South Front

‘Great Strength’: Houthis Reveal Details Of Large-Scale Operation In Ma’rib (18+ Video)

On September 17, the Houthis announced that they “liberated” more than 1,600 square kilometers in the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib from the Saudi-led coalition and its proxies during a recent large-scale operation.

The operation, codenamed “Great Strength,” saw the Houthis and their allies imposing control of the districts of Medghal and Majzar. The Mass Millitary camp also fell into the hands of the Houthis. The camp was one of the Saudi-led coalition main bases in Ma’rib.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Houthis, claimed that the coalition used to shelter elements of al-Qaeda and ISIS in the camp.

During Operation Great Strength, the Houthis’ Missile Force carried out a total of 161 attacks. 128 of the attacks were against targets in Yemen, while 33 were launched against targets deep inside Saudi Araba.

The Houthis’ Air Force also carried out 319 attacks with drones. 136 attacks targeted Saudi-backed forces in Yemen and 183 targeted Saudi Arabia.

‘Great Strength’: Houthis Reveal Details Of Large-Scale Operation In Ma’rib (18+ Video)

According to Brig. Gen Sari, the Saudi-led coalition and its proxies sustained heavy losses as a result of Operation Greater Strength. Around 3,000 Saudi-backed fighters were killed, 12,400 others were wounded and 550 were captured. Furthermore, 1,500 vehicles of Saudi-backed forces were destroyed, burned or damaged.

In the course of the operation, the Houthis documented 3,290 airstrikes by Saudi-led coalition warplanes. The airstrikes failed to stop, or even slow down the group’s advance in Ma’rib.

Last week, the Houthis announced that they captured the districts of Mahliyah and Rahbah in Ma’rib after advancing from the nearby province of al-Bayda during the third phase of Operation Evident Victory.

The Houthis have been advancing towards Ma’rib city and nearby oil fields for well-over six months now. All attempts to stop them by the Saudi-led coalition and its proxies were a complete and utter failure.

Operation Great Strength was not the end of Houthi operations in Ma’rib. The Yemeni group will not likely stop its operations in Ma’rib before capturing the provincial center.

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Yemeni Resistance Reveals Details of Operation ’Severe Punishment’ Against Saudi Aggressors In Marib

September 17, 2021 

Yemeni Resistance Reveals Details of Operation ’Severe Punishment’ Against Saudi Aggressors In Marib

By Staff

Yemeni Armed Forces Spokesman Brigadier General Yehya Saree announced in a press conference on Friday the details of a wide-scale military operation carried out by the Yemeni resistance.

Saree announced the results of wide-scale qualitative military Operation “Severe Punishment” that was carried out in Marib Province where large swathes of territories have been liberated.

The operation lasted for several months and achieved its goals successfully, Saree said, adding that mercenaries were kicked out of the liberated areas.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces started a new phase of liberating Yemen from invaders and occupiers, opened new paths, and followed tactics that suit the military operation’s geography,” the spokesman said.

The Rocketry Force and the Propelled Air Force carried out dozens of successful military operations, 128 of which took place inside Yemen and 33 others were carried out in the Saudi depth, Saree added.

Badr, Nakal, Qassem, Zolfikar, and Quds2-type missiles were used during the series of operations.

Meanwhile, the Propelled Air Force carried out 319 operations that targeted the enemy on its land, in addition to 183 other operations that targeted the aggressors on Yemeni ground.

Furthermore, Saree explained, the Engineering and Anti-armored Units played a major role in this battle.

“The Rocketry and Aerial Force targeted gatherings and sites belonging to mercenaries and forces of the coalition of aggression against Yemen inside the occupied Yemeni territories,” he said, noting that during the course of Operation “Severe Punishment”, the coalition of aggression waged hundreds of strike in the area.

The Yemeni Armed Forces monitored more than 3290 strikes in attempts to hinder the progress of the Yemeni Armed Forces, the forces of aggression also targeted civilians during that period.

Among the most important results of Operation “Severe Punishment” was gaining huge amounts of heavy weapons.

