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Thread: Yemen 2016 onwards: an intractable war?

  1. #221
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Ah yes: before there are further questions...

    Yes, contrary to the Trump Admin, the gov in Riyadh, and all sorts of Messiahs on the FB, Twitter and similar platforms, I am convinced that such ballistic missiles like Burkan-2H fired by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia are of something like 'local origin'.

    Yemen bought significant numbers of R-17E/SS-1 Scuds from Soviet Union in the late 1970s and 1980s, and then a number (certainly more than 50) of Hwasong-6s from North Korea, in late 1990s and early 2000s.

    Now, when the Houthi-Saleh coalition came into being, in period September 2014 - March 2015 - up to 60% of the Yemeni military followed Saleh and joined the Houthis.

    With other words: the Houthi-Saleh coalition has got the know-how and the tools to operate such missiles.

    The Saudi-led coalition then launched its intervention and - between others - repeatedly targeted bases of the three former brigades of the 'Missile Brigades Group' of the Yemeni Army, in April 2015. Many of ballistic missiles were damaged during these air strikes; some destroyed.

    After discussing related issues with some of local sources, plus an Iraqi expert (an engineer involved in the al-Hussein project), my conclusion is that the Burkan-2s are repaired Hwasong-6s. Some were rebuilt with help of various spares smuggled in from Iran.

    For further details, see the coming book 'Hot Skies over Yemen, Volume 2: Aerial Warfare over Southern Arabian Peninsula, 1994-2017', and the collection of links here: https://medium.com/@x_TomCooper_x/my...m-1c77f37ab1cd

    The illustration below shows (from top towards bottom): Hwasong-6, Burkan-1, Burkan-2. (Haven't drawn any Burkan-2Hs yet, though). The crest in the upper left corner is that of the 'Missile Force' operated by the coalition of the Houthi- and ex-YA-forces that sided with them.
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    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-23-2017 at 01:31 PM. Reason: 96,272v

  2. #222
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The Houthis' endgame in Yemen

    An unusual article and worth reading. I cannot judge the content whether it is accurate. This passage is the shortest explanation why:
    Many in Yemen think that for the Houthis, this current war is about reclaiming their God-given right to rule that was taken away from the Sayyids in 1962. For many other Yemenis, the war is about fighting for the republican system that ended the Sayyid dynasty's monopoly over power.
    Link:http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opi...082107181.html
    davidbfpo

  3. #223
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    This statement is something like 1000% correct:

    The Houthis do not represent all Zaydis in Yemen.
    That said, the thing with 'Saleh' and 'enemy of the Houthis' is one I'm not entirely sure about.

    Back during the six Sa'ada Wars (fought 2004-2010), he was threatening them a lot, and sent the military to fight them, no doubt about this.

    But, the question is what units of the military did he send to fight the Houthis?

    Most of these were units affiliated with Maj Gen Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, and the Islah Party. I.e. he was playing two competing groups against each other, in turn trying to weaken every of them.

    This went so far that the Saudis were forced to realize that the most of the targeting intel provided by Saleh's intel services during the Sixth Sa'ada War (2009-2010), were actually positions of Ali Mohsen's units, and especially his HQs ('good' about this was that the Saudis realized this quite early during their involvement, and thus caused next to no damage).

    With other words: Saleh used that conflict to have the Saudis kill his competition.

  4. #224
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Ah yes, I forgot to add yesterday: because of the 'constellation' described above, it was actually so that Hussein Badr ad-Din al-Houthi was executed by the CO of the 312 Brigade - one of Ali Mohsen's units.

    Thus, the Houthis didn't blame Saleh for this: they blamed Saleh for not negotiating with them 'while there was still time', which was back in 2004-2006.

    But, when they overrun the HQ of the 312 Brigade in the course of their advance on Sana'a, back in September 2014, they caught the CO of that unit - and shot him on the spot.

    Thus, I doubt 'the Houthis executed Saleh to avenge killing of their founder' - as cited in that article. They avenged that death three years ago.

