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06 May 2015


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Ishmael Zechariah

So the princelings could not leave well enough alone. We will see how the "Sudanese and Senegalese mercenaries" will fare where many others, including us, have failed miserably. This will probably mean the end of the tribe of thieves ruling "Saudi" Arabia (my 2nd fondest hope).

Ishmael Zechariah


John Dolan/Gary Brecher taught ESL for a while at Najran. This piece about an insurrection in 2000,



Why would the Houthis try to take on thoroughly hostile areas? Why not simply consolidate in the part of the country that supports / tolerate them, and re-divide Yemen?

What's the endgame there?



first you beat up the Saudi's border province and bloody the minions and then the Saudis leave you alone. Clear? pl

FB Ali

Al Jazeera reports that Yemen's ambassador to the UN has asked the Security Council to send in ground troops in order "to save Yemen". It seems the Saudis are getting desperate. This appears to be a ploy to get the UN to authorise such intervention, which they will then use to push Pakistan (and possibly some others) to send in troops 'under UN auspices'. Totally far-fetched on all counts!

I am increasingly of the view that this harebrained misadventure in Yemen was conceived and launched by the young and obviously stupid, but overly ambitious, Defence Minister (who is the King's son).


That was a hilarious read, thanks for sharing.

robt willmann

FB Ali,
If I am remembering correctly, I think you said in an earlier comment about Yemen that some of the pilots flying the bombing missions for Saudi Arabia were mercenaries. I wonder where they are from? If U.S. corporations are supplying the Saudis with military planes, then that would limit the pilots to those countries using planes made in the U.S. This also raises the issue of whether U.S. pilots not part of the active military are flying them.

From reports that the U.S. is helping with the refueling of the planes doing the bombing in Yemen, I am assuming that the airborne refueling planes are part of the U.S. Air Force with U.S. Air Force pilots.

The Beaver

@ FB Ali

The UN wanted to resume talks on Yemen in Geneva on May 11th ( in addition to formalize the nomination of its new envoy for Yemen Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed) but Sec Kerry refused, stating that the Saudis have convened such event for May 17th in Riyadh. Guess what, the Houthis, will not attend.

This is the second envoy nominated so far - the first one Jamal Benomar was let go, at the request of the Saudis, for not being sufficiently supportive of its airstrikes. However, rumours have it that Cheikh Ahmed is à la solde of some of the GCC countries.


FB Ali: Time for a Russian or Chinese veto.


Robert Willmann

I seem to remember that FB Ali SUGGESTED that some pilots flying for SA might be foreign. I still believe that unless and until SA planes begin to be shot down in some numbers the available number of RSAF pilots will be adequate. We, and the UK, have spent a long time training these people to fly and that is the one thing they are good at. If they run out of Saudis who want to fly over Yemen it would be easy to make a presidential finding for a covert action, a sort of AVG for SA, using former US military pilots. The money would probably be excellent. In flight refueling is entirely a USAF operation. pl

Babak Makkinejad

They are from Pakistan.

Babak Makkinejad

In Saudi Arabia everything and everyone is rented or bought. There is no "Nation" and thus there is no possibility of a widespread unspring against the government or the Al Saud.

All those imported rented (or purchased) foreigners that keep Saudi Arabia functioning are probably 40 % to 50% of the population. They will not rise up against the Al Saud.

The rest of the population is a heterogeneous mix of schools and tribes with zero national cohesion.

The best that can be done is to contain Saudi Arabia - which will not happen since she is the best friend of NATO states as well as Russia and China and India and Pakistan and Turkey.

Do you expect these states to lift a finger against Saudi Arabia?

You saw what happened at UNSC; a member states of UN is being attacked by another without provocation and the aggressor is being rewarded by an arms embargo against the aggrieved country.



"They are Pakistani." Do you have a citation for this? There is zero overlap between the aircraft inventories of the RSAF and Pakistan. This means lengthy conversion training. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I do not have any evidence except a rumor I heard ...

I retract my statement.

