Saturday, April 4, 2015

Chaos in Yemen: Update

On Thursday, the Huthi (AnsarAllah) forces seized the Presidential Palace in Aden, after capturing the city’s central Crater district. On Friday, forces loyal to President Hadi, backed by intense Saudi airstrikes, forced the Huthis to withdraw from the palace, and the Crater district, Al Jazeera reported.

Meanwhile, Khaled Batarfi, a leader of al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was seen in Aden today in photos circulating in social media. Batarif had been freed from prison by AQAP militants on Thursday when they took advantage of the chaotic situation in the country and captured the Yemeni port city of Mukallah on the Gulf of Aden and freed 270 prisoners from the city’s central prison, including Batarfi.

The fighting among factions in the city of Aden has killed 58 people and injured 200 more in the past two days. The factions are loyal to President Hadi, now in exile in Riyadh, the Huthi insurgents, who are the de-facto rulers of the country, former president Saleh, back from exile in Riyadh and for now an ally of the Huthis, and AQAP militants.

Adding in the midst are the Saudi Special Forces on the ground in Yemen assisting fighters targeting Houthis and Saleh troops, CNN reported today. The Saudi force are “coordinating and guiding” in non-combat roles, a Saudi source told the network. They also have helped “parachute in weapons and communications equipment.” And the Iranians have been supporting and arming the Huthis, although they have not directly taken part in the fighting as in Iraq or Syria.

The Saudi-led coalition of nine Middle Eastern countries has been conducting airstrikes against the Huthis since 25 March, hitting their major military facilities and armaments. But the Huthis have continued their advance in the country. Now the Saudi ground forces have taken up positions across the Yemeni border for possible ground invasion, CNN reported. But the Huthis are battle-hardened guerilla fighters and could match their opponents and could also cross into Saudi Arabia.

Photo credit: Huthi fighters in Aden on Thursday after capturing the city’s Crater neighborhood and the Presidential Palace. They were pushed back from the city on Friday under intense Saudi airstrikes and engagement with pro-Hadi forces.

21 comments:

Piruz Mollazadeh said...

I suppose it's still to early to say that Ansarullah's downfall would mean Al-Qaeda's victory. But make no mistake people, it will eventually come down to that.

I just hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

See US fighting with terror is all hypocrisy. They are allied in this battle with Saudis who have been funding, organising and supporting terror group and their ideology. However as history shown previously in Afghanistan with Al qaeda and Bin Laden this is two edge sword and can hit them too. The difference is, this time they are very close to Saudis, i.e. at the other side of the border. As have proven in the past Saudis will not prevail defeating Houthis and as this war passes on and takes longer Saudis sink deeper into that. This will create good opportunity for Al qaeda or even ISIS to penetrate more into Arabian peninsula and threat the foundation of the monarchy more than ever. They may exert heavy blows to Houthis but they wont be able to defeat them and who knows Houthis may reclaim those 3 provinces they lost to Saudis in 1934. Moreover the stance of united nation in this matter is worth observing as they have kept silent and turned their blind eyes to the massacre of the civilian population in Yemen by Saudis. Just compare this with expression of their concerns about Tikrit battle where they have falsely raised their concerns about Shia militias taking revenge upon Sunnis collaborating with ISIS after capturing the city. Hypocrisy, Hypocrisy and again Hypocrisy

Anonymous said...

Pleas can somebody tell me how Iran can support the houthis? Please first have a look to Google maps. Thanks in advance. Maybe the writer of this article can inform us? By sea? By air? By land?

Nader Uskowi said...

After the Ansar Allah took over Sanaa, they sighed a civil aviation agreement for 14 lights a week between the twi capitals (pls see our previous posts on that). Boeing 747s of Mahan Air, for example, were not transporting tourists to Sanaa, were they? Iran could also send supplies by land through Oman. After Saudi airstrikes and damages to the airport, Iran probably faced difficulties to send civilian aircraft. What you need to also consider is that the support did not start after the Huthis moved into Sanaa,. In fact Iranian support goes years prior to that, which could use land transport through Oman, building up to the current events.

Nader Uskowi said...

Interesting take, why am I not surprised! You probably believe that Al Nusra and ISIL and other non-state armed insurgents fighting against the legitimate government of Assad in Syria are terrorists. You probably believe that ISIL, as a non-state armed insurgent group fighting against the legitimate government in Baghdad is a terrorist organization. But you probably believe that the Huthis, an armed insurgent group fighting against the legitimate government of Yemen, are not terrorists. I am glad it was you who emphasized the word "Hypocrisy" three times!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you think Arab spring was a genuine, self motivated phenomena, as a result of which Ali Abdollah Saleh's legitimate government thrown away and replaced by fugitive president Al hadi? Huthis are local inhabitants of Yemen living there for thousand years fighting for their rights and in no way can be considered a terrorist group as they are the majority faction in the provinces which they control. They have never done terror acts such as executing or burning people in masses because of their faith or race or destroy historical heritages belonging to human race. Moreover there is a big doubt about legitimacy of a so call president who has fled to Saudi Arabia and attempting to gain the power back by foreign intervention.

Anonymous said...

In a same way Saudis and Bahrain governments supporting Jaish Al Adl in Iran's Baluchistan or Arab separatists in Khuzestan.

Anonymous said...

There is a little difference here, Iran has not intervene by sending Iranian troops there or bombing the positions of pro Al Hadi troops by Iranian planes. By direct intervention caused by desperation and passiveness Saudis have changed the rule of the game that can lead to Iran's direct intervention and ultimately a war in the region.

Nader Uskowi said...