  5. #225
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    OSLO (Reuters) - Norway has suspended exports of weapons and ammunition to the United Arab Emirates over concerns they could be used in the war in Yemen, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
    In 2016, Norwegian exports of weapons and ammunition to the UAE rose to 79 million Norwegian crowns ($9.7 million) from 41 million in 2015, Statistics Norway data showed.
    Human rights groups and several members of Norway’s parliament have for months campaigned for a halt in arms exports to the UAE.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-y...KBN1ES0HG?il=0

    Norwegian arms exports – little known outside the country – are booming. Although amounting to 0.1 per cent of world arms exports, Norway's weapons sales have tripled since 2000, reaching £336m worth in 2007. Norwegian arms were used by the US and Britain during the invasion of Iraq while a lack of controls in Oslo have allowed high explosives sold to the US to be re-exported to Israel for use in the occupied territories.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...vironment-arms

    Wondered what they were cranking out - munitions, mostly https://www.ssb.no/en/utenriksokonom...s-rose-in-2015
    Last edited by AdamG; 01-03-2018 at 04:52 PM.
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
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  6. #226
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Riyadh (AFP) - Saudi Arabia on Friday intercepted a ballistic missile fired from Yemen into the kingdom's south, as Riyadh and its allies said the attack "proved" Iran's support for Yemen's Huthi rebels.
    The Riyadh-led military coalition fighting the rebels in Yemen in a statement said Saudi air defences intercepted the missile at around 0500 GMT, but reported no casualties.
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/a3f7722...t-destroy.html
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  7. #227
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Two Qaher-2Ms were fired in direction of Najran: one was intercepted, other fell in an unprotected area. These were missiles Nos. 86 and 87 fired at Saudi Arabia so far.

    The army (the author means the Saudi-led coalition) is gaining the upper hand in Yemen’s civil war
    TAHER ALI AL-AUQAILI, the chief of staff of Yemen’s army, has a spring in his step. After a year of stalemate, his five fronts are moving again.
    ...

    A string of events has led to the advance. In December the Houthis killed their erstwhile ally, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had been Yemen’s president from 1978 to 2012, so the Houthis now fight alone. Arrests, killings and houses demolished by tank shells in the capital have stoked resentment against the rebels. Thousands of Mr Saleh’s people have fled.

    Tales of rebel atrocities have spurred on the government’s forces. Fleeing Yemeni journalists say the Houthis killed over 30 colleagues, including some who worked for Mr Saleh’s media outlets. They say the rebels extorted money from relatives wanting to recover tortured bodies for burial. The Houthis, who claimed to champion the mathlumeen, or oppressed masses, may be turning into their oppressors.
    ...

    Mr Saleh’s death has also prompted the rancorous regional coalition assembled against the Houthis to bridge its differences. Muhammad bin Zayed, the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), had long distrusted Yemen’s army. Many of its soldiers support Islah, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement that the UAE abhors. Prince Muhammad had hoped that Mr Saleh would switch sides and boot the Houthis from power.

    But since Mr Saleh’s death Prince Muhammad has reconciled with Islah. He has given army units loyal to the Islamists air support. Government forces are on the verge of breaking out of Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, besieged by the Houthis for almost three years. They hope to recapture all of the coastal plain, where the Houthis have little support.
    ...

    By contrast, General Auqaili complains that his pleas for heavier weapons to match the Houthis go unanswered. The morale of his men is sapped because they are nine months behind with their pay. Some get by, selling weapons or information to the Houthis or al-Qaeda. So flush are arms bazaars that prices are 20% lower than before the war began in 2014.

    Perhaps the biggest reason for the stalemate, however, is that many Yemenis benefit from it. Warlords and soldiers at checkpoints cream off humanitarian aid. Cities like Marib bask in the oil wealth and duties on electricity and imports that previously enriched the capital. Once notorious as a hotspot for kidnappings on behalf of al-Qaeda, it may now be Yemen’s safest city. Banks and schools function. Wages are paid on time. An oft-cited Yemeni adage holds that one people’s misfortune is another’s gain.
    Senior Houthi and his fighters surrender to army in Hodeidah
    The surrender came after Ebrahim Adabu and his fighters were besieged by army troops in Hyais district, Aseel Al Sakladi, a journalist on the ground there, told The National.
    ...

