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Old 12-30-2015   #1
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Default Yemen in 2016-2017: an intractable war?

A new thread for 2016-2017. The current thread which started in 2011 has had 47k views and 222 posts:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=12784

Time for a new thread, as this war is very unlikely to end soon.
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Old 01-03-2016   #2
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Want to understand how sectarianism fits into the conflict in #Yemen? This by @almuslimi is a great place to start. http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=62375

How war, Gulf tension & identity politics are poisoning formerly live-&-let-live #Yemen with sectarianism

The new wave of sectarian rhetoric in #Yemen draws on many sources, but there has been a fascinating historical interplay between the rise of Sunni-chauvinist salafism in northern Yemen, pioneered by the #Saudi-trained salafi Muqbil Wadei, which fuelled the simultaneous rise of an #Iran-influenced counter-movement that "Shiafied" Zaydism—the Houthis. All of this took place among tribes that had fought plenty but never bothered much with otherizing people on religious grounds. Familiar story: fringe radicals weaponize sectarian shibboleths to increase polarization, gaining support while tearing the country apart.. Societies are brittle things

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Old 01-03-2016   #3
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...here what I find a very interesting (if not outright 'ultimately important') feature on coming-into-being of one of most important legends about the ongoing Yemen War:

How False Stories of Iran Arming the Houthis Were Used to Justify War in Yemen
Quote:
Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal that the story of the arms onboard the ship had been concocted by the government.

...
The government of the Republic of Yemen, then dominated by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, claimed that it had seized a vessel named Mahan 1 in Yemeni territorial waters on October 25, 2009, with a crew of five Iranians, and that it had found weapons onboard the ship. The UN expert panel report repeated the official story that authorities had confiscated the weapons and that the First Instance Court of Sana'a had convicted the crew of the Mahan 1 of smuggling arms from Iran to Yemen.

But diplomatic cables from the US Embassy in Yemen released by WikiLeaks in 2010 reveal that, although the ship and crew were indeed Iranian, the story of the arms onboard the ship had been concocted by the government. On October 27, 2009, the US Embassy sent a cable to the State Department noting that the Embassy of Yemen in Washington had issued a press statement announcing the seizure of a "foreign vessel carrying a quantity of arms and other goods...." But another cable dated November 11, 2009, reported that the government had "failed to substantiate its extravagant public claims that an Iranian ship seized off its coast on October 25 was carrying military trainers, weapons and explosives destined for the Houthis."
...

A follow-up Embassy cable five days later reported that the government had already begun to revise its story in light of the US knowledge that no arms had been found on board. "The ship was apparently empty when it was seized," according to the cable. "However, echoing a claim by Yemen Ambassador al-Hajj, FM [Foreign Minister] Qaairbi told Pol Chief [chief of the US Embassy's political section] on 11/15 the fact that the ship was empty indicated the arms had already been delivered."
...

Unlike the government's story of the Mahan 1 and its phantom weapons, the official claim that a ship called the Jihan 1, seized on January 23, 2013, had arms onboard was true. But the totality of the evidence shows that the story of an Iranian arms shipment to the Houthis was false.

The ship was stopped in Yemeni waters by a joint patrol of the Yemeni Coast Guard and the US Navy, and an inspection found a cache of weapons and ammunition. The cargo including man-portable surface-to-air missiles, 122-millimeter rockets, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, C-4 plastic explosive blocks and equipment for improvised explosive devices.

Some weeks later, the UN expert panel inspected the weaponry said to have been found on board the Jihan 1 and found labels stuck on ammunition boxes with the legend "Ministry of Sepah" - the former name of the Iranian military logistics ministry. The panel report said the panel had determined that "all available information placed the Islamic Republic of Iran at the centre of the Jihan operation."

But except for those labels, which could have been affixed to the boxes after the government had taken possession of the arms, nothing about the ship or the weapons actually pointed to Iran. All of the crew and the businessmen said to have arranged the shipment were Yemenis, according to the report. And the expert panel cited no evidence that the ship was Iranian or that the weapons were manufactured in Iran.
...
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Old 01-29-2016   #4
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Default Can the Saudi-led coalition win the war in Yemen?

