The Patriot Files Forums  

Go Back   The Patriot Files Forums > Warfare > Warfare

Post New Thread  Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-20-2019, 10:19 AM
Boats's Avatar
Boats Boats is offline
Senior Member

Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 16,540
Arrow Saudi Arabia launched military operation. Population warned to stay away from targets

Saudi Arabia launched military operation. Population warned to stay away from targets
By: b92 World News - 9-20-19

A Saudi-led coalition has launched a military operation north of the Yemeni port city of Hodeida

The Saudi-led coalition launched a military operation north of Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah against what it described as “legitimate military targets”, Saudi state TV Al Ekhbariya informs, as Reuters reports.

The coalition said it had called on civilians to stay away from the area and said the operation was carried out in accordance with humanitarian law.

"The coalition's naval forces detected an attempt by the terrorist Houthi militia backed by Iran to carry out an imminent act of aggression and terrorism south of the Red Sea using an unmanned, rigged boat, launched from Hodeida province," coalition spokesman said in a statement.

The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 against the Yemen Iran-aligned Houthi group after the Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government in Sanaa in late 2014.

The incident comes as the United States and Saudi Arabia consider responses to the assault on Saudi oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh blame on common foe Iran. Tehran denies any involvement. Is there a new large-scale conflict threatening us?

Officially, the responsibility for the attack was taken by the Yemeni Houthis, but neither Saudi Arabia nor their US ally wants to admit it, but blames Iran, an ally of the Houthis.

Officials from all sides express a series of threats, mentioning war, attacks, retaliation. The Houthis also announced that the attack on the oil plant is only the beginning and that many targets are being chosen in Saudi Arabia. Now that Riyadh has attacked the Houthi targets, it is utterly uncertain what will come out of it.


Question: Just who are the Houthi's?

Who are the Houthis and why are they fighting the Saudi coalition in Yemen?
By: The Guardian

Amid the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, the Houthis show no sign of giving up.

The Saudi- and United Arab Emirates-led coalition fighting in Yemen is under unprecedented pressure from the international community to end its involvement in the war after the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Since the coalition intervened in 2015, Yemen has become the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the UN. Rights groups say up to 56,000 people have been killed, half of the 28 million-strong population are starving and the country is suffering the worst cholera epidemic in modern history.

But who are the coalition fighting, and why has the war descended into a stalemate? Yemen’s Houthi rebels are a decades-old resistance movement, born in opposition to Saudi Arabia’s religious influence. Although they cannot hold out forever against the coalition’s air power and blockades, they say they are determined not to give up.

Origins as an anti-Saudi resistance group

The Houthi movement was founded in the 1990s by Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, a member of Yemen’s Zaidi Shia minority, which makes up about one-third of the population. Hussein was killed by Yemeni soldiers in 2004, and the group is now led by his brother Abdul Malik.

The Zaidis, once a powerful force in north Yemen, were sidelined during the 1962-70 civil war and then further alienated in the 1980s as Salafist Sunni ideals gained prominence across the border in Saudi Arabia, which exported the ideology to Yemen. In response, Zaidi clerics began to militarise their followers against Riyadh and its allies.

The intermittent insurgency gained support from Shia Yemenis fed up with the corruption and cruelty of the long-time authoritarian president and Saudi ally, Ali Abdullah Saleh, particularly during the aftermath of 9/11 and the US invasion of Iraq.

Role in the Arab spring

Popular protests and several assassination attempts forced Saleh to resign in 2012. The Houthis, as one of the only revolutionary groups with military experience, steadily gained control of territory outside their northern heartlands.

As they grew more powerful they pulled out of transition talks aimed at creating a new and stable Yemeni government after Saleh’s downfall. In 2015 they allied with their former enemy Saleh, seizing the capital, Sana’a, and overthrowing the new president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Goals in Yemen’s civil war

The Houthis’ slogan, known as the sarkha, or scream, is “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, curse on the Jews, victory to Islam.” Apart from the resistance narrative, the Houthis have no stated political or governance goals for Yemen, despite the fact they are currently in control of both Sana’a and Hodeidah, a Red Sea port city through which 80% of the country’s imports flow.