    Some of the Houthis who surrendered were children, Al Sakladi said, adding that they had been taken to the government-held city of Aden for psychological assessments.

    "The rebels are [breathing] their last breath" in Hodeidah, said Al Sakladi. "They are suffering huge cracks because they lost [control of the] main roads used to get fuel and food supplies from Ibb and Taez provinces."
    ...

    Razaz confirmed to The National on Saturday that Brig Gen Al Aqeeli had been injured in a mine explosion, saying that five other military commanders had also been injured, including the governor of Al Jouf province, Ameen Al Okaimi. None of the men were seriously injured, he said.

    "The chief of staff (Brig Gen Al Aqeeli) was ferried to Saudi Arabia to be treated for his injuries, while his other comrades received necessary medical treatment in a local hospital in Marib province," said Razaz.
    ...

  8. #228
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    The RSAF lost a Tornado IDS over northern Yemen, on 6 January 2018.

    The crew of two was recovered (Photos of the two crewmembers).

    Houthis claimed the fighter-bomber as 'shot down'.

    That all said, alone the fact the Houthis are now down to reporting every single SAM they fire, is speaking volumes about the condition of their frontlines...

  9. #229
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    The Houthis... erm... sorry: the ex-Army and Air Force troops that sided with the Houthis, are now officially into the business of producing some spectacular videos of various ex-YAF's AAMs in use as SAMs.

    Today they claimed to have shot down an RSAF F-15S over Sana'a - and supported this claim by this video.

    Another video is showing the actual aftermath:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R32oNrD5VJs

    But, this affair remains interesting.

    Firstly, the Saudi pilot botched up by engaging afterburner at the same time he (or his WSO) began deploying flares. Obviously, that's counterproductive.

    The Houthis... erm... (sorry: me again)... ex-YAF officers that joined the Houthis, seem to be using FLIR 8500s provided by the USA to the ex-YAF as part of 'support in the war on terror', back in 2012-2014...

    ...and Soviet/Russian-made R-73s as SAMs.

    Overall, seems the SAM hit the third flare, probably damaged that F-15S too. Though nothing was shot down.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    The RSAF lost a Tornado IDS over northern Yemen, on 6 January 2018.

    The crew of two was recovered (Photos of the two crewmembers).

    Houthis claimed the fighter-bomber as 'shot down'.

    That all said, alone the fact the Houthis are now down to reporting every single SAM they fire, is speaking volumes about the condition of their frontlines...
    So the video featuring a Flir Ultra 8500 is correct? But people are reporting the downed aircraft as a F-15...

  11. #231
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    People are mixing two different claims:

    - 6 January, northern Sa'ada: RSAF Tornado IDS was either shot down or crashed; crew of two recovered;

    - 8 January (or 7 January, along that video), Sana'a area: RSAF F-15S targeted by an R-73, and probably damaged.

    The Flir Ultra 8500 was shown on a video related to the second claim.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    People are mixing two different claims:

    - 6 January, northern Sa'ada: RSAF Tornado IDS was either shot down or crashed; crew of two recovered;

    - 8 January (or 7 January, along that video), Sana'a area: RSAF F-15S targeted by an R-73, and probably damaged.

    The Flir Ultra 8500 was shown on a video related to the second claim.
    Thanks. Isn't this quite a big deal? After all, the R-73 was jury-rigged as a SAM, when it is an AAM...

  13. #233
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Not really.

    DIY SAMs made of R-60s and R-73s were first deployed by Serbs during the NATO intervention in 1999; then again - though for 'surface-to-surface' purposes - during the Libyan uprising of 2011, etc.

    The Yemenis are deploying them, plus SAMs made of R-27Ts (IR-homing variant of the AA-10 Alamo), since something like 4-5 months and have already fired dozens - without any kind of success.