The duration of the operation extended from March 2020 to November 2020 in which 3000 members of the enemy were killed, 12400 sustained injuries, and 550 others were detained.

“Our forces managed to liberate around 1600 square kilometers of Marib during the operation,” Saree said, naming in particular the directorates of Medghal and Mejzar in the province.

Additionally, among the most important results was the liberation of Mas Camp, one of the biggest bases that have been used by the enemy over the past years.

“We hail the resistance role played by our people in Marib during this operation,” Saree noted, concluding that “Our cause is to liberate Yemen.”

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and regional allies, launched a war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah resistance movement.

The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases.

The Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees, however, have grown steadily in strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

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Saud-Backed Forces Share Footage From The Houthis’ Recent Attack On Mokha Port (Video)
Two screen grabs side by side from the footage released by the JF-WCY investigation committee.

The Houthis (Ansar Allah) carried out the September 11 attack on Mokha Port on the western coast of Yemen using two ballistic missiles and six suicide drones, an investigation committee run by Saudi-backed forces on the western coast of Yemen revealed on September 15.

At a press conference, Brigadier General Sadiq Doweed, co-chair of the Saudi-backed Joint Forces on the Western Coast of Yemen (JF-WCY), shared never-seen-before footage of the attack and showcased the wreckage of Houthi drones and missiles.

Brig. Gen. Doweed claimed that half of the suicide drones launched by the Houthis on September 11 were shot down before they could reach Mokah Port.

The wreckage and the attack footage suggest that the Houthis carried out the attack with Bader-1P precision-guided artillery rockets, which has a range of 150 km, and Samad-3 suicide drones, which has a range of 1,000 km. Both weapons can hit their targets with pinpoint accuracy as demonstrated during the attack on Mokah.

Saud-Backed Forces Share Footage From The Houthis’ Recent Attack On Mokha Port (Video)
The Badir-1P rocket. Click to see full-size image.

Saud-Backed Forces Share Footage From The Houthis’ Recent Attack On Mokha Port (Video)
The Samad-2 suicide drone. Click to see full-size image.

The JF-WCY acknowledged that the attack inflicted heavy losses on Mokah port. According to a report by the investigation committee, four residintal buildings, 14 offices, three warehouses, one observation tower, 23 vehicles, two patrol boats and two water tanks were damages or destroyed as a result of the Houthis’ attack.

Mokah port reopened last July after six years of closure. The attack took place a few minutes after the arrival of a delegation from the Saudi-backed Yemeni government to inaugurate the port.

The attack demonstrated the Houthis’ ability to strike any target within Yemen with extremely high accuracy. The Saudi-led coalition and its proxies appear to be unable to stop these attacks.


Yemeni Resistance Deals Heavy Blow To Aggressors: 16 Drones, Ballistic Missiles Target Saudi Depth

Yemeni Resistance Deals Heavy Blow To Aggressors: 16 Drones, Ballistic Missiles Target Saudi Depth

By Staff, Agencies

In yet another heroic achievement scored against the Saudi aggressors, the Yemeni resistance, represented by the Armed Forces, used 16 drones and ballistic missiles to hit targets deep inside Saudi Arabia in their latest operation, Yemeni Armed Forces Spokesman Brigadier General Yehya Saree announced.

“As part of confronting the crimes of [the Saudi-led] aggression against our country, our Armed Forces carried out the 7th Operation Balanced Deterrence, targeting vital facilities and military bases of the Saudi enemy,” Brigadier General Saree said in a televised statement on Sunday.

Saree explained that the operation targeted vital installations and military bases of Saudi Arabia, including Saudi Aramco facilities in Jeddah, Jizan and Najran regions, which he said were bombed with five Badr ballistic missiles and two Sammad-3 drones.

He added that Saudi Aramco facilities in Ras al-Tanura in the Dammam region, eastern Saudi Arabia, were also targeted with eight Sammad-3 drones and a Zulfiqar ballistic missile.

The spokesman stressed that Yemeni forces successfully hit their targets in both attacks.

In a statement on Saturday, Riyadh claimed that its air defenses had intercepted and destroyed three ballistic missiles and three explosive-laden drones launched towards Dammam, Jizan and Najran regions.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a devastating war against the poorest Middle Eastern country to reinstall Yemen’s overthrown government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in Sanaa and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement.

