Written by Akram abu Abs exclusively for SouthFront
Airstrikes by the Saudi coalition against the Houthi alliance have increased in intensity and mindlessness during the past week as little progress is being made towards the Houthi ‘capital Sana’a. It is not only tactical frustration as the cause, but also strategic desperation that is setting the pace.
- October 2, By supporting Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, the U.S. is again finding itself on the same side with Al Qaeda in a Mideast conflict, a troubling pattern driven by a compulsion to excuse actions by U.S. “allies” no matter how outrageous. A large number of Saudi coalition officers and soldiers have been killed in the Houthi alliance’s operations in Jizan and Najran regions. They also foiled attempts by US-Saudi coalition warships to approach the Yemeni shores in the Bab al-Mandeb Strait area under heavy hostile aerial bombardment and shelling.
- October 3, The US Saudi coalition suffered heavy casualties on in fierce battle against the Houthi alliance in Taiz near Bab al-Mandeb Strait and retreated from the region. Four armored vehicles and a helicopter and drone were also destroyed in the Western parts of the country.
- October 4, fierce battles raged between the Saudi coalition and Houthi alliance along Yemen’s Red Sea coast between Bab al-Mandab and the port city of Mokha. Houthi said they have destroyed six tanks and killed many. Saudi coalition air force strikes in the province of Sana’a, targeting residential areas in al-Jaraf, a car gallery and a military college. In the northwest, at least three civilians were killed in as many as ten Saudi airstrikes targeting food carriers in the district of Ghamar. A market in the Haydan district of Sa’ada, where at least three people died were also struck. Woman and children were also killed in attacks on the Razih district. Ta’izz, located in the southwest once again came under attack. Furthermore, the provinces of Ma’rib, in central Yemen, as well as Hajjah and Dhamar, in the west, were hit by the Saudi airstrikes. At least 55 Houthi alliance fighters were killed and more than 100 injured in battles in Marib province by airstrikes and artillery. They say Saudi coalition fighters gained ground near the Marib dam and several other strategic areas and are advancing toward Sirwah, a main Houthi stronghold in the province. They are ultimately aiming for the rebel-controlled capital Sanaa, east of Marib. The Houthi alliance media center said their forces repelled “mercenary attacks,” killing dozens of opposing fighters. Saudi coalition forces on Monday besieged Houthi alliance forces, which retreated to a mountainous area near the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait that were recaptured last week.
- October 6, Islamic State suicide bombers killed 22 people in attacks on the Saudi coalition in the port city of Aden and on a Houthi-run mosque in the capital Sanaa. It was the first known direct Islamic State assault on the Saudi coalition. Four coordinated Islamic State suicide bombings killed 11 Yemeni and four United Arab Emirates soldiers in Aden. In Sanaa, seven people were killed in the attack on the al-Nour mosque in the al-Nahda district of the Houthi-controlled capital. The Islamic State is hostile to both the US-backed Saudi coalition as well as to the Houthis in Yemen’s complex conflict. Explosions rocked a southern Yemeni hotel, housing members of deposed President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s government, in a deadly attack that drew conflicting accounts about the weapons used and who was behind it. At least 15 people were killed in the attack on the Al Qasr Hotel in Aden. All Yemeni government officials staying at the hotel, including Prime Minister Khaled Bahah, were unharmed and evacuated. Four UAE soldiers were among the dead and one Saudi soldier died. Information about what exploded, and who was responsible, varied. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and said that suicide bombers blew up two explosive-laden vehicles at the hotel.
- October 7, Saudi warplanes have killed as many as 12 women and children in northwestern Yemen as they took Yemen’s Sa’ada province under offensive, killing four women and two children and injuring six others. Strikes against the province’s Bagim district killed a woman and two children and wounded two others. Elsewhere in Sa’ada, Saudi bombardment killed three women and injured four others. Amnesty International has called for a “suspension” in the transfer of weapons and munitions to Saudi Arabia after the emergence of clear evidence that the kingdom is committing war crimes in Yemen. The London-based rights group released a statement on Wednesday, saying that “damning” evidence of war crimes committed by Saudi Arabia, which is armed by countries including the US, underlines the pressing need for an independent and effective investigation into the Arab kingdom’s human rights violations in the impoverished neighboring country.
The Saudi coalition has made little tactical progress against the Houthi alliance in the past week as the fighting moves to the mountainous areas of historical Houthi settlements with ambush opportunities everywhere. The Saudi coalition is proceeding with the destruction of infrastructure and killing of civilians as their training and desperation dictates. “If we can’t have it, we will leave it in ruins!”
No doubt, this war will end in some negotiations and the probable break-away of the historic South Yemen. The only ‘unknown’ at this time is whether the Houthi alliance will manage to wrestle some of historical Houthi provinces away from Saudi Arabia in the South West.
International pressure is mounting and with King Salman nursing his dementia in a hospital somewhere, who can predict what the nephews are plotting? Will we see a family coup in the next few days?