View Full Version : Yemen: all you want (2011-2015)

SWJ Blog
01-29-2011, 04:41 PM
The Conflicts in Yemen and U.S. National Security (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/01/the-conflicts-in-yemen-and-us/)

Entry Excerpt:

The Conflicts in Yemen and U.S. National Security (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=1040) by Dr. W. Andrew Terrill, U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute.

Yemen is not currently a failed state, but it is experiencing huge political and economic problems that can have a direct impact on U.S. interests in the region. It has a rapidly expanding population with a resource base that is limited and already leaves much of the current population in poverty. The government obtains around a third of its budget revenue from sales of its limited and declining oil stocks, which most economists state will be exhausted by 2017. Yemen also has critical water shortages and a variety of interrelated security problems. In Sa’ada province in Yemen’s northern mountainous region, there has been an intermittent rebellion by Houthi tribesmen (now experiencing a cease-fire) who accuse the government of discrimination and other actions against their Zaydi Shi’ite religious sect. In southern Yemen, a powerful independence movement has developed which is mostly nonviolent but is increasingly angry and confrontational.
More recently, Yemen has emerged as one of the most important theaters for the struggle against al-Qaeda. Yemen is among the worst places on earth to cede to al-Qaeda in this struggle, but it is also an especially distrustful and wary nation in its relationship with Western nations and particularly the United States. All of these problems are difficult to address because the central government has only limited capacity to extend its influence into tribal areas beyond the capital and major cities. The United States must therefore do what it can to support peaceful resolutions of Yemen’s problems with the Houthis and Southern Movement while continuing to assist the government’s struggle against al-Qaeda forces in Yemen. It must further pursue these policies in ways that avoid provoking a backlash among the Yemeni population which will not tolerate significant numbers of U.S. combat troops in Yemen.The Conflicts in Yemen and U.S. National Security (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=1040).

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03-21-2011, 04:08 AM
President Saleh abandoned by his own tribe (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110320/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen;_ylt=AkYyV8eDbNMgwglUHiOZtGis0NUE;_ylu=X3 oDMTFocG1pdTR1BHBvcwMyOARzZWMDYWNjb3JkaW9uX3RvcF9z dG9yaWVzBHNsawN5ZW1lbnN3ZWFrZW4-)

SANAA, Yemen – The U.S.-backed president of Yemen suffered a devastating political blow on Sunday when his own powerful tribe demanded his resignation, joining religious leaders, young people and the country's traditional opposition in calls for an end to his three decades in power.

Massive crowds flooded cities and towns around the impoverished and volatile nation, screaming in grief and anger as they mourned dozens of protesters killed Friday when President Ali Abdullah Saleh's security forces opened fire from rooftops on a demonstration in the capital.

Saleh appeared to be trying to hold on, firing his entire Cabinet ahead of what one government official said was a planned mass resignation, but making no mention of stepping down himself. Yemen's ambassador to the United Nations and its human rights minister had announced their resignations earlier in the day.

Experts said that Saleh, who has cooperated closely with U.S. military operations against his country's branch of al-Qaida, had lost the support of every major power base in Yemen except the military ...

Interesting that the collapse in Saleh's support has come about due to indiscriminate violence on the part of regime supporters. Makes a remarkable contrast with the situation in Bahrain.

03-21-2011, 09:13 AM
The Hashid is a tribal confederation not a tribe per se. It's leader and member tribes have on many occasions in the past "abandoned" Saleh only to renegotiate their government largesse. Salih's own tribe is the Sanhan (IIRC) and he was ften mocked (when I was there) for comming from a Zaidi background.

03-21-2011, 09:31 AM
And now the Army is abandoning Saleh (http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/03/2011320180579476.html).

The editor from the Yemen Post is on al-Jazeera saying that this is part of a negotiated deal to form a national emergency government which will allow Saleh to step down peacefully.

03-21-2011, 11:43 AM
Moderator's Note

There is a previous thread on Yemen, 'Yemen - a catch all thread for 2010' which was started in 2010 and has the background to the current events:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=9328

I have also moved the new thread to the Middle East area of Conflicts, where IMHO it sits better.

03-21-2011, 12:07 PM
The end of Saleh will not be the end of Yemen, or the end of Yemen's problems. New chapter, maybe, but I suspect that it will read much like the last one.

Bob's World
03-21-2011, 12:39 PM
The end of Saleh will not be the end of Yemen, or the end of Yemen's problems. New chapter, maybe, but I suspect that it will read much like the last one.

So long as Saudi Arabia is broken, Yemen will be broken as well. I think too often we see fixing problems in Yemen as the key to solving problems in Saudi Arabia. I would argue that it is the other way around. It is only once the Saudi government has committed to the substantive and reasonable reforms desired by the moderate majority of their populace that we will see an end to the disruptive presence in Yemen of their radical minority.

It is this backward thinking by the US that has had us piling on more and more capacity building and CT efforts in Yemen over the past several years. We attack the symptoms.

Hopefully Yemen can begin a transition as well to a government that is more responsive to its populace; but with the Saudi problem looming over them, they will never be able to find true stability. As to AQ? They are just Eddie Haskell, conducting UW and stirring up trouble. The AQ problem will fade as well once these governance issues finally either evolve or revolve. Which one occurs is really up to the government. If they continue to refuse the first, the people will force the second upon them.

03-22-2011, 12:43 AM
So long as Saudi Arabia is broken, Yemen will be broken as well.

I'n not sure Saudi Arabia is "broken", unless we define "broken" as having a government we don't approve of. Certainly they have problems, but if having problems is being 'broken" there's a whole lot of broken countries out there, ours among them. Yemen is certainly "broken", using the traditional definition of broken = dysfunctional.

I think too often we see fixing problems in Yemen as the key to solving problems in Saudi Arabia. I would argue that it is the other way around.

Who is saying that? I don't see any causative relation either way. You could say that Yemen's instability is a problem for Saudi Arabia, but to say that Saudi Arabia's problems stem from instability in Yemen would be absurd. Saudi Arabia has a range of problems, most of them not connected in any way to Yemen. Yemen has a rather graver range of problems, most not connected in any way to Saudi Arabia. If we could wave a magic wand and transform Saudi Arabia into a functioning democracy, Yemen would still be what it is, and the other way round.

In any event we can't "fix" either of them, which makes the discussion fairly academic.

It is only once the Saudi government has committed to the substantive and reasonable reforms desired by the moderate majority of their populace that we will see an end to the disruptive presence in Yemen of their radical minority.

I don't think anyone here is in a position to speak for the moderate majority of Saudi Arabia, or for that matter any portion of Saudi Arabia. I think we'd find that there's a fair diversity of opinion in there, and one of the few things most everyone would agree on is that they don't want Americans messing in their internal affairs.

Yemen's problems aren't caused by Saudi Arabia's radical minority, or any other radical minority. Yemen is a seething mass of ethnic, sectarian and clan conflict with no clear concept of national direction or even nationhood and no cohesive "populace". Radicals may be able to exploit that situation to gain refuge and some influence, but they didn't create or cause that situation and if the radicals were no more, Yemen would still be what it is. We just wouldn't notice or care.

Hopefully Yemen can begin a transition as well to a government that is more responsive to its populace.

Unlikely, not least because there is no unitary "its populace" and the various populaces involved have no unified idea of what they want government to be... or even if they want to be part of "Yemen".

Repetitive, I know... but we can't "fix" either Yemen or Saudi Arabia, and shouldn't try.

03-22-2011, 10:47 PM
Saudis prepare to abandon troublesome Yemen (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cb7e6b94-54b6-11e0-b1ed-00144feab49a.html#axzz1HMbgIKQ3), By Abeer Allam in Riyadh and Roula Khalaf in London, Published: March 22 2011 20:39 | Last updated: March 22 2011 20:39 at Financial Times

Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has turned to neighbour Saudi Arabia to mediate an end to a crisis that he himself has warned could turn into a “civil war” now that pivotal members of the military have defected.

But, if the strongman who has ruled over Yemen for 32 years is hoping for Saudi backing, analysts say he is likely to be disappointed.

Saudi Arabia would like to see a quick and smooth transition of power in Yemen, where Mr Saleh has been clinging to power in spite of weeks of protests and the dramatic narrowing of his support base, say analysts close to the government in Riyadh. And the kingdom is now concerned that the situation could devolve into a Libyan scenario in which Mr Saleh uses his presidential guards against the people and the army, transforming a revolt against the regime into a civil war.

Osama Nogali, Saudi foreign ministry spokesman, stressed on Tuesday that it was the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council that was mediating in the Yemen crisis.

“The kingdom is keen on consultations between all parties within the GCC frame and will not act unilaterally. Yemen is the GCC’s immediate neighbour and stability in Yemen is very important to the stability of the Arabian Peninsula.’’

03-22-2011, 11:15 PM
President Saleh warns of risk of civil war in Yemen (http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east/president-saleh-warns-of-risk-of-civil-war-in-yemen), Mohammed al Qadhi, Last Updated: Mar 23, 2011, The National

Hundreds of military leaders, businessmen, MPs, diplomats and government officials declared their support of the youth-led revolution after the defection on Monday of Major General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, the commander of the army's 1st Armoured Division.

Troops from the Republican Guards, an elite army regiment led by Mr Saleh's son, Ahmed, seized control of the air force base in the western province of Hodiedah after its commander, Ahmed al Sanahani, pledged his support to the anti-Saleh protesters, local media reported yesterday.

In a televised speech, during a meeting with military leaders yesterday, Mr Saleh, 69, said that commanders who had joined the protest movement should "return to reason" and avoid opening divisions within the army.

"The people are armed and nobody can twist the arm of the other. The time of coups has gone. You have to come back, there is a chance to come back and apologise," Mr Saleh said.

Earlier this month, he rejected an opposition plan for a smooth exit by the end of the year and announced plans to draft a new constitution with a parliamentary system. All offers have been rejected by the opposition and protesters who have stuck to their demand that he step down immediately.

Yesterday, Mr Saleh offered to move his resignation to January, after a parliamentary election.

Mr Sabri said the offer was not enough and that protesters would march to the palace on Friday.

"The man [Saleh] is politically dead and his words are deadlier. Talking about political deals and initiatives now is impossible after more than 150 people were killed and 2,000 wounded," Mr Sabri said.

France became the first Western power to call publicly for Mr Saleh to stand down. Its foreign minister, Alain Juppé, yesterday described Mr Saleh's departure as "unavoidable".

Bob's World
03-22-2011, 11:31 PM
I'n not sure Saudi Arabia is "broken", unless we define "broken" as having a government we don't approve of. Certainly they have problems, but if having problems is being 'broken" there's a whole lot of broken countries out there, ours among them. Yemen is certainly "broken", using the traditional definition of broken = dysfunctional.

Who is saying that? I don't see any causative relation either way. You could say that Yemen's instability is a problem for Saudi Arabia, but to say that Saudi Arabia's problems stem from instability in Yemen would be absurd. Saudi Arabia has a range of problems, most of them not connected in any way to Yemen. Yemen has a rather graver range of problems, most not connected in any way to Saudi Arabia. If we could wave a magic wand and transform Saudi Arabia into a functioning democracy, Yemen would still be what it is, and the other way round.

In any event we can't "fix" either of them, which makes the discussion fairly academic.

I don't think anyone here is in a position to speak for the moderate majority of Saudi Arabia, or for that matter any portion of Saudi Arabia. I think we'd find that there's a fair diversity of opinion in there, and one of the few things most everyone would agree on is that they don't want Americans messing in their internal affairs.

Yemen's problems aren't caused by Saudi Arabia's radical minority, or any other radical minority. Yemen is a seething mass of ethnic, sectarian and clan conflict with no clear concept of national direction or even nationhood and no cohesive "populace". Radicals may be able to exploit that situation to gain refuge and some influence, but they didn't create or cause that situation and if the radicals were no more, Yemen would still be what it is. We just wouldn't notice or care.

Unlikely, not least because there is no unitary "its populace" and the various populaces involved have no unified idea of what they want government to be... or even if they want to be part of "Yemen".

Repetitive, I know... but we can't "fix" either Yemen or Saudi Arabia, and shouldn't try.

"Broken" as in they have a government their populace does not approve of. WE like it just fine. Not all of the populace obviously, but Yemen is the convenient sanctuary the active insurgent element takes refuge in, (those who are not among the thousands languishing in Saudi prisons waiting to be "de-radicalized) and why AQ comes to Yemen conducting UW there, as the demise of the Saudi regime remains bin Laden's top priority.

Yemen has its own problems, but it will always share Saudi's problems as well in this regard. The Saudis would, I am sure, have us wage agressive CT against their nationalist insurgents hiding in Yemen in the name of the war on terrorism. Such engagement reduces the pressure on the Saudis, but increases the reasons why these same men travel to attack America as well. We are being played by all of these guys who know very well how to leverage our fear of oil disruption and terrorism in the US to get us to do what is the exact opposite of what we should be doing to get at the roots of this problem.

But no one said anything about "fixing" anyone. Our problem stems from supporting governments the local populace perceives to be broken and beyond their control.

But hey, it's always interesting to see how my comments can be twisted and taken places I surely never imagined. I am sure these will come back well-twisted as well.

03-23-2011, 12:01 AM
Yemen president's ouster could deal U.S. huge setbacks (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-yemen-dangers-20110323,0,3343598.story), By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2011, 4:29 p.m.

Yemen strategically borders the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and Saudi Arabia. If Saleh is overthrown civil wars could erupt in both north and south, the Saudis would be rattled and possibly intervene militarily, Iran would almost surely exploit the chaos and the U.S. would be dealt a major setback in containing Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an entrenched terrorist affiliate.

The drought-prone, poverty-stricken country, with oil tankers skimming its coast and pirates plying its waters, has over the years been largely neglected by the outside world. But with Saleh's government on the verge of collapse, Washington is focusing on the multiplying dangers that could turn the country into an ungovernable haven for militants and a proxy for struggles between regional powers.

The U.S. and other Western powers are not particularly fond of Saleh, who has ruled with a with an authoritarian swagger for 32 years and allowed for no potential successors outside his corrupt inner circle. But like the recently toppled presidents of Egypt and Tunisia, he has been an ally, although at times a reluctant one, in battling Islamic militants and keeping a semblance of order at the turbulent intersection of the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.

There is also concern over the religious passions of whoever succeeds Saleh. A leading candidate is Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsin Saleh Ahmar, the country's most powerful military commander, who defected to the protesters Monday. He is sympathetic to radical political Islam and may embolden the country's fundamentalist clerics.

Islamic militants are only part of Yemen's problems. The secessionist movement in the south, driven by communists, socialists and opportunistic tribesmen, threatens to split the country in half. Since Yemen was stitched back together after the 1994 civil war, the south has sought to break from Saleh. Rebel fighters have their own flag emblazoned on their rifle stocks.

The atmosphere remains precarious in the north, where years of intermittent fighting between government troops and Houthi rebels have left hundreds dead, destroyed villages and forced more than 300,000 people from their homes. The rebels, who belong to a Shiite Muslim offshoot, have long complained of economic discrimination. The struggle is not over religion, but Sunni Muslim-run Saudi Arabia has accused Shiite-controlled Iran of aiding the insurrection.

03-23-2011, 06:27 AM
"Broken" as in they have a government their populace does not approve of. WE like it just fine.

Again, nobody here speaks for the Saudi populace or any portion thereof.

Who is the "we" in "we like it just fine"? The US has been expressing discomfort and disapproval for the Saudi's human rights record, treatment of women, etc, ad infinitum for a long time. Of course the Saudis don't give a damn and it's not like we can change any of it.

What we do or do not "like" is irrelevant. The Saudi government exists, and we can't change it, so we deal with it. What else are we going to do? We don't sustain it or enable it to oppress its people, but as in so many other places (China, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, etc), we've little choice but to deal with what's there. The Saudis are not exactly a US client and we have exactly zero leverage over their internal policies.

Not all of the populace obviously, but Yemen is the convenient sanctuary the active insurgent element takes refuge in, (those who are not among the thousands languishing in Saudi prisons waiting to be "de-radicalized)

Add up the most charitable estimate of the Saudi radical presence in Yemen and the political prisoners in Saudi jails, and what percentage of the Saudi populace do you have? If that's "the problem" for the Saudi government, they're in pretty good shape.

We are being played by all of these guys who know very well how to leverage our fear of oil disruption and terrorism in the US to get us to do what is the exact opposite of what we should be doing to get at the roots of this problem.

In practical, specific terms, what should we be doing to "get at the roots of this problem"? What should we do, that is, that would have any realistic chance of accomplishing anything?

But hey, it's always interesting to see how my comments can be twisted and taken places I surely never imagined. I am sure these will come back well-twisted as well.

Practical, specific suggestions are difficult to twist. From your earlier post:

So long as Saudi Arabia is broken, Yemen will be broken as well. I think too often we see fixing problems in Yemen as the key to solving problems in Saudi Arabia. I would argue that it is the other way around.

You refer quite specifically to "fixing problems in Yemen".

It is only once the Saudi government has committed to the substantive and reasonable reforms desired by the moderate majority of their populace that we will see an end to the disruptive presence in Yemen of their radical minority.

Again, whether this is true or not (and again, we don't know and shouldn't assume that we know what anyone in Saudi Arabia wants), it remains true that we cannot compel or persuade the Saudi government to commit to anything, least of all changes in their form of government.

How is that twisting anything?

This whole link to Saudi Arabia seems to me only very marginally relevant: Yemen has a huge crop of problems that have nothing to do with Saudi Arabia or Saudi radicals. The use of Yemen as a refuge for Saudi radicals is a consequence of Yemen's chaos, not a cause.

What can we do about Yemen? Nothing much, to put it simply. No point in trying to keep Saleh in power, and we don't seem to be doing that. We'll probably see who comes after, and try to deal with whatever mess emerges. Fairly safe to predict that there will be one.

03-24-2011, 09:01 PM
Yemeni president nears deal to resign (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/newreply.php?do=newreply&noquote=1&p=118058)- WSJ

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the country's top general are hashing out a political settlement in which both men would resign from their positions within days in favor of a civilian-led transitional government, according to three people familiar with the situation.
The outlines of that peaceful transition emerged amid rising tension over the standoff between the President Saleh and Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who earlier this week broke ranks and declared his support for the array of protesters demanding that the president step down immediately.

Opposing tanks from units loyal to Mr. Saleh and to Gen. Ahmar have faced off in the streets of San'a all week and tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators continued their vigil in the capital's Change Square.

The people familiar with the negotiations said Thursday that Mr. Saleh and Gen. Ahmar are intent on preventing bloodshed and preserving stability in the Arabian Peninsula nation. Aides to both men said that while they both understand that Mr. Saleh's continued rule is untenable, they have agreed that the timing of his resignation can't happen until they have worked out the details of a transitional governing council that would take his place. They hope to have a detailed plan ready by Saturday, the people said ...

03-24-2011, 09:18 PM
Hey Tequila,

Back at ya :wry:

Britain pulls embassy staff from Yemen (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/64ee4764-5574-11e0-a2b1-00144feab49a.html#axzz1HMbgIKQ3), By Jack Farchy and Javier Blas in London, Published: March 23 2011 22:54 | Last updated: March 23 2011 23:50, at the FT

“In light of the rapid deterioration in the security situation in Yemen and the high risk of increased tension in Sana’a and likely protests on Friday 25 March, which might result in violent clashes, part of the British embassy team in Sana’a is being temporarily withdrawn, leaving a small core staff in place,” the Foreign Office said.

The withdrawal coincided with news that international oil companies had also started to evacuate staff from Yemen as the escalation of violence threatens the country’s main source of revenue. Austria’s OMV, Norway’s DNO and Occidental Petroleum of the US all said they were pulling expatriate employees out of the country amid political turmoil that on Wednesday forced the president to offer to resign within a year.

03-25-2011, 02:55 PM
Which ends with, in abbreviated form:
The United States and its international allies will have a limited window of opportunity to get things right in Yemen. No longer can the American government insist on seeing the country only through the prism of terrorism.....

Think of it as a strategic investment to defeat the current generation of terrorists and to prevent the formation of future ones.....

This may well be the West’s last chance in Yemen. If Mr. Saleh falls and the international community fails this time, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula will be waiting in the wings to take advantage of the situation....


03-26-2011, 07:39 PM
A friend of mine, a young activist with Islah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Islah) and my former Arabic teacher, standing on what he calls the front lines has sent me a website belonging to the umbrella organisation called the "Youth Revolution"; the site is here (http://www.pprye.com/viewalbum1.aspx) (it's in Arabic, but has a section in English). According to him 52 people were killed in the last few days. Of course I can't verify that myself. I saw some of the pictures, saw streets I've walked down myself and I don't recognise it (i.e., I can't believe what I'm seeing not I don't recognise the streets).

His father in law is a Col. in the Ymeeni Army, I'll ask him to find out what the mood is.... may not get an answe though as the Yemeni web has intermittent service at the best of times o could be being blocked (as it usually is).

03-26-2011, 10:25 PM
Talks on fate of Yemen's embattled President snag (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110326/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_yemen;_ylt=ApeihLEKciS.qPpA_47aGFKs0NUE;_ylu=X3 oDMTFiOXVkb2FpBHBvcwM1MwRzZWMDYWNjb3JkaW9uX3dvcmxk BHNsawN0YWxrc29uZmF0ZW8-) - AP

SANAA, Yemen – Allies of Yemen's president and his political opponents failed to make progress Saturday in talks on a possible exit for the man who has led the nation through 32 years of growing poverty and conflict and whose rule is now deeply imperiled by a popular uprising.

As the political turmoil deepened, there were signs that Islamic militants in the remote reaches of the country were seeking to make gains on the situation. Residents and witnesses in the small town of Jaar in the south said suspected al-Qaida militants moved down from an expanse of mountains on Saturday to seize control there a few weeks after police fled, setting up checkpoints and occupying vacant government buildings.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh argued in a TV interview that without him, the country would be at grave risk of breaking apart.

"Yemen is a ticking bomb and if the political system collapses and there's no constructive dialogue there will be a long civil war that will be difficult to end," he told the Al-Arabiya network ...

03-26-2011, 10:49 PM
Re this...

The United States and its international allies will have a limited window of opportunity to get things right in Yemen. No longer can the American government insist on seeing the country only through the prism of terrorism.....

Think of it as a strategic investment to defeat the current generation of terrorists and to prevent the formation of future ones.....

This may well be the West’s last chance in Yemen. If Mr. Saleh falls and the international community fails this time, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula will be waiting in the wings to take advantage of the situation....

I have to note that the author does not say what "getting it right in Yemen" would be, or how "The United States and its international allies" could go about "getting it right". He talks about "if the international community fails", but gives no indication of what he wants the international community to do.

The idea that the US and international allies, or the international community, or all the King's horses and all the King's men, can somehow "fix" Yemen seems quite outside the realm of possibility to me.

Bill Moore
03-26-2011, 11:08 PM
Posted by Tukhachevskii

the umbrella organisation called the "Youth Revolution"; the site is here (it's in Arabic, but has a section in English).

Interesting, but not a lot substance on the English portion of the site. What is the purpose? Who is the intended audience? I didn't see a means to coordinate future actions?

03-28-2011, 11:30 AM
Posted by Tukhachevskii

Interesting, but not a lot substance on the English portion of the site. What is the purpose? Who is the intended audience? I didn't see a means to coordinate future actions?

Hey Bill,

From what he tells me its intended primarily for domestic consumption, to create lines of communication, co-ordinate action and, of course, propaganda (i.e., to propagate the movement rather than disinformation). Apparently, it's only just got up and running, again Yemeni internet's not the most reliable being susceptible to being shutdown/restricted.

04-01-2011, 12:15 AM
So the government of Yemen has lost control of 6 provinces. I know of for sure Abyan lost to AQAP cause they declared it a Emirate today, and Saa'na to the Houthis... My question is this: what other provinces have been lost and to whom?

04-01-2011, 04:07 AM

I'm happy to announce that the brothers of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have captured Abyan province. With the support of the Tribal elders and the Muslims in the area they have captured the whole province.

The Mujahideen have seized all military bases including a weapon factory. After the Mujahideen captured the province, thousands moved on the streets to celebrate this great victory with the Mujahideen.

There are reports that the Tribal elders have declared the "Islamic Emirate of Abyan" and that the Mujahideen are preparing to move to the neighboring provinces.

Abyan borders the province of Shabwa on the east (see Wikipedia map).

The Yemeni correspondent of the Ansar Forum also reported that on March 28 the Mujahideen liberated another town, a strategically vital Al-Khotu in the province of Shabwa. The correspondent pointed out that the Mujahideen are patrolling the streets.

Earlier, a pro-Western news-agency, Arab News, reported that puppet regime in Yemen had already lost control of several provinces, in particularly, the four important provinces of Saada, Jawf, Abyan and Shabwa.

The northern province of Saada is under control of the Houthis, and, according to the news agency, the province of Shabwa is under the control of the so-called "South Yemen Movement."

All four major districts of the province: Nessab, Al-Saaed, Haban and Maevaa are under the control of the South Yemen Movement." The groups' weapons come from former police camps.

The control of the puppet government only extends over the provincial capital, Ataq, and the province of Bayhan.

The agency also reported news that state security forces, which fought against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Shabwa, no longer exist. The US "suspects" that the world famous Islamic scholar Anwar Al-Awlaki, a US citizen, is living in Shabwa Mountains.

Meanwhile, a local puppet government news agency reported that the Mujahideen of AQAP carried out a raid against government buildings, a local television station and clashed with the military in the province of Jaar. Earlier the Mujahideen of AQAP confiscated weapons from an arms depot."

so while thats most of the info, its not complete still..