    The part that is 'a little bit of a deal' is that seeker-heads of such weapons require a supply of coolant liquid once they are activated (while still on the launch rail). Uninstalling elements of the the same - at least from wreckage of one of MiG-29SMs destroyed at Daylami AB - is no big deal at all. It's the provision of power and the coolant liquid necessary for the resulting 'system' to remain operational for 30-50 seconds prior to launch (acquisition, tracking and the firing sequences), that are.

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    Trump and the Yemen War: Misrepresenting the Houthis as Iranian proxies

    http://sanaacenter.org/publications/analysis/5201


    Regardless of the involvement of foreign actors on all sides of the war, Yemen’s conflict remains fundamentally tied to internal dynamics. This is particularly true of the Houthis and their actions; despite their ties with and backing from Iran, Houthi leaders’ fundamental consideration is local power dynamics.33 Casting the Houthis as Iranian pawns and framing them solely in regional sectarian terms, with little identity otherwise, ignores the factors motivating Houthi supporters and elides the group’s ideology and decision-making process.

    Whether the US administration intends to pursue war or peace, failing to understand the motivations, actions and nature of the Houthis — and instead treating them as puppets of a foreign power — lays the groundwork for flawed decision making; one cannot expect to effectively counter an adversary without understanding how and why they fight. The Trump administration’s erroneous framing of the conflict thus represents a significant danger: for instance, the failure to understand the Houthis, their motivations and how they consolidated their power in northern Yemen renders it all the more difficult to exert political, diplomatic or even military pressure on the group.

    Proper foreign policy regarding the Houthis requires a deeper understanding of how the group functions. For instance, the Houthis have been able to continue prosecuting the conflict not because of Iranian support, but rather through their ability to capitalize on tribal networks under their control, their knowledge of the terrain, their control over key military installations and, increasingly, conflict-enabled revenue streams. Indeed, rather than being beholden to Tehran, numerous western diplomats having stated that when the Houthis entered Sana’a in September 2014 they did so against the advice of Iranian officials.34 Then in March 2016, the Houthis engaged in direct talks with Saudi officials that led to a de facto ceasefire along the Saudi-Yemeni border. The border ceasefire largely held until the breakdown of UN-sponsored peace talks in Kuwait in August 2016. Recent events surrounding Saleh’s death undoubtedly complicate peace efforts – among other things adding to the distrust between the Houthis and Saudi-led coalition members. Nonetheless, both the Houthis and Saudi Arabia are surely aware that any eventual sustainable peace agreement it will require the other’s buy in.

    Thus, overemphasizing the Houthis’ foreign ties while ignoring local factors and the means of weakening or pressuring the Houthis is ultimately likely to breed policies that are ineffectual at best, and counterproductive at worst. This is particularly true with regards to the risk that the “pawn of Iran” framing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – that is, creating circumstances that prompt or even oblige the Houthis to further strengthen ties with Iran, or vice versa. In some regards, this has already been seen since the Saudi-led coalition launched its military intervention in Yemen in March 2015, under the name Operation Decisive Storm. According to a variety of western and Yemeni officials, following the coalition’s intervention Iranian support to and coordination with the Houthis expanded. Indeed, the Houthi reliance on this support increased as international isolation left them with few other potential partners.

    US policy that casts the Houthis as an extension of Iranian interest will likely only lend momentum to this Houthi drift toward the Iranian sphere of influence. First, it would further isolate the Houthis internationally and continue to weaken incentives against greater cooperation with Iran. Second — and perhaps most importantly — it would increase Tehran’s incentives to expand its activities in Yemen.

  15. #235
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Even Popular Mechanics weighs in, on the plane(s) that fell down and ends with:
    It’s war in the age of the Internet, and the truth takes some time to untangle
    Link:http://www.popularmechanics.com/mili...n-f15-tornado/
    davidbfpo

  16. #236
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    From first-hand, even if unofficial sources:

    - The Tornado suffered an explosion of the oxygen system; this caused a fire inside the cockpit, leaving the crew little alternative but to eject.

    They were picked up in a CSAR op run by No. 99 Squadron RSAF (flying AS.532 Cougars), supported by 8 F-15S' and 3 AH-64s.