The war, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals and killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people, putting millions more at risk of starvation by destroying much of the country’s infrastructure.

The new operation came after the Yemeni Armed Forces repeatedly warned Saudi Arabia to stop the war and siege against the country or face larger and more extensive operations.

The Yemeni forces have stepped up their retaliatory attacks deep inside Saudi Arabia in recent months.

In his Sunday remarks, Saree said the new operation succeeded in achieving its goals, warning Saudi Arabia of the consequences of its continued military campaign against the Yemeni people.

He underlined that Yemen is entitled to carry out more military operations to defend itself and its people until the war and siege against the country come to an end.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces will continue their jihadist battle until the liberation of all the lands of the republic and the achievement of freedom and independence,” Saree affirmed.

Last month, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said that about 5 million Yemenis are “just one step away” from succumbing to famine and related diseases.

“Ten million more are right behind them,” Griffiths warned.

According to Henrietta Fore, the executive director of UNICEF, one child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen from preventable causes, including malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases, which are the ramifications of the war on Yemen.

In another development, the spokesman for Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement affirmed the Yemeni people’s right to defend themselves so long as Saudi Arabia insists on continuing the war.

“Just as they insist on continuing their aggression and siege, our Yemeni people continue to defend themselves,” Mohammed Abdul-Salam tweeted on Sunday.

The latest operation against Saudi Arabia coincided with the liberation of the southern district of Rahba district by the Yemeni Army and allied popular committees, he said.

A security official in Marib Province told Yemen News Agency [SABA] that all the residents of Rahba can return to their homes and farms and practice their normal lives after the district was completely secured by Yemeni forces.

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Yemen Defense Forces Not Far From Recapturing Whole Marib – Report

September 1, 2021

Yemen Defense Forces Not Far From Recapturing Whole Marib - Report

By Staff, Agencies

Yemen’s allied defense forces decisively escalated their counterattacks on Saudi Arabia’s allies in Marib, the capital of a hugely strategic west-central Yemeni province of the same name, and are reportedly on the verge of recapturing the whole city.

The Yemeni army and Popular Committees were reported on Tuesday to have advanced as far as the city’s “government buildings.”

The advancements were made possible, despite heavy Saudi bombardment of the flashpoints in the city from above, Yemen Press Agency reported. It came after the forces successfully pushed back against the kingdom’s allies there, namely Riyadh-backed militants and al-Qaeda terrorists, the outlet added.

The terrorists, it added, have been forced to abandon their positions and beat a retreat towards the city’s administrative buildings.

The Yemeni forces “are not far from” reestablishing Sanaa’s sovereignty over the city, Yemeni media sources noted.

The two sides are now engaged in intense confrontation “using heavy weaponry,” local sources noted.

The Saudi-led coalition, meanwhile, tried to shift the Yemeni allies’ attention away from their pending victory by trying to create diversionary clashes in other places. It, however, failed in its bid, the Yemeni outlets said.

The locals said the coalition’s forces had suffered considerable human and material losses during the developments. “A large number” of the enemy’s military commanders were either killed or injured during the advances, they announced.

The coalition invaded Yemen in March 2015 in a self-proclaimed bid to restore power in the country to Saudi Arabia’s favorite officials.

Seven years on, however, it is still nowhere close to realizing that avowed aim.

The invasion has, meanwhile, killed tens of thousands of Yemenis in the process. The military aggression and a simultaneous siege of Yemen has also turned the Arab world’s already poorest nation into the scene of, what the United Nations has deplored as, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The Yemeni forces have invariably retaliated heavily against the war, striking targets that lie as far as the capital of the kingdom itself and its war ally, the United Arab Emirates.

Pledging never to lay down their arms until Yemen’s complete liberation, the forces have been focusing on Marib and its surrounding province’s recapture for many months now.

Given its strategic location, the province’s liberation is expected to open the floodgates of further victories for the Yemenis.

