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Thread: Yemen 2016 onwards: an intractable war?

  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrowBat View Post
    You're all here also falling for the story on famine...?

    Northern Yemen - the very part still controlled by Houthi/Saleh coalition - is the most fertile part of the Arabian Peninsula, and renowned for exporting food (including Coffee; term Mocha comes from the port on the Red Sea coast of Yemen) of since thousands of years. There might have been a reason old Romans called this area the 'Felix Arabica' (Happy Arabia)... or that the RAND's study of the Six Sa'ada Wars (fought between Saleh's government and the Houthis, in period 2004-2010) cited extensive exports of wheat, fruits and cattle to Saudi Arabia...

    But now, and all of a sudden, there should be no food..?

    Or there is, but the problem is of different nature - like explained here, for example: Yemen: Finding near-famine - and lots of food...

    ...or here: Yemen and the Business of War

    Pay attention:
    Thanks for this clarification. It reminds me of the 1980s famine in Ethiopia, which was inextricable from Communist rule and civil war.

  2. #202
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    Default A Saleh/Houthi Schism? Where's CrowBat?

    Yemen's former President #Saleh demands armed Yemeni forces refrain from taking any orders from Houthi militia, and calls for "opening a new page with neighboring countries"

    https://english.alarabiya.net/en/New...for-Sanaa.html

    After a brief loll amid mediation, fighting between Houthi and Saleh loyalists just resumed in multiple fronts in capital Sana'a, Yemen, according to eyewitnesses in capital. Arms being used are automatic guns, anti aircraft, and RPG.
    https://twitter.com/Shuaibalmosawa/s...11769262829570

    Added:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-42212398
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-03-2017 at 10:47 AM. Reason: 3rd link added

  3. #203
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    Default BREAKING: Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's former president, killed by the Houthis

    His body was paraded by Houthi fighters and his family compounds seized. More to follow...

  4. #204
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    Default Rebels kill Yemen’s strongman Saleh as alliance collapses

    From AP: https://www.apnews.com/37db63791e084...ance-collapses

    SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni rebels killed their erstwhile ally Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country’s former president and strongman, as their forces battled for control of the capital, Sanaa, officials said. The collapse of their alliance throws Yemen’s nearly 3-year-old civil war into unpredictable new chaos.

    The circumstances of Saleh’s death were unclear but Houthi officials said their forces caught up with him as he tried to flee Sanaa.

    A video circulating online purported to show Saleh’s body, his eyes open but glassy, motionless with a gaping head wound, as he was being carried in a blanket by rebel fighters chanting “God is great” who then dump him into a pickup truck. Blood stained his shirt under a dark suit...

    Saleh’s death was announced by the rebels, known as Houthis, who have been fighting Saleh’s forces for the past week. Two of Saleh’s associates have confirmed and a third official from the government of Yemen’s internationally recongnized president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has also confirmed.

    “The leader of treason has been killed,” Houthis’ TV network al-Masriah said.

    Saleh allied with the Houthis, and the support of his loyalist military units was key to helping the Houthis overrun the capital, Sanaa, in 2014, driving out Hadi’s government. But in recent months, the alliance frayed amid Houthi suspicions Saleh was leaning toward the Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi.

    Hadi’s forces, trying to take advantage of the collapse of the alliance, announced they would march on Sanaa.

    But even without Saleh’s loyalists, the rebels remain a powerful force and it is unclear how much the break with Saleh weakens them. Over the past year, the Houthis had steadily undermined Saleh and reduced their need for him, winning military commanders over to their side and boosting their own forces.

    A major question now will be whether Saleh’s loyalists — and tribes that support him — can rally to fight the Houthis after his death.

    Several Houthi military officials said Saleh was killed as he headed along with top party leaders from Sanaa to his hometown of Sanhan, nearby. Houthi fighters followed him in 20 armored vehicles, attacked and killed him and almost all those with him, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press. A Houthi media official, Abdel-Rahman al-Ahnomi told the Associated Press that Houthi fighters killed Saleh as he tried to flee to Saudi Arabia though the province of Marib, to the east of the capital.