04-01-2011, 12:31 PM
So the government of Yemen has lost control of 6 provinces. I know of for sure Abyan lost to AQAP cause they declared it a Emirate today, and Saa'na to the Houthis

The Yemeni government never really "controlled" anything outside of the major cities (excepting Aden which was always a YSP stronghold, in fact the North/South (http://wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Yemen-Movement) divide was never dealt with); Hadramout (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadhramaut), for instance, was never under government control (which see, for instance, Paul Dresch's Tribes, Government and History...sorry can't find a link). The "provinces" are controlled by tribal confederations who nominally pay allegance to the centre (Saleh Gov./regime) in return for largesse. That many of them may now be "abandoning" him may not simply be because they have "sided" with the "opposition" (whatever that inchoate entity may be). Tribes have a habit of hedging their bets but they will almost always follow, in Yemen, with the Hashid (http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashid) do. Actually, the Hashid as a bloc (they often, confusingly, threw their support behind both the GPC and Islah ath the same time!) has been lukewarm to Saleh ever since the elder al-Ahmar (http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdullah_ibn_Husayn_al-Ahmar) was replaced upon his death by his son (Sadeq Al-Ahmar) who, from what I've heard, has always hated Saleh's guts but was kept in line by his old man. AQ and it's affiliates have regularly declared their AOs as "emirates" that doesn't necessarily make them such (ever heard of the Caucasus Emirate? (http://wn.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasus_Emirate) The fact they declared it doesn't make it "real" which is not to say such things don't pose a threat left to their own devices).

Sana'a's been lost to the houthi's?:eek: Oh, you don't mean Sa'ada by any chance?

SWJ Blog
04-01-2011, 01:30 PM
Countering Extremism in Yemen (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/03/countering-extremism-in-yemen/)

Entry Excerpt:

Countering Extremism in Yemen:
Beyond Interagency Cooperation
by Kaz Kotlow

Download The Full Article: Countering Extremism in Yemen (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/720-kotlow.pdf)

Extremism, especially violent extremism, is a clear threat to the national security of the United States. It is widely believed that effectively addressing quality of life issues, encouraging peaceful conflict resolution and enhancing political inclusion are critical to neutralizing extremist messaging, helping prevent the development and spread of violent extremism. Traditionally, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and The United States Department of State (DOS) are the primary agencies for development, with Department of Defense (DOD) efforts in support. But traditional “interagency cooperation” has often not resulted in effective programs. The U.S. Government (USG) should maximize integration of effort, bringing all government elements together from inception to planning and assessment, of a single coherent plan. DOD assets, from doctrine to personnel and funding, can be of great benefit in helping create and execute those integrated efforts.

Download The Full Article: Countering Extremism in Yemen (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/720-kotlow.pdf)

Colonel Kazimierz "Kaz" Kotlow, USA is currently a visiting Senior Service Col-lege Fellow at The Washington Insti-tute. Most recently, he served as the Defense and Army Attache at the U.S. Embassy in Yemen, a post he previously held at the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Colonel Kotlow also deployed as a political/military advisor to the Multinational Force (MNF) Commander, III Corps, in Baghdad, Iraq. Prior to his postings as a Foreign Area Officer, Colonel Kotlow served as a Special Forces detachment commander, deploying multiple times to Eritrea and Kuwait to train host nation forces in infantry operations and demining. The views expressed herein are his own.

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/03/countering-extremism-in-yemen/) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

04-01-2011, 09:36 PM
have you seen my avatar or profile pic? of course i've heard of the Caucasus Emirate. (RIP Supyan) yes, i meant sa'dah. my bad, but i wasn't really looking for criticism or the kind of information you replied with. its not useful to me.

1. Sadah under Houthi control
2. Abyan under AQAP control
3. Jawf under Houthi control
4. Shabwa under South Yemen Movement control
5. ?
6. ?

i sound like im being an ass but im not tryin to be sorry :o

04-14-2011, 09:49 AM
As Yemen lurches along understanding what is happening and what is likely is needed, so I found these two different comments useful:

A Yemeni finale or another of Saleh’s crescendos?:http://www.opendemocracy.net/james-spencer/yemeni-finale-or-another-of-saleh%E2%80%99s-crescendos

Yemen's perilous change, which looks at:
The fundamental question is whether the unrest can succeed in addressing the aspirations of Yemen’s youth, or further empower its entrenched tribal leaders. and link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/fatima-abo-al-asrar/yemens-perilous-change

04-18-2011, 10:20 PM
Hardly a surprise and the details on SIGINT and AQAP's ability to adapt are not new:http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j_aPpnbPszlXjtiBija5AIfUX6GA?docId=e1511c437 da2429a87218c42ce225bbd

The last sentence is worth thinking about IMHO:
If the Yemeni government collapses, the concern is how al-Qaida, with its track record of adapting to new adversity, will adapt to new freedom.

04-24-2011, 11:48 AM
BBC report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13178887

An interesting twist with the opposition being given responsibility.

05-25-2011, 02:31 AM
SANAA, Yemen -- Yemen's capital city sank toward anarchy Tuesday as rival armies fought pitched battles in a neighborhood of middle-class homes and government offices in the worst violence to sweep this city since anti-government protests began nearly four months ago.

Forces loyal to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh shelled the compound of the country's leading tribal sheikh, while forces loyal to Sheikh Sadeq al Ahmar stormed nearby government buildings.

By Tuesday evening, the Interior Ministry was in flames and the Ministry of Industry and the offices of Yemenia Airlines and the Saba news agency were severely damaged. Transiting the city was nearly impossible, and many people were trapped away from their homes as night fell.

At least 38 people were killed Tuesday, including one tribal sheikh taking part in mediation efforts at Ahmar's house.

"It is total war," said one resident of the district where Ahmar's house is located, describing both sides as leveling heavy artillery and rocket-propelled grenades at one another. "It is even worse than yesterday."

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/05/24/2233101/chaos-swirls-in-yemens-capital.html#ixzz1NKMDUZEE

05-29-2011, 11:52 AM
Armed men are reported to have taken control of a provincial capital in the unsettled south of Yemen. Government officials and residents said fighters from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were among those who seized Zinjibar, in Abyan province. But opponents said President Ali Abdullah Saleh had given up the town to stoke fears of a militant takeover.


06-01-2011, 06:21 PM
SANA, Yemen — Yemen appeared to tip closer to all out civil war on Wednesday as government troops and opposition tribesmen battled to control key positions in the capital and foreign diplomats boarded planes to flee.

Late on Tuesday a missile struck the headquarters of General Ahmar, who has so far remained on the sidelines during the recent violence (he is not in the immediate family of Hamid al-Ahmar). The Defense Ministry denied firing the missile, and the general issued a statement confirming an attack by “land-to-land” missile without speculating on who might have fired it.

The missile attack came as state-run media reported that some of the general’s troops stormed the general prosecutor’s office, three miles west of Hasaba, looting documents. State media said that the troops had been joined by militants from Al Eman University, which has ties to Islamic radicals.

South of the capital, the city of Taiz remained in a state of lockdown Wednesday with security forces and Republican Guards moving swiftly to disperse even the smallest gatherings in the streets, residents said.


06-02-2011, 12:36 PM
About 100 armed fighters loyal to a tribal leader in Yemen have clashed with security forces on the northern outskirts of the capital, Sanaa. Tribal leaders say hundreds more are marching towards the city in support of their leader, Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar.

Clashes took place near the presidential palace and a post held by the Republican Guard, an elite army unit loyal to President Saleh and led by his son Ahmed, according to AFP.

Map here

06-03-2011, 09:33 PM
A succinct analysis by Ginny Hill of who matters:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13560514

Yemen is currently witnessing two parallel power shifts: a popular revolution inspired by the 'Arab spring', and an elite power struggle.

06-03-2011, 09:39 PM

Feud within key Yemen tribe could tear nation apart

The unrest shaking Yemen began months ago as part of the idealistic movement for democracy and political reform sweeping the Middle East. It is now a battle of money, power and egos within a single powerful clan that threatens to tear the country apart.

I don't know enough about Yemen to say whether it's true or not, but somhow the idea of an "idealistic movement for democracy and political reform" devolving into "a battle of money, power, and egos" seems fairly credible to me... though maybe I'm excessively cynical!

06-09-2011, 01:44 AM
You gotta be sh1tt1n me.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has intensified the American covert war in Yemen, exploiting a growing power vacuum in the country to strike at militant suspects with armed drones and fighter jets, according to American officials.


06-12-2011, 01:17 PM
No great surprise such an allegation, but from an 'insider' adds some weight and the sub-title is:
The oldest military ally of Yemen's injured President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said the al-Qaeda terrorist crisis in the country was manufactured to win backing from outside powers.

Topically given recent events he alleges:
Just after Saleh spoke of al-Qaeda seizing control of provinces, the regime handed over Abyan to terrorist gunmen. I fear that the regime might hand over control over other provinces to terrorist groups.

Now where have we heard, nay encountered with substantial evidence that a government has 'manufactured' an internal terrorist group?


06-15-2011, 10:25 AM
At last some insight on what is happening, thanks to FP Blog and written by an Australian:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/06/13/who_tried_to_kill_ali_abdullah_saleh?page=0,0

I don't suppose the FBI are advertising their role in this ****:
There aren't many foreigners traveling to Sanaa these days, but one group of outsiders is getting a lot of attention: an FBI forensics team, which reportedly arrived last week to investigate the attempted assassination of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is now convalescing in Saudi Arabia.

Evidence from the scene indicates that the explosion may have been caused by a device that was planted inside the mosque on the presidential compound, and not by a mortar shell or rocket, as was initially reported. If true, this means that someone with close access to the president was involved, which raises the question of why members of the Yemeni regime's inner circle -- set to mark its 33rd anniversary in power next month -- now appear intent on destroying each other?

06-17-2011, 05:26 AM
Comment on the Yemen/Saudi situation...


06-17-2011, 09:27 AM

Good catch the cited article, the last paragraph says it all for the Yemen:
Like their counterparts in Tunisia and Egypt, the demonstrators who have taken to the streets in Yemen over the past months want a new political order, not more of the same. They want a transitional government of national unity, composed of technocrats, that will function until new parliamentary and presidential elections can be held. This, in effect, means the establishment of a democratic order -- an outcome that Riyadh, for ideological and practical reasons, will be reluctant to midwife. This leaves Saudi Arabia caught between two contradictory policy imperatives: maintaining its influence in Yemen and rendering the country sufficiently stable so as not to pose a threat. In Yemen, Riyadh is confronted with difficult choices and no easy solutions.

We know Saudi Arabia supported Mubarak in Egypt till the end, then acknowledged his removal was popular and granted an unconditional US$4 billion loan. So they can move rapidly when needed to change partners.

I wonder if President Saleh will be able to exit his hospital.

06-17-2011, 07:40 PM
The headline says it all and is if by magic:
Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's embattled president, who is being treated for shrapnel wounds in Saudi Arabia, will not return home, according to a Saudi official.


06-25-2011, 12:13 PM
This week, Frank Cilluffo and I co-authored an article on the spread of AQAP, the collapse of Yemen and a small window of counterterrorism opportunity that is currently available.

We advocate for the use of drones and SOF to remove AQAP's key leaders planning attacks on the U.S.

Yemen's shift to a 'failed' state provides the U.S. an opportunity to engage AQAP without being forced to go through the Saleh regime.

We are also interested in how Yemen is indicative of future scenarios the U.S. will face and how we can identify alternative CT & COIN strategies that are effective and efficient in disrupting threats from failed and weak states.

For those interested, the article is available here at the Homeland Security Policy Institute via this link:


Looking forward to any of your thoughts on this issue....

06-27-2011, 01:39 PM

As the main thread on the Yemen has referred to IIRC the Yemen has used the AQ threat to secure US support, when in fact AQAP was not a substantive threat to the Yemen:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=12784

Your paper clearly shows there is an AQAP threat beyond the Yemen, notably to the USA and others from a very small cell within AQAP. For a host of reasons this high value target group we have assumed are located in the empty spaces or lightly populated areas. Will an ungoverned / failing Yemen state (not society) expand those sanctuaries?

My own "armchair" suspicion is that the target group will remain in the empty spaces. If they move to the towns your policy option is out, simply due to potential collateral damage IMO.

How much of AQAP is in fact Yemeni, Saudi and others?

The USA needs to have a far better information operations campaign in the Yemen to enable such a policy option of drones and SOF. Most Yemeni appear focussed on regime change and not AQAP's presence. How does such a campaign work in that society. It appears to be "We're AQAP hunting with all our resources, but are reluctant to help regime change".

Clearly drones and SOF action can go wrong, e.g. hitting a tribal wedding. How will the local population respond? A prompt apology and damage payments may help - elsewhere something the USA has been reluctant to do.

The important objective is to reduce the AQAP target group as they pose an external threat and not lose Yemeni neutrality or support.

As for your wider question that will have to wait and has been the subject of several threads methinks:
We are also interested in how Yemen is indicative of future scenarios the U.S. will face and how we can identify alternative CT & COIN strategies that are effective and efficient in disrupting threats from failed and weak states.

07-15-2011, 11:59 AM
I posted the original introduction[/URL] to an article written by Frank Cilluffo and Clint Watts. The debate has continued on this topic and we would enjoy hearing the perspective of CT/COIN practitioners as we search for viable solutions to counter AQAP in Yemen.

Last week, Gregory Johnsen of Waq-al-Waq crafted a thoughtful response (http://bigthink.com/ideas/39095) to our article “Yemen & Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: Exploiting a Window of Counterterrorism Opportunity.” (http://www.gwumc.edu/hspi/policy/issuebrief203_yemenAQAP.cfm) Below is our response to further what we believe to be a particularly important debate (http://securitydebrief.com/2011/07/14/countering-the-threat-posed-by-aqap-embrace-don%E2%80%99t-chase-yemen%E2%80%99s-chaos/). We will begin by addressing Johnsen’s conclusion and then discuss each of his points individually. For each point of debate, we attributed original quotes from the article as Cilluffo and Watts and quotes from Gregory’s post at Waq al Waq as Johnsen.

Johnsen- “I think this is what happens when smart people tackle a complex problem in an environment they don’t know particularly well. “

While we respect Johnsen’s knowledge of Yemen, we likewise believe his criticisms reflect what happens when smart regional experts encounter a complex enemy they don’t know particularly well.

Ten years of American counterterrorism efforts demonstrate that the best way to defeat al Qaeda is to go directly after al Qaeda. Bin Laden’s personal notes articulate that building schools in Afghanistan didn’t slow down al Qaeda but drone strikes halted many of their operations. Johnsen’s title “The Allure of Simple Solutions” suggests the only way to deter AQAP in the near term is via a complex solution instituted through a failed Saleh regime or its successor. Pursuing such a solution will fail to stop AQAP’s immediate threat to the United States and is not feasible in light of the current situation in Yemen.

As we noted in our original article, we believe our recommendation is neither comprehensive nor simple, but instead the best option for achieving immediate U.S. national security interests with regards to AQAP. If we’ve learned anything from the past ten years, it is ‘yes’ sometimes simple (as distinguished from simplistic) strategies with clear goals and objectives work far better in achieving our near term interests than costly, complex strategies spread across convoluted bureaucracies. Increased use of drone and SOF forces, when executed as designed, can help eliminate the immediate threat of AQAP and improve U.S. options for pursuing a long-run Yemen strategy less encumbered by counterterrorism concerns.

We respect Johnsen’s opinions and rely on his analysis of Yemen to improve our perspective. However, we have yet to see any other feasible near or long-term U.S. strategy for mitigating the threat of AQAP. We welcome any feasible alternative solution put forth. However, until that time, the U.S. must protect its citizens and interests. The AQAP threat remains acute and inaction is not an option.

We thank Gregory Johnsen for his thoughtful analysis and look forward to his policy recommendations with regards to Yemen. We’ll quickly respond to each of his individual points below with short rebuttals.

For the complete discussion on Dr. Gregory Johnsen's assumptions, we invite those interested to read further at the Homeland Security Policy Institute:

07-16-2011, 11:47 AM
An Australian academic, Dr Sarah Philips, from the Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney, has published several papers on the crisis in Yemen, partly based on first-hand research in-country.

'Yemen: Developmental Dysfunction and Division in a Crisis State' (Feb 2011) is on:http://www.dlprog.org/ftp/download/Public%20Folder/1%20Research%20Papers/Yemen,%20Developmental%20Dysfunction%20and%20Divis ion%20in%20a%20Crisis%20State.pdf

A summary:http://www.dlprog.org/ftp/download/Public%20Folder/Executive%20Summary%20-%20Yemen%20-%20Developmental%20Dysfunction%20and%20Division.pd f

Deeply patrimonial systems of power are not transformed overnight, and many of Yemen’s structural and human barriers to developmental change remain in place. The defection of key members of the inner circle to the opposition was not in itself a signal that a more developmentally inclined elite is in the ascendant, although many of the young protesters have been articulating demands for a fundamental revision of the political system. Those who defected from Saleh’s inner circle have been instrumental in instilling the dysfunctional political settlement that brought Yemen to this point. By joining the protest movement they have not necessarily heralded a new era for the Yemeni people. Indeed, none has gone so far as to openly renounce the patrimonial system of government, or the ‘rules of the game’ that will shape the behaviour of anyone who might follow President Saleh.

This week IISS has published an extended edition of her work, Adelphi Paper 'Yemen and the Politics of Permanent Crisis' and earnt this review comment by Nabeel A. Khoury, director of the Near East South Asia Office of the US DoS bureau of political analysis:
An important, timely and well-written book that delves into the country’s informal power structures and comprehensively addresses the Yemeni dilemma for Arab and Western governments.


07-22-2011, 01:45 PM
Ten pages on the chaos in Yemen


SWJ Blog
08-01-2011, 09:10 PM
Yemen: Testing a New Coordinated Approach to Preventive Counterinsurgency (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/08/yemen-testing-a-new-coordinate/)

Entry Excerpt:

An American-designed strategy attempts to link counterinsurgency and traditional development programs in Yemen and thereby provide a model that can be applied elsewhere. Rapidly changing conditions with simultaneous multiple small wars impair the ability to design and implement such a challenge. At the same time, there are legitimate questions about the thinking that went into the original formulation.

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/08/yemen-testing-a-new-coordinate/) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

08-01-2011, 09:22 PM
CWOT has tried to get a response on SWC with his two thoughtful comments, but to no avail - this does happen here and can be rather predictable.

Perhaps the linked SWJ article will prompt reflection and response(s). See 'Yemen: Testing a New Coordinated Approach to Preventive Counterinsurgency':http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/08/yemen-testing-a-new-coordinate/

Note please there are two threads on Yemen, 2010 & 2011, plus IIRC a couple of others.

09-23-2011, 04:47 PM
Apparently Saleh wants to be in charge of things in Yemen (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saleh-returns-to-riothit-yemen-2359634.html) until the day he dies. Fortunately for him any number of people are interested in helping make that happen.

09-30-2011, 12:40 PM
From the BBC:
US-born radical Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a key al-Qaeda leader, has been killed in Yemen, the country's defence ministry said.


No doubt much ink will be spilt on the demise. MY interest is the local impact inside the Yemen as it appears to lurch along, with neither of the many sides making gains and bloodshed notably in Sanaa.

11-11-2011, 08:04 PM
The succession struggle in the Yemen has not gone away, although it certainly has faded from the news reporting here, probably the impact of events in Libya and Syria.

So hat tip to FP Blog for this article, which opens with:
After being tricked into believing that Saleh would sign a Gulf Cooperation Council brokered power transfer deal three times, the international community has finally realized that Saleh has no intention of leaving power until at least 2013, the end of his official presidential term of office.

Leaving aside the machinations in the Yemen, which are covered, I was struck by this paragraph:
Short of asking for foreign military intervention, which most protesters reject outright, Yemenis have done all they can to make their struggle known to those abroad. Fully aware of their own lack of coverage in the international media, Yemenis have sought to increase their visibility in the international community from the outset of the protest movement last February by providing English language resources to Western journalists, establishing committees made up of English language speakers to issue press releases and hold press conferences, and making sure every protest sign was in both English and Arabic.

I am sadly not convinced the outside world, let alone English language speakers, are listening and or watching.

As for the freezing of President Saleh's assets abroad, nice diplomatic gesture and of little value beyond a headline.


Bob's World
11-11-2011, 10:29 PM
Two self-serving families compete for control of Yemen. Neither represent the will of the populace or show any indication of doing anything other than continuing the very unsustainable status quo. Meanwhile a wide range of nationalist insurgent movements rise from and draw support from the populace as a whole. Both families are willing to work with the West and to profit from the control of this bit of geo-strategically key terrain. This seduces us.

Into this F'd up mix comes AQ, smelling opportunity to get after their top two interests:
1. Take down the Saudi royal family;
2. Hurt the West enough to get us to break our support to the regimes of the region that we have helped sustain for so long.

Meanwhile Saudi insurgents flee to Yemen as the first "covered and concealed position" from Saudi Arabia. One can reasonably assume that those who stay close, rather than travel to Pakistan to work with AQ there, are most focused on nationalist issues at home in Saudi Arabia. Their issues are reasonable, even if their approaches are extreme. Sadly no reasonable approaches are available to them at home, so to Yemen they go (or simply disappear at home).

AQ conducts UW in support of members of both these groups primarily, but I suspect to a number of similarly motivated men from other nations in the region as well.

US "intelligence" lumps all of this under a single banner of "AQAP." They recommend CT against the lot, with little differentiation for purpose for action. I'd give a month's retirement pay as a Special Forces Colonel for a single intel officer above the grade of O5 who could carry on a 3 minute conversation with me about insurgency without reverting to tired cliché's and saying the words "ideology" or "AQ."

This isn't rocket science, it's people science and common sense. That is far too rare a commodity it seems. (Please excuse me a little Veteran's day venting, good men are being employed far less effectively than they could be, and we owe them better.)

SWJ Blog
12-02-2011, 12:25 PM
Book Review: Yemen and the Politics of Permanent Crisis (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/book-review-yemen-and-the-politics-of-permanent-crisis)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/book-review-yemen-and-the-politics-of-permanent-crisis) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

12-06-2011, 04:26 PM
During a university-level discussion on US strategy post-9/11 Yemen was cited as an example of where the USA had intervened of late, a point that I would and did contest.

Today FP Blog has a short update on the delicate mix in the Yemen, which illustrates the USA has few options currently and the locals, sorry a local, President / non-President Saleh remains in power - note, not control:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/12/05/saleh_wins_again?page=0,1

Short of time? This sums up the situation brilliantly:
Somali refugees in Yemen are now returning to Somalia in larger numbers. Perhaps they know something that the international community doesn't.

01-24-2012, 01:12 PM
Yemen appears to have disappeared from the limelight of late, even though President Saleh is bound for the USA, for medical treatment. So it was a surprise to hear a BBC reporter actually in southern Yemen reporting on the growth of jihadist control.

A podcast:http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9685000/9685172.stm

A written article:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/hardtalk/9682753.stm

02-07-2012, 11:48 PM
A different, detailed commentary. The agreement to remove President Saleh:
..do(es) not appear to herald a break with the past and the beginning of a process of appeasement and democratization.

Indeed, although the caretaker government also contains elements belonging to the opposition, some weak points of the agreement drawn up in Saudi Arabia regarding the deep divisions within Yemeni society indicate not only the attempt by the Republican faction to maintain strong control over the country, but also that the initial protests of Yemeni citizens against their autocratic leadership have been gradually transmuted into a military conflict between the state and the tribal confederations, plunging Yemen into a more acute domestic crisis, with obvious repercussions at regional level.


So the Yemen has a new government, which faces the same problems and decides on "more of the same" with "a few chairs changed on a sinking ship". Great result for diplomacy.

SWJ Blog
02-18-2012, 01:30 PM
What Next For Yemen? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/what-next-for-yemen)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/what-next-for-yemen) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

02-27-2012, 02:45 PM
A grand sounding title from the NYT and:
The plan’s two-pronged strategy calls for the United States and Yemen to work together to kill or capture about two dozen of Al Qaeda’s most dangerous operatives, who are focused on attacking America and its interests.

At the same time, the administration will work with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies to train and equip Yemeni security forces to counter the organization’s wider threat to destabilize the country and the government of its newly installed president, Abed Rabu Mansour Hadi.

I wish this idea well, but cannot think of a more hostile place to try it (OK Afghanistan, oh it works there):
One main proposal, he said, is to pay Yemeni troops directly rather than through their commanders.....(Citing Mr O'Brennan) We’re trying to ensure that the aid is very tailored, so it goes to those units that are professional, that fall within a command and control structure that reports to Hadi, that are addressing Al Qaeda and domestic threats to Yemen, and are not engaged in any political shenanigans.

In response Gregory Johnsen, a Princeton scholar who closely tracks militants in Yemen.:
Some independent analysts aso warned that the administration’s approach amounted to picking and choosing favorite Yemeni generals, which could backfire over time. “Any time the U.S. gets into where it’s favoring certain generals or trying to play generals off each other, it is a very dangerous game,” said


03-12-2012, 05:48 PM
Somehow I missed the release of this RUSI report in December 2011, 'The Language of Jihad Narratives and Strategies of Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and UK Responses' and have just skimmed through it, looks like a very good read. It is 55 pgs and has chapters on
Terrorism, Communication and Strategy; The History of AQAP; The Language of Jihad; Conclusions and Recommendations; Postscript

The authors aim to:
...look to understand the situation in Yemen and the possibilities for AQAP gaining further traction in the region, through garnering a greater understanding of the underlying issues that allow such groups to operate.....What is certain is that AQAP will be watching closely to capitalise on any mistakes that are made and will bide their time ready to fill any vacuum that appears.


SWJ Blog
03-14-2012, 10:17 AM
Yemen: A U.S. Strategic Partner? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/yemen-a-us-strategic-partner)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/yemen-a-us-strategic-partner) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

03-18-2012, 12:17 PM
A BBC Arabic analyst in a short article, that starts with:
An offshoot of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has issued a statement threatening the lives of 73 Yemeni soldiers it says it captured last week.

Then adds:
Ansar al-Sharia, whose name means "Partisans of Islamic law" in Arabic, was formed by AQAP in response to the growing youth movement in Yemen..

Ends with:
Many of those involved in Ansar al-Sharia are jihadists who have experienced living in an "Islamic state", either in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, or among jihadists in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003.

Ansar al-Sharia's ability to launch attacks, as well as build local support, indicates that the Yemeni authorities' struggle with Islamist militants may soon become bloodier and more protracted.