According to Yemen’s Ambassador to Tehran, Ibrahim al-Deilami, the war in Marib is currently underway in “more than 50 fronts.”

The Yemeni counterblows have managed to fully liberate as many as nine of the province’s 14 districts so far.

Ansarullah Urges US, Saudis to Prepare Plan to Retreat from Yemen after Afghanistan

August 31, 2021

Ansarullah Urges US, Saudis to Prepare Plan to Retreat from Yemen after Afghanistan

By Staff, Agencies

In the wake of America’s disgraceful withdrawal from Afghanistan after a futile war, a senior Yemeni official called on the United States and Saudi Arabia to draw up a plan for pullout from Yemen as well, warning that the Arab country will eventually turn into a “graveyard for the aggressors.”

Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, an Ansarullah official who is the chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, made the remarks in a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday, after the US announced an end to chaotic withdrawal efforts from the airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul, effectively ending its two-decade-long occupation of the South Asian country.

“With the departure of the last American colonizers from Afghanistan, I call on the United States and its Saudi ally to leave Yemen too and devise a plan to that effect so that the Yemeni people can live in stability and away from occupation and guardianship,” Houthi tweeted.

“The Yemeni nation will never accept occupation and guardianship, no matter how long the conflicts and confrontations last. Yemen will be the graveyard of the aggressors,” he added.

Saudi Arabia launched a US-backed military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states in a bid to return to power the former Riyadh-backed regime and crush the Ansarullah movement.

Now, the kingdom is stuck in a costly quagmire, with Yemeni forces conducting retaliatory operations against Saudi targets.

The US commander responsible for American troops in Afghanistan announced the end of the Afghan war on Monday afternoon, the deadline US President Joe Biden had set for the withdrawal.

General Kenneth McKenzie said that the US and its allies had evacuated 123,000 people during the 18-day airlift but conceded the military had not been able to rescue every American citizen or Afghan ally.

قمة بغداد مشروع ماذا؟

ناصر قنديل

ربما يكون أسهل الأوصاف لقمة بغداد تشبيهها بحلف بغداد الذي أقامه الأميركيون في مرحلة صعودهم السياسي والعسكري على مسرح المنطقة لمواجهة المدّ الوطني الذي أطلقه الرئيس الراحل جمال عبد الناصر، طالما انّ منظميها والمشاركين فيها باستثناء إيران توافقوا على استبعاد سورية عن الحضور، لكن هذا التوصيف لا يستقيم مع ثلاثة عناصر رافقت القمة، الأول هو دعوة إيران، والتي بدون دعوتها ربما فقدت القمة بريقها وجاذبية المشاركة فيها بالنسبة للكثيرين من الذين لبّوا الدعوة، والثاني غياب مشروع أميركي صاعد قادر على بلورة مهمة محددة بجدول أعمال واضح لهذا الحلف، في زمن تعيش عبره المنطقة تداعيات الهروب الأميركي من أفغانستان، وتعجز واشنطن عن استعادة الوحدة بين حلفائها الذين جمعتهم خلال السنوات الأولى للحرب على سورية، يوم كان لديها مشروع وجدول أعمال، والثالث فشل القمة في بحث أي ملف جدي والخروج بأيّ موقف مشترك له قيمة وحصر جدول أعمالها بالكلمات الافتتاحية الإنشائية للمشاركين، وفتح بعض القنوات الثنائية للحوارات بين بعض من المتخاصمين، الذين ينتمي أغلبهم إلى منظومة العلاقات بواشنطن.