    The Saudi-led coalition had hoped that Saleh’s break with the Houthis would be a turning point, isolating the rebels. Over the past days, fighter jets from the Saudi-led coalition pounded Houthis positions, throwing support behind Saleh and fueling divisions with Houthis. Hadi’s government had expressed willingness to turn “a new page” with whoever stands against the rebels.

    The fighting left Sanaa divided. The Houthis dominate the northern part of the city, while Saleh’s forces hold the southern part, with much of the current fighting concentrated around the Political District, home to ministries and foreign embassies. The Houthis appeared to be targeting the homes of Saleh’s family, political allies and commanders...

    During his more than 30 years in power, Saleh was known as the man who “dances on the heads of snakes” for his mastery of shifting alliances, playing both sides or flipping sides in the multiple conflicts tearing apart Yemen.

    In the 2000s, he was a key ally of the U.S. in the fight against al-Qaida, taking millions of dollars in American aid to hunt down the group’s branch — even as he was accused of striking alliances with the militants and using them against his own enemies. During his rule, he fought multiple wars against the Houthis in northern Yemen, only to side with them against his own former vice president-turned-successor, Hadi, after he lost power.

  5. #205
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Yemen’s profound and tragic problems

    Thanks to a "lurker" a recommendation for a new book 'Yemen in Crisis: Neo-Liberalism and Disintegration of the State' by a SME, Helen Lackner, and a short comment:
    Lackner combines elegant writing with incisive and lucid analysis … This is an indispensable guide to understanding
    Yemen’s profound and tragic problems.
    Link:http://www.alsaqibookshop.com/shopexd.asp?id=46910

    Link to author's bio:http://b-ys.org.uk/directory-of-expertise

    Well after recent events, as the author stated yesterday President Saleh was in power for thirty-three years and without him the problems look no nearer resolution.
    davidbfpo

  6. #206
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    London-based Yemeni watcher @ Kings College ICSR ponders what next, notably:
    There are important questions about what will happen to the troops loyal to Saleh, and the considerable weaponry and resources they hold.
    (Near the end) In Yemen right now- and for the foreseeable future — the only certainty is that there is no certainty.
    Link:https://www.thenational.ae/world/men...ainty-1.681694
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-08-2017 at 09:12 PM. Reason: 93,349v
    davidbfpo

  7. #207
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    The Emiratis and the Hirak (or Southern Resistance) are pushing along the Red Sea coast from Khukha towards north, in direction of Hodeida.

    While this is coming forward quite well, there's the usual problem with the lack of 'high quality' troops to secure areas that were already taken. With Emiratis up front, the Hirak seems to be given the task for securing the flanks, perhaps corsetting less reliable troops - like those of Saleh or the Islah Militia.

    After nearly three years of this war, the Houthis have learned their lessons about the Emirati firepower. Thus, they're using hills and mountains on the eastern side of the coastal plain to launch counterattacks into the flank of this advance; furthermore, they've heavily mined all the roads towards north, and are constantly ambushing the advance.

    The last few days, they also launched several bigger counterattacks in the area of Hays. Rumour has it, the Saleh- and Islah-forces run away from there, leaving the Hirak on their own.

    While Emirati armour is harder to crack (seems, the Houthis run their and ex-YA's stocks of ATGMs quite dry), Hirak is primarily using soft-skin vehicles, and relatively few MRAPs. Unsurprisingly, there are reports about the Hirak losing 'hundreds of fighters and 70 vehicles', since 8 December.

    It's going to be interesting to see if the Emiratis might stop their advance until they can clear the Houthis on their flank (or at least weaken them sufficiently to pre-empt most of further counterattacks).

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

    Related to all of this is the following, OSINT-based assessment about the performance of the AMX-66 LeClerc MBT in combat. It's nearly a year old and in French, but a very interesting read: Lessons from the commitment of the tanks of the Leclerc in the Yemen.