Arab Spring in the region was legitimate demonstration by the masses fed up with endemic corruption and dictatorship in their countries, including the governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Syria. Its defeat by the hard right in these countries (with the exception of Tunisia) led to insurgencies and armed uprisings and the collapse of the state, including in Yemen, paving the way for the rise of the armed groups like ISIL and Ansar Allah (Huthis).

The Huthis are indeed indigenous Yemenis and an integral part of the old and proud history of that land, but so are Saleh and Hadi. Problem here is political. Saleh's long dictatorship which continued through the ineffective Hadi administration helped defeat the pro-democracy movement in Yemen, rising to armed groups like the Huthis, resulting in this chaotic situation in the country.

Nader Uskowi said...

I was not asked about the differences between the Iranian and Saudi involvement in Yemen, of course Saudis are directly involved in military operations (as in Iran's role in Syria and Iraq). The Iranians are not involved in military operation in Yemen, at least not for now. The question I was asked was how could Iran have supported the Huthis, hence my answer above.

Anonymous said...

You know the answer. Saudis try to bring Yemen under their control as they did in Bahrain and let a minority to suppress, discriminate and govern a majority by the use of force which I believe is called a dictatorship. In this circumstances Iran can not sit still and just be an observer. It is not only is the matter of supporting an ally but first and for most national security.

Nader Uskowi said...

You facts are incorrect. the Huthis represent Zaydi Shias, who constitute only one third of Yemen's population. Yemen is a predominantly Sunni country, and the Huthis are ideologically zealot Shias and if succeeded they will form a minority Shia government over the Sunni majority.

In Syria, we have the same situation, the rule of a minority over the majority. But there, the Assad regime is more secular than religious. This is not the case in Yemen. Huthis are a fundamentalist religious force.

Anonymous said...

Submarines can also supply limited number of manpads and anti tank weapons if required by the Huthis.These can be delivered to them via frogmen to desingnated sites away from main ports.I am sure Iranian navy is very capable of this.

Anonymous said...

By Minority over majority I meant Bahrain. In Yemen they are trying to do the same (Military Suppression which is not democratic). Regarding Huthis in Yemen they are in majority in the provinces that they live and control. Although they are minority in relation to the whole country they have much more muscle and weight (Militarily and politically) than the other side enough to put them in a majority position. That's why political negotiations would be a good idea as suggested by Iran Because during such negotiation they can discuss wide spectrum of the subjects including two state solution as it was before.
Regardless of all these discussions the bottom line is Yemen is a sovereign country and member of United Nations therefore Saudi Arabia has no right violating their sovereignty under any circumstances unless military intervention is approved by security council. And when I mentioned hypocrisy I meant this because Mr. Moon has kept silence thus far waiting to see the trend of the events. Thus we are witnessing more innocent people being killed by Saudis.
By the way it was in the news that in addition to dropping weapons to the supporters of Al Hadi, Saudi special forces has landed in Aden, but it was in the news that Hutiths and Yemeni army has taken back positions they lost last night. Apparently special forces were not so special.

Nader Uskowi said...

A minority that have more muscle and weight (military and political) than the other side enough to put them in a majority position. Really? Isn't that the definition of fascism?

Anonymous said...

Please tell me if an electoral voting system is democratic or not in the US. Based on this system some important (more populated or economically more danced) states has more representative in the parliament then other states because of their over all muscle and weight. This was what I meant.

Nader Uskowi said...

What we were discussing here was a religious group representing a minority sect, the Zaydi Shias, wanting to take over the country by force, even though the majority population is Sunni. The AnsarAllah is not a secular force that so happens to be followers of Zaydi Shia, these folks are ideologically committed to implement their religious beliefs in the country, not much different from what ISIL wants to do under their rule in Syria and Iraq. What does this have to do with the situation of the states in America?

Anonymous said...

Iranian navy movements are tracked by more advanced nations and iranian naval vessels are easy targets for advanced military aircraft.

Anonymous said...

Same goes for all regional navies which would be easy prey to Iranian surveillance and offensive assets. Several hundreds of coastal anti-ship batteries can take out vital port infrastructure and naval assets if a shooting war ever breaks out between a GCC state and Iran. We aren't talking about engagement with the USN and its huge defensive/offensive capabilities. Indeed, none of the coalition's navies even in a joint effort can pose a credible threat to iranian assets nor can they readily defend themselves from iranian ground, air and sea-based anti-ship arsenal with enough certainty to guarantee them success in case of a direct confrontation with the shiite power over such an issue, and great losses would be at stake. Likewise, Iran wouldn't want to get embroiled in a direct conflict with the current coalition and the costs incurred in such a fighting. Hence There will be no shooting war between the GCC and Iran anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Partially true. But I wouldn't put it passed the US to ignore Iranian submarines delivering weapons to Yemen because it's good for US business for Huthis to knock out US made Saudi Arabian tanks and aircraft.

Anonymous said...

It is so true in fact, that no shooting war is about to happen between the GCC and Iran, despite all the heightened tensions and continued support by Iran for Huthis while the other side relentlessly bombs them. Both sides would inflict undue damage to each other deemed to costly to endure for such a proxy issue. And on the long run, bar direct US involvement, the Sheikh would be the ones regretting it the most, for the aforementioned reasons. Most of them are simply to little as states and too limited on strategic depth to be able to hold off a determined Iranian onslaught right at their doorstep. The KSA would be the only actor standing a longer chance, but still too dependent on american goodwill to start a war with its neighbor for that to happen. I'd bet a lot on this. And I entirely agree on your assertion about good US business nonetheless.