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Old 04-19-2015   #161
CrowBat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Crowbat,

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'.
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Old 04-19-2015   #162
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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 is proudly reporting today:
Quote:
...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.

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) 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...

Last edited by CrowBat; 04-19-2015 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 04-23-2015   #163
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The Saudis continue to lie to themselves, first and foremost. Between others, in his briefing from yesterday, Asiri went on to babble that:
Quote:
“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 (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.
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Old 04-23-2015   #164
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On the sidelines of this war:
The Saudi prince who offered Bentleys to bombers
Quote:
...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 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'...

Last edited by CrowBat; 04-23-2015 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 04-23-2015   #165
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Default AQAP assessment

A useful primer on AQAP in the Yemen, with details of attacks, locations and types etc - via WoTR:http://warontherocks.com/2015/04/wha.../?singlepage=1

The aithors conclude:
Quote:
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.
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Old 04-24-2015   #166
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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.
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Old 04-25-2015   #167
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...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.
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Old 04-26-2015   #168
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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.
Enjoy.
https://www.facebook.com/50768097932...8/?pnref=story
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Old 05-08-2015   #169
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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
Quote:
'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
Quote:
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.
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Old 05-11-2015   #170
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...and because it's so funny... 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
Quote:
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.
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File Type: jpg FARM F-16CB52 08-8008 sdSaada 10May15.jpg (94.1 KB, 22 views)
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Old 05-18-2015   #171
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Default Here we go again, what crisis and how many crises?

From the BBC:
Quote:
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:
Quote:
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
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Old 05-21-2015   #172
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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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyAKhDLEPcY

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... ) 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 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
Quote:
...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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoV9Z6NXH5I

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), 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
Quote:
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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5DJKP7GqHo

Curiously, Saudi Spokesman Brig Gen Asiri didn't comment on this with even a single word...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg YA BM-21 Taizz 16May15.jpg (29.7 KB, 14 views)

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #173
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Default Escalation - Saudi Arabia shoots down Scud missile fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels

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

Quote:
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/article...d-missile.html
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #174
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Saudis in a deep Shia now.



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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #175
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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.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #176
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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.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #177
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...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...

Last edited by davidbfpo; 1 Week Ago at 06:46 PM. Reason: was in a stand alone thread till merged here
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Default A first-hand report from Aden

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/article...e-houthis.html

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....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.
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