  8. #208
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    No news from the Red Sea coast, but it seems, the Emiratis are not that easy to impress. In Shabwa, they and the Hirak have crushed one of the local Houthi defence lines (killing 19 and capturing 32 in the process), and then captured al-Alia, the last southern town under the Houthi control.

    Next target in that area: Beyhan.

  9. #209
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    Ah yes, and regarding the 'revelation' of Nikki Haley's prop... erm... press-conference about 'Iranian weapons for Houthis', yesterday, here the photos:
    https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/iranianviolations

    Summary: one spare part from Shahid Bagheri Industries (no surprise: much of Yemeni missile stock was damaged during early air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition), few tactical UAVs, and some advice. But, and that's 100% sure, no deliveries of entire weapons.

  10. #210
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    Latest news from the Red Sea coast is that another Houthi counterattack - one launched from Najiba - should've reached the area of Yakhtul. The latter is a minor port on the Red Sea. Because of this, the Houthis claim that they've cut off the supply routes of the Emirati/Hirak advance in direction of Hodeia, i.e. all the troops further north (in the Khukha area). The Hirak should've lost some 20 KIA and one of its colonels injured.

    Now, I'm not entirely buying this: the Houthis are foremost excelling at propaganda. But, some of their social media was publishing photos where one can see the sea, 'far in the distance'. Thus it's possible that they're at least threatening the coastal road.

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

    In Beyhan, the Hirak and the YNA have captured al-Ulya and an-Naqub today - amit what appears to have been quite a 'manoeuvring' battle, which ended with most of the Houthis enveloped.

    Map below shows:

    - Red: Hirak
    - Blue: YNA
    - Green: Houthis

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

    Ah yes and: on 18 April 2017, the Emirati Pantsyr SAMs should've shot down a RSLF UH-60 Black Hawk, in the Marib area, killing 12 crewmembers and troops on board, including two colonels.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #211
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    This might be more of evidence for at least Hezbollah involvement in Yemen, than all the Trump admin and the Saudis have provided so far: it turned out some Jordanian volunteer, named Nasser Ali Ismail Tawfiq Ayad, from Madaba Governorate, was killed on 12 December 2017.

    Rumour has it, he was with Hezbollah in Yemen.

    This is the first known 'foreign volunteer' KIA on the Houthi side in this war.

  12. #212
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    The Saudi-led coalition is back to pounding Houthi positions all over northern Yemen with full force (and, at least along all the reports from such 'highly-dependable' and 'independent' sources like various news-agencies in Iran, Cuba, Hizbollah in Lebanon and Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen: killing scores of civilians).

    That, of course, it not flashy enough to catch attention of our glorious MSM, and thus remains largely unreported in English - although eagerly exploited for pro-Houthi propaganda.

    The 'story of the day' thus remains the discussion over 'Iranian supplied missiles', based on Haley's press-conference from three days ago. Meanwhile, the Houthis slam US charges that Iran is arming them. They are some very proud people, and have repeatedly - and clearly - said that all the missiles in question are locally manufactured. Thus, they expect the amateurs (like Trump & Co KG GesmbH certainly are, at least in comparison to the Houthis), and people in need of some fresh air (see: the Pentagon) to stop denying their achievements.

    Now, as far as I can say, the Houthis are really right. The last big missile fired at Saudi Arabia - the Burkan-2H that hit the Riyadh IAP after it was missed by four PAC-3s - had fins:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKFE1f1lu6s



    Plus, the UN said it had a skin made of aluminium - instead of steel, like in the case of North Korean and Iranian missiles.

    From my POV, the situation is like this: the Burkan-2H that hit Riyadh IAP was the last - or one of the last - intact 'chassis' of some Hwasong-6 damaged early during the war. Or at last the last one they were able to repair - by now. The Missile Force repaired and stretched the chassis, then lightened it by using aluminium plates for skin - all of this on advice (probably: written instructions) smuggled in from Iran. That plus a smaller warhead enabled its longer range. The advice resulted in specific markings (not all of which are identic with those on Qiams, contrary to US claims), and the new shape of the front section.

