Moon of Alabama in one of his most recent posts notes that United Arab Emirate and Saudi troops are now heavily engaged on the ground in Yemen. This, as Moon of Alabama notes, and to which I concur, is the start of the beginning of a military disaster for Saudi forces- and in my belief preludes the downfall (none too son) of the Saudi “monarchy”.
As happened to Egyptian forces when they involved themselves in the horribly complicated shifting factions of the North Yemen Civil War in the 1960s; the commitment of ground troops signals a whole new ball game. One in which local Yemen forces have a considerable advantage -knowledge of local ( and in many cases, very difficult mountainous) terrain.
Wikipedia summarises it well when it says: Yemen is a continuously elevated country, with only the coastal plains being the lowest-lying areas. The range of elevation is from sea level to 3,666 metres (12,028 ft). Jagged peaks and plateaus cover most of Yemen, and the average elevation in the country is about 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). Among the countries in the Arab world, it is the one with the second highest high point, being the 3,666 metres (12,028 ft) high Jabal an Nabi Shu’ayb, after Morocco‘s 4,167 metres (13,671 ft) high Jbel Toubkal. The Yemenis used the elevation of their homeland to stay isolated for thousands of years with foreign trade conducted only when the Yemenis wished to go to the coastal areas.
That mountainous terrain provides cover for ambush and retreat, and just as the Houthis are already demonstrating in their Saudi attacks; quick hit and runs can be very effective in demoralising and destabilizing formal troop placements.
While Moon of Alabama notes that Western media are not reporting on these military incursions by Saudi and UAE forces, they are also minimally reporting on the, at this stage minor military successes by Houthi forces in Saudi Arabia itself.
The ongoing western media reportage of the Houthis as “Iranian backed” carries no substance, but is nevertheless a convenient line in the Saudi propogated narrative of Shi-ite expansion across the middle east. The reality is the exact opposite: extremist Sunni regimes like the Saudis , Qatar and UAE are determined to forestall the ongoing rise of an independent and powerful Iran , by training arming and funding uncontrollable groups like Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and ISIS, and in the case of Yemen, sending in their own militaries. As noted in an earlier blog, the Saudi invasion of Yemen was specifically designed to ensure the survival of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a useful ally to the Saudi dictatorship against the shi-ites -despite their mutual animosities.
The way forward lies in the destruction from within of these Sunni dictatorships via the extremists they have cultivated, along with the resultant backlash from resident shi-ite and other “deviant” sects within Arabia as a result of Saudi repression and brutality. Their fragile inept, corrupt and isolated leadership groups are creating the very forces which will inevitably turn on them. As the United States found with Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and its terrorists agents in Syria ; it is one thing to fund and help establish a terrorist group to hit your enemies; it is another thing to control such terrorist groups in the long term. In addition, the Saudi role in lowering international oil prices may, in the longer term, have significant impact on the stability of that country.
However in all of this we must not forget those who suffer now because of the political machinations ( greed and power) . This huge humanitarian crisis has been directly created by the Sunni Gulf states in Yemen. Health services and food aid are being deliberately withheld from areas controlled by the Houthi, while civilians are being deliberately targeted in bombing runs, using U.S. intelligence. IN all this seems like a re-run of the kind of brutality used for almost 80 years by the Saudi’s new-found ally, the Israelis, in exterminating and terrorising Palestinians.
The recent bombing of the one remaining port access for humanitarian aid into Yemen by the Saudi “coalition” is just one of the evil and inhumane acts of this brutal dictatorship that supposedly prides itself on its adherence to Muslin doctrines of humanity and respect.
Nuremburg Two-here we come!
And, interesting to note the recent (October 2015) development of an internal anti-Saudi movement in southern Arabia. The rise of Ahrar al-Najran, a southern Arabian secessionist movement, is one of a number of new groups that will inevitably begin to eat away at the House of Saud and its Wahhabi reactionary muslim sect; and steadily undermine its bigoted and destructive control of the Arabian peninsula . As we might expect, the house of Saud itself begins to understand its nemesis is near, and the destructive undermining has already begun from within…
The U.K., Israel and the United States, are left in a very difficult position, as their king-pin for Middle East control ( aside from the supposedly “Western” oriented Israeli government) begins its inevitable slide to oblivion. The only option left for them is the devil-incarnate, Iran….