An overview of the small war by a SME, Helen Lackner (who has resided in country for many years) and the sub-title helps:
Quote:
Those deciding for war in March 2015 gave little thought to Yemeni realities, military, logistic, topographic, social or political, human cost, or an exit strategy. But questions are being raised.
Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-a...n-war-in-yemen
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Old 02-01-2016   #5
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Default The war IN Saudi Arabia

Following a Twitter alert a Western MSM (Reuters) report on the war inside Saudi Arabia and here is the relevant text (half of the report):
Quote:
Mortars and rockets fired at Saudi Arabian towns and villages have killed 375 civilians, including 63 children, since the start of the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen in late March, Riyadh said on Monday....the Houthi militia and army forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh had fired more than 40,000 projectiles across the border since the war began. In a measure of how fierce the fighting on the frontier continues to be, nearly 130 mortars and 15 missiles were fired by the Houthis and Saleh's forces at Saudi border positions on Monday alone...
Link:http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0VA36T
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Old 02-09-2016   #6
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A curious twist to the scene:
Quote:
One of Australia's most decorated military soldiers, who is now serving as a senior advisor for the United Arab Emirates forces, is facing questions about his knowledge of civilian attacks in Yemen....The UAE Presidential Guard, the unit that General Hindmarsh is listed as commanding, is reported to be operating on the ground in Yemen.
Link:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-0...dmarsh/7141638
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Old 02-12-2016   #7
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Default The current situation in Yemen: causes and consequences

A former UK diplomat, Noel Brehony, an Arabist and expert on the Yemen has a long review of the situation, almost a briefing document:https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-a...1b7e-407365113

The sub-title:
Quote:
The conflict will not lead to a clear victory: there will need to be some difficult compromises. Meanwhile, the destruction continues and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Islamic State terrorists are exploiting the situation.
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Old 02-18-2016   #8
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Default One thing does seem to be working well in Aden: electricity.

A first-hand report from Aden:http://www.theguardian.com/cities/20...-qaida-jihadis
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Old 02-19-2016   #9
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Default Aden: weakening the state AQAP & IS

From the latest Soufan Group briefing on the Yemen, well actually Aden and these two events are of note:
Quote:
On February 17, 2016, a suicide bomber from the so-called Islamic State struck an anti-Houthi coalition training camp in Aden, killing at least 13 Yemeni troops. The day before, on February 16, suspected gunmen from AQAP attacked a convoy carrying the governor and the security director of the Yemeni city of Aden. For both men, the attack marked the second assassination attempt since the beginning of the year........The Islamic State assassinated the governor of Aden in December 2015, and attempted to assassinate his replacement a month later. In late January, the group even targeted the residence of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Link:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrie...haos-in-yemen/
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Old 02-20-2016   #10
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I read such reports too, and then articles like this one by RUSI, trying to discuss potential RSAF role in Syria (quite vainly, then although providing quite a 'nice list' of RSAF-hardware, its author still missed some of most important pieces and capabilities in question), should it be deployed there.

Something is just not adding up here.

Firstly, while MSM is babbling a lot about 'AQAP in Aden this' and AQAP in Mukhalla that' - next to nobody reported not only an entire spate of anti-AQAP ops by this newly-established 'Yemen National Army' (a pro-Hadi force, recruited and paid for by KSA and UAE). Indeed, next to nobody reported the first major Saudi anti-AQAP operation.

Question is: why?

My standpoint is: 'credit (or critique) where credit (or critique) is due.

Therefore...

