Saturday, August 22, 2015

Heavy Fighting in Yemen

Reports appearing in social media this morning indicate the UAE-led Yemeni resistance forces are on the move westward on Hwy N5 and are reaching Mareb (photo above).

A Twitter report says the UAE-led force, with Saudi helicopter air support, had entered Hadramaut’s town of Al Abr, in central-eastern Yemen, before heading west toward Mareb. If the report is confirmed, the offensive forces could have crossed into Yemen’s Hadramaut from Saudi border crossing of Al Wudaydah, traveling more than 300 km (nearly 200 miles) on roads through Hadramaut desert to reach Mareb. In fact, a Twitter post said a large force was rumored to cross Al Wudaydah toward Mareb. (Twitter/@omeisy, 22 August)

There were no reports of fighting and resistance by Houthi/Saleh forces against the offensive force reaching Mareb. Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, lies 200 km (125 miles) to the west of Mareb on N5 Hwy, a major road that can support Arab coalition’s heavy military equipment. The offensive could be the initial phase of the retaking of Sanaa by the Arab coalition-led forces.

Meanwhile, there are reports of heavy Houthi artillery fire at Southern Resistance positions inside the city of Taiz and Saudi airstrikes against Houthi position around the city, causing heavy casualties. The Houthis have been attempting to recapture Taiz, 330 km (205 miles) south of Sanaa. The resistance forces last week took control of the city and its Republic palace.

Social media also are publishing photos of Saudi commandoes disembarking from helicopters in Saada province, reportedly attacking Raghat Mountain hiding place of Houthi chief Abdul Malik Al Houthi.

UPDATE: AP quoting security officials reported Saturday night that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants have seized control of key areas in and around Aden. If confirmed, this would a major gain for AQAP, which has been making inroads amid chaos of the country’s civil war.

Photo credit: A twitter photo showing a UAE-led column of anti-Houthi fighters near Mareb, 125 miles east of Sanaa (Twitter/@Yemen_Updates, 22 August)


Anonymous said...

How could a force led by the reactionary rulers of Saudi Arabia and UAE be referred to as “resistance forces”? Are they more legitimate than the Houthi forces? Have the long suffering people of Yemen elected either of these forces to be their legitimate representative? R.

Nader Uskowi said...

The words progressive, reactionary, revolutionary and resistance have indeed been misused in the region far from their original meanings. In Yemen, the fight is not between progressive vs. reactionary forces; as neither side is progressive. The fight unfortunately has become a sectarian struggle pitting the Houthis, with their dream (or nightmare) of establishing an Islamic state, ala Shia version, in southern Arabian Peninsula against the Sunni countries in the region and their Yemeni allies. And the conflict is expressed in political terms as a struggle to control the Yemeni state: Houthis and their Iranian supporters vs. the Yemeni government-in-exile backed by the Arab coalition. The Saudis and the UAE do not want to lose this fight and see Iran becoming a dominant power in their own backyard.

Unknown said...

Why are they (Houthis) not putting up a fight against the forces reaching Mareb when it's so important and instead fighting in Ta'az?

Nader Uskowi said...

I always believed rushing south to Aden was a serious blunder by the Houthis, resulting in a force too thin to be effective against major counter attacks. Mareb could be a big test. The UAE-led offensive force with heavy equipment and air support and only 125 miles of a usable highway separating them from Sanaa could be a serious threat. They probably did not expect the move from Al Wudaydah to Al Abr and on to Mareb, with Taiz increasingly looking like a secondary front or diversion they were lured into.

Anonymous said...

Houthis are just a loose militia force ,not an organized military . As long as the dice is rolling in their favor , they will advance . Once the going gets tough , they will make a speedy retreat to their tribal areas . Without any substantial foreign aid , they're not likely to put up any meaningful resistance .In a way that's a shame since we may never learn how a military quagmire involving this so called Arab Nato force will actually look like . I