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30 August 2019


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See sources above in my response to Fred

If any should be missing I'll be happy to provide them. Until then there is mysterious thing called Google and a few searches may be even faster in telling you where my claims are sourced from.

Babak Makkinejad

I suppose when they were helping Saddam Hussein against Iran; they also had been forced into that action?

I have come to the conclusion that the Gulfies reaction to Iran is best understood as being caused by visceral antipathy to Shia and envy of Iran.

There is not grand strategic scheme here - just mistaking Iran for another Arab country,

Babak Makkinejad

That is my sense of it as well.

Babak Makkinejad

Saudis are defending Sunni Islam, no doubt, by aiming to cause wide-spread famine in Yemen.

Like Israelis in Lebanon, they are teaching a lesson in Yemen to them.

I expect a lesson will be learnt but not what Saudis are teaching.

FB Ali

"Some of that experience was gained at the feet of US forces".

I don't know what exactly you mean by that. Many years ago there was a US SF team attached to the Frontier Corps that was policing the NW tribal areas. This was turfed out after the Raymond Davis affair in 2011.

The real anti-TTP fighting occurred after that, in which both the FC and the army took part. There were no US troops or advisers in Pakistan then.

Swami Bhut Jolokia

FB Ali, I was referring to the co-operation before the Davis matter as well as the opportunity the Pakistani forces had to observe and learn from US methods (directly or indirectly) in Afghanistan and the 'tribal' areas.

Off topic: does anyone know if the SA forces have an array of armed drones at their disposal? Are they being used in Yemen?

Charles I

Your question is analyzed in some detail here:

"Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen led by financier prince with an eye on the throne

The two-week bombing campaign in Yemen led by Saudi Arabia has already claimed hundreds of lives with no end in sight. Spearheading it is Mohammed bin Salman, the son of King Salman, a 34-year-old defense minister with no previous military experience. . .

Mohammed bin Salman was appointed defense minister by his father just after he became Saudi Arabia’s new monarch in January. He now also acts as chief of royal protocol and chair of the country’s economic development council, having a say on the national budget.

Mohammed, the youngest minister in Saudi Arabia and the world’s youngest defense minister, has a degree in law and experience in corporate governance. He started working alongside his father in 2009, when he was the governor of Riyadh province.

. . . his role sending Saudi bombers across the border is fuelling his popularity across the Sunni Arab world. His Facebook page has thousands of followers and social media are reposting the images of Prince Mohammed in his war room and posters of him defeating Saudi Arabia’s enemies. An Arabic-language hashtag on Twitter advocates calling him the Person of the Year for 2015, with thousands of retweets.

Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to power and fame indicates a looming inheritance problem in Saudi Arabia. The succession in the monarchy is governed by so-called agnatic seniority, when the throne goes from a monarch to his younger brother rather than the elder son. King Salman is the last but one son of King Abdulaziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia. He is 79, while Crown Prince Muqrin is 69.

With them both dying, the royal power is bound to go to the second generation of Saudi princes, and there is no certainty that the transition would go smoothly and would not descend into yet another Game of Thrones-style war that Saudi Arabia saw in the past."


He has a half-brother in the mix as well, who rode a similar military wave of popularity before the succession.


"Ali Muhsin, Saleh's cousin and former strongman, is very quiet. He is key to Saudi ambitions in reigning in the Houthis."

Hamed Ghaleb @HamedGhaleb
Commander of the 2nd Brigade in Azan ."was appointed by Hadi" surrender the Brigade to AQ after A call with Ali muhsen &no saudi airstrike!!

Just like in Syria empowering AlQaeda for its purpose is the Saudi's answer.

Charles I

Video On patrol with Saudi Arabia's Yemen border guards:


12 April 2015 Last updated at 10:36 BST

As the conflict in Yemen rages, guards protecting Saudi Arabia's border are on high alert for attacks by Houthi rebels.

The Saudis are supporting the Yemeni government in its conflict with the rebels, and have launched air strikes.

Kim Ghattas reports from the border, which has been largely inaccessible to the international media.


But they had no issue with Iran prior to 1979. Was it just the revolution's religious face that scared the Gulfies?



AQ is too generic a label for Yemen. There are at least three different/competing versions of AQ in Yemen, arguably more. I would describe the version you quote here as Salafi-Jihadis aligned with their sponsor Ali Muhsin who take on the AQ label for convenience.

Even if one adds all of these disparate Jihadi groups together they are all thoroughly despised by the local people and with empowerment from a central authority in Yemen bring them all to book. They can only exist while they have powerful state sponsors in Ali Muhsin and Ali Abdallah Saleh.

The US has been involved in a proxy war between Saleh and Muhsin for several years, with "intel" going to the US drone programme to knock off one or the other's "AQ" figures. Pointless. Embarrassing that they have been so thoroughly and shamelessly played by a bunch of hoods from one village in a minor district of northern Yemen.

FB Ali

My impression is that the Pakistan army has developed its own form of anti-terrorist operations - quite different from what the US has used in Afghanistan. This difference has arisen mainly because the tribal people living in these terrorist-infested border areas are fellow-citizens.

