The news for the last month has been the situation in Yemen……(head scratch)……most Americans only know Yemen as the port that the USS Cole was attacked or that there are a multitude of drone strikes going after terrorists. After that…..NOTHING.
Yemen has a rich history of instability. There has been one form of conflict or another for decades…….but it became an important ally when AQ attacked NYC on 9/11…..why? Yemen has been a training ground for AQ for years and the US to flex its geopolitical muscle has been bombarding Yemen with drones targeting AQAP. The president was an American lackey and the army has been trained by US forces …….that is until recently when a mistreated minority, the Houthis, decided they had had enough and committed themselves to rebellion.
Part of the confusion…..Houthis are a Shi’a sect…..the prez and his army were of the Sunni persuasion……AQAP is a Sunni fundamental group that is at odds with the Yemeni government……as well as the Shi’a Houthis were at odds also…….US attacked AQ…..Yemen attacked AQ…..Houthis attacked government and the tribe is basically armed and trained (supposedly) by Iran, which is of the Shi’a persuasion……then the situation got even more confounding……the Sunni Saudis saw a threat from the Shi’a Houthis and decided to attack the country and do away with the problem…….now after about a month of airstrikes the Saudis have stopped the attack and pronounced a victory…….
While the mini war was raging the Iranians have been accused of sending SAM missiles to the Houthis……and to that accusation the US has sent the Navy to intercept any planned deliveries……
It has been reported that the US talked the Saudis in a stand down because of the large amount of civilians deaths in their campaign against the Houthi……the Saudis declared victory so they must have done significant damage to the rebellion, right?
Not exactly…….even during the airstrike campaign the Houthis made significant advances and while the Saudis were killing civilians……AQAP has solidified its take over of the Eastern part of the country.
Fresh off killing scores of civilians in an airstrike on the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa, Saudi Arabia has declared victory in their ongoing war against the Houthis, insisting the military objectives of “Operation Decisive Storm” have all been achieved
For those keeping track, the initially stated goal was to reinstall former President Hadi, who is still living in exile in Riyadh. In the three weeks of strikes, hundreds of civilians have been killed, humanitarian resources are in short supply everywhere, Houthi forces are still contesting Aden with Hadi forces, and al-Qaeda has taken considerable territory in the east.
The declaration of victory and an end to the war doesn’t appear to mean an actual end to the war, however, as officials are announcing “Operation Renewal of Hope,” which will begin immediately, and will include military components. They’re describing it as an anti-terror operation, though the indications are that it will continue to focus on the Shi’ites, and not al-Qaeda.
So now I ask……just what was the reason for the Saudis intervening in the rebellion in Yemen? I think there were two reasons……one was a PR ploy and the second was to give their ‘cousins’ AQAP a bit of an advantage. There was never any intention to help the fight against terrorism for the AQAP held Eastern Yemen was never a target for airstrikes.
The US because of the civilian deaths caused by drone strikes turned the population against us……now the Saudis have succeeded in making another enemy and a better recruitment program…….
We have NOT heard the last of Yemen………….This situation is far from over and will get NO less confusing in the future.
Yemen will be a source of great concern……and a source of many long hours of worrisome thought by our foreign policy mavens…….something they richly deserve.