Where is this Abyan? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yemen-Abyan.png

03-19-2012, 11:44 AM
...Islah to be sidelined? Doubtful but developments are interesting...

First Yemeni Salafi Party announced

via the ever informative Yemen Times. Hat tip there to the wonderful Nadia As-Saqqaf, one of the few journalists in Yemen of integrity [her staff included].

03-22-2012, 10:09 PM
An on the ground report:
Swept into office by a controversial one-candidate vote last month, President Abd Rabu Monsour Hadi faces the difficult task of steering the country toward multi-party elections in 2014. It's a job that would require huge political skill and authority even under the best of conditions. Yet Hadi is a political lightweight, an unlikely leader chosen primarily for his inoffensiveness. In Yemen, which endured decades of civil war in the twentieth century, Hadi is the safe pair of hands, the one political leader around whom warring factions were willing to rally.


04-07-2012, 10:17 AM
In a surprising move the President has shuffled senior civil and military posts:
Yemen's president removed a half brother of former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh on Friday as head of the air force, replacing nearly 20 top officers but leaving Mr Saleh's son, nephew and other allies in place as heads of important military units.


A small hiccup:
Yemen's main airport has re-opened after a protest by air force troops against the sacking of their commander.


SWJ Blog
04-20-2012, 06:50 PM
Yemen: Always on the Brink? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/yemen-always-on-the-brink)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/yemen-always-on-the-brink) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

05-01-2012, 03:51 PM
Al-Qaida's wretched utopia and the battle for hearts and minds

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from south Yemen on the jihadis offering free water and electricity alongside sharia law

05-05-2012, 09:04 PM
A FP Blog article I missed the other day, which concludes:
It is time for the U.S. to stop undermining democratic values and long-term stability in Yemen in exchange for short term counter-terrorism gains and a half-hearted continuation of the status quo. If Washington continues on this path, it will end up at best with another Somalia; at worse, another Afghanistan.

Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/05/02/where_democracy_is_america_s_second_choice?page=fu ll

Interesting take on the views of Yemen's richer neighbour.

05-11-2012, 06:31 PM
A sombre assessment by Kings College London-based ICSR is on the attachment; these 'Insights' are emailed out and take a few days to appear on the ICSR website. It did appear on WSJ, but only a summary is provided without registration etc.

I was particularly taken by:
At its core are 100 veteran jihadists, who escaped local prisons in 2006 and 2011. The group also counts on 11 former Guantanamo detainees, who returned to terrorism after undergoing "rehabilitation" programs in Saudi Arabia. Their combined experience is greater than that of all other al Qaeda affiliates taken together.

Unlike al Qaeda in Iraq, which alienated entire tribes with barbaric and indiscriminate violence, AQAP's policies have allowed it to cultivate local sympathies.... Immersed in the population and protected by the tribes, AQAP is free to raise money and train fighters. CIA drone strikes against its operatives, in turn, are more likely to kill civilians.

My query is if AQAP gains more within the Yemen, extending it's control not cultivating or immersion, there would be an advantage to portray its actions as a local struggle and so curtail attacks on the 'far enemy'. Now whether the USA would curtail it's drone attacks is clearly unlikely. IMO doing more than drones becomes more problematic and with declining local acceptance.

05-21-2012, 12:55 PM
Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- A suicide bomber dressed in a military uniform killed at least 101 soldiers Monday at the central security headquarters in Yemen, Interior Ministry officials said.

More than 70 were injured, with some in critical condition, authorities said.

The blast targeted a military parade rehearsal in Sabeen Square in the capital Sanaa, said Mohammed Albasha, a spokesman the Yemeni Embassy in Washington.

He said that it was too early to know who was responsible but that suicide attacks are "the hallmark of al Qaeda."


SWJ Blog
05-25-2012, 11:00 AM
Talks about Talks – Does Yemen Need More Time? (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/talks-about-talks-%E2%80%93-does-yemen-need-more-time)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/talks-about-talks-%E2%80%93-does-yemen-need-more-time) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

05-31-2012, 12:26 PM
Yemen seems to have receded from the foreground, although the suicide bomber attack on a Central Security Forces (CSF) parade, which killed one hundred did get a mention - missing that the commander of the CSF is a Saleh family member.

The Lowy Institute draws attention to a week-old Frontline report, which has several key sections and ends in a town which has rejected AQ - after they killed a tribal chief - and only the locals fight off AQ's attacks, the army isn't interested. One wonders if this replicates the rejection of AQ in Irag?


Hat tip to Leah Farrell's reactivated blogsite:http://allthingscounterterrorism.com/

The film is highly commended by a US academic expert, Gregory Johnsen, of Waq al-Waq, on the Yemen and I have linked the Q&A after the film was broadcast and this passage struck me:
Over the past two-and-a-half years the US has managed to kill several mid-level commanders within AQAP, but at the same time it has also killed several civilians. In December 2009, AQAP had roughly 200-300 members and controlled no territory. Today it has over 1,000 members and controls significant amounts of territory in Abyan and Shabwa. This begs a very simple question: Why has AQAP grown so strong in such a short time? Now, I don’t think US drone and airstrikes are the only reason for the rapid growth of AQAP – one also has to consider the collapse of the Yemeni state in 2011 – but in my view it is certainly one of the key factors.


The Australian analyst, Sarah Phillips, provides some context and touches upon the very murky aspects:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2012/05/29/US-fight-against-al-Qaeda-in-Yemen-likely-to-fail.aspx

There's also a short interview with her:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2012/05/31/Al-Qaeda-in-Yemen-Two-videos.aspx

Want more to read, there's a pointer to this US journalist's blogsite:http://armiesofliberation.com/

05-31-2012, 03:21 PM
Jeremy Scahill, best known for his book about the LLC formerly known as Blackwater (http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/84897494), did a prescient interview on Fresh Air (http://www.npr.org/2012/05/17/152854335/why-the-u-s-is-aggressively-targeting-yemen) four days before the 21 May attack in Sana'a. I know a lot of people write him off because of his politics (he’s quite the lefty), but as someone who has a real respect for investigative journalism he seems to me to know a lot more about how and why the sausage is made than most contemporary members of the Fourth Estate.

When the Fresh Air host puts the “Well, what would you have us do about AQAP?” question to Scahill his reply amounts to 1) stop acting as if al-Qaeda is an existential threat to the United States 2) stop outsourcing our HUMINT to the Saudis and 3) stop pretending more and better technology can obviate HUMINT. However his politics may shade what is presented in the interview, I found the discussion beginning at 41:49 of the role which attending khat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khat) chews played in his reporting to be indicative of a real respect for the sort of work that absolutely has to be done in investigative journalism, ethnographic fieldwork, or intelligence gathering worth calling such. And in the excerpt below he throws out an observation which in my experience is quite indicative of the lack of respect American foreign policy types have for that sort of work.

And I would not have gotten access to the places I went, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to the people that I did, I wouldn’t have been able to travel as freely as I did in Yemen if I wasn’t going to those khat chews and negotiating permissions or talking to people and listening to them. And the reason that I’m so struck by that experience is because the United States bans its employees in Yemen from chewing khat.

05-31-2012, 03:27 PM
I am unconvinced that chewing khat is the way to learn in the Yemen (or Somalia) and several of the authors who appear in this thread I have m' doubts would need to chew khat. Sipping tea, talking and have empathy before making gains is an art that takes time to gain.

Perhaps the US Embassy has banned sipping tea?

05-31-2012, 04:12 PM
[T]alking and have empathy before making gains is an art that takes time to gain.

From a tiny bit of first-hand knowledge and several second-hand accounts I’m lead to believe that there are quite a few FSOs with a real aptitude for what you are describing but that the structure of and priorities at State are such that it is hard for that aptitude to count for as much as it could.* They’re as a rule on a rotation schedule, for example. I’m sure there are good reasons for that but to keep to it as a rule for that line of work seems absolutely boneheaded to me…

Scahill’s mention of khat chews being off-limits to the embassy staff immediately brought to my mind an interview I had seen with Pik Botha in which he was discussing the negotiations leading to the Tripartite Accords (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripartite_Accord_%28Angola%29). In his narrative the breakthrough came at the hotel pub when he and Jorge Risquet happened to be taking their board at the same hour. In passing Botha mentioned that the Americans had made the hotel pub off-limits to their contingent from day one of the talks.

*My impression based upon the little that I know is that the good listeners and empaths amongst the FSO corps tend to gravitate towards the positions that deal with aiding Americans in distress abroad.

06-01-2012, 06:24 AM
Scahill’s mention of khat chews being off-limits to the embassy staff immediately brought to my mind an interview I had seen with Pik Botha in which he was discussing the negotiations leading to the Tripartite Accords (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripartite_Accord_%28Angola%29). In his narrative the breakthrough came at the hotel pub when he and Jorge Risquet happened to be taking their board at the same hour. In passing Botha mentioned that the Americans had made the hotel pub off-limits to their contingent from day one of the talks.

I can see the point in the khat-chewing. Back when I was wearing the journalist hat I got way better information on the local military (as one example) by wallowing in rotgut booze and assorted other vices with a bunch of NCOs than I ever did by interviewing generals. Had more fun, too. Of course the pastimes of the freelance journalist are not always seen as appropriate for embassy staff, no matter how effective they may be.

Is there any place in the world where embassy staff actually go out in the streets and interact with ordinary people... even in the cities, let alone out in the countryside? It would be unthinkable here; their morass of security regulations wouldn't begin to allow it.

*My impression based upon the little that I know is that the good listeners and empaths amongst the FSO corps tend to gravitate towards the positions that deal with aiding Americans in distress abroad.

In the places I'm familiar with American Citizen Services is typically staffed by the youngest of the young. It seems like it's a post nobody else wants, thus pushed off on the least senior as a necessary rite of passage on the way to bigger and better things.

06-01-2012, 01:46 PM
In the places I'm familiar with American Citizen Services is typically staffed by the youngest of the young. It seems like it's a post nobody else wants, thus pushed off on the least senior as a necessary rite of passage on the way to bigger and better things.

Is American Citizen Services the same as Consular Affairs? I should try and learn about the workings of the State Department but their employees make me uneasy in the way that dentists do most other people. It’s a legacy of having lived in Central America in the early ’90s, where public opinion of the U.S. Department of State was neck–in–neck with that of the CIA.

06-08-2012, 08:57 PM
In Part 1 in The Frontline video report there was a short clip of Yemeni town that was defending itself from AQAP, IIRC it was Lawdar.

Al-Jazeera has a good summary piece 'Making sense of Yemen's feuding factions' and refers to such self-defence activity:
Local Popular Resistance Committees, made up of tribal militia fighters from various southern regions, are also fighting al-Qaeda in the current offensive. They have been attributed with successes against the group, using their local knowledge and warfare tactics. Not much is known about these groups, as most announcements on the war are made by Yemeni authorites. Some of the groups may be made up of southern seccessionist fighters, who, although seeking independence from the northern government, are also opposed to al-Qaeda.

In such a complicated environment I am not surprised that such groups are not supported by the divided Yemeni state. Should others engage with them? Yemen is not Afghanistan nor Iraq, if these groups multiply, we would be mistaken not to have links with them - a "bottom up", people-based approach COIN advocates wish for.

06-21-2012, 10:30 AM
An optimistic commentary by a "boots on the ground" observer; which starts with:
Although the GCC supported transitional regime has not turned Yemen into a revolutionary state, by comparison with what is happening elsewhere, the situation at the moment shows more positive signs than could have been expected: the forces of the uprisings are working to participate in the national dialogue, the transitional regime is working to weaken and remove most of the remnants of the previous era and is preparing for a new and hopefully more democratic future.

I liked this - hence emphasis, even if without details:
Secondly, thanks to the new military leadership which is seriously committed to putting an end to the fundamentalist insurrection, the rebels have been dislodged from their stronghold in Abyan Governorate, pushing them back into Shabwa which was their main base for a number of years. Immediately after this achievement last week, moves have started in Shabwa and already some of their strongholds are falling, thanks to the establishment of local ‘popular committees’ who are ‘encouraging’ them to leave.


06-28-2012, 12:26 PM
CWOT and his colleague have returned to this issue, which is within the wider, global debate over the use of drones and the US strategy to pursue terrorism.
SWC has a long running thread on drones 'Using drones: principles, tactics and results': http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=7385

Building on their past work on Yemen and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Watts and Cilluffo revisit the use of drones in Yemen, offering context to ongoing debates about U.S. counterterrorism strategy as well as recommendations regarding the way forward. The authors review what drones and Special Operations Forces (SOF) have accomplished over the past year, explore why AQAP has continued to thrive, and explain what critics of drones misunderstand about operations in Yemen. Watts and Cilluffo go on to urge continued improvement of intelligence to better the accuracy of drone strikes, and argue in favor of greater transparency and accountability in drone operations. The authors recognize that "drones alone cannot entirely defeat AQAP," and call for the development of "a larger, long-run strategy...for pursuing U.S. counterterrorism objectives in Yemen."


06-29-2012, 05:46 PM
Hat tip to Jihadica for a perplexing story on US information operations (IO) in the Yemen, which is almost an IO itself.

Several months ago, President Obama signed an executive order establishing an interagency center to coordinate the US government’s public messages against terrorist organizations. A major component of this Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) was in the news lately for its clever campaign against AQAP on Yemeni tribal forums.


It sounds on-target at first:
...the State Department has for a year and a half now tried to counter Al Qaeda's affiliate in the Arabian Peninsula by rhetorically shooting down the group's propaganda when it pops up on Yemeni tribal forum websites....Within 48 hours, our team plastered the same sites with altered versions of the ads that showed the toll Al Qaeda attacks have taken on the Yemeni people,

Except that:
...in many places in Yemen there is no Internet or even electricity

The linked story is:http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2012/0524/Is-State-Dept.-hacking-Al-Qaeda-Not-quite-but-propaganda-war-is-fierce

On the broader aspects back to Jihadica:
More broadly, people are unaware of the complexities of government messaging against terrorist organizations. To shed light on these subjects, the first coordinator of the CSCC, Ambassador Richard LeBaron (now retired), has given me permission to post his recent remarks on what he learned during his tenure. It’s very instructive for anyone interested in counter-propaganda and how the US government is coping with the new information environment.

Link to the remarks is embedded and is in docx format - so unread by moi,

SWJ Blog
07-12-2012, 10:00 AM
Yemen: Beyond Resolution 2051 (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/yemen-beyond-resolution-2051)

Entry Excerpt:

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07-21-2012, 11:00 AM
Helen Lackner returns with a "boots on the ground" assessment of the situation in the Yemen:http://www.opendemocracy.net/helen-lackner/struggle-for-security-and-against-terrorism-in-yemen-in-whose-interests

Rightly she lauds the critical role of non-government factors in defeating AQAP in the southern provinces; yes, once again tribes came to the fore. Her wider cautionary remarks on the weakness of the Yemeni state are familiar, although I expect the West and other friends downplay what the Yemeni people wants are.

In parallel there is a less optimistic, external factors first review on SWJ:http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/yemen-beyond-resolution-2051

08-30-2012, 02:07 PM
After watching the Yemen from afar this will not come as a great surprise. The article's sub-title is:
Ali Abdullah Saleh's government colluded with al Qaeda and duped the West. Has anything changed since his ouster?

It ends with:
It's the highest-level leaders, who don't actually believe in the preachings of Ansar al-Sharia, but who manipulate them to remain in the government or bring a particular party to power.


SWJ Blog
09-05-2012, 12:51 AM
Keep Calm and Carry On: A Plan for Yemen (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/keep-calm-and-carry-on-a-plan-for-yemen)

Entry Excerpt:

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09-27-2012, 10:58 PM
Thanks to CWOT on Twitter for this AEI PPT, twelve slides and you know far more:
This slide deck provides information on AQAP’s leaders, both current and former, and their networks.


Interesting comment by Leah Farrell on Twitter, which asked whether any analysts from way back in the early 1990's were still in government service who'd recognise the names and the networks.

11-06-2012, 06:02 PM
An excellent article on this forlorn country, by Gregory Johnson's new book 'The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia' and an excerpt is on FP Blog:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/11/05/losing_yemen?page=full

A details a country that under President Saleh appeared to effortlessly pull the right levers with the USA and so he ends with:
After more than a decade of on-again, off-again aid to Yemen, the al Qaeda branch in Yemen is stronger than it was on September 11, 2001. The money the United States has spent in Yemen has enriched dozens and the missiles it has fired into the country have killed hundreds -- and yet AQAP continues to grow.

There is an excellent contrast on Clint Watts blog, with several linked articles by others:http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=817

Has AQAP retreated under pressure from the state's security forces or the tribal militias? What have drone strikes done? More than stopping AQAP's use of vehicles.

SWJ Blog
11-08-2012, 11:02 AM
Iranian Influence, Rising Asian Powers, and the Significance of Yemen as a Long-Term U.S. Strategic Partner (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/iranian-influence-rising-asian-powers-and-the-significance-of-yemen-as-a-long-term-us-strat)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/iranian-influence-rising-asian-powers-and-the-significance-of-yemen-as-a-long-term-us-strat) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
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11-13-2012, 11:27 PM
Clint Watts blogsite has a detailed, review of Gregory Johnson's new book 'The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia':
It is clearly the best book available on AQAP in Yemen..... the best-written book on al Qaeda I’ve read since Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower.

A little more:
Young Saudi foreign fighters have been the largest portions of recruits and leaders for years supplying one jihad after another. With the decline of Iraq, Saudi foreign fighters flowed into Yemen and today I imagine AQAP in Yemen is now competing with Syria for the collection of fresh recruits. Having read Greg’s book, I see the influx of Saudi foreign fighters, the failures of rehabilitation programs and repeated prison escapes as the driving factors in AQAP’s recent heights.


Link to book:http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Refuge-al-Qaeda-Americas/dp/0393082423

A book to add to my Christmas list!

Two podcasts, short on PRI (6 mins):http://www.theworld.org/2012/11/yemen-al-qaeda/ and a longer discussion @ Brookings:http://www.brookings.edu/events/2012/11/13-yemen

11-25-2012, 08:04 PM
Via Twitter a recommendation, even if not updated since June 2012:
Interactive: Fractured Yemen
Guide to the various factions involved in the ongoing conflict in the troubled Arab state.


11-27-2012, 08:39 PM
According to Gregory Johnsen, a journalist who has covered Yemen and Islamic insurgency in the Middle East extensively, al-Qaida's presence has tripled in size within Yemen over the past three years. Johnsen charts this growing influence on the country in his new book, The Last Refuge: Yemen, al-Qaeda, and America's War in Arabia.


11-28-2012, 12:31 AM
Good catch AdamG.

Gregory is rather direct in his observations. I draw attention to this, slightly edited portion:
On the issues with on-the-ground intelligence gathering in Yemen

"The U.S. soldiers, the U.S. operators that we have are trained particularly well. They are some of the best in the world at what it is that they do, but all of this is dependent upon the human intelligence on the ground and this is where the U.S. seems to do very bad both in the special forces in the shadowy part of the world where they are attempting to collect intelligence for targeting purposes, as well as on the political and on the State Department side where they're attempting to get out and speak with a lot of people and find out what's actually happening on the ground so that they can inform policymakers in Washington. ...

"[T]he Achilles' heel for the United States in Yemen is that too often it just doesn't know what's taking place on the ground. The CIA doesn't know what's taking place, it doesn't know who is in a particular car, it doesn't know who is really a member of al-Qaida...... So both the CIA and policymakers in Washington tend to be operating more on assumptions than on hard facts... "

12-26-2012, 08:57 PM
Twitter has been alive with pointers to events in Yemen, a re-organisation of the Yemeni security forces and of late a suspected US drone strike that was "off target" hence the FP headline:
Anatomy of an Air Attack Gone Wrong: In rural Yemen, a botched attack on a terror suspect kills 12 civilians and destroys a community

Link:http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/12/26/yemen_air_attack_civilians_dead?page=full and a CFR article:http://blogs.cfr.org/zenko/2012/12/26/americas-failing-drone-war-in-yemen/

Moderator's Note

This thread was till today called 'The End in Yemen? Thread for 2011-2012' and has now been re-named for 2013 as 'Yemen: all you want (2011-2013)'.

01-02-2013, 06:57 PM
Gregory Johnsen's book 'The Last Refuge' has now been reviewed by Bruce Hoffman:
In The Last Refuge, Johnsen provides a useful depiction of how that war began, even if he, regrettably, offers no prediction of how and when it will end. The book relates a compelling story about an implacable and formidable enemy. Although more descriptive than analytical....

Bruce's review is a useful summary of how AQAP in the Yemen has got to where it is today.


02-27-2013, 02:37 PM
A BBC report:
A recent crackdown in Yemen against protesters calling for southern independence has inflamed tensions in the country, and divisions look set to deepen....


Now whether AQ can exploit this situation is a moot point, partly as working in a coalition is not their way:
What will be worrying to the Americans and Saudis is that some young people - in anger and desperation - are turning to al-Qaeda in the region. The group's numbers have grown in the south since 2011.......That is not to say that all Southern Movement protesters are supporters of al-Qaeda. Herak is an umbrella group for different groups, including those who want more autonomy under a federal system, those who want independence and also some parts of Ansar al-Sharia, which wants a religious emirate. They are very disorganised and all that unites them is a shared animosity to the central government.

(Added) A link to a Yemeni site giving more details:http://www.yemeniaty.com/2013/02/the-southern-hirak-2007-2013.html

SWJ Blog
05-01-2013, 08:02 AM
The Ansar of Yemen: The Huthis and al-Qaeda (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-ansar-of-yemen-the-huthis-and-al-qaeda)

Entry Excerpt:

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07-01-2013, 09:22 PM
I am sure events have happened in the Yemen since the last post, in February 2013, but we have all been distracted. Or is it "more of the same"?

I have posted on the drones thread a link to a Swiss / Yemeni NGO report for the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights & CT - on drones in the Yemen; it is unusual in gathering eyewitness testimony and providing local contexts:http://en.alkarama.org/documents/ALK_USA-Yemen_Drones_SRCTwHR_4June2013_Final_EN.pdf

07-25-2013, 07:20 PM
A short article in The Economist (free registration req'd) on the situation in Marib Province, where there are - diminishing - oil and gas resources and an interesting passage:
For sure, it is undisputed that fighters loyal to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which the Obama administration has marked down as a direct threat to the United States, hide in the province. But local tribes have not given them an eager welcome. Rather, AQAP fighters have exploited the security vacuum in areas where tribal structures have broken down and people are too weak to drive them out.

Link:http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21582303-few-hours-east-yemens-capital-disgruntlement-grows-reluctant-refuge?fsrc=scn%2Ftw_ec%2Fa_reluctant_refuge_for_a l_qaeda

Of note is a small map showing where the drone strikes have hit. I was struck by their absence from the eastern province, which borders Oman and a broad swathe of the western, coastal provinces.

07-26-2013, 07:57 AM
Interesting article on water and qat in Yemen...


In a little over a decade, Sana’a, Yemen, may become the world’s first capital to run out of water. Failed governance and environmental mismanagement share some of the blame for drying up the city. But there is also a more surprising culprit: a national addiction to qat, a narcotic that is incredibly water-intensive to cultivate...

08-08-2013, 09:37 AM
An intrepid BBC lady journalist, Yalda Hakim reports from southern Yemen, where she asks is the use of drones creating as many enemies as they are killing? Hat tip to Gregory Johnsen via Twitter.

Podcast (13 minutes):http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-23606812

In which many Yemeni's giving their answer, ordinary people and the Foreign Minister, whose answer is:
I've heard this argument, there might be some truth to it ... but no alternative.

There is a main thread on the Yemen, into which this will be merged:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=12784

09-06-2013, 08:43 PM
A short review article 'Yemen al Qaida group appears to think globally, act locally', a month after the predicted massive attack:http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/09/05/201284/yemen-al-qaida-group-appears-to.html#.Uin0hYO9Kc2#storylink=cpy

10-15-2013, 03:44 PM
Dual post.

A U.S. command and control center in Yemen, used to direct drone strikes against al Qaeda havens in the country, was the target of a massive terrorist attack in the country late last month.

The Sept. 30 attempted assault on the military base in Mukalla on the country's southeastern coast was initially seen as an attempt by al Qaeda's Yemen faction to establish new strongholds in the country.

But the terrorist group, known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), now claims the attack was an attempt to take out the U.S. command node in Mukalla and hamper American drone strikes in the country.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/328449-report-us-drone-base-in-yemen-targeted-in-al-qaeda-attack-#ixzz2hnq0xqry

04-21-2014, 07:15 PM
Yemen has not gone away, although no SWC posts this year so far.

Well there is ample reporting that this weekend the USA and the Yemen have launched drone strikes and SF at a number of militant / AQAP targets. At one point there was specualtion that the target was AQAP's leading IED expert.

Several links: 1) LWJ http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/04/us_drone_strike_kill_26.php#ixzz2zX3W8veO

2) Just Security http://justsecurity.org/2014/04/21/ongoing-drone-strikes-yemen-raise-questions/

3) Gulf News, included as it actually spoke to some locals http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/yemen/second-us-drone-kills-5-militants-in-south-yemen-1.1322000

05-20-2014, 11:09 AM
A classic tale from the Yemen, a country that consistently confuses outsiders and now a convicted bomber, from the first, failed attack on US targets in 1992, is a senior security officer who says:
I’m now a colonel in the Interior Ministry and was appointed as an assistant to the director of security for Mukalla.

Ends with:
Over the past few years, the U.S. has refocused its attention on Yemen in a attempt to combat al-Qaeda, increasing aid and ramping up drone strikes. But at the same time elements of the Yemeni government appear to be playing a double game, welcoming U.S. aid with one hand and helping militants with the other.


08-25-2014, 09:34 PM
At first you'd think this was a standard situation in war-torn lands:
As the world’s attention was riveted on the lightening conquests of the Islamic State in Iraq, Yemen’s al-Huthi movement made an equally stunning but largely unnoticed military advance on Amran Governorate and captured the provincial capital, Amran, in July.