Since January, the AQAP launched a number of assassination attempts on various officials of Hadi's 'government' (I admit having a problem calling them that way; in essence, Hadi and his 'ministers' remain Saudi puppets) - primarily in Aden area. On 9 January, they killed a senior security official in the city; on 17 January they nearly killed another (that is: they killed four of his bodyguards, while the official in question survived the second attempt on his life) etc. Meanwhile, the AQAP consolidated its control of Zinjibar and established a number of checkpoints along the road from Aden to Abyan; sabotaged two pipelines connecting oil storage facilities to a refinery in Buraiqah (Aden); attacked a YNA checkpoint in Wadi Ser; and then took away all the heavy armament from a number of ex-YA bases they have overrun in this part of Yemen since March last year. By 5 February, even Daesh's Wilayat Hadramawt began publishing videos about wonderful life in Daesh-controlled parts of Yemen and similar PRBS...

USA, a party supposedly ah so very much concerned because - between others - it declared the AQAP for 'most dangerous single terrorist entity', reacted with a few of typical UCAV strikes: murderously precise but hopelessly ineffective. Yup, they assassinate 'three AQAP there' and 'four AQAP here', but otherwise US military is still not moving against the AQAP.

Things began to change on 19 January, when several USN warships imposed a de-facto blockade of the port of Mukhalla, AQAP's major stronghold in Yemen - and apparently a major source of income (then, at least according to Saudi reports, AQAP meanwhile became involved in very intensive - and lucrative - business of trafficking fuel, arms and supplies via Mukhalla to the Houthis in Sana'a).

Then, on 10 February, Saudi Marines - supported by RSGF Apaches and UAEAF Mirage 2000s - de-facto invaded Mukhalla and then heavily raided the local port, killing or arresting dozens of AQAP in the process. With them, the Saudis brought first units of the YNA and even some units of newly-established Yemeni police (first official police units present in this part of Yemen since nearly a year). ***See correction 23/3 on Post 18***

There are indications that a similar operation was meanwhile launched agaist the AQAP inside Aden too - and has already yielded first successes. Sure, Daesh suicide-bombed one of YNA's training camps there, three days ago. BUT, since that day (17 February) Saudi-led coalition is said to have flown about 50 highly effective air strikes on AQAP in Lahij and Abyan too.

Make no mistake: except some 'indication of movements in this direction' from Asharq al-Awsat (which is clearly 'in Saudi service'), I've found no beep in the MSM about any kind of Saudi-run anti-AQAP ops.

Somehow, I doubt this is so 'only' because most of that is pre-occuppied discussing US strikes on Libya or the situation in Syria. On the contrary: much of the MSM should have been bought by Saudis. So, why don't they do what they are supposed to do...?

Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-23-2016 at 11:41 AM. Reason: Correction pointer added.
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Old 03-05-2016   #11
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Default AQAP gains HAM

From a previously unknown website, via Twitter, on the gains made in parts of the Yemen by AQAP and it's newly named local affiliates: https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2016/...ing-new-names/
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Old 03-06-2016   #12
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Elijah J Mangier is another major PR-tool of the Assadist regime in Syria - of similar 'quality' like 'al-Masdar News'.

His blog is at least 2, perhaps more years 'old', and sometimes posting Iranian PRBS about Yemen.

In the case of the 'article' you linked above, David, he's babbling about 'Saudi-led Op Decisive Storm helping al-Qaida'.

To make few things clear here: yes, this is one of results of the Op Decisive Storm, but was never intended. What happened is that the advance during that operation was so quick, that the total of about 40,000 involved Saudi, Emirati, Bahraini etc. troops de-facto created a 'power vacuum' behind them: because of total collapse of Yemeni Army and police, there was nobody left behind them to control the 'liberated' areas.

This is what the AQAP exploited in order to establish itself in control of a number of places, foremost in Mukalla area. As mentioned above, Saudis are already neck-deep in fighting them.

Anyway, crucial result of the Op Decisive Storm was to stop such 'blitz' operations. Instead, Saudis and their intergalactic allies decided to spend the next 6-8 months with building a new Yemeni National Army (YNA), and new police. That's why no other major operation was undertaken ever since, i.e. why this war appears to be 'stagnating/going nowhere' ever since September last year. That's also why there were so many reports about graduation of new YNA units etc., the last two months or so.

This period is meanwhile nearly over, the YNA has a strenght of about 20,000; there is a new police too.