الأكيد أنّ غياب سورية أفقد القمة فرصة ان تتحوّل الى قمة منتجة، فالملفات التي تستدعي الشراكة والتعاون، وهذا هو شعار القمة، هي ملفات الحرب مع تنظيم داعش، ومصير القوات الأميركية في مناطق التوتر بعد الانسحاب من أفغانستان، ومستقبل التعاون في قطاع الطاقة عبر شبكات الربط الكهربائي وأنابيب النفط والغاز، وفتح صفحة مصالحات تاريخية بين قادة ودول المنطقة، وهي ملفات لا يمكن مناقشتها بجدية دون مشاركة سورية كطرف رئيسي حاسم في كل من هذه الملفات، والأكيد أنّ مشاركة إيران لم تتجاوز العنوان البروتوكولي، بغياب سورية، لإدراكها أن تغييب سورية مكابرة وإنكار للحقائق، ومحاولة تجاهل وتجاوز لمكانتها الرئيسية والحاسمة تلبية لطلبات إقليمية ودولية لا تزال عاجزة عن تحمّل تبعات الإعتراف بفشلها في الحرب على سورية، ويستهدف بالتالي حرمان إيران من حضور حليفها الرئيسي في القمة لإضعاف قوة النهج المشترك الذي تلتقي عليه الدولتان، ولذلك لم يكن ممكناً للقمة ان تتحوّل إلى قمة حوار عربي تركي إيراني، بغياب سورية، لأنّ إيران لن تنفتح على الملفات الحقيقية لهذا الحوار دون سورية، وأغلب الملفات في هذا الخلاف سورية، وتجب مناقشتها بحضور سوري فاعل.

كانت القمة فرصة بعد الانسحاب الأميركي من أفغانستان وما يطرحه من تحديات على المنطقة وحكوماتها، للتحوّل الى نواة تأسيسية لنظام إقليمي جديد يدير الفراغ الناشئ عن التراجع الأميركي الإستراتيجي في المنطقة والعالم، لو تمّ التخلي عن العنجهية التي تحكم مواقف بعض الأطراف الدولية والإقليمية التي ربطت بغداد نجاح القمة بحضورها، والدعوات لحضور القمة بشروطها، لذلك لا يمكن توصيف القمة بغياب حضور أميركي فاعل، الا بالون إختبار استعملت بغداد وباريس لإطلاقه، مقابل توظيف القمة إعلامياً كإنجاز لرئيس الحكومة العراقي قبيل نهاية ولايته مع الانتخابات النيابية بعد شهر ونصف الشهر، وتقديمها كمنصة في الحملة الإنتخابية للرئيس الفرنسي الذي يحصد فشلاً تلو الفشل في السياسات الدولية، بعد خيبات أفغانستان ومالي ولبنان، وبالون الإختبار يهدف لاستكشاف حدود دنيا لبدء التفاوض الإقليمي بين حلفاء واشنطن من جهة وإيران من جهة مقابلة، بالتوازي مع التحضير لاستئناف مفاوضات فيينا، وقد جاء الجواب على هذا الحدّ الأدنى المعروض واضحاً وحازماً عبر كلمة وزير الخارجية الإيراني حسين أمير عبد اللهيان، بإطلاق عناوين واضحة، لا استقرار دون الخروج الأميركي من المنطقة ووقف الرهانات على التدخلات الأميركية في رسم سياسات حكومات دول المنطقة، ودون الاعتراف بنصر سورية ومكانتها وحضورها الوازن في أيّ معادلة إقليمية، ودون العودة لمعادلة فلسطين القضية المركزية لشعوب المنطقة ودولها، ودون التعاون الجدي في الحرب على الإرهاب وثقافة الإرهاب والتطرف والتعصب، ودون حلّ الملفات الخلافية بالحوار والتعاون والمصالحات بعيداً عن التدخلات الأجنبية.

ستلي القمة محاولات مشابهة حتى يصل الأميركي للتسليم باستحالة تفادي مصير مشابه لما جرى في أفغانستان، دون التسليم بالخروج من المنطقة دون أي مقابل خصوصاً الطلبات الأميركية لضمانات لأمن كيان الاحتلال، والتسليم بأنّ معادلة جديدة في المنطقة رسمها محور المقاومة وفي طليعته مكانة سورية المتجددة، كعنوان للدولة الوطنية المستقلة، وأنّ الدول التي شاركت في الحروب الأميركية لا تستطيع أن تطلب أكثر من ضمانات لعدم تدفيعها فواتير مشاركتها في هذه الحروب، ما يعني تسليم هذه الدول بوقف تورّطها في حرب اليمن وحرب سورية ومحاولات التدخل في شؤون العراق، دون أن تطلب أثماناً وتعويضات مقابل الانسحاب مما تورّطت به، لأنّ عليها الاكتفاء بعدم محاسبتها عما تسبّبت به من خراب، وليس أكيداً ان يصل الأميركي وجماعاته إلى التسليم بالشروط الموضوعية اللازمة لتشكيل نظام إقليمي جديد، قبل الانهيار الكبير الأشدّ قسوة من انهيار أفغانستان، لكن الأكيد أنّ الانتخابات العراقية المقبلة ستشكل الإختبار الرئيسي الذي سيبني التوازن السياسي الجديد بين المحورين المتقابلين في المنطقة، والواقفين على ضفاف الاستحقاق الانتخابي.