FB Ali

I also doubt that there are any Pakistani pilots flying for the RSAF. I did suggest that some of them may be foreign, but that was just conjecture; you obviously have more knowledge of the situation.


The idiotic thing is that if the Saudis armed the Yemeni tribes (those in the South as well as Marib and Jawf) then there would be no need to attempt to convince Pakistan and Egypt to send troops.

There is a conscious decision not to arm certain tribes. These tribes neither need training nor motivation to fight the Houthis and Saleh's Republican Guard. Perhaps they really do believe that by bringing in 2,100 Senegalese troops and a few assorted other nations that they can control the outcome there.

They don't even need armour. Just ammunition, RPGs and perhaps a few self-propelling rifles. Either the Saudis are playing a very good game of looking like fools or they actually are woefully inept. Surely not the latter... (irony).

Abu Sinan

There have been reports of a Saudi Apache shot down by the Houthis. It is reported that the Saudis have offered a five day cease-fire with the caveat that the Houthis lay down their arms (ie surrender). If this is true it is a classic Israeli move. Offer an unacceptable arrangement and then blast the other side when they refuse. Given the class relationship between the Saudis and the Israelis these days, it would be little surprise.



As you know you and I differ on just about everything concerning Yemen. Some time back you opined that in the end SA would prevail. Still sticking with that? IMO the peripheral tribes in the desert east and all the villagers south of Sanaa and east of Aden could never fight an effective war against the Zeidis in their mountains. As for SA's own forces...
The Saudis lost the war when Pakistan declined to rent them an army. The US, with its usual ineptitude in the ME will continue to buy the Saudi House of Cards story. As for the statement in someone else's comment that SA is stable because all Saudi subjects have been coopted... That is not so. The SA regime has been busy breeding new generations of Wahhabi fanatics in religious schools for a long time. For people like that, the notion of a kingdom (malikiat) is anathema. pl

different clue

Ishmael Zechariah,

It is tempting to wish and hope for comeuppance, but we really should think of what will take KSA's place if all the Family members flee with their most loyal retainers and all the money. The best we could hope for would be a sort of shared Shia Iraqi and Iranian protectorate over the Shia of the Petro Province and that the Wahhabis and ISIStas and Jihaderos be firmly kept away from any and every petro facility and especially the oil field zones themselves.

More likely would be a very nasty civil war of some kind between ISIS and al Qaeda over whether the successor state will be the Grand Islamic Caliphate or the Islamic Emirate of Arabia.

FB Ali


Re the Saudi 'royals', it is more than ineptness. They live in a parallel universe where all they have to do is wish for something, and it happens. Their obscene wealth has made those who deal with them sickeningly obsequious. While it is understandable why politicians from the Third (or even the Second) World may behave in this manner, it is strange to see those from powerful nations such as the US and others in the West do so, too (remember Bandar lolling in his jeans on the sofa arm near a simpering Junior Bush? Or Obama bowing low while shaking hands with King Abdullah?).

This syndrome (of being out of touch with reality) was well-illustrated in their basing their Yemen aggression on the certainty of getting a sizable contingent of Pakistani troops (some reports speak of a corps being demanded!), without even bothering to first check with Pakistan. They also wanted this force to be placed under Saudi command!

The West seems to encourage them in this crazy behaviour. Suborning the UN to impose an arms embargo on the victim of aggression with not even a word uttered against the aggressor. Aiding them in their senseless bombing of civilians and economic infrastructure. And on and on...



you agree with me that the South will split from Yemen. I agree with you about Saudi forces. I further agree with you that the South or southern lowlands will never mount any campaign against the Zeidi tribes.

We differ in that I believe the splits in the Zeidi tribes themselves mean that a substantial portion of them are neither Houthi nor Saleh supporters. The Saudis can play with these divisions and give them enough money and help to fight the Houthis (a super annuated, localised movement living on largesse and support from Iran and primarily by Saleh) and Saleh's tribe.

The Saudis have an army inside Yemen should they want one.

But what does victory look like for them? That is another question.

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