Obviously, the AQAP wasn't sitting iddle either, and thus it's not as easy to kick them out of Mukalla now. On the contrary, they are active in Aden too, and there is hardly a day without report about another assassination of some of Hadi's officials.

Mangier's babbling about 'nervousnes reaching its peak' in regards of that video showing a Hezbollah/Lebanon advisor talking to a group of Houthis is nonsense.

Actually it is so that Saudi special forces run a minor op in Sa'ada Governorate, back in early February, and smashed one of Houthi HQs there, capturing loads of documentation in the process - including that video. The video in question - see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NmLhAzRj8o - is very important, because it's the first-ever 'firm' evidence for Hezbollah presence on Houthi side in Yemen (i.e. it began convincing 'even' such cynical and sarcastic thugs like me that Saudis might be right after all, especially if combined with a review of how many of Yemenis that originally sided with Houthis have meanwhile turned against them).

Means: that video is surely no reason for Saudis to get 'nervous'. Rather something that made them very happy. And that's a good indication for 'quality' of the rest of Mangier's 'literature'...

Last edited by CrowBat; 03-06-2016 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 03-06-2016   #13
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...and 'BTW': another indication that Saudi (and allied) reporting about what are they intending to do and/or doing in such places like Yemen remains diletantic - and this despite them bribing dozens and hundreds of media-platforms and journalists - is their complete failure to report about developments on the ground.

For example, almost completely ignored by the media is the fact that after days long air strikes, Saudi, Emirati and YNA troops have captured the Camp Arqoob - a major military base in southern outskirts of Sana'a - early the last week.

Since last weekend, they are battling Houthis and YA in Bani Faraj, which is an eastern suburb of Sana'a.

What is also unknown is that one of first reactions of YA troops inside the city (a concentration of about 15 different brigades) was for an entire brigade of the Presidential Guard (exact designation unknown yet, but apparently the T-80-equipped 3rd Armoured) - to defect to the Saudi-led side.

Although enjoying something like 10:1 quantitative advantage over Saudi/Emirati-led ground troops, all the Houthis/YA were able to do 'against' this was to fire a single SS-21 at Marib, on 3 March.

...all of which means that the 'Battle of Sana'a' is already in full swing, and very few people outside the Middle East know about this.
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Old 03-11-2016   #14
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The YNA - apparently in cooperation with Saudi, Emirati, Bahraini and Sudanese troops - has broken the siege of Ta'iz, yesterday.

After losing the 'Base 35' (apparently the main base of the former 35th Armoured Brigade YA), Houthis and YA have retreated into north-eastern part of Ta'iz, and are still controlling the local airport plus parts of theuniversity. The latter is besieged though, with Houthis entrenched inside the Medical Faculty and in the Deanship Building, while the Engineering School and Main Building have already been secured.

Today, the YNA captured as-Saleh Parks and is advancing into the ad-Dhabab Valley.

Saudi-led intergalactic coalition heavily bombed all the roads connecting the city with Sana'a and other Houthi-controlled areas, effectively preventing any reinforcements from reaching the area.
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Old 03-16-2016   #15
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Two days ago, Saudis & CO launched a major offensive on AQAP in Mansoura District of Aden. This was supported by at least 30 air strikes.

AQAP appears to have been completely destroyed there: the place is reported as 'secured' even by southern Yemeni separatists.

While returning from related operations, an UAEAF Mirage 2000 two-seater crashed into a mountain, killing a crew of two. Exact reasons remain unknown (as usually).
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Old 03-20-2016   #16
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The loss of that UAEAF Mirage 2000 was not in vain: reports from Aden indicate that the Saudis and allies have completely destroyed the AQAP in Mansoura district, and this is now secure.

Indeed, and to make things 'better' I guess: Al-Qaeda militants battle each other in Zinjibar...
Quote:
...The clashes broke out in the southern city of Zinjibar late Sunday, leaving at least seven militants dead and another nine wounded, according to Yemeni officials. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

The rival factions are led by local commander known as Abu Anas al-Sanani and another known as Ossan Baliedy, the brother of Jalal Baliedy, the leader who was killed along with three others in a drone strike on Thursday.

