While the war in Syria continues to rage and the world’s focus oscillates between American elections, terror attacks in Europe, and a failed Turkish coup (which no one really understands), a scrappy band of rebels in Yemen has not only withstood an onslaught from the Saudi-led coalition, they have managed to launch a counteract that amounts to an invasion of Saudi Arabia.
Despite the fact that the Saudi-led coalition has launched a full-on attack and invasion of Yemen, a group of poorly armed and poorly trained “militiamen” have successfully defeated the Saudis, Qataris, and Emirates – themselves backed by the United States in terms of intelligence and strategic assistance – and have not only dealt massive blows to coalition forces but have now managed to inflict blows to the Saudis on their own territory.
In a story that went virtually unreported in the West, the Houthis managed to wrest control of three Saudi military bases in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan province, located near the Saudi-Yemen border in January of this year. The bases Jabal al-Doud, al-Aril, and Madba were all seized by Houthi forces and fighters with “allied Popular Committees.”
In addition, the Houthi forces along with Yemeni soldiers launched retaliatory shelling strikes inside Saudi Arabia’s al-Makhrouq military base in the southern Najran region.
Houthis and allied Yemeni fighters have long been inflicting heavy damage upon Saudi and Saudi-led coalition troops and vehicles deployed on the ground inside Yemen as well as occasionally downing coalition jets. The fighters have also managed to damage Saudi ships located off the coast.
Now, in July, 2016, Houthi forces are launching ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia. According to reports coming from Al-Masdar, Houthis launched a Tochka ballistic missile toward the Ahad al-Masarihah Military camp, resulting in a heavy death toll of Saudi soldiers as well the destruction of several armored vehicles.
“The Houthi forces do not typically fire missiles into Saudi Arabia; however, due to the recent battles taking place along the vast Yemeni-Saudi border, the anti-government units have committed to an all-out war against the rich Gulf kingdom” writes Leith Fadel of Al-Masdar.
Houthi forces also appear to be on the verge of expelling Saudi forces from central Yemen. Citing military sources, SABA (Yemen News Agency) reports that Houthi forces have taken control of the al- Sha’aour area and secured all roads in the region.
Al-Sha’aour is located at the northern side of the Hazm Al Udayn region in the Al Udayn district. Al Udayn is the last district in the Ibb governorate that is under Hadi loyalists control.
Before the Houthis arrived at Ibb, Al Udayn was considered one of Al-Qaeda’s primary strongholds, as it had a large militant presence there due to the mountainous terrain and Yemeni regime’s military negligence.
Currently, the Houthi forces and allies are launching an operation to drive out the remaining Hadi loyalist pockets in Al Udayn in attempt to fully secure Ibb governorate.
Throughout the entire affair, Houthi forces have revealed the Saudis as nothing more than a military paper tiger incapable of actually defeating a rebel force in a neighboring country. However, after this string of victories and the fact that Houthi and Houthi-allied forces have actually managed to successfully invade Saudi territory, KSA’s weakness appears to be even greater than what many informed observers may have suspected.
There is little doubt that KSA will have to deploy a number of troops on its border to slow the Houthi advance into Saudi Arabia but, assuming it is actually able to do so, another question arises. How long will it be before disgruntled elements within Saudi Arabia realize that the force that has been oppressing them for so long is not even capable of defending itself against a ragged group of determined revolutionaries in another country? How long will it be before these elements decide it is their turn to challenge the monarchy?
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