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30 August 2019


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FB Ali

So far the Saudi response to the Pakistani move has been muted, but the UAE deputy foreign minister was quite blunt, warning Pakistan it would pay a "heavy price" for its "ambiguous stand". “Tehran seems to be more important to Islamabad and Ankara than the Gulf countries”, he said.

The Saudis and the Gulfies had assumed, in their usual fashion, that they were 'buying' Pakistan through their economic aid and numerous gifts to political personalities. Their disappointment will probably result in a significant reduction in such largesse in future, especially in the near-term.


I've spoken to a couple of well-placed friends In Islamabad, who say that the Pakistani leadership never took seriously the idea of sending military assets (above all, ground troops)to Saudi Arabia - nor was there any communication that the House of Saud might have interpreted otherwise. This should have been obvious. It seems to suggest that the Saudis have lost their composure to the degree that they are not thinking clearly. The series of miscalculations which they have made since the Arab Spring, as the colonel has pointed out, tells us they remain badly rattled. Just the right moment for the Obama people to embrace them and their harebrained schemes.

Patrick Bahzad

Couldn't agree more ! "Nepotistic hedonists" pretty much sums it up for me ... That's what they afraid of, to see their bluff being called by people taking Wahhabism more seriously within the kingdom itself ... The attack on the great mosque of Mecca in 79 truly put fear into their hearts.


The judgement of failure or not of the Saudi operation depends on the Saudi's aim.

As far as I can tell the aim is to impoverish Yemen so much that it will need decades to come back on its feet. The aim is to "teach a lesson" to Yemenis. Don't go against Saudis will or we will spread hunger, starvation and utter poverty over your lands.

The Saudis have so far bombed three big food distribution centers. The great grain storage in Aden is in flames after artillery attacks from the sea. Two soft drink plants were bombed as well as a big diary.

Yemen imports 90% of its wheat and 100% of its rice. The Saudi blockade turned ships with grain from the U.S. away. Oil tankers were turned away too. The refinery in Aden has shut down because of lack of raw materials.

Without fuel the water pumps needed to get water from the depleted wells will not run. Should food arrive there will be no way to distribute it.

These targets were not hit in error. There is clearly a campaign to hurt the population by taking away food and water. The targets are vetted by U.S. officers.

Exclusive: U.S. expands intelligence sharing with Saudis in Yemen operation
Until recent days, U.S. intelligence support was limited to examining Saudi targeting information to try to affirm its accuracy, U.S. and Saudi officials said.

Looking at the targets hit the affirmation of "accuracy" of target information seems to be an affirmation by the Obama administration that Yemen should be starved to death.


Pat, is it possible for the KSA to rent an army from the Egyptians or others? They seem responsible for much of the Egyptian Army's funding. Or would that be a PR disaster for the Egyptians?


A question to Col Lang and others, how does the family dynamic in the House of Saud play into this scenario? I'm wondering about King Salman, the aging line of successors and where our old 'friend' Bandar is lurking in all this. Is this ossification of leadership, hubris and indolence of the ruling family leading the Saudis into a series of increasingly desperate moves?


Two Iranian military officers captured in Yemen


not good news.


A remarkable op-ed by a Saudi who does not love the current regime

"What Saudi Arabia wants in Yemen"

"The Saudi goal is simple: Prevent the rise of any popularly supported government in the region that seeks self-determination. "

That is part of it. But this also deserves some thought.

"The reality is that Saudi and Gulf Co-operation Council jets are effectively acting as al Qaeda's air force by bombing the same group that had managed to uproot al Qaeda from several Yemeni regions."

Hmmm - Looks a bit similar to the use of AlQaeda forces by the same countries, including the U.S., in Libya and in Syria.

Some other news from the area:

The Saudis evacuated and destroyed 94 villages on THEIR side of the border. It looks like the Houthi infiltration into Saudi Arabia, like in 2009, is creating some trouble for them. Air traffic to the south east of Saudi Arabia is said to have stopped. Schools were closed.

Hadi and the Saudis had counted on various tribes in the south to fight the Houthis. The Shabwa tribes didn't take the bribes. They joined the Houthi and Saleh-army forces. The Mareb tribes are said to also turn against the Saudis. The nice plans of using Suaid/Qatari special forces in the south together with these tribesmen against Houthis goes out of the window.

Ex-PFC Chuck

" its true nature as a gang of nepotistic hedonists"

You forgot "hypocrites."



The risk for the Saudis is that the Zeidis and other friends will decide to invade the Wadi Najran-Jizan area. The border up there amounts to not much more than a barbed wire fence and some border guards who would run like the devil if challenged. All the talk of Saudi troops "dug in " on the border is just talk. The YAR Army had a lot of Zeidi tribesmen in it (both officers and men). Salih is a Zeidi and he was a Republican soldier in the civil war of the 1960s and then a sergeant before he began his career of ascension through assassination. It was a regular occurrence in the YAR Army for battalion commanders to defect from the Army with their troops and equipment after some tiff with Salih and return to their tribes where the government was invited to try and "come get us." As a result the tribes have a lot of equipment; tanks, Sov APCs, Sove and US artillery, AAA, etc. The officers were often products of Sov service schools and US, British and Sove training by military missions resident in Yemen. Interestingly, no on I have ever heard of succeeded in training to teach the Yemenis to do "indirect fire" with artillery or mortars. They like to squint down the tube of a 155 how and pull the lanyard as though they were at Antietam or Borodino. When asked about this, they invariable replied that their way was "better for them." In addition to these Zeidis (some of them Houthis)their are large formations of the present Yemen Army on the rebel side. IMO without Egyptian or Pakistani troops the Saudis are no match for these guys. pl



Actually, it is the US and their own business activities that pays for much of the Egyptian Army's expenses. The Egyptians have long memories of their travail in Yemen. A naval blockade is one thing. Land warfare is another. pl

Patrick Bahzad

Local militias in Aden say they captured two officers from the Quds force of the Pasdaran... Right, sounds very credible to me ! Soon they'll tell us the two officers are Qasem Soleimani and Hussein Hamadani ! Sound like BS to me ...