The late Baliedy headed al-Qaeda in Abyan province, of which Zinjibar is the capital, and was known for brutality, including the beheading of 16 soldiers in August 2014. He was believed to be ideologically closer to ISIS, which is locked in a bitter rivalry with al-Qaeda and has a branch in Yemen.
...
...but, on the other side... sigh... Airstrikes on Yemen market killed 41 civilians and wounded 75: senior health official
Quote:
...Saudi-led warplanes on Tuesday launched two airstrikes on a busy market in a northern Yemeni region controlled by Houthi rebels, killing and wounding dozens of people, witnesses and medics said.

The state-run news agency SABA, which is controlled by the Houthis, said at least 65 people were killed and 55 wounded.

But Dr. Ayman Mathkour, the director of the Haja health department, told Reuters that the airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen's Haja province killed 41 civilians and wounded 75 others.

Relatives gathered the bodies and transported the wounded to Abs hospital and Mustaba District Hospital in Haja city.

Three witnesses described a scene of carnage, with dozens wounded or killed, but had no precise figures.

The market in the city of Mastaba, in Haja province, serves tens of thousands of people and was struck during a busy time. Witnesses said there were no military targets nearby. A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis on behalf of the internationally recognized government for a year now.

Doctors Without Borders spokeswoman Malak Shaher told The Associated Press that at least 40 of the wounded were transferred to a nearby hospital, three of whom were in critical condition.

The Houthis' TV network al-Masirah showed graphic footage of dead children and charred bodies next to sacks of flour and twisted metal. Witnesses said houses, shops and restaurants were also damaged, while cars caught on fire.

"The scene was terrifying," Showei Hamoud told The Associated Press by phone from Mastaba. "Blood and body parts everywhere." Many of the dead are children who work stalls or carry goods in return for tips, he said.

"People collected the torn limbs in bags and blankets," he said, adding that he could count up to 40 motionless bodies.

A second witness, Mazahem Khedr, said "dozens were killed" and that he saw wounded people screaming for help. Mohammed Mustafa said people were afraid to help the wounded, fearing a third airstrike.

Haja is northwest of the capital, Sanaa, which fell to the Houthis in September 2014.
...
Let me guess: Saudis are going to 'investigate and publish all results'...

Ever since that air strike on Mostaba in northern Hajjah Province from 15 March is 'news of the day' about Yemen in all of the Western MSM. Now, one of ironic things about this tragedy is that the Western media can't stop increasing the number of fatalities, from over 100, perhaps as many as 119 - of whom up to 22 should have been children.

As usually, Saudis are reacting in idiotic fashion: Saudis say it might not be them... enough said...

However, some of local sources - or at least Western MSM citing local sources - are indicating that this strike actually did target Houthis or YA/Salleh forces - but went wrong (with undeniably tragic consequences): Saudi-led Yemen market strike killed 33 rebels: tribal chief. Interestingly, such sources are usually citing much lower casualty figures too:
Quote:
A Yemeni tribal chief said Wednesday that 33 of the 41 people killed in a Saudi-led air strike on a market in a northern province were rebel fighters, not civilians as first reported.

Medics and tribal sources said that the Tuesday strike in the rebel-held Hajja province killed 41 people and wounded 35.

A health official in Hajja said the dead were civilians.

But on Wednesday a tribal chief close to Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels said that 33 of those were "fighters".

"The fighters were riding in three vehicles at a military camp that was hit by three air raids," the chief told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He added that Saudi-led warplanes then hit the market when the Huthis arrived there.

An official at a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Tuesday the facility had received the bodies of 41 people killed in the raids.

But the charity disputed the claim on Wednesday.

"MSF's hospital in the region received 44 people wounded in the incident, two of whom died," the group's Yemen project coordinator Juan Prieto said.