Ah, not so here, with my emphasis:
The fall of Amran is even more stunning in light of what appears to be complicity by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. Since January, al-Huthi fighters have been making steady progress on the ground, alternatively buying and coercing new tribal alliances, defeating military units, and strategically using the politics of the transitional period in Yemen. The al-Huthi movement was party to Yemen’s famous National Dialogue Conference and it is included in formal political discussions about the future of Yemen. Over the last six months, a pattern emerged: al-Huthi fighters would make incursions into new territory, President Hadi would send a delegation to negotiate a settlement, and the al-Huthi leadership would exploit the settlement to advance further its control of northern Yemen. President Hadi appears to be allowing the al-Huthi advances to hurt the Islah Party as part of a major reshuffling of the political landscape in Yemen.


09-16-2014, 01:07 PM
A variety of commentators have wondered why President Obama referred to the 'success' of the Yemen and this Daily Beast article provides an update to events. It ends with:
The Yemen model appears to have limited value fighting extremists, and even less establishing democracy.


09-22-2014, 07:45 PM
I have watched recent events in the Yemen with a wary eye, then along comes a SME Gregory Johnson with this 'Yemen’s Bloody Weekend Leaves 100s Dead And Rebels On The Rise' and sub-titled The Houthi rebel movement is a growing power in troubled Yemen. Their rise is part of a feud that stretches back a decade, and the bloodshed is unlikely to end here:http://www.buzzfeed.com/gregorydjohnsen/yemens-bloody-weekend-sees-100s-killed-and-rebels-on-the-ris#2669f0b

Nothing better explains the Yemen than this:
This weekend, Houthi fighters clashed with soldiers loyal to Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, one of the country’s most powerful generals and the former head of the First Armored Division. Ahmar, who led most of the wars against the Houthis over the past decade, is a holdover from the old regime. In late 2012, the First Armored Division was officially disbanded and its headquarters declared a public park. Ahmar and his men largely ignored the order. This weekend the Houthis took the law into their own hands, overrunning the military camp. The general however seems to have escaped.

09-22-2014, 08:58 PM
Nowadays it is largely forgotten that Zaidis were the state-building community that established Yemen as such: that back in the 1960s the British were hapily supporting their royalists (with help of Saudi money and Israel-provided arms, of course) against Egyptian troops deployed to support the (laicist) Republicans.

Instead, the West is following the Saudi dogma of Zaidis being some sort of Yemeni Hezbollah, trained and financed by Tehran, and not an autonomous group. Who cares then if Houthis feel sidelined, demand autonomy, approach to the Red Sea, participation in the government... If at all, Yemen is seen through the prism of 'War on al-Qaida' only.

Some recommended reading here would be Schmidt's 'Yemen: The Unknown War', and (one of latest to this topic) Duff's 'The War that Never Was'.

Added by Moderator

Schmidt's book was published in 1968:http://www.amazon.com/Yemen-war-Dana-Adams-Schmidt/dp/B0006BVM3W/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411415858&sr=1-1&keywords=Yemen%3A+The+Unknown+War

Duff's book was published in 2011:http://www.amazon.com/War-That-Never-Was-ebook/dp/B004WOF29Y/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411415942&sr=1-2&keywords=The+War+that+Never+Was

09-22-2014, 09:24 PM
BTW, newest rumour in KSA is that Gen al-Ahmar left the country and is about to get asyl in the UK.

The photo below should be showing a YAF Mi-17 helicopter that brought him to Jizzan, in KSA, earlier today.

09-23-2014, 07:40 AM
Some recommended reading here would be Schmidt's 'Yemen: The Unknown War', and (one of latest to this topic) Duff's 'The War that Never Was'.

Added by Moderator

Schmidt's book was published in 1968:http://www.amazon.com/Yemen-war-Dana-Adams-Schmidt/dp/B0006BVM3W/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411415858&sr=1-1&keywords=Yemen%3A+The+Unknown+War

Duff's book was published in 2011:http://www.amazon.com/War-That-Never-Was-ebook/dp/B004WOF29Y/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411415942&sr=1-2&keywords=The+War+that+Never+Was
Thanks David,

waiting for the start of US strikes on Syria and thus posting in rush.

BTW, additional details about Egyptian involvement in that war - including their early 'large scale' ground operations, but particularly involvement of their air force - can be found in the book Arab MiGs, Volume 1 (http://www.harpia-publishing.com/galleries/AMV1/index.html), co-authored by your very own.

10-05-2014, 10:53 PM
After a steady advance the Houthi clan have taken power in Sana'a and as this headline says 'Yemen's Capital Fell To A Rebel Group And The World Hardly Noticed':http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/04/yemen_n_5923602.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Somehow I expect nothing will change, Yemeni ways remain potent and confusing for the general outside observer.

Iona Craig, a resident reporter in country, commented:
Since their lightning takeover of the city, Houthi militias have attacked the adversaries of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and political rivals of current President Abdrahbu Mansour Hadi. But the apparent ease of the Houthi victory reveals much more about the smoke and mirrors of Yemeni politics than it does about the militiamen's fighting prowess. Indeed, by allowing the Houthis free rein of the capital, Hadi has taken a gamble that could bring more violence as the backlash against the Houthi uprising gains strength.

What next then? I doubut anyone knows and the last people with effective influence are us!

11-03-2014, 02:08 PM
Yemen is the only country in the Arabian Peninsula that is signatory to the 1951 refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. It currently hosts 246,000 refugees, including over 230,000 Somalis and smaller numbers of Ethiopians, Eritreans, Iraqis and Syrians.

In addition, there are more than 334,000 internally displaced Yemeni citizens who were either forced from their homes as a result of recent conflicts or living in longer-term displacement.


12-06-2014, 04:13 PM
A thoughtful article on hostage taking and negoitation by Iona Craig, one of the few Western journalists still in the Yemen. Note it was written before the latest raid by US SOF:https://www.beaconreader.com/iona-craig/hostages-political-pawns-in-a-global-game?ref=profile

Her overview:
The US raid to free hostages in Yemen on November 25, left a trail of questions for Washington in its wake. Not about tales of derring-do, but on the political motivations for the rescue attempt and the role kidnap victims, especially Americans, now play in the propaganda war with the Islamic State.

The BBC on the situation today:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-30358665

01-08-2015, 12:12 PM
A Yemeni reporter's story on the attack in Sanaa, on a line of young men seeking to join the police, with a bomb killing fifty and injuring a hundred:http://blog.haykal.sg/the-yemen/51-murder-mayhem-in-sanaa

I cite one passage on what security means for the Yemeni people themselves:
There is one constant truth in Sanaa these last few years : the Yemeni government, the police, the army and the various militias who populate the Yemeni capital are too busy with their own fights to provide Yemeni citizens with any form of security. In Sanaa, each man has to be personally responsible to protect his home, family and children.

01-21-2015, 04:49 PM
A short guide and comment on the apparently relentless demise of the Yemeni state:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrief-the-threat-of-an-imploding-yemen/

01-22-2015, 07:32 PM
As the Yemeni government goes through a difficult time, in Washington DC Michael Vickers, a DoD Under-Secretary, seems unperturbed as the Houthis appear to take greater power.

To be fair the political contortions, mainly followed on Twitter, are - well - Yemeni. The President resigns, his ostensible replacement is a place man for the former president; parliament refuses to accept the resignation and speculation is rife that the south will pursue a different path. Ah, the parliament was last elected in 2003. its term ended in 2009 and has been extended by them since then.

Back to Mr Vickers public statement; in summary:
Despite alarmist news reports, the Barack Obama administration appears to have adjusted to the rise of the Houthis in Yemen and is continuing attacks on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.Link:http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/01/yemen-houthis-obama-administration.html#ixzz3Pa2g6WpC

01-22-2015, 10:53 PM
Gregory Johnsen, a non-residnet now SME, writes a column entitled: 'Yemen’s constant state of political crisis reached a new zenith on Thursday with the president’s resignation. But the worst may be yet to come:http://www.buzzfeed.com/gregorydjohnsen/the-end-of-yemen#.twEY7nbor

He ends with:
.....as more regions drift out of the orbit of Sanaa, AQAP will likely attempt to exploit the situation by seizing as much territory as it can. Indeed, that is what much of Yemen has become: a land grab for any group strong enough to hold what it claims.

01-25-2015, 04:29 PM
An article from a Yemen SME, who it appears is still in country which helps IMHO:https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/helen-lackner/introduction-to-yemen%27s-emergency

I had been wondering how the Huthis had reached Sanaa, without much fighting and the author's answer reflects the byzantine ways of the Yemen:
How did the Huthis rise from being a minority regional politico-military movement to taking complete control over the formal state in less than one year? Long suspected by most Yemenis, but ignored by the international community, and denied by both concerned parties, the alliance between the Huthis and Saleh has been the main factor behind their military success. The vast majority of the Huthis’ armed forces are military and security units loyal to Saleh who follow his orders. Moreover even senior Huthi leaders take orders from Saleh.

01-25-2015, 08:51 PM
A press release from Oxfam on the humanitarian situation:
More than half of Yemen’s population needs aid and a humanitarian crisis of extreme proportions is at risk of unfolding in the country if instability continues, Oxfam warns today.

Throughout the country there are 16 million people in need of aid, meaning one in three people needing help in the entire Middle East is Yemeni.
Ten million Yemenis do not have enough to eat, including 850,000 acutely malnourished children.
Millions have no clean water and are unable to access basic healthcare services.

Unless the deepening crisis in Yemen is addressed soon it will be almost impossible to prevent this dangerous situation from becoming deadly, putting huge numbers of lives at risk.

It appears for depth there is an OCHA report with more details linked in.


01-25-2015, 08:53 PM
A map recommended via Twitter by a SME, it comes from the AEI Critical Threats Project:http://www.criticalthreats.org/yemen


02-06-2015, 08:05 PM
A simple guide to the Houthi insurgency:http://www.buzzfeed.com/gregorydjohnsen/meet-the-group-that-now-rules-yemen#.tiboEADKr

It ends with:
The Yemen model that President Obama praised only a few months ago has collapsed. The state has fractured and no one is sure if it can be put back together again. A decade ago the Huthis were at war with the state and looked to be on the verge of extinction, today they’re in the presidential palace.

02-15-2015, 12:54 PM
After a rather 'shaky' and 'mainstream' introduction, this feature offers a some much better conclusions:

Does Iran really control Yemen? (http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/02/iran-yemen-houthis-axis-of-resistance.html#)

...Given these circumstances, why do several Iranian officials depict Yemen as a new Islamic Republic stronghold and part of the “resistance”?

There could be two explanations.

The first is that Iran has not materially assisted and supported the Houthis, and that Iranian statements of the opposite are simply targeting several audiences domestically and regionally. Iranian officials who do insist on Yemen’s place in the “resistance” depict the rise of revolutionary Shiite Houthis in Yemen as yet another victory for Iran and against the West, and particularly their Sunni rival, Saudi Arabia.

Iran, then, is exaggerating its regional power and military reach to create a mystical stature aimed at solidifying the confidence of its grassroots supporters within and outside its borders — in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon — while muscle-flexing, and discouraging and pushing its domestic and international opponents onto the defensive.
The presence of an Iran ally at the borders of Saudi Arabia is not only a serious threat militarily but could also destabilize the country from within. The victory of Houthis may inspire the Shiites in Eastern Province, an estimated 10% to 15% of the Saudi population who are already in a tense relationship with the establishment, to rise.

The weakness of this explanation is that while Saudis have poured billions of dollars into supporting the Yemeni establishment, it is hard to believe that Houthis succeeded in organizing such a massive movement and fought a victorious war, as one analysts maintained, just by selling “pomegranates and grapes,” Saada’s major source of income.

The Houthis’ position might be explained by pointing to their lack of desire to stir up unnecessary resistance from inside and outside of the country against them, and that they do not seek to become the sole holder of power in Yemen. Hussein Al-Bukhaiti explains Houthis' realistic view of Yemen as follows:

“We cannot apply this [Iranian system] in Yemen because the followers of the Shafi [Sunni] doctrine are bigger in number than [us], the Zaidis [Shiite].”

02-28-2015, 01:22 PM
From CTC Sentinel a short interview with:
... the commander of Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) Forward (SOC FWD) in Yemen. SOC FWD was an extension of SOCCENT, part and parcel with the command in Tampa. It was a task force with minimal staff and a joint force that primarily trained and advised Yemeni partners, but we also conducted civil affairs and military information support operations. And we were deeply embedded with the embassy and their activities.Link:https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/a-view-from-the-ct-foxhole-an-interview-with-captain-robert-a-newson-military-fellow-council-on-foreign-relations

It has some insight on the byzantine nature of working with and not working with Yemeni partners.

His best line, with my emphasis:
I am very concerned that we are pricing ourselves out of small wars.

That's almost a thread in itself!

03-19-2015, 08:09 PM
A BBC World Service programme, 28 minutes long; a mix of politics and humanity:
Lyse Doucet talks to journalist Safa al-Ahmad who has recently returned from filming a documentary in Yemen for BBC Arabic. Yemen is on the brink of civil war after Houthi rebels seized large swathes of the country including the capital, Sanaa, at the end of last year. Safa tells Lyse about some of the extraordinary encounters she had in the making of the film as she negotiated her way through Houthi checkpoints and into Al Qaeda held terrain. In a country that’s become increasingly difficult to report from Safa has poignant stories from a nation fast falling apart.

I shall try to spot the documentary film.

03-20-2015, 05:08 PM
Gregory Johnsen, a Yemeni SME, has a short article on the madness in Aden, with fighting between factions and the sectarian mosque bombings today in Sanaa:http://www.buzzfeed.com/gregorydjohnsen/yemen-may-be-past-the-point-of-peaceful-return#.vjGGWl2B7

The title says it all:
Yemen May Be Past The Point Of Peaceful ReturnHe ends with:
ndividually, each of Yemen’s two overlapping wars — sectarian and political — would be severe enough to cripple the country. Together they might just kill off any lingering hopes of unity.

His Tweet just is shorter:
A reminder: Yemen has no president, no vice president, no prime minister and no cabinet. It does have 2 former presidents and lots of guns.

03-20-2015, 07:17 PM
I'll never really understand all the efforts to 'unite' Yemen, and even less so all the efforts to keep it united. It was never united (before 1994).

Why must it now remain united?

Because all the possible politicians around the world are concerned about their own possible loss of power if somebody within 'their' borders decides to seceede?

Really: that's no good excuse.

03-21-2015, 08:13 AM
Here goes more of taxpayer's money (or that borrowed from China): Pentagon lost $500M in weapons, aid to Yemen: ‘Assume it’s completely compromised’ (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/mar/18/pentagon-lost-500m-weapons-aid-yemen-assume-its-co/)

Actually, considering how much of US arms are presently supplied to Iraq only to end in hands of IRGC-QF-run Shi'a militias involved in acts of ethnic cleansing... this is peanuts.

On another 'funny' note... since Houthis are in control of al-Anab AB (major training base of the YAF), north of San'a, and of ad-Dailami AB (military side of San'a International, housing MiG-29s and Su-22s), they're now de-facto in possession of the YAF too. Since mid-February there are reports about 'new activity' on both of these sites. Initially, most of this was related to flights of Zlin 242 basic trainers.

Meanwhile: Yemen president flees palace after jet attack (http://news.yahoo.com/yemen-president-evacuated-air-raid-targets-palace-142034589.html)

I'm almost disappointed: the jet in question missed by nearly a kilometre...

SWJ Blog
03-23-2015, 09:11 PM
Pentagon Loses Track of $500 Million in Weapons, Equipment Given to Yemen (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/pentagon-loses-track-of-500-million-in-weapons-equipment-given-to-yemen)

Entry Excerpt:

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/pentagon-loses-track-of-500-million-in-weapons-equipment-given-to-yemen) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

03-25-2015, 08:24 AM
So... the Houthis are in the process of establishing a new government - while continuing their advance in general direction of Aden, where explused 'president' Hadi and his GCC-supported cohorts are now hiding.

Quite a few of related developments are very interesting. For example:

- Houthis have appointed a New Defence Minister (http://www.yementimes.com/en/1870/news/4993/Houthis-appoint-new-defense-minister.htm), and picked nobody else but Brig Gen Hussein Naji Qairan, a Shafi (Sunni), former CO 1st Marine Infantry Brigade (based at Socotra Island), for that position.

- That's going to take plenty of Western observers by surprise. Namely, everybody here thinks that Houthis are 'Iranian-controlled' and actually consist of only one of Zaidi tribes. Actually, they have build a very wide coalition of forces, including plenty of Shafi tribes, and are meanwhile receiving wholehearted support of majority of the regular military. For example, yesterday the 33rd Armoured Brigade in ad-Dali Province - which is completely consisting of Shafis - has sworn allegiance to the new (Houthi) government.

- On the contrary, Governor of Taizz has resigned after all the local security forces have refused to carry out his orders (out of protests from him ordering them to open fire at local protesters). Read: expect the local forces to side with Houthis too.

Hadi and his cohorts are now hiding in Aden. Although totalling something like a mechanized brigade, they're unlikely to be able to defend the city from Houthi-led attack. Even more so because there are ever more reports about infighting between these forces and various of local tribes supposedly opposed to Houthis. Indeed, there are already reports about some of southern tribes openly fighting against Hadi's forces, i.e. siding with Houthis.

In regards of Houthi advance: yesterday, they have entered the port of al-Mukha and the town of Dhalea (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/24/yemen-security-idUSL6N0WQ18D20150324), which brings them not only on the territory of the former Southern Yemen, but to a point 'only' about 260km away from Aden.

Overall, Houthis are now in control of all major Yemeni cities and towns, including Sana'a, al-Hodeida, Taizz, Ibb, Dhamar, Amran, Sayyan, and Zabid. Only Aden and Muqalla are not yet in their hands.

Obviously apauled by this development, Saudis are massing troops along the border and threatening with a military intervention.

03-25-2015, 11:43 AM
Oh, this is really getting a 'nice' story.

The Saudi media (Jazzan News, and sorry, I've lost the link while translating and writing up all of the following) is already reporting attacks by Houthis against Saudi border posts.

Supposedly, yesterday around 14.30h, 'scum of Houthis infiltrating at night' killed seven 'martyrs' of the Border Patrol and destroyed a number of their cars. This attack shold have caused 'displacement of a number of families from the village of al-Khubah', after 13 locals were injured by Houthi fire.

According to same source, 'Hothis' office announced 'confession and claimed responsibility for barbaric attack on Saudi territory'...

From that standpoint, it's 'unsurprising' the RSGF has ordered deployment of brigades stationed in Khamis Mushayt and Najran into the area.

...sounds like somebody is hard at searching for pretext to launch a military intervention in Yemen, and it's making me already curious if any of Western media is going to buy this story...


EDIT: latest reports from Aden say that Houthis are entering the city, Hadi has fled, followed by Kuwaiti diplomats (like most of other foreign diplomats, they evacuated from Sana'a to Aden when the capital was overrun by Houthis).

That would now explain the arrest of the Yemeni MOD by 'local popular committees' yesterday: seems that most of Shafis are so keen to join Houthis, that any military intervention by Saudi Arabia is entirely surplus.

03-25-2015, 01:49 PM
A remarkable BBC World Service documentary, by an Arab lady journalist, who somehow talks to the key factions. Note it was placed on the website on the 21st March:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-31994769

The BBC's explanation:
A rebel group from the North of Yemen has taken over the capital and drastically changed Yemen's political landscape. Engaged in a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Houthis have brought Yemen to the brink of collapse. But who are Yemen's Houthis? What do they want? How have they come to take control of huge parts of the country? Safa Al-Ahmad from BBC Arabic has spent 3 months following the Houthis and also gets extraordinary access to their arch-enemies, the Sunni tribal leaders and other fighters loyal to Al-Qaeda.This is an update on an earlier post of a BBC World Service radio Q&A, 28 minutes long; a mix of politics and humanity:
Lyse Doucet talks to journalist Safa al-Ahmad who has recently returned from filming a documentary in Yemen for BBC Arabic. Yemen is on the brink of civil war after Houthi rebels seized large swathes of the country including the capital, Sanaa, at the end of last year. Safa tells Lyse about some of the extraordinary encounters she had in the making of the film as she negotiated her way through Houthi checkpoints and into Al Qaeda held terrain. In a country that’s become increasingly difficult to report from Safa has poignant stories from a nation fast falling apart.Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02lszv7

03-25-2015, 02:01 PM
I noted, but did not record a couple of comments on Twitter that last week's suicide bombing at mosques in Sanaa, meant all Muslims were killed as mosques can be used by all Muslims, rather than separate sects with exclusive use of mosques. Plus some photos of a massive public turnout for the funerals.

Brain Whitaker, a British SME, adds a commentary on the history of Yemen's relationship with Saudi Arabia:http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2015/march/yemen-saudi-relations.htm#sthash.LzEV9QQC.8b69bQlT.dpbs

03-25-2015, 06:01 PM
^^Best of all was Iranian media, that is Radio Tehran - which declared these attacks as 'flown by Saudi Air Force'...


Anyway, Hadi is finished: he fled the country by sea (http://news.yahoo.com/report-rebels-seize-yemen-air-used-al-qaida-073203837.html).

Houtis have secured Aden IAP (http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6936912), meanwhile.

Means: Saudis and all of their mates from the GCC are now facing a fait accompli in Yemen. For the time being, it's going to be Houthis - with all of their Sunni friends (these are including all of Army and Air Force, plus a number of renegade army units still loyal to former president Salleh, but foremost a large number of different Sunni tribes) - that are going to decide about the future of the country.

Talking about 'tribes'... below is a tribal map of Yemen, in Arabic. Whoever wants to be in control of all of them: good luck.

03-25-2015, 09:32 PM
Video showing Houthis entering al-Anad AB, held by Salleh-loyalists (majority of whom joined them):

Attached photo should be showing Hadi, his entourage and Saudi diplomats inside the port of Aden, about to embark a vessel that brought them out of the country, earlier today...

03-26-2015, 08:25 AM
During the night, the RSAF launched the operation 'Decisive Storm' - against 'Houthis' in Yemen. The first wave saw a massive strike on Houthi positions in and around Sana'a. Bombardment lasted longer than two hours. Reports have it that 100 RSAF, 30 UAEAF, 10 QEAF and 8 RBAF jets took part.

While there are no details about specific targets hit by this bombardment, there are claims that one RSAF aircraft was shot down during attacks on air defences in Sana'a, early this morning (photos supposedly showing the crash site are fakes, though: they're showing protests from Taizz, few days ago). Some say by SAMs, other by ZSU-23-4s.

Second wave was reported early in the morning (about six hours ago). This appeared not as massive, and is reported as 'not as precise' (as the first wave). It should have involved 6 RJAF F-16s, plus 20 jets from UAEAF, 15 from KAF, 15 from RBAF and 10 from QEAF. Locals claimed another jet as shot down by SAMs around that time.


My commentary: to call this operation 'insane' would be an understatement.

For the start, and from what I get to hear from Sana'a, ALL Yemeni military units hae now joined the Houthis. Indeed, even most ardent anti-Houthi activists in Yemen are now twitting, '#### off Saudi Arabia'...

For years, Yemenis had to endulge all the possible empty promises by Salleh and his ex vice Hadi about 'national dialogue', promises to 'rectify problems of the country'. They're fed up of Saudis hegemony in particular, and even US support for such useless governments. They're fed up of their government's double play, including clandestine cooperation with al-Qaida. That's why majority of them - not only majority of civilians, but meanwhile all of the military too - joined the Houthis in their drive to remove that government.

But nah, because of the religious context, Yemenis are now all declared for 'Iranian-backed Shi'a', and thus free to get bombed - and this with US support?

Simply insane. But not unexpected or lacking logic:

1.) An absolute monarchy with Wahhabism as state religion (see Saudi Arabia) cannot tolerate any other 'kind' of state in Yemen, but a mirror of its own.

2.) New Saudi king is still struggling to firm his position on throne while under pressure from two different cliques within own family (at least one of which is actually 'pro al-Qaida'). What's a better solution but to go 'doing something' - in Yemen?

3.) His military is keen to show that they have learned their lessons from 2009-2010 (actually, some say, they would prefer to go bombing Tehran instead, not only Houthis in Yemen). Plus, every war is a great opportunity for various of prince-generals to earn a few extra bucks...

4.) Saudis are joined by Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and Jordan, followed by Sudan, Morocco and Pakistan. They are all now now using the excuse of 'supporting legal government' that is demanding help from them - although this 'legal government' is in control of next to nothing in Yemen: Hadi is not even representative for his own tribe, then most of this has sided with Houthis...

They have declared the Yemeni airspace for 'closed' (or 'restricted airspace') and all seaports under 'blockade'.

What is a little bit surprising is the speed at which these idiots have gathered such a big force, an integrated HQ and whatever else - and then attacked a _supposedly_ 'Iran-supported group' in Yemen. They failed to do anything similar against a CLEARY Iran-supported regime in Syria in FOUR YEARs...? Guess, weak Yemeni air defences are much less a hindering factor.

At least amusing is that idiotic 'winner of Nobel Price for Peace' in the White House and his support for this nonsense.

But because of Western ignorance and highly effective PR, plus because they have enough aircraft, ammo, fuel and training, they can go on bombing Yemen for years, or straight back into stone age - at least until they drive all Yemenis straight into Iranian hands, for example.

03-26-2015, 01:34 PM
...and 'they' continue to make it ever better and better:
Egyptian navy has fired shots at Iranian warships (http://defence-blog.com/?p=4448)

Egyptian navy has fired warning shots at Iranian warships near Bab el-Mandab Strait.
The Saudi-led Firmness Storm coalition has imposed a naval blockade on Bab El-Mandab strait which connects the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean, sources told Ahram Online.

The Saudi navy’s western fleet has also secured Yemen’s main ports including Aden and Midi.

They did nothing to stop an open Iranian military intervention in Syria and Iraq, but are now shooting even at Iranian warships passing an international waterway...?!? :rolleyes:

Bob's World
03-26-2015, 02:03 PM
"NIMBY" - how most nations determine there vital interests.