    Under given circumstances (foremost the blockade of the Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen), that makes far more sense to me than any stories about 'missile smuggled to Sana'a in pieces'. The Scud/Hwasong/Qiam is simply too large to be 'disassembled and smuggled' via Oman just like that.

    But, spare parts, and written instruction are small enough.

    That would also explain why the Houthis didn't fire any further Burkan-2s ever since: all the time during the second half of 2015, and for most of 2016, they were firing several such missiles a week. But now they fire perhaps one a month. Reason? They're out of such missiles (or at least down to the few last examples). Like in the case of Qaher-2s, they're running their stocks dry. On the contrary, if they could smuggle entire missiles from Iran, then they would bring in more of the same - i.e. fire additional ones at Saudi Arabia - like they did while they still had missiles.

    ...and like they do with the few remaining Qaher-2Ms (V-755s from the S-75M/SA-2 system). For example, according to Col Aziz Rashid (spokesperson of the Missile Force) the last night the Houthis fired a Qaher-2 at the 'Southern Command Centre' in Jizan, in Saudi Arabia.

    That said, the video of the Kh-55/Soumar was probably smuggled in from Iran (too).

  13. #213
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    Quite strange actually, to read reports like this one in the wake of Haley's 'Iranian missiles show': Coalition forces destroy ballistic missile workshops in Yemen

    Namely, that report cites attempted firing of another Qaher-2M, on 16 December:

    ...from the desert of the Midi district, northeast of Hajjah province towards Saudi territory at dawn on Saturday (December 16, 2017). Sources said it fell in a desert area of the Directorate without any material or human damage.
    Returning to the original legend, the reporter then says:
    Military sources in the fifth military zone, confirmed that the missile launched by the Houthis at dawn was a Russian-made Volga air defense missile, with Iranian modifications, dubbed by the Houthis “The Destroyer”, according to what was published by the ‘Scene of Yemen’ website.
    So, the missile is the V-755, but 'with Iranian modifications'... :roll:

    ...this must be the most mis-managed PR-campaign in the history of modern warfare: at least I can't stop wondering, why to hell is Riyadh paying billions to all the possible think-tanks in the USA and the UK...?

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

    Anyway, the war goes on at a higher pace than for most of the last two months. If my quick count of all the reported air strikes for yesterday is correct, some 60 were flown, including 19 against Hardadh and Midi in Hajjah, at least three on Sa'ada, 4 on Nihm, and more on Hodeida area. The Houthis 'responded' by a single Zelzal DIY-rocket fired in Jawf. Heaven only knows if this even worked...

    Air strikes on the port of Khukha (see my summary from two days ago) turned out to be my misunderstanding of Sputnik's mixing of reports about attacks on the port of Hodeida (and destruction of 'cranes used for delivering food') with reports about 1-2 air strikes on a village outside Khukha. I.e. it turned out there was no Houthi counterattack there as such: rather a raiding party ambushing whatever vehicles were moving in the area. This was then tracked down and repeatedly hit by UAEAF fighter-bombers and helicopters - in response to which the Houthis insta-claimed civilian casualties.

    Of course, the Houthis and Iranians claim 'dozens of Saudi-paid mercenaries' killed in every single engagement, and 'US-Saudi air strikes killing civilians'. Indeed, one of most absurd of their ideas published in this war so far, was that it was the US Ambassador to Yemen that 'incited' the Houthis to kill Saleh.

    I mean... really... :roll:

  14. #214
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Another 'Iranian missile' - i.e. Burkan-2H - fired in direction of Riyad: Yemen rebel ballistic missile 'intercepted over Riyadh'
    The Saudi-led coalition battling Yemen's Houthi rebels says it has intercepted a ballistic missile near Riyadh, Saudi state media report.

    Witnesses in the Saudi capital posted videos on social media showing a cloud of smoke in the air and there were no immediate reports of any damage.

    The Houthi movement's al-Masirah TV said rebel fighters had fired a Burkan-2 missile at the Yamama Palace.
    ...
    Yemen's Houthis say missile targeted meeting of Saudi leaders, at the Royal Palace.