The rebel-run sabanews.net website said on Tuesday that the coalition carried out two raids targeting the market and a restaurant in the area and gave a toll of 65 civilians dead and 55 wounded.
....
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Old 03-20-2016   #17
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Meanwhile, in reaction to international uproar over that strike on market in Mostaba Saudis have announced a draw-down of their air strikes in Yemen. What do they mean with a 'drawdown' is unclear though, then air strikes continue: on 17 March, Saudi-led coalition bombed al-Hafa military base outside Sana'a (closest air strikes to Sana'a since 10 March), while Saudi and/or Emirati AH-64s destroyed an entire AQAP convoy underway between Aden and Zinjibar. Last night (i.e. this morning) they flew seven air strikes against targets in Sana'a area.

In Ta'iz... After shelling Ta'iz for nearly a full day yesterday (and killing at least six civilians), Houthis and YA have launched a counteroffensive there. It seems they are attempting to re-take the western side of the city.

Saudi-led coalition launched about a dozen of air strikes yesterday afternoon, and is continuing air strikes this morning. According to Saudi sources, air strikes are now largely guided by YNA FACs, but I have my doubts about this: although the YNA should now have two brigades in the city (the 22nd and an unknown one), there are still Saudi and Emirati FACs with them.

That said, no major Saudi, Emirati or 'allied' unit is involved in this battle: most of fighting is done by the YNA, local 'Popular Resistance Committees' - and the AQAP.

Ironically... there is an equivalent of some 4-5 brigades of the latter sitting in Aden and doing nothing. Reason: they are Southern Separatists that fought against Houthis when that city was besieged, and who insist to get paid for that, but refuse to continue fighting against Houthis in Ta'iz and similar places now. Instead, they are causing plenty of trouble for Hadi and his foreign allies.

Ah yes, and AQAP keeps on spreading. On 15 March they have captured Raydah in Hadramawt governorate, and clashed with YNA units near al-Anad AB.

Overall, I expect the AQAP to continue causing ever more problems. Namely, Saudis and allies are going to continue their withdrawal and hand over ever more of frontlines to the YNA: they're not only not curious to involve more of their ground forces, but now also under increasing international pressure. But, the YNA is still much too small but to bring all of 'liberated' Yemen under control...
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Old 03-23-2016   #18
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Plenty of things happening in Yemen the last two days - all at once.

As first, Israel flew in 19 Yemeni Jews, ending immigration mission. Between others, one of Rabbis flown out took with him a 500-years old Torah scroll.

According to Israelis, with this, they have evacuated all the Jews from Yemen, bringing related airlift operations 'to conclusion'. That said, about 50 Yemeni Jews decided to stay (40 of them are living in a compound near the US embassy in Sana'a).

'Best' of all is: Yemeni social media is full of reports about this operation being run in cooperation between Israelis and Houthis, i.e. there being a secret deal. With other words, Houthis are now defamed as 'traitors' and 'Israeli agents':
Quote:
..."Not only did the agents of the Zionist occupation collaborate with Israel and the United States in the covert operation to airlift Yemenite Jews to Israel, they also allowed these Jews to steal our heritage," a Yemenite activist wrote on his Twitter page, referring to the ancient Torah scroll the Rabbi brought with him.

"After Houthis ignited war in different provinces in Yemen under the slogan "Death to Israel," the truth about them is revealed," read another popular remark regarding the ostensible "Israel-Houthi collaboration."

The official Twitter account of one of the well-known Yemenite daily newspapers, Yemen Now, went even further, claiming that "Houthis stipulated their collaboration with Israel on its support for them in international forums."
...
**************

In Ta'iz area, the Houthis/YA have brought in the 11th Brigade, the last intact major unit of the YA left. This launched a counterattack on the YNA's positions at Jabal Han and Maqahwiyah, and overrun these, thus putting the city under siege again. Meanwhile, they should have captured the central prison too.

This is obviously a major setback for Hadi, who clearly failed to deploy reinforcements to Ta'iz: locals are complaining they feel 'abandoned by the government'. That said, plenty of such complaints are based on typical lack of patience: in essence, the locals expected everything would get better 'instantly' - which is impossible, of course. On the contrary, alone the situation with thousands of mines left behind by Houthis/YA is terrible: dozens of civilians were killed by these the last few days - foremost various merchants that rushed to Ta'iz in attempt to sell food to people there, but also at least two kids.