03-26-2015, 03:18 PM
Gregory Johnsen had this piece earlier this month, it is a backgrounder:http://www.buzzfeed.com/gregorydjohnsen/meet-the-group-that-now-rules-yemen#.dtnN6XGex

His final paragraph:
The Yemen model that President Obama praised only a few months ago has collapsed. The state has fractured and no one is sure if it can be put back together again. A decade ago the Huthis were at war with the state and looked to be on the verge of extinction, today they’re in the presidential palace.

Another SME, who lived in Yemen 2011-2014, Adam Baron yesterday simply says:
Just stay out of it....Yet foreign intervention could very well be the worst approach now—further regionalizing what is still a local fight, injecting a stronger sectarian tone into the conflict while threatening to push Yemen closer to implosion.

If you are on Twitter check Greg's timeline for his recommdations to follow.

03-26-2015, 04:30 PM
The 'Yemen Modell' in question was 'Saudi Puppets Modell', and could never function. Houthis consider themselves for defending the Arab cause against 'Saudi Zionists'. Many of other Yemenis are siding with them, especially so now that Saudi Arabia has attacked the country.

...and that's quite straightforward, actually.

...contrary to US politics - which resulted in US air strikes on the Daesh in Tirkit in support of the IRGC-led Iraqi troops...

...although the IRGC is officially considered a 'terrorist organization'...

....being flown at the same time CENTCOM is in the process of creating a joint command cell with Saudis, in order to coordinate support ops and intel for air strikes agianst Houthis....

...who in turn are fiercely anti-al-Qaida too.

In what world is that making sense to anybody (except for all the possible farths in the Congress)?

03-28-2015, 12:42 PM

03-28-2015, 12:45 PM
A hard to imagine headline?
In view of deteriorating situation in once-stable Yemen, Somali government has announced that it’s preparing to evacuate its stranded citizens (500k) from the conflict-hit country.

Just how this massive transfer will be done is unclear. What resources, finance and more are available? Will Somaliland cooperate?

03-28-2015, 12:51 PM
As Crowbat has noted the anti-Yemeni coalition has put a naval blockade in place; open source radar sites show civilian aircraft are avoiding the Yemen.

In Sanaa the khat shops are still open, often the only shops that are (from Twitter). IIRC all the khat is imported and very likely to be flown in - it is consumed fresh. Now will the blockade stop kat supplies?

03-28-2015, 05:22 PM
Within an article by Robert Risk, in The Independent, is this unexpected factor for KSA, with my emphasis:
Perhaps half of the Saudi army is of Yemeni tribal origin. Saudi soldiers are intimately – through their own families – involved in Yemen, and the Yemen revolution is a stab in the guts of the Saudi royal family.

03-28-2015, 05:24 PM


03-30-2015, 01:19 PM
An excellent article from The Daily Telegraph explained the continuing role of ex-President Saleh. Here are a few snippets and yes he remains in the Yemen, unlike the President:
...last week, the man with a record of doing deals with anyone who will keep him in power was once again proving that his cunning should never be underestimated.While Tehran has denied any involvement, one person who is undoubtedly helping the Houthis is Mr Saleh. Having fought tooth and nail against the Houthis himself during his time in power, he has now joined their side, instructing cronies and relatives in the army to join forces with the rebels. Thus has a small local rebellion become a nationwide civil war - and thus has the wily Mr Saleh maneouvred himself back into the centrestage of power. A Machiavellian leader even by the standards of Middle East, Mr Saleh once observed that ruling turbulent Yemen was like “dancing on the heads of snakes”. But his own spectacular comeback - by a man steeped in deals with tribal leaders, regional powers, and even al-Qaeda - has made many wonder whether he may the biggest serpent of all.

03-30-2015, 01:22 PM
Oryx blog has two short comments on the bombing of Yemeni military assets. First the few remaining Scud SSM:http://spioenkop.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/saudi-aircraft-demolish-yemeni.html

Secondly the Yemeni Air Force, especially its few Mig-29s:http://spioenkop.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/is-saudi-led-coalition-sparing-yemeni.html

03-31-2015, 07:33 AM
Most useful for orientation on Yemen, is this article by a BBC-reporter that toured the country:
Meeting the Houthis - and their enemies (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31907671)

She really went 'everywhere', from Sana'a to Sa'ada, then into the Bayda Province (AQAP and now Daesh strongpoint), and then back to Aden.

Since US seems to only be interested in al-Qaida and IS/ISIL/Daesh, particularly interesting should be these two paragraphs:

In other parts of Bayda, some people say al-Qaeda isn't tough enough. Ahmad Khamis, a prominent local jihadist, says he loves Islamic State.

"IS is a reality and they control land. They will take over districts and will engage in direct battle. They won't retreat from battle, just like in Iraq" he says. "This is our hope to be ruled by Islam and freed from Shia occupation."

With Saudis doing their best to bomb the crap out of Yemeni Army (they seem to be very insistent in failing to hit Houthis, although declaring nearly every Yemeni who sided with Houthis for 'Houthi'), they are de-facto acting as Daesh's air force.

03-31-2015, 11:20 AM
A short NY Review of Books article, which praises the BBC documentary (see Post 117 for details and link) and has some great lines, for example and no doubt controversial too:
As one Yemeni said to me: “One group of Houthi fighters is worth a hundred drones.” Houthi fighters have been fighting al-Qaeda and various Sunni Islamist groups for years now.

It ends with:
This could be the beginning of a civil war that will deepen no matter how many bombs the Saudis drop. It is also likely to make Yemen a greater threat to the rest of the world. But the real tragedy is that all this is happening in a country where shared traditions were always the rule, laughter and qat-chewing were in every house, and sectarian differences meant almost nothing until recent years.


Incidentally is the rifle carried in the only photo a Garand minus its magazine or an even older US-made rifle? Photo below.

03-31-2015, 02:44 PM
Zoha Waseem @ Kings War Studies has this commentary 'Operation Decisive Storm: when Riyadh calls on Islamabad':http://strifeblog.org/2015/03/31/operation-decisive-storm-when-riyadh-calls-on-islamabad/

She ends with:
For the time being, Pakistan does not appear to be in a position to send boots on the ground, both because of militancy at home – for which it needs troops and resources to continue counter-terrorism operations – and also because there can be no easy exit strategies following such a deployment. It further needs to keep its focus on the instability at its western border with Afghanistan, and hostility on the Line of Control. But events are still unfolding and Nawaz Sharif is likely to be under tremendous pressure to cooperate with the royal family. How this cooperation will be justified in the face of Pakistan’s internal security concerns remains to be seen.

My recollection from a news report in 2014 is that the KSA hosted a military exercise then, on the northern border, with Egypt, Pakistan and the USA.

Given the historical relationship between KSA and Pakistan I wonder if Pakistan has a full-time, in country liaison staff. Even seconded officers and men.

03-31-2015, 03:04 PM
They do, i.e. there is.

BTW, presently, there is a joint exercise of Saudi and Pakistani special forces - apparently run somewhere near the border to Yemen.

That said, it seems that Pakistani population is not particularly keen to go fighting for Sauds, no matter how much these might be ready to pay. So, the government didn't bring a final decision - yet. That's the reason for all the related controversy in the media.

Meanwile, Sudanese AF Su-24Ms are deployed at King Khalid AB and flying strikes over Yemen...

03-31-2015, 04:29 PM
Right now it seems the Saudis want to list Pakistan as a member of the "coalition" and Pakistan won't fully confirm it at their end, but lets them do so in their briefings etc (where a Pakistani flag is displayed).
Unless a full scale ground invasion is part of the plan (which would be the stupidest plan since whenever), there probably wont be any significant ground presence needed. Maybe a few thousand troops to guard the border against Yemeni counter-attack while the "coalition" continues to bomb and blockade? that might be sell-able in Pakistan as "defense of Saudi Arabia", not "invasion of Yemen". Certainly that is what tPakistani pro-military social media people seem to be stressing (that they would only go to defend Saudi Arabia, custodian of the two holy places, etc etc).

What IS the plan? To bomb Yemen till forces within Yemen decide to say uncle and create a pro-Saudi regime? That does sound doubtful. But I cannot think of any other sensible plan either...I am not looking for classified information. Just imagine you are the planner of this operation. What could your plan POSSIBLY be?
Very curious.

03-31-2015, 09:13 PM
This is not so much about 'what would WE (Westerners) do', but what are 'THEY' (Saudis + allies and Houthis + allies) going to do.

There is a new 'king' in Riyad, with his favourite son as MOD. Both inexperienced, and with heaven-only-knows-how-much-preparation-for-problems-facing-them (even the age of the new MOD is unknown!). Surrounded by a bunch of military commanders, not few of whom are religiously motivated (some have relatives in Yemen, like nearly 50% of all Saudis), most of whom are driven by opportunity to earn 'few extra bucks' too, but also to 'show American infidels that they've learned their business'. And so, they've opened the page 1 of the checklist and are going through it, point by point: declare the other party for terrorists and allies of Iran, demonize them, control the media (no problem, since they have enough money), motivate your troops with what they need (religion, in the case of Saudi military), create coalition, launch air strikes...

Now comes the crucial issue: 'boots on the ground'. Problem No.1: Saudis don't like fighting their wars. They prefer paying others to do so... Problem No.2: even a biggest dilletant in Riyad knows that any full-scale invasion of Yemen is likely to end in an utter catastrophe. And now that the Saudis started this, they have to end it too. They imposed an ultimatum and now must stick to it, it's a matter of honour: nothing short of total defeat of 'Iranian dogs' (read 'Houthis') is going to do....

Solution A is 'on hand': because there's that legend that Pakistan is ah such a big friend of its Arab allies, always providing help (see sending troops to act as 'Bahraini military' and kill Bahraini protesters), always winning wars (ho-hum!), and because already grandpa has pumped billions into Pakistan... well, the lackeys should now return some of all the favours. Isn't that natural? But Islamabad is not as keen: military is busy fighting two insurgencies at home, and nobody curious to cause even more problems by provoking Iran...

Solution B: Egyptians... damn Egyptian army just smashed the Islamists in the Sinai, although entirely untrained in COIN. Isn't that nice? But hell: Egyptians still have too many bad memories about fighting Zaidis in yemen in the 1960s, and are not the least keen to go there. Even promising Sissi to cover all the expenses of that voyage is not working.

What's left...?

Solution C: OK, then Hadi, and his mix of few shaken army units, Local People's Committees, Southern separatists (including a nice dose of Marxists), AQAP and even some of increasingly strong Daesh in Yemen have to do the job. RSAF provides air support, RSGF planning and supplies, Yemenis and Jihadists do their fighting for themselves.

Didn't Americans do the same already back in Bosnia of 1994-1995...?

That's about all that exists as a 'plan' there.

There is a 'Plan B' too, of course: should everything else not work, Saudis can keep on bombing 'Houthis' until these accept a cease-fire, like they did in 2010.

If nothing else, now they have their own production line for Paveway IIs, so they'll not run themselves dry of these (like they did in 2010)...

On the other side: Houthis, Zaidis by background, proud, stubborn, traditional rulers of what once used to be the Imamate of Yemen. Suffering from treachery by Saudi provintial wannabes since 1970, and even more so since Saudis began openly supporting Wahhabists in Yemen, in the early 1990s. Fed up of taking orders from anybody. They've overcome all the obstacles on their way back to power: they've destroyed the (once powerful) Hashid Tribal Federation and removed all the possible competition from other Zaidi tribes; they've defeated the AQAP; they have Saleh and loyal military units at least on their side (if not under control).... Means: they control most of guns - and the party that controls most of guns in Yemen is the party that rules....

'Elections'? They know in Yemen, these are for show only. Saudi kings want a 'democratically elected and legal government back in power'? If they want a democratically elected president in power, they can start at home. 'Arab intervention'? Is hurting Saleh's troops, if at all; but mostly civilians - and thus galvanizing the latter around Houthis.

For the time being, they know they can cause enough troubles to the Saudis along mutual border to keep them busy for at least a few months. They seem convinced they can fight Hadi, Separatists, AQAP, and increasingly strong Daesh in Yemen at the same time too. Or at least keep them at bay.

Whatever happens, they'll not give up this time.

04-01-2015, 08:41 PM
WSJ (http://www.wsj.com/articles/yemenis-turn-against-saudi-led-bombing-1427897950) discovering what we were talking about on ACIG.info forum a week ago (indeed, on the same morning the Saudis began bombing Yemen):

...Yemenis once supportive of the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in their country are turning against the operation as civilian casualties mount and vital economic infrastructure is destroyed by airstrikes, including one on Wednesday that killed 39 employees at a dairy factory far from rebel-held areas.

Even those who cheered the Saudi intervention against Houthi rebels are now appealing for its end. Last week, Riyadh assembled a coalition of 10 regional countries to counter the Iran-linked Houthi militants as they expanded across the country and forced Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee last week to Saudi Arabia.
Abdulaziz Jubari, the head of the Justice and Peace party and a chief supporter of Mr. Hadi, denounced the Saudis’ ongoing assault, saying the toll on civilians and Yemen’s infrastructure was too high. Mr. Jubari joined the president’s entourage last weekend during the Arab League talks in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where many regional heads of state applauded Riyadh’s intervention.

“We backed President Hadi and attended the Arab League hoping to meet Arab leaders and try to end the crisis in Yemen. We had no intention this was going to be a war against our own people,” said Mr. Jubari. “The Saudi war against Yemen must stop immediately.”
“We hate the Houthis, but they never attacked us or destroyed our property. Why don’t the Saudis just kill the head of the Houthis and save Yemen? It’s the Houthis that they want, but it seems that Saudi is trying to destroy Yemen instead,” said Lutfi a Mahbashi, a San’a resident who lives near the capital’s heavily-bombarded airport.

Congrats - Salman, Obama & Co KG GesmbH...

04-01-2015, 09:21 PM
I have no idea about the conflict but past evidence as in history suggests that such wars are quite easy to start but tend to be far harder to get 'won', in the sense that they fulfill their supposed political purpose by interventionists. As far as I understand the successes of the 'Houthi' made possible partly by the weakness and former actions of institutions, factions and players supported by the Saudis and other forces convinced quite a few in Riyad and other places that an direct intervention by air and sea might the in their (their who?) interest. If the Saudis and their non-Yemenite allies have no stomach, as CrowBat suggested, for a longer war with ground forces then they must rely that the so far losing allied factions do a much more successfull job at fighting and ruling. Western coalitions with plenty more experience, ressources and expertise could do only so much or so little in other wars, so I would be surprised how much of an impact that part of the 'Saudi' strategy will have.

In short this war is the continuation of lots of rather complicated politics in their full sense with the injection of other, military means - a war which seems poised to continue for a long time even if the external bombing campaign diminishes or stops...

04-01-2015, 09:31 PM
Amidst all the commentaries I spotted one in the WaPo, which IMHO deserves posting. Why?

A week on the Syria thread, in response to a question by Flagg, I posted using the title Egypt's Vietnam a link to a book 'Nasser's Gamble: How Intervention in Yemen Caused the Six-Day War and the Decline of Egyptian Power' by Jesse Ferris, pub. 2012:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A=0&pldnSite=1 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A431LEC?ref_=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_2054712102&%252AVersion%252A=1&%252Aentries%252A=0&pldnSite=1)

In Post 45 Crowbat added a lengthy review:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=21961&page=3

Anyway scene set, the WaPo opinion:http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/02/opinion/nassers-ghost-hovers-over-yemen-saudi-arabia-egypt.html?

04-02-2015, 06:17 AM

Sounds like Ferris does not know that the Imamate of Yemen joined Egypt and Syria in the United Arab Republic...

...nor that the coup attempt in Jordan (and British military intervention prompted by call for help from king Hussein) took place in 1958 (at the time of US intervention in Lebanon), not in 1956...
(In 1956, 'everything was fine' in Jordan, because Hussein asked the British to leave and established very close relations to Egypt; between others, these resulted in Egypt donating a number of British-made Vampire jets to Amman just two days before tripartite invasion better known as the 'Suez Crisis/War'.)

...even less so that there was a 'cold war' between Egypt and the USSR between 1958 and 1966, caused by Soviet refusal to support Nasser's spread of pan-Arabism... (during this time Nasser expected Soviets to help him, even launch military interventions in support of specific coups, for example in Iraq and Jordan, but Moscow refused this; for most of these years, Egyptians thus minimalized their relations to the USSR to that of 'customer and arms merchant', i.e. Moscow had nothing to say in Cairo).

...or that the Yemeni Civil War didn't end with withdrawal of Egyptian troops in late 1967: they were replaced by Soviets, that not only provided even more aid to the Republicans than Egyptians ever could (between others, they established the Yemeni Air Force), but actually launched a military intervention in which their troops were fighting on the side of Republicans. That war ended only with a cease-fire in 1970.

He's also failing to put something else within context: a laicist Egypt vs. Wahhabi Saudi Arabia (supported by British, Israel, Iran, and Jordan) and Zaidi Yemeni Royalists... Shouldn't that be important from modern-day POV?

Instead, he's once again failing to understand the reason for Johnson-Nasser rift (Mechan's death) and explains 'Egypt gravitated toward the Soviets'...

...or that once this war was over, Saudis began sponsoring spread of Wahhabism within Yemen - even more so once the former British Protectorate of Aden, cum Southern Arabian Federation, cum People's Democratic Republic of (Southern) Yemen sided with Soviets, in mid-1970s...

...which is what led to final destabilisation of Yemen...

Overall, he's is beginning to sound 'politically correct', rather than 'historically accurate'.

04-02-2015, 12:38 PM
Back to topic: here (https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/a-view-from-the-ct-foxhole-an-interview-with-captain-robert-a-newson-military-fellow-council-on-foreign-relations) some highly interesting insights into Yemen from ex SEAL instructor that served there for years:

...Biography: Captain Robert A. Newson, U.S. Navy, is a Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) officer who most recently led strategy and concept development for the Naval Special Warfare Command. Previously, he commanded Special Operations Command (Forward) in Yemen and Naval Special Warfare Support Activity, a cross-functional intelligence operations command, and served as director of the Joint Interagency Task Force – Counter Terrorism. Captain Newson is a graduate of the University of Kansas and the Naval Postgraduate School with distinction. He is a PhD candidate at the University of San Diego.

CTC: Can you briefly describe your role and experiences in Yemen in 2010-2012, and what your key takeaways were from a strategic U.S. counterterrorism perspective?

CAPT Newson: I was the commander of Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) Forward (SOC FWD) in Yemen. SOC FWD was an extension of SOCCENT, part and parcel with the command in Tampa. It was a task force with minimal staff and a joint force that primarily trained and advised Yemeni partners, but we also conducted civil affairs and military information support operations. And we were deeply embedded with the embassy and their activities.

Bill Moore
04-02-2015, 01:43 PM
Back to topic: here (https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/a-view-from-the-ct-foxhole-an-interview-with-captain-robert-a-newson-military-fellow-council-on-foreign-relations) some highly interesting insights into Yemen from ex SEAL instructor that served there for years:

A lot of good insights that most in special operations would refer to as the same challenges we have faced for years in many locations, specifically when it comes to capacity building and how SOF basically had its hands tied behind its back when it came to authorities and an outdated cold war security cooperation system. SOF did what they could within policy guidelines, and as noted in the interview CAPT Newson saw the potential for mission failure and recommended a UW back up plan to continue the fight against AQ if the security cooperation mission failed. I have little confidence that ever progressed beyond a discussion.

Our ineptness in this area is why, and the only reason why, I opined we shouldn't support the Syrian resistance. Technically and tactically we're quite good, but our policies restrict us to the point where failure is almost guaranteed.

04-02-2015, 09:54 PM
Crowbat, Bill and others,

Fully agree the CTC interview with the SOF veteran who served in Yemen is valuable.

The link is:https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/a-view-from-the-ct-foxhole-an-interview-with-captain-robert-a-newson-military-fellow-council-on-foreign-relations

I did post it awhile ago (Post 110 refers) and here are my comments:

It has some insight on the byzantine nature of working with and not working with Yemeni partners.

His best line, with my emphasis:
I am very concerned that we are pricing ourselves out of small wars.

04-02-2015, 10:00 PM
I already 'suspected' you've posted it, but lacked time to check. Sorry for a double, David.

For me, another interesting point was him pointing out the Houthis are the most eager around to fight the AQAP (and similar characters). Pity no way of building a coalition with them was found (and, surely enough: Saudis would've done whatever is possible to prvent this from happening, anyway). This Saudi-led attack might easily drive them into Iranian hands...

In that sense: because Saudis are 'just bombing around', but not advancing into nothern Yemen, Houthis and YA have got plenty of opportunity to grab Aden now.

And without Aden... well, Saudis & Co have just wasted plenty of kerosene and expensive LGBs...

Bellow an attempt to reconstruct situation in Aden today...

04-04-2015, 08:35 PM
A video from KKAB (or some similar place), showing Bahraini, Egyptian, Jordanian and UAEAF's F-16s that are participating in Op Decisive Storm:

Bahrainis and Egyptians were announced on the first day, but not sighted before.

04-06-2015, 05:12 PM
Although the title suggests Oman could play a role in getting the coalition and Yemenis to talk, the author comments on whether negoitation is possible, especially as most diplomats and the UN have left the Yemen:http://www.fairobserver.com/region/middle_east_north_africa/oman-could-hold-the-key-in-yemen-02197/

The author's slim bio:
Fernando Carvajal is a PhD candidate in Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in the UK. He has over 14 years of experience conducting field work in Yemen and is a specialist in Yemeni politics and tribal relations.

An intriguing Tweet from Adam Baron, which makes one wonder:
Things that make you go hmmm: not a single coalition airstrike has targeted Mukalla since the port city's takeover by AQAP last week

04-07-2015, 06:33 AM
One can wonder about 'how comes' (Saudis are not bombing AQAP), no doubt. But, one shouldn't.

That is: one is wondering only if insisting on remaining 'politically correct'.

A local movement with local roots that's directly challenging Sauds, pledging to topple them from the throne - and then one Sauds can declare 'Shi'a', and 'Iran-backed/supported' - is considered a bigger threat for them, than any Wahhabi-related terror organization they're sponsoring since decades. Because Wahhabism is a state religion in Saudi Arabia, Shi'a are considered worse idolators than Hindus. Houthis are 'double damned' by Saudis: they not only dared refusing to convert to Wahhabism but rose a militant anti-Saud movement that then also launched a counter-reform in favour of renewed Zaidi identity.

It was for the same reason that Sauds have declared Moslem Brotherhood for terrorist organization - and with it began working on toppling Morsi in Egypt and weakening the Islah Party in Yemen, although the latter was the most powerful Sunni representative in that country.

That's similar to what they're doing in Syria: the original FSyA was 'inacceptable', because it was a native movement refusing to subject itself to Saud rule. The JAN and the Daesh can be tollerated because of their Wahhabist-like ideology, but - under some US pressure - became 'inacceptable' because they're refusing Saud rule. That's why Sauds created the Islamic Front, which has already subordinated itself to the Saud dynasty...

With other words, the message is: subject yourself to Saud rule, or die.

04-07-2015, 06:51 AM
Here a nice illustration of how deftly are Sauds lying about situation in Yemen.

Lacking other source posting these as regularly, I'll use the SUSRIS' coverage of Saudi military briefings on Op Decisive Storm (http://susris.com/?s=decisive+storm). (Admittedly, I'm finding this particularly 'fitting', then SUSRIS is the 'Saudi-US Relations Information Service'.)

It's when one takes a look at 'briefings' provided by Brig Gen Asiri few days ago (say 2 - 5 April), and compares them with what's going on in Aden, that many things simply 'do not fit'.

Namely, Asiri is babbling about situation that is 'stabile', then about 'small groups of the Houthi militia' and 'anti-legitimacy insurgent army elements' (are they 'insurgents' or 'army? somebody educated at St Cyr should know the difference...), 'carrying out hit and run operations in order to achieve media goals for making confusion'. He's talking about the 'popular committees acting to stop them', about 'quiet situation', 'some elements of the Houthi militias are found in specific areas' etc. Few days ago he even claimed that the Houthis were forced to retreat from the Presidential Palace in Aden. Correspondingly, one cannot but conclude that everything is nice and fine for Hadi-supporters.

Actually, not only that the Presidential Palace is under Houthi control, or that all the air strikes, all the para-drops of arms and ammo for Hadi-supporters, and all the fire-support by Egyptian and Saudi navies have failed to stop the Houthi/Army advance ever deeper into the city (that is: into the Mualla district, which is the port of Aden). After bitter fighting and changing hands several times, even Aden IAP is meanwhile under Houthi/Army control. Reinforced by the loot from the base of the 31st Armoured Brigade, they are advancing into the at-Tawahi District, west of Mualla, since yesterday.

See the map below, and compare it with the one I've posted above.

With other words:
a) remaining Hadi-loyalists in Aden are definitely cut off from the rest of Yemen; and
b) Asiri is lying about situation in Aden.

Though, by superimposing the battle of Aden over everything else, he's also distracting public attention from the fact that Riyad is doing absolutely nothing against the AQAP in eastern Yemen.

04-09-2015, 04:40 PM
While waiting for reports about fighting in Yemen today, here another example of Asiri's lies:

Cited from Saudi Press Agency (http://www.spa.gov.sa/english/):

...Brig. Asiri said: 'we received confirmed news stressing that large numbers of the Houthi militias and the Yemeni army who are against the legitimacy are surrendered. The coalition asked the People's Committees in Aden to maintain the security and safety of these element and to deal with them in accordance with a law.'

Brig. Asiri stressed that the coalition forces are still targeting specific objects of the remnants of missile sites and air defense positions as well as barbarous acts carried out by the Houthi militias and their loyalists in Aden which harm the Yemeni society, especially in Aden through shooting the people in the streets and homes, pointing out that the People's Committees in Aden besieged the Houthi militias in Mallika region with existence of a quiet in the other areas in comparison with the previous days.
So, according to Asiri: Houthis in Aden besieged in Mallika region...

This is at least a glimpse of what 'encircling a small group of Houthis in Aden' looks like in reality, as reported by the Reuters (http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKBN0MY1UU20150408):

...The Houthi attack in the central Crater neighbourhood, backed by tanks and armoured vehicles, was at least partially repelled, residents said, and Houthi gunmen had also been driven from some northern neighbourhoods.

