Written by Akram abu Abs exclusively for SouthFront
The Saudi-led coalition is still unable to gain a major military success despite waging an intensive bombing campaign on al Houthi supply lines in northern Yemen. The situation on the frontline is stable but tense.Indeed, the ongoing conflict has shown that forces of the Arab coalition aren’t enable to solve the crisis only in military way.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS continue to expand in Yemen in accordance with the Saudi Arabia-led coalition actions.
- September 16, The air raids by a Saudi-led coalition have intensified in recent weeks as a Gulf Arab ground force and fighters loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi prepare a campaign to recapture Sanaa, seized by the Houthis in September 2014. The deadliest attacks were in al-Jaraf neighborhood.
- September 17, Exiled PM Khaled Bahah returns to Aden to form government. At least nine Yemeni civilians were killed in airstrikes by Saudi-led warplanes targeting the home of a leader of the Houthi movement in the capital Sanaa. Giving aid on the one hand, the UK is fuelling this conflict on the other hand by selling arms (issued 37 arms export licenses since March) and providing technical support to a Saudi Arabia-led alliance in the battle for Yemen, aware of the risk of possible war crimes. The Saudi-led coalition backing President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi against Shiite Houthi rebels poured more reinforcements into central Yemen, where more than 30 people were killed.
- September 18, Shelling from across the border in Yemen killed 3 residents of the Saudi border district of Jazan and wounded 28. This brings the number of people killed in Saudi Arabia from border shelling and skirmishes to at least 64. The alliance air force bombed a gathering of fighters in the region of Harib believing them to be Houthi rebels and at least 14 pro-government troops were killed “by mistake”. A million Yemeni tribal fighters are gathering near the border with Saudi Arabia in preparation to invade the Kingdom. The political forces and the tribes of Yemen announced a general alarm to mobilize invade Saudi territory and curb its aggression. Brigadier General Sharaf Ghalib Luqman has claimed that his army captured Saudi, Emirati, Bahraini and Qatari fighters in the province of Marib and will present them to the media in the coming days. Houthi rebels have also besieged two Qatari battalions in Marib and that Qatar has appealed to Saudi Arabia not to bomb the region to ensure its citizens will not be victims of “friendly fire”. Remarking on the Houthi attack on the Safer camp in Marib, Saudi Arabia withdrew all soldiers from the base into its territory after the killing of 300 Emirati, Saudi and Bahraini fighters.
- September 19, Airstrikes by the Saudi-led Arab coalition killed about 30 people and injured scores of others in Yemen’s capital Sanaa at two residential neighborhoods in the Old City of Sanaa, a world heritage site destroying houses, shops and public properties. Reports indicate more than 30 people, mostly women and children, were killed due to the continuing airstrikes and that the death toll might rise for a lack of medical equipment.
- September 20, Houthi rebels released six foreign hostages, including two Americans and a Brit, and flown them to the Gulf country of Oman, which helped negotiate their release, officials said Sunday. The Israeli regime is providing logistic and material assistance to the UAE. An Israeli warplane recently supplied large volumes of light and heavy military equipment and mobile spying devices to Emirati military forces in a regional base. Israeli regime military officers are also training the UAE officers on urban and irregular warfare. Saudi-led air strikes on a security complex in central Yemen controlled by Shiite rebels killed 11 people on Sunday, some of them prisoners. Another 50 people were wounded. A school linked to Yemen’s former president was hit by eight airstrikes as its ground troops prepare for their offensive against the capital, San’a. Alongside the fallen troops from the Gulf states are allied mercenaries belonging to Al Qaeda-linked Islamist militia aftert receiving training in Saudi Arabia. Hence, the Western states are working in Yemen in direct alliance with jihadist mercenaries. This cold-blooded genocidal slaughter and mass destruction was planned long before conflict began. Over 20 million Yemenis may perish from hunger, thirst and/or lack of medical treatment for serious injuries and diseases. The Saudi coalition has failed to achieve a significant breakthrough and suffered massive losses in Ma’rib, Taaz, and along the border. These losses can no longer be hidden.
- September 21, Air strikes killed 50 people in Yemen when they hit a Houthi-held security compound in the north and a house in Sanaa in an escalating campaign that has claimed increasing civilian lives. Yet the coalition appears to be making scant progress in a ground offensive in the central desert against battle-hardened Houthi forces controlling Sanaa, some 120 km (75 miles) to the west. The son of UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has been killed in a Houthi attack in Ma’rib province, rejecting claims that he died of heart attack.
- September 22, In the face of Saudi aggression, the Houthi responded with operations that are spreading into tens of kilometers in the Saudi depth and their success has put the back lines of Saudi military bases under the Yemeni fire. Two members of al-Qaeda were killed when a missile from a US drone hit their vehicle in Ma’rib. The Saudi led advance on the capital, Sanaa, has stalled as Houthis resist in the face of airstrikes relentlessly pounding their positions.
- September 23, As the Air War Intensifies, Saudi Arabia launched a charm offensive at the UN.
- September 24, A bomb attack targeting the Balili mosque in Yemen’s capital killed at least 25 people and wounded dozens more during prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility. Witnesses reported that after a first blast inside the mosque, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt at the entrance as worshippers rushed outside. The Netherlands submitted a resolution at the U.N. Human Rights Council in the face of another co-sponsored by Saudi Arabia who wants the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide “technical assistance” to Yemen’s government. The US’s dilemma is in deciding between resolutions by two allies, in light of the fact that the USA are involved in aerial refueling of Emirati aircraft participating in the bombing campaign, as well as offered logistical and intelligence support.
- September 25, Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition targeting the country’s Shiite rebels as well as fighting on the ground between rebels and pro-government fighters in the southern province of Taiz have killed at least 13 people and wounded dozens.