Of course, this is no good news for the Saudi-led coalition either: their heavy bombardment of the 11th Brigade as this advanced for Ta'iz appears to have been ineffective. Reasons are unknown, but possibly related to feint movement of several other YA units. Guess, without them deploying their ground troops to this area too, not much is going to change.

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

I have to correct one of my earlier reports: namely, sometimes in late February I reported a Saudi attack on Mukhalla, a port in southern Yemen controlled by the AQAP. It turned out this was a 'mere' raid. That is: Saudi Marines landed east of this town, destroyed a major ammo depot there, and then withdrew. They also landed inside the port, destroyed several depots there (probably related to ammo), and then withdrew too.

Means: Mukhalla remains under AQAP control (i.e. their branch calling itself 'Sonst of Hadramawt').

Sorry for this: was my misunderstanding of related reports.
**Moderator has added correction pointer to Post 10**.

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

Talking about AQAP: the US flew a major air strike on AQAP training camp outside Mukhalla, and there are claims about dozens of KIA:
Quote:
...Tribal sources in the area told AFP that a series of airstrikes hit the camp and that wounded militants were taken to a hospital in Mukalla.

Witnesses there reported seeing around nine vehicles carrying casualties from the area.

Dozens of Al-Qaeda militants were meanwhile seen rushing to the hospital to donate blood, according to residents.
...
The Pentagon claims up to '200 KIA in two air strikes'.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-23-2016 at 11:42 AM. Reason: Add Mod's note
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Old 03-26-2016   #19
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Finally a sane analysis of military aspects of this war - by Michael Knights from WINEP:

Gulf Coalition Operations in Yemen (Part 1): The Ground War

Gulf Coalition Operations in Yemen (Part 2): The Air War

Gulf Coalition Operations in Yemen (Part 3): Maritime and Aerial Blockade

Disclaimer: any relations to certain posters of this forum are fully intentional.
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Old 03-27-2016   #20
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Plenty of news from Yemen today.

Firstly, it turns out the AQAP learned what to do with that strange stick of long, green, heavy tubes they've captured from the 190th Air Defense Brigade (Yemen Air Force) at Riyan AB (outsie Mukhalla), on 25 April 2015:
Yemen conflict: Al-Qaeda ‘used surface-to-air missile’ to bring down Emirati fighter jet
Quote:
...A French-made Mirage jet, flying in the air force of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), crashed into a mountain side just outside the southern port city of Aden on 14 March. Authorities claimed that the crash was “the result of a technical malfunction”, but sources dispute this, claiming that the jet was shot down with Russian munitions.
...

Two pilots flying the jet were killed in the crash and locals reported seeing Apache helicopters and the jet engaged in an attack on AQAP forces dug into a district to the west of Aden. Security sources have estimated that some 300 jihadist fighters were under attack at the time the jet came down.

A source in Yemen told The Independent that the surface-to-air missile was a Russian-manufactured SA-7 or “Strela”. The SA-7 is a shoulder held heat-seeking missile. It has a “kill zone” range of between 15 and 1,500 metres in altitude, suggesting that the Mirage was flying low in a strafing run on the AQAP positions when it was hit.
...

A second source, who has close links with the Saudi intelligence service, said that the missile which brought down the Emirati jet this month was acquired by AQAP in raids on military bases that have occurred over the past year.

“Al Qaeda has confiscated huge amounts of weapons from bases in Yemen,” he said. He cited two such bases, one at al-Aryan along the southern coast east of Aden and another at Ataq, the capital of the southern governorate of Shabwah.
...
...and I was already wondering, how would Emiratis and Saudis know it was 'technical malfunction' - just minutes after that poor Mirage crashed.

Though, if they call every MANPAD-hit on their fighter-bombers a 'technical malfunction' (which, hand on heart, is the case: things that blow up when hitting combat aircraft tend to cause multiple technical malfunctions), then now we at least know what happened to that Moroccan F-16, and that Bahraini F-16, and those Saudi and Emirati AH-64s...

