More Brazen Houthi Attacks Revealing Saudis' Military Impotence
As Southfront reported this weekend, Houthi forces claimed to have attacked a United Arab Emirates (UAE) warship off Yemen's Red Sea coast. It was not immediately clear from the reports cited by Southfront whether the Houthis struck the Emirati vessel near Yemen's Assab port with an Iranian made sea skimming missile or using a remote controlled boat packed with high explosives.
The latest naval attack came in addition to Houthis raiding Saudi Arabia's Jizan province, striking military camps and inflicting scores of dead and wounded casualties on the Kingdom's military and border guards. Iran's Press TV, which generally sympathizes with the Houthi resistance against its arch rival Saudi Arabia, also reported on July 28 and 29 about the successful Yemeni Army/Saleh loyalist rocket strikes on the Kingdom, with Saudi authorities claiming to have intercepted the incoming missiles using U.S.-made Patriot air defense batteries.
The Houthis also claimed to have shot down a U.S.-made MQ9 Reaper drone near the Saudi border:
KSA Retaliation Against Yemen's Civilian Infrastructure and Blockade Fueling Hatred, Recruitment for the Saleh Loyalist Yemeni Army and Houthi Fighters
Taking revenge for the spike in Saudi casualties and incoming missiles, the Royal Saudi Air Force launched heavier bombing raids on the Yemeni capital Sanaa, which is controlled by the Saleh loyalists opposed to the KSA-led coalition. But these raids appear to be militarily useless, while compounding the misery of a civilian population dealing with the worst famine to hit the Aden/Horn of Africa region since the Somali civil war preceding the Black Hawk Down battles of 1993. Yemen is now facing a cholera epidemic caused by malnutrition and uncollected garbage mixing with untreated sewage flowing through the streets. The humanitarian toll across the country is leaving no shortage of radicalized, willing to die for a chance to kill Saudis recruits to the Zaidi Shia-led Ansar Allah movement, known in Arabic as the al-Ḥūthiyyūn or in English as the Houthis.
Due to their slogan, "God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam" repeated in Arabic after every anti-tank missile strike or major blow against the Saudi enemy, Houthi attacks on the Kingdom's forces have been subject to a de facto US/UK/EU mainstream media blackout. Saudi investment into Twitter as well as graphic content algorithms may also explain why videos of dead Saudis and brazen Houthi assaults many miles inside the Kingdom are confined to age restricted Youtube channels. Supporters of the so-called moderate Syrian rebels, with their ties to Saudi funded think tanks in particular, ignore the open source evidence available to anyone online that the Saudis are losing the Yemen war with no easy option for withdrawal from the quagmire in sight.
Bellingcat (aka #Bellingcrap) Not Interested in Yemen Conflict Lest They Anger Saudi Donors to their Atlantic Council G-NGO Bosses
The same Bellingcat 'moderate' jihadi fanboys who promoted OSINT as indispensable and fetishized TOW missile strikes on Syrian government or Iranian forces over the past few years in the Levant do their best to ignore the payback Iran may be delivering to Riyadh one Houthi Konkurs missile (Russian predecessor to the Kornet, shipped to the Yemeni army and likely provided via Oman by Iran) at a time. It would appear that those like @MichaelDWeiss who love to gloat about dead IRGC in Syria on Twitter do their best to ignore the growing number of dead Saudis getting killed via proxy revenge in Yemen and on Saudi soil. Strict Saudi censorship also generally prevents damage assessments from incoming ballistic missile strikes on the Kingdom's bases and possibly a few rockets targeting oil infrastructure as well, so observers of the conflict are left to speculate as to how extensive is the damage to the Saudi economy and ARAMCO refining infrastructure (as in this Moon of Alabama thread).
Famine, Cholera Epidemic in Yemen Now Receiving Legacy Media Coverage in US/UK
In a public relations disaster for the Saudis, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) program Frontline sent a crew to Yemen late in the spring 2017, bringing back images of skeletal children and overcrowded hospitals filled with malnourished cholera patients. The report aired this month within days of the Associated Press reporting that the UAE was operating a secret of prisons across southern Yemen where torture is carried out on detainees. As Amnesty International states, the UAE is a party to the UN convention against torture and is a recipient of major arms sales by the United States, United Kingdom and their NATO allies.
In addition to the Frontline special, the BBC also sent a crew that had to take a boat across the Red Sea to reach the country after the Saudis denied them entry via plane (Sanaa's international airport still being littered with bombed aircraft, while able to receive Russian and other humanitarian aid flights).
The recent split between the Saudis and their erstwhile Qatari allies in the Yemeni aggression and proxy war against Syria has led to Doha-based Al-Jazeera offering greater coverage of the conflict, particularly the humanitarian toll. But AJ is also reporting that the Yemenis growing confidence in missile construction could be turning the war against the Saudis, further aggravating Riyadh which accuses the Qataris of covertly supporting the Houthi (the Saudis haven't provided evidence of this, anymore than they can point to a single killed or captured Iranian Revolutionary Guards soldier embedded with the Yemeni resistance).
The times they are a changin' and farewell to the KSA/Qatar alliance in Syria and Yemen -- former Pentagon analyst now based in Dubai, Oubai Shahbandar claims Al-Jazeera cut him off for berating a pro-Houthi journalist in Sanaa live about Houthis allegedly targeting Islam's holiest city Mecca with a ballistic missile -- something the Sanaa based reporter denied
The disastrous war which the young and ambitious Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman spearheaded in 2015 seeking a quick victory to consolidate his own power within the tottering House of Saud is approaching its third year. The illusion that Patriot missile batteries can save the Saudis from incoming supersonic missiles avenging their relentless bombing campaign against the Yemeni people is rapidly fading, even if many in Washington cling to it.
A small but growing group of lawmakers and parliamentarians in the U.S. Congress and UK Parliament are also asking questions about how American and British arms contribute to the war, and how extensive is the U.S. military's direct involvement in aerial refueling and special forces operations alongside the Saudis. All of which would make the Trump Administration escalating U.S. involvement to help the failing and desperate Saudis out politically costly and unpopular with the President's electoral base, which remembers that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi.
Nonetheless, the Saudis increasingly evident impotence and desperation could drive them to press the Israelis to attack the Lebanese Hezbollah who provide ideological, training and quite likely arms shipment support to the Houthis. That prospect -- along with greater infighting in the weakening House of Saud as internal disagreements over the failed military campaign leak to Gulf region media -- could impact markets and oil prices this autumn.
Looking months and years into the future, the Saudis disastrous military and moral defeat in Yemen, like the Soviets withdrawal after their failed campaign in Afghanistan, by itself won't bring down an empire. But there are interesting parallels between what the CIA armed mujaheddin were able to do against a vastly more competent and better motivated superpower adversary in the 1980s and what the Yemeni Davids are doing to the U.S. and British backed Saudi Goliath today. As we half-jokingly suggested to a member of Team Rogue Money this weekend, the best thing the Saudis can probably do now is simply 'declare victory and go home', while building in record time via their UAE construction partners a wall to rival Trump's planned Great Wall of the Rio Grande along the Yemeni border. It would likely prove less costly than the billions the Saudis are throwing away every month on a losing war that is also making international humanitarians condemn their war crimes and protest their embassies.
An unmistakable defeat for America's most corrupt and despised monarch ally in a place most Americans can't find on a map in one of the poorest corners of the Mideast is a defeat nonetheless -- signaling a decisive shift against the U.S.-Israel-Saudi coalition and the dying petrodollar order.