After they seized Sana’a in 2015, forcing Hadi to flee, the exiled Yemeni government asked its allies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to launch a military campaign to drive out the Houthis.

Last December the Houthis turned on and killed Saleh after realising he was about to switch sides again to ally with the Saudi-led coalition. His death has further destabilised the chaotic Houthi command structure. Infighting is rife among Houthi leaders, military wings and clerics.

Throughout the war the Houthis have been accused of torturing and killing journalists and critics, siphoning off aid supplies, using civilian infrastructure as a shield for military activity and persecuting the country’s Jewish and Baha’i minorities.

Relationship with Iran

The Houthis have variously said their tactics are modelled on those of the Viet Cong and resistance movements in Latin America as well as Lebanon’s fearsome Shia Hezbollah, with which they have obvious kinship.

Both Hezbollah and Iran have increased their provision of guns, missiles, military training and funds for the Houthi war effort since 2014, happy to see their Saudi enemies expend soldiers and money on the Yemeni stalemate.

The extent of Tehran’s influence over the Houthis’ decision-making processes is unclear, however. The Houthis have acted expressly against Iran’s advice on several occasions during the war, including a demand not to take over Sana’a in 2015.

Prospect of peace talks

Peace talks in Geneva in September this year – the first since 2016 – were cancelled after the Houthi delegation failed to arrive, citing security concerns. The UN is now working overtime to ensure the success of new talks, which are supposed to take place in Sweden by the end of November.

Several confidence-building measures are being implemented that were previously lacking, including the evacuation of wounded Houthi fighters to Oman and a security guarantee from Kuwait for travelling Houthi politicians. In turn, the Houthi leadership has said it will stop attacks on the Saudi-led coalition – their most significant concession in years, although there is still evidence of fighting.

The main issue will be the fate of Hodeidah, a significant source of revenue for the Houthis and arguably their most important asset. The UN wants both parties to agree to place it under UN jurisdiction, which it says is the only way to alleviate Yemen’s cholera and malnutrition crises.


Another piece on the History of the Houstis:

Who are the Houthis, and why are we at war with them?
By: Brookings - Bruce RiedelMonday, December 18, 2017

For over two-and-a-half years, the United States has supported Saudi Arabia in a war against the Houthi movement in Yemen. The war has created the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world and threatens to turn into the largest famine in decades.

Yet very few Americans know who the Houthis are, what they stand for, and why they are our de facto enemies. Two administrations have backed the war against the Houthis without a serious campaign to explain why Americans should see them as our enemies.

Yemeni politics are incredibly complex and volatile—rather than get drawn into a quagmire against an enemy they hardly know, the United States and its partners should get serious about finding a political solution.

First and foremost, the Houthis are Zaydi Shiites, or Zaydiyyah. Shiite Muslims are the minority community in the Islamic world and Zaydis are a minority of Shiites, significantly different in doctrine and beliefs from the Shiites who dominate in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere (often called Twelvers for their belief in twelve Imams).

The Zadiyyah take their name from Zayd bin Ali, the great grandson of Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, whom all Shiites revere. Zayd bin Ali led an uprising against the Umayyad Empire in 740, the first dynastic empire in Islamic history, which ruled from Damascus. Zayd was martyred in his revolt, and his head is believed to be buried in a shrine to him in Kerak, Jordan. Zaydis believe he was a model of a pure caliph who should have ruled instead of the Umayyads.

Note: The Houthis have made fighting corruption the centerpiece of their political program, at least nominally.

The distinguishing feature of Zayd’s remembered biography is that he fought against a corrupt regime. Sunnis and Shiites agree that he was a righteous man. The Zaydi elevate him to be the epitome of a symbol of fighting corruption. The Houthis have made fighting corruption the centerpiece of their political program, at least nominally. The Zaydi do not believe in ayatollahs like the Twelver Shiites—who are the Shiite sect in Iran and most of the Muslim world—nor do they practice the other Twelver doctrine of taqqiyah (dissimulation), which permits one to disguise his or her faith for self-protection.

