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07 August 2015


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From what I stitched together the Saudis are not just bringing in equipment but probably a brigade of their troops with some just newly trained Yemeni infantry attached to them.

The new recruits would hardly be able to use and maintain the equipment the Saudis have. Likewise the UAE troops that landed in Aden are about a brigade in size. Those very well equipped Leclerc tanks, dozens of them (i.e. 1 battalion), ain't operated by freshmen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd5t28HkLqk

The UAE group moves north from Aden while the Saudis are said to go south and then west to Marib.

The UAE landing and the overall campaign plan look U.S. (or British) influenced to me.

The strategic target is Sanaa but the way thereto is uphill into the mountains. I would expect lots of roadblocks and ambushes especially for the heavy tank forces. And behind their back AQAP is infiltrating Aden right now and ISIS just blew up a Sunni mosque with Saudi security forces in SA near the Yemeni border. Those invaders will have to watch their back while confronting the Houthis.

A question to the colonel. How the terrain on the way to Sanaa. Are the roads good enough maintained to take all those heavy UAE tank columns?

William R. Cumming

This looks to me like another open-ended effort with the only objective to ensure anti-SA forces in Yemen understand the Saudis understand the Yemeni's threats to SA.

No real seize and hold strategy?



China and the US built a lot of heavy duty hard surface roads in N. Yemen. The Saudis paid for the work the Chinese did. USAID paid for ours. the N5 and 515 roads to Marib will not be a problem. The ambushes and IEDs will be the problem. pl

Abu Sinan

Some of the troops coming in are Saudi and Emirati troops. The story being told is that Aden has been cleared of Houthi/Saleh troops. The problem with this narrative is that there are still periodic bouts of heavy fighting happening in Aden. From the people I know in and from Yemen, it is unclear if these battles are between Houthi/Saleh forces and the various Hirak forces, if they are Hirak forces fighting AQAP or fighting between Hirak groups and/or Hadi troops. Support for Hadi is rather thin in the area and the multiple Hirak forces are less than united. If/when the Houthi/Saleh forces leave the South, it is just a question of time before there is a southern conflict between Hirak forces, the few who support Hadi, AQAP and Da3sh.

Now that the Houthi/Saleh troops have been rolled back in some areas, AQAP is in some places filling the vacuum. Of course Hadi supporters and the different Hirak groups have always tried to paint AQAP as nothing more than "bearded Saleh men". This is belied by the fact that whilst the Houthis/Saleh troops controlled these areas AQAP were underground and engaged in periodic gun battles and hit and run terrorist attacks against the Houthis/Saleh. If you listen to Hadi and Hirak supporters you'd almost get the impression that there was no such thing as AQAP besides what Saleh created to milk money from the US.

Interesting days ahead. Those trying to paint this as the beginning of the end for the Houthis/Saleh front are likely premature. Rumours were today of Houthi/Saleh delegations going to Oman for talks, with speculation that Saleh's family were on the planes, indicating a deal in the offing. We have heard that more than once before.

Abu Sinan

Their description of "Pro-Hadi forces" is not really based on facts on the ground. Hadi has very little actual support in the south, a fact he is well aware of. He has been photographed recently without the Yemeni flag, I think indicative of how little support the concept of a united Yemen has in the south at this point.



Hirak "The Southern Movement" pl

الحراك الجنوبي



I hope those Kuwaiti's drive better than the guy in this tank at the "International Tank Biathlon Championship"



Thanks for the clarification.


There may have been as much as 3.000 Emirati troops involved in two waves. I have also seen mention of Emirati "advisors" killed in the fighting in Aden.




There seems to be a news blackout on the humanitarian crisis that was written of in May which included a blockade of Aden. In addition there were reports then of Saudi troops deserting rather than fighting. Now we see a UAE armor brigade (b's post above) moving North out of Aden. Has the food and water situation for Yemeni's civilians magically improved? Just what use is a single brigade of armor in that terrain and how combat effective is that unit going to be?


The stories about AQ and ISIS take overs of various villages and towns in the South is not true. AP carried the story (based on what?) and both local and international journalists report zero AQ presence.

There is an AQ element to the resistance against the Houthi/Saleh forces but they are very small in number and distrusted in the extreme. Hirak is the inheritor of those who lost out from the 1994 civil war and are mostly secular or old socialists. There is another more religious generation that has grown up in the last 20 years but they view AQ as a Northern implant, even if it is also stocked with some Southerners.

As commentators have implied above, the forces are not "pro-Hadi". They are anti-Northern, anti-Houthi, anti-Islah (Muslim Brotherhood) and anti-Saleh. These factors unite them; little else does because the groups are basically armed militias and have little agenda other than independence. Hadi has been viewed as Saleh's stooge for 25 years. He may no longer be Saleh's right hand man but he is not a separatist nor is he loved by Southerners.

A mechanised brigade might be enough to take most of the South and the Shafa'i areas of the North such as Taiz because the Houthis are ubiquitously despised. Even in the Zaydi areas there is not universal support. But they will need serious armoured support coming from Marib and possibly also Hudaydah (the route the Egyptians took in 1962) to occupy Sana'a.

Furthermore in Yemen pragmatism rules. If the Zaydi tribes see that Saleh and the Houthis have no international backing and have been weakened by isolation, air strikes and the loss of face from defeat in the South then there is a strong argument to be made they will ditch Saleh for an opportunity to seize power themselves.

Whatever results come of the intervention the future of Yemen will be immeasurably affected. It is whether the Saudis have a viable political solution to the issues of Yemen that will determine their own fate. The lessons of the Egyptian intervention will not be lost on the Saudis but there is no doubt this is an immense gamble.



I believe the reports of Saudi troops deserting was propaganda. The Saudis and their Gulf allies have been quite (unusually) smart in dealing with the media. Likewise the demands for support from Pakistan for ground troops I think was also a play to make them look weak and disorganised.

The humanitarian situation is bad. Yemen is a net fuel importer and relies on diesel to power motors that operate water pumps. No fuel means no water. Expensive fuel means huge inflationary pressure on the Yemeni currency. Inflation means that people rapidly lose the spending power to buy basic, imported staples such as flour or rice. Mass starvation looms the longer this "crisis" continues.

Babak Makkinejad

So Saudis and Americans and French are inducing state collapse in Yemen. To what end?

Since they cannot create a state one it is destroyed.

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