    - The F-15SA (yes: the brand-new variant) suffered minor damage to the fins.

  17. #237
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Scratch another (at least fifth in total) TEL for ballistic missiles operated by the Houthi-controlled Missile Force (see the photo below).

    Now, while most of Yemenis say 'TEL for Burkan'. I say: 'TEL for Qaher-2s'.

    ...can't go into more details about 'how comes', but observe: word is that a combo of TPQ-37 Firefinder and CH-4 Wing Loong is 'simply deadly'.

    (Arguably, some would deny it's the TPQ-37, at least because of its - relatively - short range; the same say 'actually its Chinese copy, the SLC-2'... but, if so, then the same might want to provide some proof of related deliveries to Saudi Arabia: so far, only the sale of TPQ-37 was definitely confirmed...)
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  18. #238
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    Yemen fires third ballistic missile on Saudi military target within 60 hours
    Yemen’s rocket unit has fired a short range ballistic missile today’s morning. The short range ballistic missile successfully hit Saudi air defense system in Jizan, according to military sources.

    The military source confirmed for “YP” that the missile was successful hit its target. The source point out that this is the third missile launched within past 50 hours.
    ...

    Earlier, Yemen’s air defense said in a statement a short range ballistic also fired on Wednesday evening hit Al-khadra crowsing border with “Qahir-M2” which completely destroyed the base.
    ...
    ....i.e. a third Qaher-2M within 50-60 hours.

    First two were claimed as shot down. No reports about the third one (so far).

    **************

    Ah yes... and that moment when CNN stands in front of a real Burkan-2H (don't worry: it's wreckage only), and can't provide evidence this is actually Iranian: https://twitter.com/CNNConnect/statu...09893126467584

    ....and thus goes off topic.

  19. #239
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Just 'some statistics'...

    While updating the manuscript for the book 'Hot Skies over Yemen, Volume 2', I counted all the data on SSM-firings collected so far.

    Along what I was able to find, I've got a total of 110 recorded SSM firings (of which 88 at Saudi Arabia). Of these:

    - 22 were reported as 'Scud' or even 'Hwasong' (i.e. Hwasong-6);

    - 11 as OTR-21 (i.e. Tochka, or SS-21)

    - 8 were reported as 'Burkan' or 'Burkan-1' or 'Zelzal-2' (there's a problem here in so far, that it turned out 'Zelzal-2' is actually a surface-launched R-24; how anybody thinks any of these should've reached Najran is beyond my imagination)

    - 4 were reported as 'Burkan-2H' (two of these failed upon launch)

    Rest were Qaher-1, Qaher-2, and Qaher-2Ms, and about a dozen of unknowns (i.e. V-755 missiles from the SA-2 Guideline SAM-system).

    How many were intercepted is harder to gauge: I've recorded a total of 37 claims for 'confirmed interception'. Visual confirmation (in form of videos and/or photos) is available for about a dozen. Further 4-5 are known to have hit something, i.e. were 100% not intercepted.

    Obviously, this is far from 'all', then there are reports that the Ma'rib area alone was targeted by up to 60 missiles; the Bab al-Mandeb area by another 40 so far (and that most of these were intercepted). Problem is, however, that it's only since November 2017 that the Houthis are actually reporting really every single missile they've fired.

    That said, my data on missile strikes on Saudi Arabia is quite complete.

  20. #240
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    The Emirati-led attack along the Red Sea coast was meanwhile resumed. Since they've breached the densely-mined area, sometimes about 15th this month, they are steam-rolling the Houthis and allies: at least two towns and 30 different villages were taken yesterday alone. This in addition to two towns taken in the last week.

    In Ta'iz, the Houthis (since they killed Saleh, all of the combatants fighting on their side can be considered as 'the Houthis') lost an entire neighbourhood yesterday. They are launching a counteroffensive today, but the situation is not looking good for them.

    Foremost: in Sa'ada, the YNA is meanwhile only 4 kilometres outside the centre of Kitaf.

    With other words - and as expected - all the undated videos and claims lately published by the Houthis, Hezbollah, and Iran seems to be a big pile of PRBS.

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