....and then by the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32216854), (primarily citing Reuters):

...Fresh fighting has been reported in the southern Yemeni city of Aden between Houthi rebels and militiamen loyal to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Several houses in the central Crater district were set on fire after being hit by rockets as the rebels advanced, residents told the Reuters news agency.

Warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition, which backs the government, meanwhile bombed rebel targets to the north.
On Wednesday, dozens of rebel fighters and allied troops reportedly pushed into the district of Crater, near the city's port. Residents told Reuters that the rebels were backed by a tank and two armoured vehicles.

They also said that from loudspeakers on Sunni mosques a call had rung out for local people to "rise for jihad" against the attackers.

Reuters also reported three explosions in northern areas of Aden, which residents said were strikes on rebel weapons depots.

With other words: Houthis and allied YA units have pushed Hadi-loyalists and separatists of local popular committees out of Mualla and al-Qalwa'a districts, in central Aden, on 7 April, and yesterday continued by pushing into the Crater district. That's where the fighting is going on ever since.

Meanwhile, there is a new battle in northern Aden, i.e. north of the IAP, and this is the only area from which Saudi-led air strikes are reported. However, the situation there is anything but 'clear'.

But Asiri is presistent in lying even more:

...Brig. Asiri added that the coalition forces are keen of no access of any support for the militias in Aden, drawing attention that the military actions inside the districts are risky while the coalition forces are working on the security and safety of the residents, 'the military operations are continuously supporting the People's Committees,' he added.
Brig. Asiri pointed out that that air forces of the coalition targeted today site of the brigades, camps and movements that are still supplying the Houthi militias with the military support, including the 33rd Brigade in Dalea, 'the coalition also targeted yesterday and today the so-called brigade 'Glory' in Dalea,' he added.
...to call this 'nonsese' would be an understatement.

Just few days ago Asiri was explaining that ad-Dhalea (aka ad-Dhaleh) was 'captured by the popular committees and the resistance from the regular Yemeni Army'.

But now they've got to bomb it - because the local military is supportive for Houthis...?!?

Actually, Dhaleh was captured by a Houthi battalion supported by the locally-based 33rd Armoured Brigade of Yemeni Army already on 29 March. It's because of this that the place is subjected to RSAF air strikes since 31 March. Subsequently, Dhaleh was used as springboard for another Houthi battalion and the 115th Infantry Brigade's attack on AQAP stronghold in Zinjibar, on 29 March. Ever since, this Houthi-YA group is subjected to RSAF-led air strikes too, which - as already explained - means the Royal Saudi Air Force is providing close support to the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Oh, and: Dhaleh was also a springboard for Houthi-led advance on Arqub in Bayda, where the 117th Mechanized Brigade sized with them to fight the local tribal forces and the AQAP.

With other words: the place is of crucial importance, and it remains in 'Houthi' hands, and this wouldn't change even if Asiri learns to walk on his head by tomorrow in the morning.

Thus, the only 'true news' in this war is that the RSAF is now deploying its brand-new Typhoons for ground attacks (http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/729496):

The Saudi Air Force has deployed top Typhoon jets, known for their maneuverability and speed, for the first time in the bombing campaign on Houthi positions in Yemen.

04-10-2015, 12:41 PM
BREAKING: Pakistani parliament votes not to join Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, urges peaceful dialogue (https://twitter.com/AP/status/586441572931084289)
Sound (and sane) decision.

Moderator's Note

There is a seperate thread Pakistan and Arab World: Security Cooperation,which covers this issue in some depth:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=22113

04-13-2015, 05:44 AM
Rumours are flying in Egypt that Sissi should be preparing a force of 40,000 - all from the newly-established Rapid Reaction Corps - for deployment in Yemen.

So far, there is no official confirmation: only members of the Military Council have been informed about related decisions.

04-15-2015, 05:29 PM
And now it's starting in Yemen: thugs from Daesh's Wilayat Ataq have beheaded 15 Yemeni troops of the 2nd Mountain Infantry Brigade in Azzan (Shabwah province):

(in Arabic, and WARNING: GRAFFIC!!!)

Reason: these have sided with Houthis...

...and this is the kind of creatures that the Saud-led aerial strikes are supporting... and that with US support too...

Really, Obama, Kerry & Co KG GesmbH should go there and let themselves get beheaded instead... :mad:

04-17-2015, 11:34 AM
A salutary reminder from Mark Stout on WoTR, who briefly examiens the value of WW2 airpower - by the RAF - and today asks:
We have little data on how the air campaigns against ISIL and the Houthis are going. The British experience, however, provides both a practical lesson and a moral lesson for when things start to go wrong in a war — which they always do to a greater or lesser extent. Practically, it is important to ensure that wartime adaptations make intellectual sense and are grounded in war aims and are not just a search for a nail on which to use the existing hammer. This may be a particularly important point regarding the war in Yemen, given the comparative lack of smart munitions in the inventories of the air forces conducting the campaign against the Houthis. Morally, it is important to ensure that frustration does not lead to moral compromises. Many people today regard Bomber Harris as a war criminal.

04-17-2015, 09:36 PM
I am never that sure about such articles, even if the SME writes for the Jamestown Foundation and when they cite SOCOM:
Military sources said that a number of regional special forces officers and officers at U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) argued strenuously against supporting the Saudi-led intervention because the target of the intervention, the Shia Houthi movement — which has taken over much of Yemen and which Riyadh accuses of being a proxy for Tehran — has been an effective counter to Al-Qaeda.

(rightly IMHO this question is asked) They’ve been fighting Al-Qaeda since at least 2012, and they’ve been winning. Why are we fighting a movement that’s fighting Al-Qaeda?

Bill Moore
04-18-2015, 01:10 AM
If this report is correct, both the Houthis and Al-Qaeda are getting stronger in the current crisis.


04-18-2015, 07:43 AM
...well, actually, the life of Wahhabist Jihadists in Yemen can't get any much better these days.

While Saudis and their glorious allies are systematically demolishing Yemeni Army units that have sided with Houthis (which is 'majority' of the Yemeni Army; I'll come back to this issue later on), or killing scores of civilians while bombing petrol stations and similar places, the AQAP is left free to roam eastern Yemen and establish itself in control of whatever place it only can.

About two weeks ago, the port of Mukalla was overrun by the AQAP. 'Even' David has observed (in one of his posts about a week ago, see above), that not a single coalition air strike has hit the place ever since. Nope: instead of any kind of air strikes, it was the Hadhrami tribes groupped within the Hadramawt People's Council (HPC) that have counterattacked Mukalla about a week ago.

Initially, all possible pro-Saud media outlets reported a glorious counteroffensive, which recovered Mukalla in a matter of hours.

Don't worry: this all was PRBS. This 'counterattack' - if there ever was one - failed. Instead, HPC then made peace with the AQAP (http://www.newsalyoum.com/yemen/41978.html), and agreed that two parties are not going to fight each other any more!

Hey, isn't this beautiful? The tribes first declare they're going to secure Mukalla from the AQAP, then run into troubles while trying to capture the place, and eventually sign a deal and make friends with al-Qaida. And that's the kind of people on whom Asiri and Co depend on 'restoring legitimacy'...?

These al-Qaida Jihadists are such lovely blokes. Why fight them? Make friends. This is so wonderful, I can't avoid getting that warm feeling around my hearth... :rolleyes:

...but wait: it's getting better!

Free of threat from the HPC; the AQAP - that is: its local unit named 'Sons of Hadramawt' and led by former 'Emir of Abyan' Khalid Batarfi (http://mukallastar.com/news/2015/208179.html) - allied with the tribes groupped within the Hadramawt National Council (HNC, or Majlis ahl-Hadramawt), too.

And since together they are stronk, they launched an offensive to bring all the major local installations under their control.

Two days ago, they captured ad-Dhabah oil terminal (https://twitter.com/saeedalBatati/status/588720647221608448). Then they took Rayyan IAP, east of Mukalla, before advancing on two major bases nearby.

Yesterday they have:

- overrun the 190th Air Defence Brigade, and then
- forced the 27th Mechanized Infantry Brigade (http://www.criticalthreats.org/gulf-aden-security-review/gulf-aden-security-review-april-16-2015) to surrender.

Hey, perhaps Asiri (Saudi Brig Gen who's acting as spokesperson for the coalition) could now claim these two units to have 'sided with legitimacy' too? After all, they were overrun by al-Qaida, which is Wahhabi, and Wahhabism is state religion in Saudi Arabia. Means: they are 'friends', aren't they'?

But nah... Asiri is quite tight-lipped about such issues. When asked about coalition's intention to target the AQAP, Asiri avoided by explaining that (http://susris.com/2015/04/16/operation-decisive-storm-day-22-coalition-military-briefing/), 'the overall plan does not specify Al-Qaeda or ISIS', only 'scheduled targets to achieve the goals of restoring the legitimacy in Yemen'.

Perhaps Asiri could send a postcard to Batarfi, officially informing al-Qaida there's no reason to be afraid of Saudi-led air strikes?

Overall, I find there is just one reason for dissatisfaction here. Just one: something that's making me even disapointed. Well, a little bit.

Namely, given the USA are usually so fast in putting any organization that's collaborating with al-Qaida on the list of terrorist organizations, I find it disappointing that Obama and Kerry failed to declare the HPC and the HNC for 'terrorist organizations' - and that 5 minutes after this became known.

Please, don't tell me this cannot be done because HPC and HNC are two of many similar groups upon which the Saudis depend for 'restoring legitimacy' in Yemen... :D

04-18-2015, 10:30 AM

Are the cited 'brigades', whether mountain, air defence or mechanised really brigades as the West and others would recognise? Or is the term really inflated to describe a weak battallion?

04-18-2015, 12:10 PM
A short account on why the UN mediation / conflict resolution effort failed, from Carnegie; which starts with the past:
For three years, Yemen has been touted as a successful model of international intervention to contain the crisis triggered by the Arab Spring—at least according to the United Nations, various UN Security Council ambassadors, and, most importantly, the UN special adviser on Yemen

04-19-2015, 06:00 AM

Are the cited 'brigades', whether mountain, air defence or mechanised really brigades as the West and others would recognise? Or is the term really inflated to describe a weak battallion?
Average YA brigade is much smaller than anything comparable in the West, of course. Some would be designated 'regiments', few only 'battalions', almost anywhere else.

But about 20 'crack' units, and all of air defence brigades (all of the latter are nominally under the YAF control) used to have full strenght and full complement of weapons (even if not all of these were operational, see most of SA-2s). Indeed, some could have been described as 'reinforced', then they were not only operating the usual complement of 3-4 SAM-battalions (each battalion = one SAM-site), but more of these.

Few of Army units have been overrun and de-facto disarmed by Houthis in recent month and some observers expected them to completely disappear. For example, the 310th Armoured Brigade surrendered to Houthis in Amran, in July 2014, and its CO (Brig Gen Hamid al-Qushaybi) was killed. But, this did not happen: this brigade was reorganized and is still active in Amran area (indeed, it's one of major targets for Saudi-led coalition).

What makes YA's brigades so important is that each is a sort of local centre of political power. Most are are under command of at least a Brig Gen, and officers in question are exercising significant influence upon civilian life in surrounding areas. Their major bases have large stockpiles of ammo, fuel, supplies and - critically important issue - water: this is not only enabling them to survive even longer sieges (some of experiences from recent years have shown that even smaller YA brigades can easily survive up to 4-5 months-long sieges by the AQAP), but is important because otherwise there's so little water in Yemen. Keep in mind: not a single party there lacks arms or ammo (a reason more to belitle all the Saudi, US and Israeli reports about supposed Iranian arms deliveries), but everybody lacks water, and civilians lack fuel too.

Anyway, the point I actually want to make in regards of Yemeni brigades (whether those of the Army or the two of the Navy): because of their importance for civilian life, local media is quite straight in regards of reporting about them, making it relatively easy to establish a very precise ORBAT and follow related developments. Although it's sometimes unknown (to me) how are some of them equipped, their numbers are known, their bases and commanders too.

And now look at these figures:
- 44 brigades of the YA and YAF, and 2 of the YN have sided with Houthis meanwhile, and that figure is solid
- only 4 are confirmed to have sided with 'legitimacy' (i.e. Hadi), no matter what are Saudis babbling
- elements from 3 brigades appear to have sided with separatists (who are cooperating with Hadi, i.e. Saudis, but for their own reasons)
- 3 brigades were overun by AQAP
- status of about 30 other brigades remains unknown (nearly a third of these belong to the YAF, where it seems that most of units operating jet fighters didn't side with Houthis, but most of air-defence- and units equipped with helicopters and transport aircraft did).

This means: Saudis can babble and demand whatever they like about Hadi's 'legitimacy'. Fact on the ground is that more than 50% of the military has sided with Houthis. Fact is that it is this force that is represented in far huger numbers than Houthis (who might have perhaps five battalions of 'regulars'; rest of them are 'local militias'). Fact is that this is presently the strongest 'block' of power in Yemen. Fact is that this block is including not only Zaidis: about a dozen of units are almost exclusivelly manned by Shafis (Yemeni Sunnis). And, fact is that support of these 46 brigades for Houthis is not only 'nominal', yet 'passive' (like that of at least two brigades that sided with Hadi), but 'active': they are out on the battlefield, leading advances into southern Yemen, activelly engaging Hadi-loyalists, separatists, AQAP and the Daesh, or have joined the Houthis in deployments along the Saudi border.

And this means that demands (indeed: ultimatums) of the Saudi-led coalition are hopelessly unrealistic.

Even if Houthis would agree to disarm and withdraw into the Sa'ada province right now, as demanded by 'king' Salman, there would still be 46 brigades of the Yemeni military out there on the battlefields of this war, plus a large number of local/tribal militias supporting them. They're just too many but to simply 'evaporate'.

04-19-2015, 09:12 PM
Related to above....

The situation in eastern Yemen - and that with related reporting in Western media - is meanwhile reminiscent of one where Keystone Cops would be trying to catch Laurel, Hardy and Charlie Chaplin...

Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/19/us-yemen-security-saudi-idUSKBN0NA0JB20150419) is proudly reporting today:

...in a blow to the Houthis, a Yemeni commander of a vast military district covering half the country's border with Saudi Arabia pledged support on Sunday to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, local officials said.

The announcement puts at least 15,000 troops in the desert and mountain border area on the same side as Saudi Arabia, which hosts the embattled Yemeni president in its capital Riyadh.

"Brigadier General Abdulrahman al-Halily of the First Military District announced today his support for constitutional legitimacy as represented by President Hadi," one of the officials told Reuters.
Namely, HQ of Halily's 1st Military District (MD) is in Handramawt. He's got only three brigades under his command. These are three of only four YA brigades 100% certain to have sided with Hadi, so far. What kind of a 'big blow to Houthis' should this be?

Furthermore, these three brigades might total 6,000 men, max. Let's add various support services etc: supply tail of the YA is nowhere near the size of that in Western militaries, so if he's got 8,000 in total, he's probably happy.

If Halily has put himself in command of the 2nd MD - which wouldn't surprise me, then this MD has its HQ in Hadramawt too - the situation is not getting any better, then three brigades of that command (23rd Infantry, 27th Mechanized, and the 190th Air Defence) were already overrun by the AQAP.

With other words: Hadi and Saudis are celebrating, and Reuters is sensationalising entirely useless and irrelevant information, related to reality as if somebody is declaring himself for a good cook because grass is green...

Makes no sense to you? It's making no sense to me either. :D

But wait: that's still not all.

The fourth YA brigade 100% confirmed to have sided with Hadi... the 35th Armoured in Taizz: Saudis are praising this unit for its 'attacks' on 'scattered gangs of Houthis', since something like a week.

Actually, the 35th was ignored by Houthis and YA in their rush to get Aden, so it remained active in their western flank. Was a 'calculated risk' operation: had they got Aden as expected, the 35th would've been left without a choice but to surrender.

OK, that didn't work, and now the 35th is 'torn in the side'. Theoretically. Matter of fact is that this unit didn't do anything at all in the last three weeks. It holed itself inside its own barracks. Meanwhile it's actually under multi-prong attacks of Houthis, plus the Special Security Force (YA), plus few other YA units. Wasn't it for increasingly fierce Saudi-led airstrikes, the 35th would've been overrun already days ago....

But here the point: newest local reports (some of which are already claiming the fall of the 35th (http://barakish.net/news02.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=322134)) cite that this unit has now received reinforcements from militants of the Islah Party.

Hey, that's fantastic: Islah is closely affiliated with the Moslem Brotherhood. As even swallows on my roof know, Moslem Brotherhood was declared a 'terrorist organization' by Saudi Arabia, something like two years ago.

That means: Saudis, supported by US military (tanker aircraft, plus intelligence), are providing CAS for a group they consider 'terrorists', so these can fight genuine Yemenis that have proven the most fierce enemies of al-Qaida... and at the same time they're celebrating a YA General in Hadramawt for siding with Hadi, although he's lost half his command to AQAP, and even his very HQ is likely to get overrun by Jihadists too...?

Man, I really have problems typing this absurdity: this is so silly, I can't stop laughing... :D

04-23-2015, 06:35 AM
The Saudis continue to lie to themselves, first and foremost. Between others, in his briefing from yesterday (http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/04/21/Coalition-announces-Op-Restoration-of-Hope-in-Yemen-.html), Asiri went on to babble that:

“The coalition will continue to prevent the movement of Houthi militias from moving or undertaking any operations inside Yemen,” Gen. Ahmed Asiri told reporters in Riyadh.

He further stated that, 'Operation Decisive Storm had completed its objectives in Yemen by destroying the ballistic missile capabilities of the al Houthi movement and al Houthi-allied military units'.

As usually, events in Yemen have shown an entirely different picture, exposing complete Saudi inability to influence the ground battle. Indeed, how much have the Saudi-led coalition destroyed 'Houthi-allied military units' was seen already in hours immediately before his briefing.

Namely, the final round of Saudi-led air strikes foremost targeted Houthi and SSF in Taiz area. Nevertheless, shortly before the end of the Op Decisive Storm, Houthis and SSF have overrun the main base of the 35th Armoured Brigade (in the area of the 'old airport'):
Houthis take control of army brigade in Yemen’s Taiz (http://barakish.net/news02.aspx?cat=12&sub=23&id=322348) (in Arabic).

The RSAF then flew an additional strike on the main base of this unit (apparently yesterday early in the morning), but it was already too late. Few scattered elements of this unit, plus militants of the Islah Party, are still active though, and the fighting is thus going on.

So, as expected, the war goes on, no matter what is anybody in Riyad daydreaming about.

04-23-2015, 08:34 AM
On the sidelines of this war:
The Saudi prince who offered Bentleys to bombers (http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-32417773)

...Earlier this week Saudi Arabia announced the end of the first phase of its military campaign in Yemen. And in a celebratory gesture Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the country's richest men and a member of the Saudi royal family, tweeted to his 3m followers on Twitter: "In appreciation of their role in this operation, I'm honoured to offer 100 Bentley cars to the 100 Saudi [fighter] pilots". [see here (https://twitter.com/Othmanbay/status/590844910661697536) for the copy of the, meanwhile deleted, message]
The offer immediately split opinion. More than 28,000 people shared his post and over 5,000 liked it. The prince was hailed for his "generosity" and several Saudis commented that the pilots deserved luxury automobiles - and much more - for their military service.

But many outside Saudi Arabia, particularly in Yemen, found his offer outright offensive - and so an online backlash began. "100 Bentley cars to 100 pilots who bombed Yemen. Not single ambulance to its hospitals they devastated" remarked one Yemeni on Twitter.

Another Yemeni who had previously shared photos showing the destruction of his home following a Saudi air strike tweeted: "Prince Al Waleed gave 100 Bentleys to Saudi pilots. I got my apartment blown up. Yet I bet my spirits are higher than all those pilots."

Others pointed to the disparity between people's lives in Yemen, one of the world's poorest countries, and those who live in relatively rich Saudi Arabia. "So that's what it's all about, what was it 100 or 200 lives for a Bentley, that's how cheap human life is," a Jordanian tweeted.

The original tweet offering the gifts has now been deleted, although screen grabs of it are still circulating online. Some Saudi media are now reporting that the prince's Twitter account was hacked. But there was no mention of any hacking on his tweeter feed - and he did not respond to Trending's request for comment.

Guess, various pilots involved in fighting the Daesh can only dream about such a 'pay increase'... :rolleyes:

04-23-2015, 04:01 PM
A useful primer on AQAP in the Yemen, with details of attacks, locations and types etc - via WoTR:http://warontherocks.com/2015/04/what-aqaps-operations-reveal-about-its-strategy-in-yemen/?singlepage=1

The aithors conclude:
While airstrikes in Yemen are changing the nature of AQAP’s battlespace, they are not yet fundamentally changing the strategic calculus behind a campaign that took shape and evolved well before the Saudi-led intervention.

04-24-2015, 02:43 PM
Excellent write-up, thanks for 'heads-up', David.

Only thing I'm missing would be a closer look at increasingly intensive cooperation the AQAP is entering with various of local tribal councils.

They're defeinitely working on establishing permanent presence in most of Hadramawt.

04-25-2015, 07:41 AM
...and now in Ma'arib too.

Local reports are indicating that a 'Houthi' force - supported by 10 tanks and 'artillery' (which means: Yemeni Army is involved too) - has reached outskirts of Ma'arib, yesterday.

This town was under the control of YA units that sided with Houthis, in late March. So much so, the Saudis were forced to bomb and knock out most of SAM-sites of the 180th Air Defence Brigade, early during their intervention.

Under subsequent - severe and frequently repeated - Saudi-led air strikes, most of YA units were forced to scatter, enabling a combination of AQAP and local popular committees to take over most of the town.

It seems this 'Houthi' force advancing on Ma'arib is now attempting to lift that 'siege'.

BTW, Saudi-led air strikes have repeatedly targeted that force, during the last two days, but they failed to stop it. At least so far.

04-26-2015, 12:58 AM
I know we usually avoid pictures, videos and cartoons here, but an occasional exception can be made. This is especially for Crowbat. I am told the anchor is reacting to the Saudi "Mission accomplished" announcement on Hezbollah's TV (but I have no idea if that is true or not, maybe Crowbat can tell us what TV channel this is...or if this is made-up). From the 30 second mark.

05-08-2015, 02:41 PM
Yes, Asiri was busy making a clown of himself - and that at every imaginable opportunity - for most of the last two weeks, just like the Saudi military.

Seems they're all still doing the same mistake like the US military in Vietnam, expecting that deployment of high-tech and an endless supply of ammo are solution for every problem.

One of Asiri's dumbest moments this week was when he admitted the use of CBUs in Yemen:
Saudis confess to using cluster bombs in Yemen (http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81595177/)

'The bombs referred to by human rights observers as forbidden weapons were sold to Saudi Arabia by the United States,' said Osairi, according to the CNN Arabic network, in response to a question about the use of the CBU-105 cluster bombs by the aggressor Saudis in Yemen, which was objected by a human rights observer.

He said that the question is wrongly asked as using those weapons were not illegal, since if they were, then why does the United States sell them to the regional countries?
Osairi also claimed that the human rights observer knows the CBU-105 bombs and that they are anti warfare weapons, just as the Saudi-led coalition knows this and does not use them against people, or cities.

Disregarding his own earlier confession to the use of cluster bombs in Yemen, the also claimed that the human rights observer's report in that respect is totally baseless!

HRW's report on this issue: Yemen: Saudi-Led Airstrikes Used Cluster Munitions (http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/05/03/yemen-saudi-led-airstrikes-used-cluster-munitions)

Credible evidence indicates that the Saudi-led coalition used banned cluster munitions supplied by the United States in airstrikes against Houthi forces in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said today. Cluster munitions pose long-term dangers to civilians and are prohibited by a 2008 treaty adopted by 116 countries, though not Saudi Arabia, Yemen, or the United States.

Photographs, video, and other evidence have emerged since mid-April 2015 indicating that cluster munitions have been used during recent weeks in coalition airstrikes in Yemen’s northern Saada governorate, the traditional Houthi stronghold bordering Saudi Arabia. Human Rights Watch has established through analysis of satellite imagery that the weapons appeared to land on a cultivated plateau, within 600 meters of several dozen buildings in four to six village clusters.

“Saudi-led cluster munition airstrikes have been hitting areas near villages, putting local people in danger,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch. “These weapons should never be used under any circumstances. Saudi Arabia and other coalition members – and the supplier, the US – are flouting the global standard that rejects cluster munitions because of their long-term threat to civilians.”

Overall, this entire operation remains a comedy - though one with tragic proportions and repercussions.

05-11-2015, 12:06 PM
...and because it's so funny... :rolleyes: the first report about involvement of Moroccan AF F-16s in this operation is related to a loss of one of them:

Houthis Claim to Have Shot Down Missing Moroccan Military Plane (http://www.albawaba.com/news/update-houthis-claim-have-shot-down-missing-moroccan-military-plane-693050)

A leading member in the Shiite Houthi group said Monday that his movement had shot down a Moroccan warplane from the Saudi-led coalition while it was carrying out a raid on northern Yemen's Saada province.

"The warplane was carrying out a raid as part of the [Saudi-led coalition] aggression on Yemen, before the anti-aircraft guns shot it down," Deif al-Shami, a member of the political bureau of the Shiite group, told Anadolu Agency.

"The plane's wreckage is currently in our possession, but there are no information yet about the pilot's fate," he added.

Earlier in the day, the Moroccan army said that a Moroccan F-16 fighter jet which was at the disposal of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen had gone missing.

The army said that the warplane went missing at 6pm local time (1700 GMT) on Sunday.

According to the statement, the pilot of another plane in the same squadron could not see if the pilot had ejected.

The release, however, did not reveal details about the location where the aircraft lost contact, but noted that an investigation had been launched into the incident.

The aircraft in question was F-16C Block 52, serial 08-8008. Fate of pilot remains unknown.