- September 26, Saudi-led coalition killed at least 20 Houthis in their offensive on the rebel-held capital Sanaa. Twelve other Houthi were captured on the northwestern edge of Marib province, a key battleground in the fight for control of the capital. Gunfight and a landmine explosion kills Saudi colonel Hassan Ghasoum Ageeli and a deputy sergeant in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan district. The Houthis, controlling most of Taiz province, have over the past weeks besieged the city of Taiz and it is almost impossible to send aid to Taiz, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres.
- September 27, Weeks into their assault on Maarib province, the Saudi-led forces are claiming gains in a battle, expecting quick victory since it started. Saudi attack helicopters poured into the northern Yemeni village of Bani Zela off the Saudi border in the Hajjah Province, leaving at least 30 dead and many wounded. With no medical resources in blockaded North Yemen, the toll is expected to rise. Another four lost their lives in similar attacks in Hudaydah Province’s Jabal Ras area. It happened after Saudi forces targeted rescue workers attempting to retrieve bodies from an earlier attack. Sa’ada Province’s Kitaf area also came under attack by Saudi airstrikes.
- September 28, Two missiles tore through two tents in the Al-Wahijah village in southwestern Yemen, where a wedding celebration was underway killing over 130 people. Many of the dead appear to have been women and children. Riyadh, who has air supremacy in the area, first denied responsibility for the tragedy but later admitted that the airstrike was a “mistake.” In another development, they announced that dozens of Saudi soldiers and allied militias were killed and wounded in a major operation by the Houthis allies, the Yemeni army and the Popular Committees, who targeted their assembly point in “That Al-Raa” area in Marib province, destroying 10 coalition armored vehicles that have been shelling the Yemeni people for more than six months. The Houthi alliance also fought off an attack by the Saudi-led coalition who tried to infiltrate the Hommat al-Masariya area in Ma’rib province under heavy fire cover by the Saudi-US aggression forces using forbidden cluster bombs. Three coalition military vehicles were destroyed and dozens of its troops were killed. Also in “Al-Jofayna” area, the Houthi alliance forces targeted a military convoy of Saudi sponsored armed groups, wounding a senior officer and killing other gunmen.
- September 29, Saudi-led coalition faced mounting international pressure to halt a bombing campaign in Yemen the day after airstrikes killed dozens of people at a village wedding on the Red Sea coast. The Obama administration is facing questions over its military support of the air campaign. On Tuesday, Representative Ted W. Lieu, Democrat of California, sent the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff a letter citing reports of civilian deaths and requesting that the United States “cease aiding coalition airstrikes in Yemen until the coalition demonstrates that they will institute proper safeguards to prevent civilian deaths.”
- September 30, A source in the Yemeni military confirmed that at least 55 troops and mercenaries of the US-Saudi aggression on the country were killed or wounded in the major operations launched by the national military in the province of Marib. The military source said that eight military vehicles and 5 armored others of the Saudi-led coalition were destroyed in the vicinity Al-Balaq, That Al-Ra’ and Marbat Al-Dam in Marib during the past few hours. Another Saudi military vehicle has also been destroyed and crew killed in a mortar shelling by the Yemeni army and the Popular Committees that targeted Al-Jihad center near the site of Al-Radif in Jizan, south west of Saudi Arabia. A Saudi-led coalition force has been striking Yemen for 190 days now to restore power to fugitive President Abed-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 6,433 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children. Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
The Marib battle is a starting point for the new wave of escalation in Yemen. Saudi-led coalition wasn’t ready for casualities and this fact impacts negatively on the martrial spirit of its forces. So, despite the public statements about the war to the bitter end, Saud Arabia will likely be pushed to start talks with al Houthi representatives again. According to unconfirmed reports, the talks have already started in Oman.
The very same time, the Saudi-backed government faced a new crisis in Aden. It doesn’t have enough legitimacy and authority to govern coalition-ocuppied territories. Furthermore, officials faced serious security threats. Leaders of the Southern Resistance separatist movemen also don’t support “Saudi-led” government in Aden.
Will we have another drawn-out war of attrition/resistance in Yemen as in Palestine, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya? In all of these conflicts, sponsors of aggression, in each case, were expecting quick results: a few months at worse?
One lesson that we have failed to learn from history is that we would repeat such mistakes. The definition of insanity (ascribed to Einstein without any evidence) is that one cannot expect different results from doing the same thing over and over.
When will we learn that one cannot enter another man’s house and expect him to just ‘submit’. In every such case in history, resistance had a distinct advantage and the superior might of the military did not count for much. In the few cases where a nation was subdued, such aggressive occupation did not last more than a few decades.
The US backed aggression in Yemen has ground to a halt. Like Lebanon in 2006, the focus is now on destruction: If we cannot have it, we will destroy it (and maybe make something out of reconstruction contracts. One only has to read Naomi Klein’s ‘The Shock Doctrine’ and John Pilger’s “Hidden Agenda’ to know the game plan.
In the short term, this war of aggression will come to an end through international pressure.
Houthis in the South-Western Saudi Provinces, lost during the previous century, will soon join their relations across the border and with a steady supply of weapons – begged, borrowed, bought or stolen – it is not inconceivable that Saudi Arabia, a historic aggressor in Yemen, will turn tail without any real gains as happened before. We must not forget that Yemen briefly occupied Mecca in 1632, and earlier in history even controlled the Arabian Peninsula as far as modern day Riyadh!
Surely, with equivalent external political, military and financial support – now virtually non-existent – the Houthis could turn the tables. The same is true for any of the occupied and destroyed countries in the Middle East, including Palestine.