Pat, thank you. This helped me remember your descriptions of the Egyptian Army's business activities, from prior postings. For sure, we have equipped them, particularly their air force.



Your anti-Americanism is showing. The Reuters article you link to does not say anything about bombing 3 food distribution center, turning away ships with gain or oil or naval gun fire destroyng any grain storage facility in Aden. It does say: "We are also helping identify 'no strike' areas they should avoid" to minimize any civilian casualties, the official said."

That is not "America approves of attacking target X,Y or Z" regardless of what that may be nor any of the targets you mention (without any actual factual reference).


Saudi/Yemen border"




What is the likelihood of ISIS (or the professionals of the old Republic of Iraq's army) making a move into Saudi Arabia or Southern Iraq now that the attention is all drawn down in Yemen?



The longer the war in Yemen continues the greater the possibility that something like that might happen. pl



"The Reuters article you link to does not say anything about bombing 3 food distribution center, turning away ships with gain or oil or naval gun fire destroyng any grain storage facility in Aden. "

No, it doesn't. And nowhere did I claim that it does.

About food ships turned away:

About oil ships turned away:

Food distribution centers and diary destroyed:

Refinery shut down:

Grain storage hit:

Oh, sure, those must all be "anti-American" sources. And using such sources like the NYT surely shows my "anti-Americanism".

"We are also helping identify 'no strike' areas they should avoid" to minimize any civilian casualties, the official said."

Yes. "Help" in minimizing "civilian casualties" of the bombing by just designating the civilians' food as the target. Obviously that official "help" has not prevented systematic damage shown above which not probably but for sure creates a humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen.

Fred, your rabbit nationalism (not my "anti-Americanism") makes you blind to see the catastrophic damage your country is helping to cause in Yemen.


Nice op-ed in the Pakistani Express Tribune


"The sweet sound of a glorious oil-drenched slap"

The problem with these sheikhs and their razzle dazzle sheikhdoms is that money has not bought them wisdom. These piddling sheikhs have won a divine geological lottery that has catapulted them from camels to Ferraris. They dug their wealth, and never learnt how to create it. They then proceeded to outsource wisdom to the West while they themselves struggle to outgrow their own medieval tribal outlook towards life, the world, and Pakistan.


You did not name any sources for some of your claims (as another commenter has also pointed out already).


The Saudis are in a very difficult spot. They can't sit by and watch Iran take a foothold in government in Yemen. They have been forced into this action against their will. In reality its their own fault for not managing the situation with more guile or more effort, relying instead on suitcase diplomacy and buying off individuals.

The Houthis in power in Sanaa do not really threaten the Kingdom but they do weaken the Saudis ability to force Iran into the compromise or defeat it desires to see in Syria.

Their ability to destabilise the Houthis - IMO - is dependent on their ability to stir up and support internal dissent rather than any ill-conceived ground invasion, which will end in humiliation and disaster. Ali Muhsin, Saleh's cousin and former strongman, is very quiet. He is key to Saudi ambitions in reigning in the Houthis.

The issue is whether the Saudis are capable of planning anything resembling a strategy for real achievement of their (undisclosed) political aims rather than just reacting in a fit of pique and half-heartedly bombing Yemen into starvation.


The Sauds and their fat gulf cousins should had stick to using their beheading illegitimate child proxies (whatever brand is now in fashion Al Qaeda or IS). At least that way they would have avoided public humiliation and the possible realization by people still clueless that they have a lot of money (controlled by western bankers mostly), but they are powerless tools of their western (mostly US) protective powers who don't stand a fight against the real Arab and Muslim regional powers.

The gulfies don't have enough (local and loyal) population to stand against any regional power whatever fancy toys they buy from US and other western sources (and the more sane of them like Oman don't have any intention of starting a fight). The Saud Kingdom of Nightmare is purposely designed to be weak as a newborn, otherwise their hypocrite royalty and ideology would have been thrown to the toilet of history many decades ago. That's why western powers had to intervene in panic against a lame incursion from Saddam's in Kuwait. And also why Iraq had to be utterly destroyed and Iran has to be contained. Even if neither country had the intentions of taking over just the realization that they could if western support was shown to be lacking makes the empire masters who control the region spin in worry.

William R. Cumming

Iraqi Sunnis invaded Kuwait [1990] and so will the Shias IMO!


Nasrallah believes the Saudi move to be seriously self-defeating: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYTfT49imqM

Swami Bhut Jolokia

Of course what's particularly distressing to the Saudis about Pakistan's refusal is that Pakistan is one of the few countries in the region that has had (some limited) success in fighting armed groups in remote areas. Some of that experience was gained at the feet of US forces.

SA is truly effed.

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