In short, they are a very different sect than the Iranian version of Shiism that Americans have come to know since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Followers of Zayd established themselves in north Yemen’s rugged mountains in the ninth century. For the next thousand years, the Zaydis fought for control of Yemen with various degrees of success. A succession of Zaydi Imams ruled the community and Zaydis were the majority of the population in the mountains of the north. They fought against both the Ottomans and the Wahhabis in the 18th and 19th centuries.

With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, a Zaydi monarchy took power in North Yemen called the Mutawakkilite Kingdom. The ruler, or imam, was both a secular ruler and a spiritual leader. Their kingdom fought and lost a border war with Saudi Arabia in the 1930s, losing territory to the Saudi state. They also enjoyed international recognition as the legitimate government of North Yemen. Their capital was in Taiz.

Map link:
Source: CIA World Factbook

In 1962, an Egyptian-backed revolutionary military cabal overthrew the Mutawakkilite king and established an Arab nationalist government with its capital in Sanaa. With Soviet assistance, Egypt sent tens of thousands of troops to back the republican coup. The Zaydi Royalists fled to the mountains along the Saudi border to fight a civil war for control of the country. Saudi Arabia supported the royalists against Egypt. Israel also clandestinely backed the Zaydi Royalists. The war ended in a republican victory after the Saudis and Egyptians resolved their regional rivalry after the 1967 war with Israel and lost interest in the Yemen civil war.

A Zaydi republican general named Ali Abdullah Saleh came to power after a succession of coups in 1978. Saleh ruled—or misruled—Yemen for the next 33 years. He united north and south Yemen in 1990, tilted toward Iraq during the 1991 Kuwait war, and survived a Saudi-backed southern civil war in 1994. He had complicated relations with both Riyadh and Washington, but by the late 1990s was generally aligned with both against al-Qaida. The al-Qaida attack on the USS Cole in late 2000 in Aden drew the Americans closer to Saleh, although his cooperation against al-Qaida was always incomplete.

The Houthis emerged as a Zaydi resistance to Saleh and his corruption in the 1990s led by a charismatic leader named Hussein al Houthi, from whom they are named. They charged Saleh with massive corruption to steal the wealth of the Arab world’s poorest country for his own family, much like other Arab dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria. They also criticized Saudi and American backing for the dictator.

The American invasion of Iraq in 2003 deeply radicalized the Houthi movement, like it did many other Arabs. It was a pivotal moment. The Houthis adopted the slogan: “God is great, death to the U.S., death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam,” in the wake of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The group also officially called itself Ansar Allah, or supporters of God. It was a turning point largely unrecognized outside Yemen, another unanticipated consequence of George Bush’s Iraq adventures.

Hezbollah, the Shiite movement in Lebanon which successfully expelled the Israeli army from the country, became a role model and mentor for the Houthis. Although different kinds of Shiites, the two groups have a natural attraction. Hezbollah provided inspiration and expertise for the Houthis. Iran was a secondary source of support, especially since the Houthis and Iranians share a common enemy in Saudi Arabia.

After 2003, Saleh launched a series of military campaigns to destroy the Houthis. In 2004, Saleh’s forces killed Hussein al Houthi. The Yemeni army and air force was used to suppress the rebellion in the far north of Yemen, especially in Saada province. The Saudis joined with Saleh in these campaigns. The Houthis won against both Saleh and the Saudi army, besting them both again and again. For the Saudis, who have spent tens of billions of dollars on their military, it was deeply humiliating.

The Houthis won against both Saleh and the Saudi army, besting them both again and again.

The Arab Spring came to Yemen in 2011. The Houthi movement was one part of the wide national uprising against Saleh. It was primarily concerned with advancing the narrow interests of the Zaydi community, not surprisingly. When Saleh was replaced by a Sunni from the south—Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who had been Saleh’s vice president at the behest of the Saudis—the Houthi response was predictable. They were critical of the process and of Hadi.

A national dialogue was instituted to address the future of Yemen after Saleh, with regional and international assistance. It proposed a federal solution with six provinces with some autonomy. The Zaydi-dominated north got two landlocked entities, which the Houthis argued was gerrymandered against them.

