Houthi forces recaptured Al-Kabeen region in Lahij province on Sunday
night. Dozens of Saudi soldiers were killed and injured from the
Yemeni forces' assault. Meanwhile, the Yemeni army and popular forces
made considerable advances in Marib province, killing a large number
of Saudi forces and injuring many others.
Saudi strategy in Yemen is suffering a complete collapse.
Whilst multiple enemies are defeating Saudi forces, Houthi-rebels are
aiming to occupy the southern provinces of Saudi Arabia.
importance of Yemen
is a country of great geopolitical importance. It is situated in the
southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula and guards the Bab
al-Mandab Strait. It is an important country in geopolitical,
military, and political terms. The industrialized countries of
Western Europe depend on oil from the Persian Gulf, and the shortest
route for tankers is through the Bab al-Mandab Strait, the Red Sea,
and the Suez Canal. Thus, the strait is important for Europe and the
Gulf countries, as well as Iran, which is seeking to renew its oil
supply to Europe now that the sanctions have been lifted.
maritime route is also important for China, who wants to include it
in its project of the Maritime Silk Road. Last year, China negotiated
with Djibouti the establishment of a military base in the Bab
al-Mandab Strait on the African side.
an entry point to the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandab Strait, and
therefore Yemen, are of great interest to Israel given its interest
in the Red Sea. From a strategic point of view, whatever power
controls Yemen also controls access to the strait and the maritime
route from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean.
the Cold War, Yemen represented a battlefield between Tellurocratic
and Thalassocratic powers. The major continental power, the Soviet
Union, managed to seize control of Southern Yemen, a former British
colony, gaining control over the port of Aden near the Bab al-Mandab
Strait. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, unified Yemen fell
under Saudi influence.
Shia Crescent on the Arabian Peninsula
Northern part of Yemen is populated by Zaydi Shi'a Muslims, who have
always been influenced by their co-religionists in Iran.
the beginning of the 20th century, this moderate Shiite sect
established its own Mutawakkilite Kingdom, led by a Zaidayyih Shiite
religious leader, in the territory of Northern Yemen. This
force always guaranteed Iranian interests and was supported by Iran
during the previous civil war in 1962-1970. Despite the difference in
regime (monarchy in the past, Islamic Republic today), Iran has the
same allies and continues to show the same interest in Yemen and the
same geopolitical strategy. It is significant that the Saudi
Najran region, which borders Yemen, is populated by Shia Sulaimani
Ismailis, who are ethnically close to the population of Northern
Yemen and are oppressed by the Wahhabi leadership of the kingdom. 10%
of the Saudi population is Shia-Muslims. They populate the part of
the country that is close to the Persian Gulf where the major oil
reserves are situated. By supporting the oppressed Shia population in
the Saudi kingdom, Iran can eventually destroy its main enemy in the
Middle East. In turn, Saudi Arabia firstly wants to eradicate the
Houthi rule in Yemen, and at the same time terrorize its own Shia
population (e.g. execution of Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia Sheikh).
remains fractured since President Hadi, in January of 2015, was
ousted from the capital and went into exile. The country is torn
between the Houthi led Interim government (Shia rebels backed by
Iran), remnants of the former regime, AQAP, and a secession movement
in the south; none are capable of controlling the entire country. In
March 2015, Saudi Arabia initiated a military intervention in the
the Houthi led government, supported by troops loyal to former
president Saleh (predecessor of Hadi, ousted by the results of the
Arab Spring in Yemen), is dominating in former Northern Yemen, the
opposite forces, including Wahhabi invaders, ISIS, Al Qaeda on the
Arabian Peninsula, and the separatist Southern Movement are fighting
for former South Yemen.
Saudi-led coalition includes the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar,
Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Egypt, and Pakistan. The United
States announced that they were assisting them with intelligence,
targeting, and logistics.
Defeat in Yemen
Arabia cannot win the war in Yemen. The efforts of the Saudi-led
coalition have not brought real success. The war reveals the military
and strategic impotence of the Saudi command and leadership.
kingdom cannot defeat the main enemy – the Houthi led government.
The Houthis control the Yemeni capital Sana, and most of the former
Saudi proxy, Al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, acts more
independently. It is capturing more and more cities previously
controlled by the Hadi-government supported by Riyadh.
the same time, Southern separatists from the former PDRY have cut off
the entire Hadhramaut region.
one of the Saudi’s strategical aims has been completed. Both Saleh
and Houthi commanders are alive, and control large parts of Yemen,
moving freely through the country. Houthi rebels use tactical
ballistic missiles including SCUD, Tochka, and Qaher-1 against
interventionist forces, hitting bases on Saudi territory and
destroying the ships of the coalition. Jizan airport, Aramco oil
installations, and the Faisal military base were all attacked.
to independent sources, support for the Houthi movement in Yemen is
growing. They managed to present themselves as the only independent
force that opposes Saudi aggression and defends the principles of
traditional Islam without Wahhabi perversions. In October 2015, they
urged prominent tribesmen, intellects, and religious leaders from all
parts of Yemen to sign the “tribal honor charter” to deter Saudi
on Saudi soil
with the support of local tribes torn from Saudi Arabia, are now
attacking the province of Najran, and have invaded Jizan, capturing
another Saudi base. The forces of the Houthi-government and the
army of former president Saleh continuously attack the outskirts of
the capital of the province.
offensive was developed strictly in accordance with the precepts of
Houthi (Zaydi) Imams who have always believed that Ismaili Najran and
Jizan are parts of greater Yemen.
Saudi army uses cluster bombs against its own population in a
desperate attempt to stop the Yemen offensive. Saudi Arabia and
their allies are trying to salvage the situation by using mercenaries
from all over the world, including Latin America (specifically
Columbia) and the US. Houthi forces have managed to kill some of the
Actually this strategy indicates the defeat
of the Saudi-led forces and can be easily connected to the
environment of low oil prices, as revenues from oil are insufficient.
Arabia is forecasted to lose the war. The impasse that is the Yemeni
war could be the beginning of the collapse of the kingdom. This could
lead to drastic changes in the region.
to Yemeni army spokesman Brigadier-General Sharaf Ghalib Luqman,
further attacks on Saudi provinces would be considered a political
decision, not a military one, and the principal decision will be made
in Tehran, not Sanaa.