05-18-2015, 10:34 AM
From the BBC:
A Saudi-led coalition has resumed its air strikes against Yemen's rebels after the end of a ceasefire, Yemeni military officials and witnesses say.They say the strikes targeted Houthi rebel positions in the southern port of Aden after the five-day humanitarian truce expired at 20:00 GMT.
In Saudi Arabia, Yemeni political parties earlier began negotiations on how to resolve the crisis.
But Shia rebels stayed away from the talks in the capital Riyadh.Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32776430

Politics aside I note some recent reporting refers to the 'human crisis' in the Yemen today, such this in the BBC report:
There are currently 12 million people without access to sufficient food, clean water, fuel or basic medical care, according to the UN. As many as 300,000 have fled their homes. C4 has a film report from Aden:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lewe7nGXWzc

05-21-2015, 06:57 AM
A sort of 'review' of what's going on in Yemen the last few days:

- The truce of the last week was exploited by the Houthis and allied YA units to reinforce a number of their exposed positions, and reposition some of heavy armament. Between others, they've released this video showing something like a MAZ-543 TEL for SS-1c Scud-B SSMs:


The video was taken on or around 16 or 17 May, in the Amran Province, perhaps on the road connecting Sana'a with Sa'ada.

A number of BM-21s were moved from Sana'a into Taiz area too (see below for a photo of one of them).

Furthermore, they have overrun Lawdar and then rushed a big column of troops and vehicles to reinforce their positions in Aden. This time the YA took care to secure the place too, so local separatists and Hadi-loyalists began complaining that dozens of them were detained and their houses rased to the ground (all 'by Houthis', of course). An unknown militant (most likely from the AQAP) then detonated a suicide vest near the newly-established local Houthi/YA HQ in Lawder on 17 May, reportedly killing 'dozens'. Our glorious media found the entire affair not worth reporting, of course.

The AQAP has meanwhile imposed a ban on qat in the Hadramawt Province (that's going to make it particularly popular between Yemenis... :rolleyes: ) and is in the process of arresting dozens (meanwhile at least 200) of YA troops in and around that town, as well as in Mukalla, further south.

Whatever, such movements should've prompted the Saudis to re-launch their aerial onslaught. Primary targets of the last two days were underground storage depots around Sana'a, plus Houthi/YA positions along the border to Saudi Arabia.

Curiously, there are neither reports about new air strikes on Houthi/YA positions in Aden nor in Taiz for example, although fierce figthing in both of cities continues without any interruptions.

There is intensive diplomatic activity aimed at bringing an end to this conflict, and the UN is trying to run a conference on Yemen. Interestingly, Houthi leader (and de-facto strongman in Yemen right now), Abdul Malik al-Houthi appeared on TV for the first time in over a month. As reported here (https://twitter.com/adammbaron/status/601082896389115905) he showed interest in taking part in this conference but also went to record to state this is a 'battle against al-Qaida supported by Saudi-led air strikes'. He further announced that the YA is going to accept new recruits, i.e. expand its recruitment in order to bolster the campaign against the AQAP.

Problem is, Hadi & Co are demanding Houthis to withdraw before they would be left to participate:
UN announces Yemen talks; govt demands rebel pullout (http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/middle-east/339218/un-announces-yemen-talks-govt-demands-rebel-pullout)

...The United Nations announced yesterday a date for its conference on Yemen, where Saudi-led warplanes have intensified raids against rebels in a conflict that has displaced half a million people.

But Yemen’s government-in-exile swiftly demanded a pullback of the Iran-backed Shia rebels from seized territory as a precondition to joining the talks set for May 28 in Geneva.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said next week’s conference was aimed at restoring “momentum towards a Yemeni-led political transition process”.

Ban hoped the Geneva talks would “reduce the levels of violence and alleviate the intolerable humanitarian situation”.

Following the announcement, however, Foreign Minister Riyadh Yassin said the Hadi government had yet to receive an official invitation. But even if it was invited, Yassin said the government would not attend without some implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2216 as a sign of “goodwill”.

The April resolution imposed an arms embargo on the rebels and demanded they relinquish territory they seized since descending from their stronghold in the mountains of northern Yemen last year.

“We will not attend if there is no implementation, at least part of it. If there is no withdrawal from Aden at least, or Taez,” Yassin told AFP.

In the light of reports like this one by Vice News, guess that citizens of Sana'a would be outright delighted to get Hadi into their hands: :rolleyes:

Oh and... it transpires the Saudi-led coalition has not only lost that Moroccan F-16C Block 52, on 10 May (body of its pilot, Lt Yassine Bathi, was meanwhile returned by Houthis to Morocco (http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2015/05/158724/houthi-rebels-hand-corpse-of-yassine-bahti-to-morocco-yemeni-sources/)), but also a RSGF AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship, shot down over northern Yemen on the same day:
Moroccan and Saudi aircraft shot down in Yemen (http://www.arabianaerospace.aero/moroccan-and-saudi-aircraft-shot-down-in-yemen.html)

A Moroccan F-16 and a Saudi AH-64 Apache have been shot down while operating over Yemen yesterday. It is understood that the Moroccan Air Force pilot was killed but the two crew of the Saudi aircraft have been captured by rebel forces.

The downed helo can be seen on the video here:

Curiously, Saudi Spokesman Brig Gen Asiri didn't comment on this with even a single word...

06-06-2015, 05:06 PM
Tangential thought - if the rebels are upping the ante with this SCUD, what's next? A non-HE warhead?

Saudi Arabia said it shot down a Scud missile fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels and their allies early Saturday at a Saudi city that is home to a large air base, marking a major escalation in the months-long war.

Two missiles launched from a Patriot missile battery shot down the Scud around 2:45 a.m. Saturday local time around the southwestern city of Khamis Mushait, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The agency did not report any casualties in the attack, which marked the first use of a Cold War-era Scud by the rebels since Saudi-led airstrikes began in March.

Khamis Mushait is home to the King Khalid Air Base, the largest such facility in that part of the country. Saudis on social media reported hearing air raid sirens go off around the city during the attack.

The agency blamed the Shia Houthi rebels and their allies loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Yemen's state news agency SABA, now controlled by the Houthis, said the rebels and their allies fired the Scud.http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/6/6/saudi-arabia-says-it-shot-down-scud-missile.html

06-10-2015, 08:02 PM
Saudis in a deep Shia now.



06-11-2015, 05:23 AM
A number of clashes occurred along the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the last few days, as Houthis and YA's special forces are frequently driving motorcicle-mounted RPG/ATGM-teams into Saudi Arabia.

Bellow a sequence of videos showing their attack on 'ash-Shafrah Military Compound' outside Najran, where they encountered a number of LAV-IIIs of the Royal Saudi National Guard. At least two of these were destroyed - apparently by Metis ATGMs and something like RPG-29s...

Since 6 June, the YA has fired four Scuds into Saudi Arabia so far, all apparently targeting Khamis Mushayt AB (3 of these during the first attack). One was shot down by two PAC-2s, others fell well outside any 'interesting' areas.

06-12-2015, 06:18 AM
Few 'additional details' in this regards:

- The SS-1c Scud-B missiles in question are operated by the Yemeni Army, not by Hothis; that is: by units of the Yemeni Army that sided with Houthis.

- Three Scuds were fired at Khamis Mushyat during that first attack, although it's unclear whether they were fired simultaneously, or something like 'during that night'; two fell well away from defended areas, one was shot down by the PAC-2 site protecting the local air base.

- Another, meanwhile fourth, Scud attack was reported on 9 June.

- Meanwhile, there are reports about movement of YA's SS-21 TELs in direction of the Saudi border, i.e. that at least some of these have survived the aerial onslaught and might be brought into action.

- Yemeni Army surely does not operate any kind of WMDs, otherwise Riyahd would be running a bigger PR-campaign than Bush admin did in regards of Iraqi WMDs, back in 2002.

06-13-2015, 10:18 AM
...to make things 'better': meanwhile it became known that the C-in-C RSAF, Gen Mohammad Ahmad ash-Shi'lan passed away on 10 June...

...there are already rumours it was a heart-attack during one of attacks on Khamis...

06-16-2015, 07:08 PM
Iona Craig is a respected journalist, who has lived in Yemen for four years till December 2014 and has a fascinating report having been in Aden:http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/6/16/frontlines-yemen-aden-resistance-houthis.html

....the reality on the ground does not reflect the depiction and rhetoric coming from Yemen’s far-off leaders and their foreign backers in Riyadh.....Not only has the Saudi-led aerial campaign that began on March 26 failed to push back the Houthis as intended, but it has also been unable to prevent the group's continued expansion in a conflict that is now being fought on at least six fronts across the country.

06-30-2015, 07:15 AM
Saba News (http://www.sabanews.net/en/news398715.htm) says:

The Yemeni army forces launched on Monday a scud missile against the Saudi Al-Salsabil military base in Wadi Al-Dawasir in Riyadh.

Spokesperson of the army forces brigadier Sharaf Luqman said in a statement to Saba that the missile hit its target precisely.

The scud missile comes as a reaction to the Saudi aggression and its sorties against the country, Luqman said.

“Despite we have warned by targeting Khalid bin Abdul-Aziz airbase in Khamis Mushait as a message to the aggression states, topped by Saudi Arabia, in order to stop attacks and injustice against the Yemeni people,” Luqam said to Saba.

He affirmed that the launching of this missile is another message to the aggression states so as to understand the lesson or otherwise we have many such surprises in the days to come.

07-06-2015, 09:54 PM
A short article by Gregory Johnsen, a SME (now out of the Yemen) and now with BuzzFeed:http://www.buzzfeed.com/gregorydjohnsen/this-man-is-the-leader-in-isis-recruiting-war-against-al-qae#.hoRdkyymv

A grim concluding passage:
The challenge from ISIS may force AQAP to abandon the slow-moving, support-building project it has undertaken in recent years in favor of more frequent attacks. In the battle for the heart of the jihadi movement, as the apocalyptic wars in Iraq and Syria have shown, the most violent group usually wins.

07-07-2015, 06:55 AM
Plenty of food for thoughts here:
Today’s Civilian Victims in Yemen Will be Ignored Because U.S. and its Allies Are Responsible (https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/06/civilian-deaths-yemen-will-ignored/)

...Because these deaths of innocents are at the hands of the U.S. government and its despotic allies, it is very predictable how they will be covered in the U.S. None of the victims will be profiled in American media; it’ll be very surprising if any of their names are even mentioned. No major American television outlet will interview their grieving families. Americans will never learn about their extinguished life aspirations, or the children turned into orphans, or the parents who will now bury their infants. There will be no #FayoushStrong Twitter hashtags trending in the U.S. It’ll be like it never happened: blissful ignorance.

This is the pattern that repeats itself over and over. Just see the stone-cold media silence when President Obama, weeks after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, ordered a cruise missile strike in Yemen, complete with cluster bombs, which ended the lives of 35 women and children, none of whose humanity was acknowledged in virtually any Western media reports.
All of that stands in the starkest contrast to the intense victim focus whenever an American or Westerner is killed by an individual Muslim. Indeed, Americans just spent the last week inundated with melodramatic “warnings” from the U.S. government — mindlessly amplified as always by their media — that they faced serious terror on their most sacred day from ISIS monsters: a “threat” that, as usual, proved to be nonexistent.

This media imbalance is a vital propaganda tool. In U.S. media land, Americans are always the victims of violence and terrorism, always menaced and threatened by violent Muslim savages, always targeted for no reason whatsoever other than primitive Islamic barbarism. That mythology is sustained by literally disappearing America’s own victims, pretending they don’t exist, denying their importance through the casual invocation of clichés we’ve been trained to spout (collateral damage) and, most importantly of all, never humanizing them under any circumstances.

This is how the American self-perception as perpetual victim of terrorism, but never its perpetrator, is sustained. It’s also what fuels the belief that They are propagandized but We aren’t.

Except for about 5,000 killed Yemeni civilians meanwhile (that's the figure according to the MOD in Sana'a, not the government in exile or the UN), what's also not reported are all the Saudi causalties caused in multiple clashes along the border. These are primarily related to crews of their M60 and AMX-30 MBTs hit during ATGM-attacks by Houthis and Yemeni Army special forces (one of RSNG AMX-30s was even captured intact, about a week ago).

Some of 'classics' can be seen in videos like these:




...and a particularly spectacular example can be seen here (apparently showing a Metis-M going all the way through the turret of a M60 - which is: in, and out on the other side):

07-17-2015, 06:15 AM

- Two weeks ago, Houthis issued a decree with which all the Saleh's allies were removed from their government in Sana'a.

- Immediately afterwards, all the YA troops that sided with Houthis were withdrawn: from Aden, from the border to Saudi Arabia and few other places.

- 'Surprise, surprise': ever since we do not get to see all the possible sorts of videos of knocked-out Saudi tanks...

- even more so: we now see MRAPs operated by Emirati special forces driving down the streets of Aden, 80% of which should be in hands of 'loyalist' forces.

- Emiratis then de-facto admit they have 'boots on the ground in Yemen' (at least indirectly, through admitting a casualty there, see:
UAE Confirms Two Officers Killed in Yemen (http://www.albawaba.com/news/uae-confirms-two-officers-killed-yemen-720374))

- though nobody there is ready to admit that half the 'loyalists' in Aden are either al-Qaida or Daesh, and the other half actually Separatists, i.e. people who want the return of an independent South Yemen.

The sole exception is the WSJ, which is meanwhile discovering some 'hot water' about this conflict - though not without faithfully sticking to 'pro-Iranian' legend about Houthis too: al-Qaida Fights on Same Side as Saudi-Backed Militias in Yemen (http://www.wsj.com/articles/al-qaeda-fights-on-same-side-as-saudi-backed-militias-in-yemen-1437087067)

...Local militias backed by Saudi Arabia, special forces from the United Arab Emirates and al Qaeda militants all fought on the same side this week to wrest back control over most of Yemen’s second city, Aden, from pro-Iranian Houthi rebels, according to local residents and Houthi forces....

- Even then, one has to correct the WSJ, then it was the Daesh that held a victory parade in Aden, as can be seen... well, approximately at this link:

Somehow sad to see even the last stronghold of decent journalism succumbing to sensationalism and nonsense...

...and while everybody is looking to Aden and wondering how comes that 80% of that city 'turned Saudi in a matter of one day' (I'm sarcastic again, of course), local reports cite reports 136 Saudi-led air strikes against Houthis and YA troops inside that city in a matter of the last 36 hours.

Another 6 on Sana'a too: 4 apartment houses flattened, 31 killed, 24 injured.

Makes me wonder: exactly how much of the aid they're promising to Yemen are Saudis & Co calculating in expenses for PGMs they're dropping on that country..?

07-17-2015, 11:25 PM
Bruce Reidel of Brookings has a short commentary and he ends with:
The Aden victory will encourage the Saudi political leadership to continue the war. King Salman has staked his prestige on dealing the Houthis, Saleh and Iran a defeat in Yemen. The war has produced a wave of nationalist enthusiasm in the Kingdom behind the royal family.
But the south has never been the stronghold of the Houthis or Saleh. They are regarded as outsiders there. If the war moves north the Houthis will be closer to their power base. The war fundamentally remains a stalemate with an enormous cost for the Yemeni people.

07-19-2015, 08:28 PM
I am never convinced such maps (as below) tell the "ground truth", they can help show complexity and nowheere better than the Yemen.

Taken from a short BBC News summary:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-33586062


07-23-2015, 05:28 AM
...related to such maps is one of biggest ironies of this war: in all of the reporting about what's going on in Yemen, absolutely nobody says a single word about anybody there doing something against the AQAP and the Daesh.

...that is: nobody except Houthis:
Ansarullah Kills ISIL Commander in Western Sana'a, Yemen (http://en.abna24.com/service/middle-east-west-asia/archive/2015/07/13/700638/story.html)

A senior Ansarullah commander announced that the revolutionary movement has killed a senior ISIL commander in in heavy clashes in the capital of Sana'a on Monday.

"Abu Omar al-Shami was killed in the Western parts of Sana'a," Oday Movafaq said on Monday.

He noted that in another operation Abu Farouq, a senior commander of pro-Hadi militants, was also killed.

Last month, Yemen's popular Ansarullah fighters captured a number of fugitive Al-Qaeda terrorists who were fleeing Ma'rib province.

The captured terrorists had fled their military bases in Al-Bayanat, Al-Jawf and Al-Sahil in Ma'rib province.

They were arrested by the Yemeni revolutionary forces on Ma'rib-Sana'a road.

07-29-2015, 03:08 AM
The Saudis are meanwhile completely out of control...
Yemen: Coalition Strikes on Residence Apparent War Crime (http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/07/27/yemen-coalition-strikes-residence-apparent-war-crime)

Saudi-led coalition airstrikes that killed at least 65 civilians, including 10 children, and wounded dozens in the Yemeni port city of Mokha on July 24, 2015, are an apparent war crime. Starting between 9:30 and 10 p.m., coalition airplanes repeatedly struck two residential compounds of the Mokha Steam Power Plant, which housed plant workers and their family members.

The failure of Saudi Arabia and other coalition members to investigate apparently unlawful airstrikes in Yemen demonstrates the need for the United Nations Human Rights Council to create a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of laws-of-war violations by the coalition, the Houthis, and other parties to the conflict, Human Rights Watch said.
“The Saudi-led coalition repeatedly bombed company housing with fatal results for several dozen civilians,” said Ole Solvang, senior emergencies researcher. “With no evident military target, this attack appears to be a war crime.”

Human Rights Watch visited the area of the attack a day-and-a-half later. Craters and building damage showed that six bombs had struck the plant’s main residential compound, which housed at least 200 families, according to the plant’s managers. One bomb had struck a separate compound for short-term workers about a kilometer north of the main compound, destroying the water tank for the compounds, and two bombs had struck the beach and an intersection nearby.
Bombs hit two apartment buildings directly, collapsing part of their roofs. Other bombs exploded between the buildings, including in the main courtyard, stripping the exterior walls off dozens of apartments, leaving only the load-bearing pillars standing.

Workers and residents at the compounds told Human Rights Watch that one or more aircraft dropped nine bombs in separate sorties in intervals of a few minutes. All of the bombs appeared intended for the compounds and not another objective.

Human Rights Watch saw no signs that either of the two residential compounds for the power plants were being used for military purposes. Over a dozen workers and residents said that there had been no Houthi or other military forces at the compounds. The power plant and the compound were built in 1986.

Early in the morning of July 25, a news ticker on Al-Arabiya TV, a Saudi-owned media outlet, reported that coalition forces had attacked a military air defense base in Mokha. Human Rights Watch identified a military facility about 800 meters southeast of the Mokha Steam Power Plant’s main compound, which plant workers said had been a military air defense base. The plant workers said that it had been empty for months, and Human Rights Watch saw no activity or personnel at the base from the outside, except for two guards.
“Again and again, we see coalition airstrikes killing large numbers of civilians, but no signs of any investigation into possible violations,” Solvang said. “If coalition members won’t investigate, the UN should.”

Of course, US and (allied) Arab media are completely ignorant of such reports. All that matters is how much is the Saudi-led coalition 'beating Iranian-supported Houthis'. Because of that, it doesn't matter if the Saudis are not sticking even to their own cease-fire and continue bombing wide and far over Yemen.

During the night from Sunday to Monday, they've flown three air strikes against targets in Sabr area; several against Jaawala (northern Aden); several against targets in Lahj Province (including al-Anab AB); at least one against Ma'arib (east of Sana'a), etc.

...and they are not only bombing civilians: in Lahj, they killed 12 combatants from the pro-government forces, and injured 30 (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/28/fighting-rages-despite-yemen-humanitarian-pause/): :roll:

The Arab coalition has launched new air strikes in at least two Yemeni provinces amid a humanitarian pause that started at midnight the previous day, according to security officials.

Two of Monday’s air strikes killed 15 fighters allied with the coalition in the province of Lahij, security officials and field commanders said.

More than 40 fighters were also wounded in the apparent “friendly fire” incident, they said, adding that the death toll was expected to rise.

The strikes occurred near the strategic military base of al-Anad, which is held by Houthis, and which was also hit by coalition jets on Monday.

The coalition also struck north of the port city of Aden.

...the only 'good' thing about this 'incident' is: most of those killed were from the AQAP (http://www.sabanews.net/ar/news400558.htm) - by pure accident, of course...

A military source affirmed on Tuesday that 10 al-Qaeda and pro-Saudi aggression members were killed and more than 40 others injured.

In a statement to Saba, the source said that the army and popular committees carried out military operations destroying 5 armored vehicles and also caused big losses in lives and materials while al-Qaeda and pro-Saudi aggression members were trying to infiltrate into Dar Sa’ad area in Aden.

It noted that the Saudi aggression has launched more than 50 sorties against Dar Sa’ad and Al-Arish areas in Aden.

... of course, hardly a word about this all in the Western media (except for WT): makes one wonder if Oblabla might find it worth a word or two when back from Africa - or is it so that such 'unimportant developments' are not worth attention of a Nobel Prize laureate...

07-31-2015, 05:52 AM
Two interesting reports about certain 'details' of the war in Yemen have been published in the last few days.

Scud missiles fired into Saudi Arabia from Yemen traced to N.Korea: official (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20150729001197)

Scud missiles fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemeni rebels in recent months came from North Korea, a South Korean intelligence official said Wednesday, in the latest case that illustrated North Korea's support for the weapons programs of some countries in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has shot down about 40 percent of some 20 Scud missiles fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels, said the official, who is familiar with the issue.

He did not give further details on how South Korea reached the conclusion that the missiles originated from North Korea. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.

Missile exports have long been a major source of hard currency for North Korea.

"North Korea has sold missiles to Yemen and sent missile engineers to that country in the 1990s," said a former North Korean official, who was in a position to know about the arms deals.

Another former North Korean intelligence official in Seoul said North Korea sold many Scud missiles to countries in the Middle East, noting Egypt was the hub of North Korea's arms trade in the region.

The two former North Korean officials, who later defected to South Korea, asked not to be identified, citing the issue's sensitivity.

'Some 20 Scuds fired...into Saudi Arabia'... Now, all that was reported in the media were 4-6 firings. This is the first report about five times more 'Scuds' being fired.... So, if the YA managed to fire up to 20 (or more?), and this was not reported, then we can draw some quite useful conclusions about how much on this war is never reported at all (plus understand why are there now rumours that Saudi Arabia is demanding PAC-3s from the USA).

And then, wasn't it that Saudis said that the primary objective of the Operation Decisive Storm is to 'destroy the threat from ballistic missiles and heavy weapons "captured by Houthis"'? At least it happens I recall that Maj Gen Assiri explained on 21 April 2015, that Decisive Storm had been accomplished because such were destroyed. But then, the Houthis began firing Scuds against Saudi Arabia on 6 June...

...ah well, never mind...

Secondly, The Rolling Stone (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/yemens-hidden-war-20150730?page=6) distinguished itself by filling the first report by a Western journo from central and northern Yemen in quite some time.

This 'must read' is concluding in following fashion:

...Yemen's Byzantine, fractious politics seem to confound even experienced observers. And yet, looking at what has already happened in Libya, Iraq and Syria, there seemed to be a precedent. Yemen's war will intensify. Rival sides will splinter into even smaller, more brutal militias. Regional powers will pour fuel on the fire in the pursuit of their own rivalries and domestic agendas, despite the risk of blowback. The international community will stand by helplessly. A massive human tragedy will unfold, shattering millions of lives and sending refugees into teeming camps and to the shores of an unwelcoming West. And a succession of increasingly nihilistic jihadist groups, the war's only winners, will thrive and pose a grave threat to the world.

"The world hasn't learned anything from the Syrian experience," Faqih, the human rights activist, tells me. "What's happening in Yemen is creating an environment that encourages jihadist groups. They have been dreaming of this day."

"The Saudis, as well as Al Qaeda and ISIS — it's all the same," he says, his face made gaunt by the beam of a flashlight. "We're expecting that there will be more".

08-02-2015, 05:33 PM
...and now there's clear evidence of UAE troops fighting in Yemen on the side of 'Southern Resistance' (read: a wild mix of few Hadi-loyalists, but foremost Southern separatists, and plenty of AQAP)...

Two stills posted at Forget Syria. Start focusing on Yemen! (http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.de/2015/08/forget-syria-start-focusing-on-yemen.html)...

Namely, the Yemeni Army does operate (Russian-made) Kornet ATGMs, but surely no quad-mounts installed on Humvees, and even less so does it operate any LeClerc MBTs...

08-04-2015, 05:59 AM
Another video report by VICE, this time from southern Yemen... or, shall I write, 'Southern Yemen' in the future, then what they've found out is that majority of so-called 'Southern Resistance' can't care less about Hadi, and only want an independent Southern Yemen:

08-04-2015, 05:26 PM
The WSJ is reporting (behind a pay wall):
The fight for control of Yemen’s largest air base raged Tuesday, with Saudi-led coalition fighters saying they were rooting out the last Houthi rebels holed up in the airfield.Link:http://www.wsj.com/articles/coalition-forces-seize-control-of-strategic-yemen-air-base-from-rebels-1438676961

On Twitter a few tweets:
Videos and photos show dozens of Leclercs, BMP-3s, other armored vehicles. Action indicates a UAE sizable armored deployment at very least...from available pictures it looked like a battalion-sized element. 20+ Leclercs and 30+ BMP-3sThere is a Tweet citing 'MFS - The Other News' which has a short RT video of armour that hundreds of Saudi tanks are rolling out of Aden. I am not great on tank recognition, are they Abrams or Lerclerc MBT; an unknown SPG and a few BMPs.

One aspect intrigues me. How did this armour plus get to Aden? By sealift? Unlikely as most reports IIRC state the port is closed or not working. More likely overland? A long distance and are there good enough roads linking Yemen to KSA or Oman?

08-04-2015, 06:08 PM
Yup, sealift. For one of examples, see HSV-2 Turns up off Aden (http://www.janes.com/article/53274/hsv-2-turns-up-off-aden) (when it comes to ships, Jane's remains 'unbeatable').

...and the SPH is the (South African-made) G-6. I saw another video with M-ATVs too.

One of UAEGF units idenitifed so far is the 42nd Mechanized Battalion (BMP-3s).