    Guess, Trump Admin and the Saudis are now convinced that the IRGC is teleporting these from Tehran straight to Sa'ada - probably in a conspiracy with the crew of USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)...

    BTW, the Houthis fired another Qaher-2M in direction of Saudi and YNA positions in the Jawf province, too.

  15. #215
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    ...and here the video of the interception of the newest Burkan-2H.

    For those who might wonder, 'why so many Patriots'?

    Contrary to what all the possible experts, Riyad and the White House are claiming, Burkans are no 'Iranian-made Qiams'.

    They're de-facto 'DIY-Scuds': most are malfunctioning shortly after the start (the first detonated directly above Sa'ada, shortly after launch, just for example). At least as many are failing on re-entry, tumbling upside down, falling apart etc. Their wreckage is confusing fire-control systems of PAC-2/3s, and that's why then so many interceptors are fired in return: each one or two for 'one big chunk of the wreckage'.

  16. #216
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    Default Graduates of the Wile E Coyote School of Rocket Science

    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

  17. #217
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Pity Scuds were not as famous at the times Willy Coyote was still drawn.

  18. #218
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Here a video of the Burkan-2H (supposedly) fired yesterday by the Houthis at Riyadh (in the case of Houthi-released videos, one can never be 100% sure).

    The missile has got small fins (hard to see on most of the video, but visible when one makes stills) and its usual front part - which is shorter and stubbier than that of the Qiam.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  19. #219
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    Default Yemen: National Chaos, Local Order

    A report by Chatham House and explained as:
    Yemen has become a ‘chaos state’ – a nominal entity that exists largely as lines on a map and as a concept in newspaper reports and policymaker briefings.
    Link:https://www.chathamhouse.org/publica...os-local-order

    Having skimmed the summary it is so similar to Somalia for one, except the aerial bombing is far less.
    davidbfpo

  20. #220
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    How truth (and sad)...

    BTW, gauging by their performance in the last 24 or so months, it's something like 'accident' that the Criticalthreats.org is publishing something as interesting, and information-stuffed as this 'situation report'.

    They do remain faithful to insisting on the legend that most of the forces in question are kind of 'fighting for Hadi' (actually: hardly anybody is left in Yemen doing that):

    ...The incorporation of forces affiliated with the Islah (Reform) party and the resumption of efforts led by Yemeni Vice President Field Marshal Ali Mohsen al Ahmar have pressured al Houthi positions on the eastern front line. The UAE shifted its position on the Islah party, which includes members of the Muslim Brotherhood, on December 13, to pull Islah into the anti-al Houthi alliance. Islahis had been meeting with al Houthi officials during the fall likely because of the anti-Islah position the Emiratis held. Islah-affiliated troops, along with the 19th infantry, 21st mechanized, and 26th infantry brigades and southern militias, helped coalition-backed forces seize a strategic road linking eastern and northern Yemen in Bayhan district in Shabwah governorate. Ali Mohsen’s forces seized the primary road connecting Sa’ada and al Jawf governorates, northern Yemen in early December and are continuing an offensive to establish a foothold in northern Sa’ada . Ali Mohsen pledged to advance his forces toward Sana’a after Saleh defected from the al Houthi movement but has yet to make any significant gains.

    Emirati-backed Yemeni forces, supported by Yemeni military units previously commanded by Ahmed Saleh, are advancing north along the Red Sea coastline toward al Hudaydah port. Former Republican Guard units joined Emirati and Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi government-aligned forces to help break a nearly yearlong stalemate on Yemen’s western coast. The new offensive aims to seize al Hudaydah port, a critical supply hub for the al Houthis, in order to isolate the al Houthi positions in Yemen. Ahmed Saleh, whom Hadi had appointed ambassador to the UAE, has been in talks with the Emiratis since the crisis began. The Emiratis may see Ahmed Saleh as his father’s successor and could be positioning him to assume the leadership of his father’s party, the General People’s Congress (GPC). The UAE has been involved in internal GPC talks after Ali Abdullah Saleh’s death.
    ...
    Ah well... at least they've added a very good map with an ORBAT: this saves one a lots of digging.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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