Ah, I'm drifting away... This is interesting too:
Yemeni forces make key gains in Jawf
Quote:
...Yemen army forces and allied tribesmen in the northern province of Jawf said on Saturday they had taken complete control of the district of Al Metoun after Iran-backed Al Houthi militants pulled out of their positions.

“Al Houthis preferred to withdraw ahead of (the) arrival of a large (number of) troops on the edges of the district,” Abdullah Al Ashraf, a spokesperson for resistance militants in the province, told Gulf News on Saturday.

Unlike other front lines where government forces are struggling to break Al Houthis’ military lines, Yemeni forces have seized large swathes of land from the militants including the province’s capital, Hazem, since late last year.
...

Al Ashraf, who also returned to his house in the same city, said: “People came back home when Al Houthis left the city without fighting.”
...

After clearing militants out of Al Metoun and recently the district of Al Masloub, Al Ashraf said that only two districts are still under Al Houthis’ control in the province.

“If we manage to (take) control (of) these districts, we would be on the border with Saada.” Saada is an Al Houthi stronghold in the northwest of the country.

Military analysts say that the government forces are pushing their advance into the remaining regions in the province as to surround the militants in Saada.

In the province of Sana’a, Yemeni forces said on Friday they had seized some mountainous areas outside the capital after fierce fighting with Al Houthis and army units loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Abdullah Al Shandagi, Sana’a resistance spokesperson, said on Friday that the government forces pushed Al Houthis out of the mountain of Sulta and a small village called Al Houl.
...

A year after the beginning of the military operation against Al Houthis, government forces are now less than 30km from the Yemeni capital.
...

Local media reports recently said that Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, the deputy chief commander of armed forces, met with the leaders of some of these tribes in the central province of Marib where they assured him their support to the advancing government forces in Sana’a province.
Hm... Houthis running away without giving a battle? That's news...

Even better news from battles against the AQAP. One of Hadi's officials is very happy to announce:
Quote:
...“This morning, airstrikes targeted a stronghold of the terrorist group on the outskirts of Aden province, in Al Fyoush area," a source in Aden’s interior ministry told The National, without providing details of casualties.

“Raids also struck a crowd of terrorists in Abyan province’s Ja’ar district, close to a factory."
...
Well, Abyan was actually hit by a US UAV strike
Quote:
Air raids killed 14 men suspected of belonging to al Qaeda in southern Yemen on Sunday, medics and local residents said, in one of the largest U.S.-led assaults on the group since a civil war broke out a year ago.
...

Residents in southern Yemen said an aircraft bombed buildings used by al Qaeda in the southern coastal Abyan province and destroyed a government intelligence headquarters in the provincial capital Zinjibar that the militants had captured and were using as a base. Medics said six people were killed.

Earlier on Sunday a suspected U.S. drone attack killed eight militants gathered in courtyards in the villages of al-Hudhn and Naqeel al-Hayala in Abyan, residents told Reuters by phone.
...
...while the Saudis (or their allies) then bombed Zinjibar too:
Quote:
Saudi-led coalition warplanes carried out a series of raids in southern Yemen on Sunday targeting Al-Qaeda positions that killed five suspected militants, a Yemeni military official said.
...

The official, who requested anonymity, said the jihadists were killed in air strikes that targeted buildings in the city of Zinjibar, including an intelligence and special forces headquarters occupied by the militants.

Several people were also wounded and taken to a hospital in the nearby town of Jaar, the official said.

An abandoned army weapons factory in Jaar which the jihadists had taken over was also hit, the official added, but was unable to say if there were any casualties.

Other raids carried out by the Saudi-led coalition struck suspected Al-Qaeda positions in second city Aden at dawn, according to the same official.
...
Hm... interesting to hear there's still AQAP in Aden area: the last report cited something like 'all destroyed'. But then, nobody said that a massive improvement in combat effectiveness and -performance of several major Arab militaries must mean that the PR-skills of their governments experienced a similar improvement...
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