08-11-2015, 06:10 AM
The UAEGF brigade deployed in Yemen (meanwhile reinforced by a battalion of Egyptian special forces) continued its advance and - 'in cooperation with fighters opposed to Houthis', led by Maj Gen Ahmed Saif al-Yafaee (CO of Hadi's 4th Military District) - has seized six districts of the central province of Ibb, yesterday. Northernmost of these is al-Qafr, only 125km (80 miles) from Sana'a.

Some Yemeni sources indicate deployment of 'Apache helicopters' in this area too.

Houthis have declared state of emergency in Sana'a, even more so as one of SR's commanders, Brig Gen Abdullah as-Subaihi, announced a plan to liberate the capitol, and that this is expected to begin in a matter of days.

With other words: considering the firepower deployed against overstretched Houthis, think we can expect some sort of 'Battle for Sana'a' within about a week from now.

08-12-2015, 08:26 PM
A video confirming deployment of Royal Saudi National Guard's AH-64D Longbow-Apaches at Aden IAP:

08-19-2015, 07:43 PM
Thanks to a "lurker" for this pointer to an introductory article 'The Future of Yemen's Unity', part of a forthcoming conference @ Cambridge University:http://gulfresearchmeeting.net/index.php?pgid=Njk=&wid=MTA5&yr=2015

The first paragraph of the Abstract:
Yemen is at a critical juncture. The National Dialogue Conference (NDC) calledfor constitution drafting, a constitutionalreferendum, and new elections. The timetable has slipped, and, for the moment, no end date has been set.The question of the state's structure is tied inevitably to thesouthern issue – shorthand for the political, economic and social demands emanatingfrom the south, which had been an independent state prior to 1990. There, a looselyaligned mix of organizations and activists known as the Southern Movement (called Hiraak) is calling for separation or, at a minimum, a temporary form of a two-state federalism followedby a referendum on the South's future. Separatist sentiment is running high andappears to have strengthened over the course of the present transition process.

08-22-2015, 06:11 PM
Via Twitter:
Big battalion-strengthUAEconvoy on the move in Hadramout, lots of M-ATVs and Nimr 4x4s

The exact location is not given alas. What is of note is that all the military vehicles are being moved by tractor-trailer units, that look French-made.

Methinks this is a convoy which has entered the Yemen overland, via KSA as Oman remains - according to a SME - neutral in the civil war.

08-26-2015, 02:40 PM
First came the Ottomans:
Between 1539 and 1547, the mighty Ottoman Empire sent nearly 80,000 troops to conquer the territory (http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrief-the-threat-of-an-imploding-yemen/), of which only 7,000 men survived.

Then the Egyptians:
During the North Yemen Civil War from 1962-1970, Egypt learned the same hard lesson, as its forces were drawn into an eight-year protracted guerrilla war in the same northern mountains that swallowed so many Ottoman soldiers. Many Egyptian historians refer to the conflict as “Egypt’s Vietnam.

Now the Saudis, UAE and few others - read on:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrief-a-looming-quagmire-in-yemen/

Important in my armchair opinion to note how it appears many in the South want to exit a united Yemen.

08-26-2015, 06:32 PM
An upbeat article by a KSA watcher; the full title and sub-title being:
The liberation of south Yemen proves Saudi Arabia's power is growing

The oil-rich kingdom is becoming increasingly confident acting without the USA, and will soon turn its attention to the Syrian civil war

I had not spotted this aspect:
In ​preparation for the land campaign, which began in earnest in July,​ training camps were set up ​in​ Saudi Arabia​ ​for the initial 5,000 Yemeni volunteers. Once the bulk of these forces were deemed combat ready, the Saudis ​launched​ Operation Golden Arrow..

Showing a picture with eight such volunteers doing PT is far from convincing!


08-28-2015, 08:23 PM
One thing came to my mind this evening, and I would like to ask if there is anybody who could offer an answer...

The Pentagon is providing general advice, targeting intelligence, and tanker support (by KC-135s and/or KC-10s based in Djibouti) - plus CSAR (if necessary) - for Saudi-led alliance that's providing CAS for AQAP (and Islah Party/Moslem Brotherhood, and separatist Hirak etc.) when this is battling Houthis (and regular Yemeni Army) in places like Aden, Taiz, Marib etc...

Mind: yes, that's the same AQAP that agencies like HS, FBI etc. have declared for one of most dangerous al-Qaida outlets...

...and this is happening at the same time either USAF or CIA is flying UCAV strikes on AQAP in places like Mukalla and Hadramawt, which are de-facto under the control of extremists and while this is completely ignored by the Saudi-led coalition.

So, can anybody here say how's that functioning, actually?

And - and, please, put that nonsensical legend about 'Iranian-supported Houthis' by side now - in what way is such spending of US taxpayer's money 'in interest of national security' for the USA...?

Is somebody (or, perhaps, 'everybody') there bribed, or else?

08-28-2015, 08:34 PM
Via Twitter by:
@ammar82 (https://twitter.com/ammar82) Engineer/Deputy Minister/Political analyst focusing on Yemen. Private page. ammar.aulaqi@gmail.com


08-30-2015, 11:25 AM
A reminder from the "left" that Yemeni history is not simple:https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/08/yemen-conflict-southern-nationalism/

How about this?
North Yemen became mired in civil war following an Egyptian-backed republican coup d’etat by Abdullah as-Sallal in 1962. Foreshadowing today’s proxy violence, and notable for its apparent lack of religious sectarianism, the North Yemeni Civil War saw Saudi Arabia supporting a Zaydi Shi’a imamate against the pan-Arabist government. Riyadh was willing to overlook the Shi’ism of its monarchical ally in order to challenge secular republicanism on the Arabian Peninsula, which threatened to overtake the Saudi Royal Family as well.

09-01-2015, 04:24 PM
Iona Craig reports from the Yemen:https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/09/01/yemen-hidden-war-saudi-coalition-killing-civilians/?

From visiting some 20 sites of airstrikes and interviews with more than a dozen witnesses, survivors and relatives of those killed in eight of these strikes in southern Yemen, this reporter discovered evidence of a pattern of Saudi-coalition airstrikes that show indiscriminate bombing of civilians and rescuers, adding further weight to claims made by human rights organizations that some Saudi-led strikes may amount to war crimes and raising vital questions over the U.S. and Britain’s role in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

09-05-2015, 07:56 AM
An SS-21 SSM fired by Yemen Army units that sided with Houthis, has hit an airfield outside Marib, originally used by oil companies exploiting the local Safir oil-field, yesterday.

The missile hit an ammo storage area set up by Emirati, Bahraini and Saudi-trained Yemeni combatants that are fighting on behalf of ex/exiled president Hadi, and caused a massive conflagration.

According to reports from the UAE, Bahrain, and Hadi's 'government', up to no less but 46 Emirati, 16 Saudi, 6 Bahraini and several Yemeni soldiers were killed, and several Emirati AH-64s destroyed.

09-10-2015, 01:09 PM
Well there's nothing like being optimistic inside The Beltway; a new report from AEI:http://www.aei.org/publication/a-new-model-for-defeating-al-qaeda-in-yemen/?

The key points:

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), still likely the most potent al Qaeda terrorist threat to the US homeland, has expanded and strengthened as the Yemeni state has collapsed, and its success buttresses the global al Qaeda network.
The current US approach to Yemen has failed alongside the Yemeni state because it prioritized a military response to the AQAP threat rather than a more comprehensive strategy.
A win against al Qaeda in Yemen will last only if it is part of a global strategy against al Qaeda, ISIS, and like-minded groups.
The US must identify a way forward and lead a coordinated regional response in Yemen, including negotiating a political settlement among Yemeni stakeholders, supporting subnational actors, leading a ground offensive against AQAP, and addressing the immediate humanitarian needs of the population.

Madness comes to mind that the USA can today play such a role, including 'leading a ground offensive against AQAP'. The USA is not a neutral party in the current civil war and external involvement.

09-11-2015, 04:20 AM
Well, the USA are activelly supporting an aerial- and now ground-campaign run by its allies, direct result of which is the spread of the AQAP in Yemen.

So, yes: it's 'madness' to expect the US to lead a campaign against the AQAP now.

Foremost, somebody in the DC should ask him/herself: who's going to join that campaign...?

What I find at least as tragic is that the DC learned absolutely nothing - nothing at all - from similar situations in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Instead, there is now a fourth Arab country where 'US allies' are spreading the AQ...

09-16-2015, 06:05 PM
- 24 UAE MRAPs and other 'armoured' vehicles knocked out by Houthis and YA in a single battle in Ma'arib Province:

- True carnage of Saudi MRAPs etc., apparently somewehre in Jawf Province:

...and then they complain that nobody told them that MRAPs are 'no APCs' and 'no IFVs', and that one shouldn't use them in such fashion, and that their foreign advisors are to blame for this...

09-18-2015, 10:17 PM
Iona Craig reports from Aden:http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/9/17/embattled-yemen-aden-rise-islamic-state.html

Worth noting ISIL do not fight in the civil war, they loot and do PR. It appears they may now eclipse AQAP.

10-08-2015, 07:35 PM
A Soufan Group briefing:
The ongoing war in Yemen has been a disaster for almost everyone involved, except the Islamic State (http://soufangroup.com/the-islamic-state/) and al-Qaeda. As the Saudi-led coalition (http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrief-saudi-arabia-shifts-in-yemen/) continues its air campaign (http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrief-quagmire-in-the-air/) and is intensifying its ground efforts against Houthi rebels, the Islamic State has exploited the chaos and established itself as a serious terrorist threat to a country that has long dealt with the more numerous and powerful (http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrief-targeting-al-qaeda-in-yemen/) al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

(ends with) Yemen faces a challenging future; an assertive and expanding Islamic State will make it far worse.

10-09-2015, 07:54 PM
One of interesting 'events' in Yemen war this week took place on Wednesday, 7 October: on that day units of Yemeni Presidential Guard (not 'Republican Guards' as claimed around; though all of them sided with Houthis) - said to have used a single C.802 anti-ship missile (in essence: Chinese-made jumbo-Exocet) to sink an Emirati warship off Bab al-Mandeb Peninsula.

Otherwise, Saudis are experiencing one abysmal failure after the other - especially so since Yemenis advanced for between 20 and 35 kilometres into Saudi Arabia, knocking out scores of M1 Abrams, M2 Bradleys, M88s and all sorts of MRAPS underay - while Emirati-led offensive in Marib stalled already two times (first time during the fighting for Ma'arib Dam, the other time during the battle for Sirwah, few days ago).

In revenge for all of this, Saudi-led coalition then bombed a Houthi wedding, killing about 135, on 28 September...

... things only got worse: Yemenis then dared continuing their advance into KSA - and killing a Saudi general too, on 30 September. Saudis instantly cried 'lie': according to them, Brig Gen al-Hamzi was WIA but died of his wounds in a hospital, and was then burried with full military honours. But, Houthi-controlled TV then aired a video showing his uniform, name-tag etc. and stating they have his body too... leaves one wondering whom have the Saudis actually burried there...

Revenge: another wedding bombed, this time killing 'only' about 20...

After this affair with C.802 and that Emirati warship, bets are accepted if there's going to be third Houthi wedding that'll be bombed - 'in error' or 'not at all', of course...

10-16-2015, 09:51 PM
Seems the YA is back to shooting at Saudis 'big style'.

After firing one Scud at King Khalid AB, on 11 October, the YA fired another in the night from 15 to 16 October (https://twitter.com/Hamosh84/status/654711874370449408), this time from within the compound of the Presidential Palace in Sana'a - and against 'Saudi military air base in Assir, Yemen'.

Not a word about this anywhere in Saudi or their coalition press...

10-20-2015, 09:33 PM
Remember this when wondering why are so many turning anti-US...
'All We Could Find Were Body Parts': America's Role in Yemen's Civilian Carnage (https://news.vice.com/article/all-we-could-find-were-body-parts-americas-role-in-yemens-civilian-carnage)

...At about 9:30am, the familiar roar of Saudi-led coalition jets was heard overhead. Some people fled as the planes approached, fearing an attack, but many women and children remained inside. Bombs started falling shortly after 10am, the first striking near where the men had gathered. The structure, held up by tree branches and covered with a tarp, was obliterated minutes later. Mosaibas was nearby, but survived the attack; his bride, Hanen Makhrama, had not arrived yet from her nearby village.

Initial reports put the death toll as high as 130, citing local health officials. Human rights workers and locals later clarified that at least several dozen people died, most likely between 30 and 50 people. Many of the bodies were too badly burned or mangled to identify immediately or at all. Because a large number of the wedding guests came from outside the town and others fled before and after the attack, those who survived did not know how many people were present when the bombs exploded.

The Houthis and allied forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been implicated in the deaths of hundreds of non-combatants, often killed by indiscriminate and retaliatory shelling or mines left behind as the Houthis retreat. But the UN says that airstrikes have killed the majority of civilians. The United States military has assisted this Saudi-led campaign with logistical support and billions of dollars in equipment and weaponry.

Since October 2010, the US has sold Saudi Arabia more than $90 billion in aircraft, defense systems, bombs, missiles, and other weapons. When war broke out in Yemen, it began to expedite shipments. American arms manufacturers have also sold billions of dollars' worth of material to other Gulf coalition members, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Both the Saudis and UAE have purchased controversial cluster munitions — banned by more than 100 countries — that have been used in the current conflict.

Since the airstrikes started on March 25, the US has provided the coalition with vital air-refueling sorties, search-and-rescue support, and help with logistics and intelligence — the centerpiece of which is a Saudi-based "Joint Combined Planning Cell" staffed with American personnel who interact daily with the Saudi military. This support involves what the US military's Central Command (CENTCOM) terms "targeting assistance."

"The Saudi-led coalition is equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and targeting technology, yet airstrikes have caused a tremendous number of civilian casualties," said Claire Talon, Middle East and North Africa director at the International Federation for Human Rights. "It is clear that states providing intelligence and assistance to the coalition, including the US, may be accused of complicity in war crimes."

"Without US in-air refueling, combat search-and-rescue, a steady and expedited flow of weapons and ammunition, and contractor logistical support, the air campaign couldn't happen," said Micah Zenko, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has been closely studying the intervention.

Jenks, who helped train the Yemeni army during Saleh's presidency, said coalitions like the one operating in Yemen are constructed in a way that protects members and countries like the US, which occupy a sort of grey area.

"The White House may well be able to claim that the US is not making targeting decisions or launching airstrikes, and that it doesn't control the military forces of other countries which are — so as a matter of law, the US is not obligated to conduct an investigation into allegations of civilian casualties," he said. "It seems now that there is a tendency within coalition operations to not acknowledge which countries in the coalition are taking what action. Coalition operations are providing an effective way to deflect media inquiries and concerns about civilian casualties."

The Saudi-led coalition claims that the Houthis are a proxy for Iran, and accuse Tehran of supporting the rebels. The extent of Iran's backing is disputed, and support from forces loyal to Saleh, armed with his weapons stockpiles — including arms supplied by the US — have played an outsized role in the rebels' advances. Still, in Washington, the fight in Yemen is often considered a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

A Yemen-based human rights official said that the US is driven to provide support in order to placate the Saudis after their opposition to the nuclear deal that the US and other world powers reached with Tehran this summer.

"It comes down to the Iran nuclear deal, and this is the price to be paid, the pound of flesh," said the official, who spoke to VICE News on condition of anonymity due to the official's ongoing work in the country. "The Saudis get to do whatever they want to do in Yemen."

11-26-2015, 07:10 AM
A fascinating NYT piece on the Colombian mercenaries, from the UAE, being deployed to the Yemen. although not for combat yet. They join others too:
The arrival in Yemen (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/international/countriesandterritories/yemen/index.html?inline=nyt-geo) of 450 Latin American troops — among them are also Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers.....They join hundreds of Sudanese soldiers whom Saudi Arabia has recruited to fight there as part of the coalition......a recent United Nations report cited claims that some 400 Eritrean troops might be embedded with the Emirati soldiers in Yemen — something that, if true, could violate a United Nations resolution restricting Eritrean military activities.
Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/26/world/middleeast/emirates-secretly-sends-colombian-mercenaries-to-fight-in-yemen.html? (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/26/world/middleeast/emirates-secretly-sends-colombian-mercenaries-to-fight-in-yemen.html?emc=edit_ee_20151126&nl=todaysheadlines-europe&nlid=67232673&_r=0)

11-27-2015, 02:21 AM
A fascinating NYT piece on the Colombian mercenaries, from the UAE, being deployed to the Yemen. although not for combat yet.

Not surprising, considering who we employed in Iraq.

12-04-2015, 01:54 PM
Morocco now commits ground forces:
Morocco has sent 1,500 elite soldiers to Yemen to participate in the Arab Coalition’s ground military offensive....a contingent of Moroccan military police (gendarmerie)..There are 1,500 of paratroopers who have been specially trained recently in Tan-Tan, for a ground intervention in Yemen.

Bill Moore
12-04-2015, 06:36 PM
If Saudi, Iran, Russia, and others are now forming their own multinational coalitions that tends to validate the point we're transitioning (or have transitioned) into a multipolar world. Not sure what the implications will be over time, but I suspect many of our national security strategy assumptions will need to change.

12-04-2015, 09:59 PM
An unusual article in today's (UK) The Daily Telegraph, even odder as the author is a retired senior UK Army officer, MG Tim Cross:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Cross

The actual title: Our coalition partners the Saudis are creating conditions in Yemen which let Isil flourish.

12-25-2015, 05:58 AM
A succinct, grim overview of the Yemen today:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35160532


12-25-2015, 08:51 AM
That map is largely wrong; indeed considering what one can read here - Wikileaks, The Saudi Cables, Buying Silence: How the Saudi Foreign Ministry controls Arab media (https://wikileaks.org/saudi-cables/buying-silence) - probably intentionally misinforming too.

A much better one can be downloaded here: http://i0.wp.com/archicivilians.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Yemen-Map-Nov15.png

It's from back in November, but most of details are still valid, with following exceptions:
- contrary to what is shown on that map, Taiz remains besieged by Hothis and Yemeni Army;

- latest Houthi/YA offensive brought them back much closer to Marib again; but foremost

- the Saudis have sabotaged the UN sponsored cease-fire by ordering that 'Yemen National Army' (a Saudi&Emirati-sponsored mercenary army of about 20,000) to launch an all-out attack from within Saudi Arabia into Jawf and Hajjah provinces, in northern Yemen, on 17 December.

Further to this, the Saudi-led intergalactic coalition never ceased flying air strikes: even as negotiations between Houthis and Hadi in Switzerland began, on 17 December, they flew over 300 air strikes over Yemen. So, no surprise the talks collapsed, i.e. were 'postponed to January'...

Anyway, the war re-intensified ever since (thanks certainly to USA and UK replenishing Saudi stocks of PGMs), with Saudi-led coalition flying over 1,900 air strikes in the last six days. Saudis are even claiming they have launched an airborne assault on Nihm, about 40km north of Sana'a, on 20 December.

Fierce fighting with hundreds of casualties on both sides is reported ever since (that is: Arab and Western media are NOT reporting about most of this, for reasons cited above).

Houthis are shooting back - primarily with help of SS-21 and Qahir-1 ballistic missiles (the latter are SA-2s deployed as ballistic missiles). About two dozens of these have been fired the last seven days, primarily targeting major coalition bases near Bab al-Mandeb and Marib, but also various targets inside Saudi Arabia. Saudis claimed to have shot down at least six by their PAC-3s.

What is also not properly shown on most of available maps of Yemen is the extension of AQAP's control over de-facto all of central southern Yemen. Namely, the area from Ataq in south-west up to Saudi border in the north, and from Thamud in north-east to Qusay'ir in south-east, is completely under AQAP control: 'loyalists' (to Hadi) have no say there.

Indeed, even parts of the coast of Gulf of Aden from Aden to Zinjibar are controlled by AQAP - and absolutely nobody is doing anything against this.

Bottom line: considering spread of the Daesh in eastern Yemen, the country is not broken into two, but into four.

12-28-2015, 11:41 PM
According to "World Conflict Films" a Saudi PAC-2 intercepted a Houthi Scud...any truth here?

(Added by Moderator the link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p70xfVFKXyg )

12-29-2015, 07:01 AM
One can't really say with anything with something like 100% guarantee about this conflict, then both... nah: ALL sides involved are meanwhile lying so much.

Anyway: yes, the Iranians claim (http://en.alalam.ir/news/1773661) that Houthis and YA units still loyal to them (that would make the latter one of three brigades of the Missile Force), have hit RSNG base in Najran.

...and Saudis claim (http://www.defencetalk.com/saudi-arabia-intercepts-missile-fired-from-yemen-capital-66180/) to have intercepted that missile, and then found the TEL and that fired the missile and killed it too.

But then, that's meanwhile a kind of 'standard' claim by both sides: this must've been something like 40th (claimed) interceptions so far, and if - then usually this is done by Saudi PAC-3s. Only thing they change in their releases is the target.

BTW, note that Iranians claim the 'Houthis' have 'sunk nine Saudi warships' too. Now, it does seem that the YA's missile force has got a few Iranian-made and truck-mounted C.802s, no doubt about this. But, the 'video-evidence' they're showing for latest such attack is a video of a USN training shot...

12-29-2015, 08:28 AM
There seems to be little information detailing actual forces on the ground, casualties, or who's winning...

Care to update CB?

12-29-2015, 05:06 PM
Well, 'on the ground', not much changed since my 'write-up' posted above. From west towards east (i.e. counter-clock-wise), the situation is something like this:

- Egyptian, Emirati and Saudi warships are not as active along the Red Sea coast as they used to be: guess, at least 1-2 of C.802s fired by YA's Missile Force found its target... question is: which one of 9 fired so far...?

- A mix of Bahraini, Emirati (read: Australian and Colombian), YNA troops (YNA stands for that Emirati/Saudi-sponsored 'army' of pro-Hadi Yemenis, but also Somali mercenaries), plus Sudanese, are trying to punch through the Houthi/YA siege of Taiz since about 2-3 weeks. Without much success. Houthis/YA are occassionally rocketing Camp al-Amiri, outside Zobab (about 40km north of Bab al-Mandeb) with SS-21s and Qaseb-1 (SA-2s used in ground-to-ground mode); most fierce attack took place on 21 December, when at least three ballistic missiles should've hit the area; Houthis claimed 300 KIA, Saudis and Emiratis deny any kind of hits or losses.

- In the centre, not much changed all the way from Ibb, via Dhamar to Marib; that is, one of YA's Presidential Guard brigades counterattacked in direction of Marib few days ago and claimed to have captured a dominant peak there. Houthis/YA are occassionally rocketing al-Anad AB with SS-21s and Qaseb-1s.

- In the northern central Yemen, not much changed either: the much-announced Emirati-supported YNA advance on Sana'a is stalled since months; Houthis/YA are occassionally rocketing Marib and the nearby Safir airfield with SS-21s and Qaseb-1 (SA-2s used in ground-to-ground mode).

- Further north, this 'blitz' of the YNA supported by Saudi SFs appears to have stalled after reaching Nihm. There are no reports from this area since days, and that's certainly no 'good news' - for Saudis.

Some statistics as provided by Yemen Post:
- While the UN and MSM are babbling about 'more than 6,000 killed' since 25 March, authorities in Sana'a alone have issued 7,235 death certificates for CIVILIANs in that city - and this is including 1,820 children. Another 2,045 death certificates for civilians were issued in Taiz. About 36,450 civilians reported as injured in 'northern' Yemen so far. Statistics for southern Yemen (especially Aden and surrounding areas), is not available.

- Saudi-led intergalactic coalition should've flown about 90,000 combat sorties so far, and destroyed 72,925 homes, 62 hospitals, 140 schools, 17 major food warehouses, 37 bridges, and 35 historcially important sites (including about a dozen of UNESCO World Herritage sites) by 20 December...

...gauging from where Saudis and most of their allies are originating, no surprise: one can't expect from people that de-facto emerged out of the desert to have respect for something like some 4,000-years old 'buildings'...

...though, one should be not surprised if Oblabla's idiotic decision to support this adventure is facing ever more backlash, and the image of the USA in this part of the world is at lowest point ever since the USA are present in the Middle East:

HRW: U.S.-Backed Strikes in Yemen Appear to Violate International Law (http://www.democracynow.org/2015/12/22/headlines/hrw_us_backed_strikes_in_yemen_appear_to_violate_i nternational_law)

U.N. blames Saudi coalition for most attacks on Yemen civilians (http://www.trust.org/item/20151222160143-n8ndg/)

12-29-2015, 05:59 PM
The article's full title is: Life under siege: inside Taiz, the Yemeni city being slowly strangled; In Yemen’s second most populated city, a Houthi blockade has brought residents previously barely subsisting to the brink of catastrophe:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/28/life-under-siege-inside-taiz-yemen-houthi

The Houthis, meanwhile, have laid their own siege: on Taiz. Since early April, when “the resistance” – an alliance of local forces dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood – fought off the Houthis’ attempt to control the city...Access is only allowed through a single checkpoint, dubbed the Rafah crossing by the residents after its more famous namesake on the Egypt-Gaza border. Houthi militia search – and confiscate – medicine, cooking gas, cigarettes, bottled water or anything more than a small shopping bag of food.

12-29-2015, 07:48 PM
What the report does not say is that crucial for resistance of 'Islah Party and allies' in Taiz is one of AQAP gangs (not to talk about half the city being controlled by Houthis and allies).

But of course, since Islah/MBs (considered 'terrorists' even by Saudis until few months ago), and AQAP are fighting Houthis, they're now 'allies'...

12-31-2015, 08:45 AM
Seems that an F-16C of the Royal Bahraini Air Force was hit by a MANPAD over northern Yemen, yesterday. The aircraft crashed while attempting to reach KKAB in KSA, pilot ejected safely:


Photos of wreckage: https://twitter.com/IraqiSecurity/status/682141560138547200

12-31-2015, 11:57 PM
Thankyou to all who post here, as it is unlikely another will post this thread I shall close now before I go out to party. Minus fireworks!:)

To the others who post here thank you, anyone who follows this thread will have learnt a lot - even if there is rarely disagreement.