing all the seven members of a Yemeni family. Saudi coalition airstrikes also killed all six members of another family in Saleh region.
- November 17, the Saudi coalition launched an offensive to retake the key battleground province of Ta’iz. Sudanese forces from the strategic al-Anad airbase in Lahij are taking part and the operation began after the arrival of military reinforcements from the coalition, including armored demining vehicles. The objective is to retake control of the main roads leading into the city now controlled by the Houthi alliance. Saudi coalition forces are also deployed in Dhubab along the coast in a bid to advance on to the rebel-held Red sea city of Mocha, a part of Ta’iz province.
- November 17, Saudi coalition warplanes again hit their own positions in Habil Salman region in Ta’iz province, killing a large number of militants in what has come to be known as “routine” shooting and bombing of friendly troops by Saudi forces.
- November 17, twenty Sudanese military forces, including a ranking officer, were killed during brief clashes with the Yemeni popular forces in the coastal province of Ta’iz near al-Anad military base. Three of their armored vehicles were also destroyed.
- November 17, six fishermen were killed and other five injured as a result of targeting fisheries’ boats by Saudi coalition warships at al-Kokha district in Hodeidah governorate.
- November 17, over 200 Saudi coalition forces were killed when Houthi alliance forces repelled repeated attacks from four different directions on Bab al-Mandeb Strait off Yemen’s coast. A large number of Saudi forces were also injured and their vehicles destroyed during the battle. In the meantime, the Houthi alliance attacked Al-Sadis military base in Najran province and forced Saudi troops to flee the region. The Bin Yalin and Rajla military bases in Najran province were also targeted. Elsewhere, a barrage of rockets was fired at the main Saudi military base in al-Khobe, Jizan province.
- November 17, heavy infighting erupted among Saudi coalition forces in Aden over Hadi’s return and as a result, Hadi will most likely return to Saudi Arabia in fear of his life. Heavy clashes erupted between the Saudi & UAE military and the Saudi-backed al-Qaeda and IS/Daish militias in the province. Tens of Saudi and UAE forces were killed and wounded in the conflict. Earlier this month, sources in Yemen disclosed that Riyadh has transferred control over Yemen’s strategic Southern port city of Aden to its sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups, mainly IS/Daish. Earlier reports in September also said that Saudi Arabia had promised to pay $1m to its mercenaries in Yemen if they conquer the entire province of Aden.
Eight months after launching a war in Yemen, the Kingdom appears trapped in a protracted and devastating conflict that is straining relations with its allies, intensifying internal power struggles and emboldening its regional rival, Iran!
To add insult to injury, Al-Qaida and IS/Daish terrorists, who went unnoticed in the past, are now audaciously driving their armed vehicles around the city of Aden, passing army checkpoints spurred authorities to clamp down on arms ownership. In the streets of Aden, people have many reasons to be skeptical about the government’s plans and ability to restore peace to the battered city. Their plan includes a week-long awareness campaign to convince people to keep their guns at home, the setting up of more checkpoints, absorbing local militiamen who fought the Houthis into the army and raiding rebels’ hiding places in the city. The United Arab Emirates, which has a strong military presence in the area, will fund the plan.
Aden has been racked by armed clashes, explosions, and assassinations since the Houthi alliance was pushed out of the city in July, despite the deployment of thousands of pro-government forces.