In 2014, they began colluding with Saleh against Hadi secretly. Even by the standards of Middle East politics, it was a remarkable and hypocritical reversal of alliances by both the Houthis and Saleh. Much of the army remained loyal to Saleh and his family, so together with the Houthis the two had a preponderance of force in the country. Hadi was deeply unpopular and seen as a Saudi stooge.


After months of gradually moving into the capital Sanaa, it fell to the rebel alliance in January 2015, just as King Salman ascended to the throne in Riyadh. The Houthis opened direct civilian air traffic between Sanaa and Tehran, Iran promised cheap oil for Yemen, and rumors of more Iran-Houthi cooperation spread quickly. The main port at Hodeidah fell to the Houthi forces and they began marching to take Aden, the capital of the south and the largest port on the Indian Ocean.

For the Saudi king and his 29-year-old defense minister and son Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS), it was a nightmare. A traditional enemy with ties to their regional foe was taking over the country on their southern belly. The strategic straits at the Bab al Mandab could be in the Houthis’ hands. It was a very difficult challenge for an untried team in the royal palace.

For the Obama administration, the picture was more complicated. American intelligence officials said that Iran was actually trying to discourage the Houthis from seizing Sanaa and openly toppling Hadi. Iran preferred a less radical course, but the Houthi leadership was drunk with success. Moreover, Undersecretary of Defense Michael Vickers said on the record in January that Washington had a productive informal intelligence relationship with the Houthis against al-Qaida. He suggested that the cooperation could continue.

The Saudis chose to go to war to support Hadi and prevent the Houthi-Saleh rebellion from consolidating control of the country. Operation Decisive Storm began in March 2015, MBS taking the public lead in promising early victory for the Saudis. They forged a coalition to back them including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and other traditional Saudi allies. Two refused to join: Oman, Yemen’s neighbor, and Pakistan, whose parliament voted unanimously against the war.

Obama backed the Saudi war. In the choice between the Saudi ally and the Houthis, the president—not surprisingly—took the side of a 70-year old alliance. U.S. and U.K. support is essential to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), which is equipped with American and British aircraft. The RSAF has dropped tons of American and British munitions on Yemen since.

Battle for control in Yemen:
2nd Map Link:

Almost three years later, the Saudi air and naval blockade of Houthi-controlled territory has created a humanitarian disaster, with millions of Yemenis at dire risk of starvation and disease. The Saudi-led coalition has tightened the blockade and gradually gained more territory, although Hadi has little if any control over the territory recovered from the rebels. He resides in Riyadh. All sides are credibly accused of war crimes.

Saleh broke with his putative ally this month, signaled to Riyadh that he was flipping sides again, and was killed days later. The Houthis won the battle for Sanaa but are isolated from the rest of Yemeni politics and political parties. Riyadh portrays them as Iranian puppets, but many Yemenis see them as patriots fighting the country’s traditional enemy Saudi Arabia and America, Israel’s defender. Houthi propaganda plays to the line that Yemen is under attack by a Saudi-American-Israeli conspiracy.

A major consequence of the war is to push the Houthis and Iran and Hezbollah closer together. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley underscored that point, perhaps unintentionally, when she presented compelling evidence of Iranian support for the Houthis missile attacks on Saudi and Emirati targets last week. With their own cities under constant aerial bombardment, the Houthis are firing missiles at Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, with Tehran’s technological assistance. The war costs Tehran a few million dollars per month, while it costs Riyadh $6 billion per month.

Tehran and the Houthis are playing with fire, of course. If a missile hits Riyadh, Jeddah, or Abu Dhabi and kills dozens or more, the pressure for retaliation against Iran will be significant. The Trump administration is poorly designed to provide cooling counsel.

This brief and simplified account of the background of the Houthis should underscore how complex Yemeni politics are and how volatile they can be. Saleh called running Yemen to be akin to dancing on the heads of snakes. It is a foolish place for Americans to be drawn into a war and a quagmire against an enemy they hardly know. The administration has recently called for an easing of the blockade. It’s time to get serious about a political solution, not to wade deeper into quicksand.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

sendpm.gif Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:05 AM.

Powered by vBulletin, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.