Before launching an operation in an area the army clears it of all the tribesmen residing there - they are moved to camps outside the area of operations. Thus, when the army moves in, it is into a free-fire zone (the same goes for the air force supporting the operation). Anyone in the zone is treated as an enemy, and attacked. If resistance is encountered in any village or town, it is reduced by shelling and bombing rather than house-to-house street fighting.

The area is slowly and systematically cleared out by a large force. The terrorists seldom put up a determined fight, and instead tend to melt away. However, their quite substantial infrastructure in the region, including arms manufacturing facilities and stocks, are systematically destroyed.

When the whole area is cleared, and is considered secured, the destroyed infrastructure is repaired or replaced. Garrisons are established in the area. Then the civil population is gradually moved back into the area.



Call the whambulance. None of those references are stating the US approved the targets bombed or shelled by the arab coalition or ordered that they do so. I'm well aware that the US does not control Saudi Arabia's foreign policy. Apparently you aren't. Feel free to get the Germans to do something about it.

FB Ali

"...is fuelling his popularity across the Sunni Arab world".

It may do so for these idiots in the Gulf. In the rest of the Muslim world, the man and his country are a laughing stock.

Swami Bhut Jolokia

Sounds like the right way to go about it. What explains:
1) the difference between US and Pakistani tactics?
2) the continued presence of terrorist/insurgent organizations in the FATA?


"who say that the Pakistani leadership never took seriously the idea of sending military assets"

The Egyptian and Pakistani refusal to join simply reflects common sense and national interest. In contrast, the Saudis are apparently convinved that Pakistan, and Egypt, because they receive Saudi Money they owe them.

I find it striking that apparently the Saudis think that they can solve all sorts of problems just by throwing money at them, like by hiring foreigners for menial tasks. These "menial tasks" apparently now extends to fighting.

Either they are desperate and already need foreign help in the war they declared just a week or so ago (then that would have been a reckless move to make), or they are taking vassal participation as an entitlement.

Well, it appears that nation states like Pakistan and Egypt, however flawed, are unlike some desert tribe which's loyalty can be secured by bribing its chieftain.

Doesn't appear to work that well with Jihadis either (despite Bandar's bragging about being able to switch them on and off).

Babak Makkinejad

Did not Putin do the same thing in Chechnya?

Babak Makkinejad

They had issues with Iran prior to 1978.

It was a pan-Arab thing - in Syria, in Libya, in Iraq, in Saudi Arabia.

The "Arab Gulf" canard started before 1978.

A famous case goes back to 1954 - a Shia Iranian got sick in Masjid Al Haram and threw up on his clothes.

He was taken to a judge and sentenced to death for desecrating the site and was forthwith beheaded.

The Qum doctors protested to the Shah of Iran and even he had to recall the Iranian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia....

I want to emphasize that in my opinion the anti-Iran Arab posture has it s roots in Shia-Sunni Divide as well as in Iran-Envy.


FB Ali: But would this not provide an opportunity for Iran and China?

BTW, if Saudi's "gifts" are more madrassas, maybe Pakistan would be better off without Saudi's generosity.

FB Ali

1) The main reason is the one I gave in my first paragraph: they don't want to kill their fellow-citizens. This constraint does not apply to the US in Afghanistan and other places.

2) The area is barren and hilly, with a few small centres of population. The terrorists seep back in small numbers into caves and other inaccessible places, from which they mount a few hit-and-run attacks on pickets, patrols etc. This situation is very different from the previous one, when they were established in the whole area, especially the towns/villages, used the local population as a recruitment base and support, and could mount large-scale attacks in distant areas.

Charles I

Control, maybe not, but the U.S. is refueling it.


Colonel, TTG, FBAli,

Ran across the following article on Saudi oil I thought you would find interesting :

Last fall, as oil prices crashed, Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s petroleum minister and the world’s de facto energy czar, went mum. Oil prices fell a further 10 percent by the end of the next day and kept going. Crude prices above $100 a barrel had been bringing a demand peak closer.

FB Ali

As far as I recall, the Russians didn't evacuate the local civilians. They had to fend for themselves, getting out of the combat zone as best they could. The result was a lot of civilian casualties.

(I could be wrong!)

FB Ali

Thank you!

The Saudis can undoubtedly have the best technology in the world. They can hire/rent the best talent in the world. The one thing they don't have is a lot of smart, savvy, hardworking young Saudis who can move the kingdom forward.

This is their Achilles heel.

different clue


How much of an actual foothold is Iran taking in this Yemen situation?
Maybe Iran is sending a few people and things in a low-cost opportunistic way now to cultivate some good opinion among the recipients. But I thought Iran had basically nothing to do with the Houthi rebellion to begin with.
If my thinking is correct on that score, then KSA has created a perfect vacuum to suck some Iranian influence into, just as Israel created a perfect opportunity for Iran to inject influence in Southern Lebanon with its post-invasion occupation.

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