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Al Mayadeen: Death Toll on Al-Anad Airbase Attack Rises

August 30, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen

STC forces attacked the Al-Anad airbase, killing 49 people and wounding 65 more. The Houthi movement has continued to attack the base.

Lahij governorate's al-Anad airbase, where the STC troops are stationed
Lahij governorate’s al-Anad airbase, where the STC troops are stationed.

Today, Al Mayadeen sources reported that more than 100 people were killed and wounded as a result of a missile attack on the al-Anad Saudi coalition military base in the Lahij governorate. Some wounded are in critical condition.

It was reported by a Yemeni medical source that 49 people were killed in the attack and 65 were injured. The number of missing people whose corpses were torn was not included in the final death toll.

Three ballistic missiles fired from the al-Hawban area in Taiz, southwest of Yemen, struck the al-Anad base, according to military leaders of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council.

The military leaders of the STC forces accused the Sana’a government forces of continuing to attack and bomb the al-Anad base, which the STC utilizes as a base for its troops, while STC spokesperson Mohammed Al-Naqib did not rule out the absence of Houthi-Brotherhood cooperation in the operation.

It is worth noting that the Saudi coalition’s targeting of al-Anad, an important air and military base, is the second after it was hit in 2019 by a drone that targeted a military parade. Several high-ranking military leaders in President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s forces were killed, including the Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Saleh Al-Zindani.

Yemen’s Children Are Dying of Starvation, Saudis Suffer Obesity

August 24, 2021

Yemen’s Children Are Dying of Starvation, Saudis Suffer Obesity

Saudi Arabia in Yemen for seven years has committed crimes that were not done by the armies of Hulagu and Genghis Khan, with the countries they invaded. Its siege caused Yemen to reach a great famine and a tragedy described as the worst in the world.

All of the United Nations’ reports about the Yemeni issue were neglected by the Saudi and Emirati regimes. The most prominent of reports was written by the Executive Director of the World Food Program David Beasley, in which he confirmed the death of a Yemeni child every 75 seconds in Yemen.

Speaking to the United Nations Security Council, Beasley said, “I was in Yemen, where more than 16 million people are facing a crisis that reaches the level of hunger and worse.” He warned that 400,000 Yemeni children may die this year, if no urgent intervention is made. “As we sit here, a child dies every minute and a quarter. Are we going to turn our backs on them and look in the opposite direction?” he asked.

A report denounced the West’s lack of awareness of the tragedy of Yemen; rather, they are racing to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, colluding with them in the aggression against Yemen. Only 1-7 billion dollars were collected out of the 85/3 billion dollars demanded by the United Nations to help Yemen in facing famine, diseases and disasters of war, which UN General Antonio Guterres described as a “death sentence” for Yemenis.

“The Food Program has announced that nearly a third of families in Yemen suffer from malnutrition and rarely consume foods such as beans, vegetables, fruits, dairy products or meat, as there are families who live on leaves,” the report further stated.

Yemeni vs. Saudi Kids

The report compared the peoples of Yemen and Saudi Arabia and said that the situation is completely different. As Yemenis die of starvation, Saudi officials discuss how to confront obesity, which threatens 70% of the Saudi people.

Because of over-eating, the rate of food loss and waste in Saudi Arabia reaches more than 33%, which is more than 40 billion riyals annually [approximately $11 billion], according to the Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Fadhli, who called for a highly effective mechanism to reduce the amount of food lost and wasted.

The consultant in laparoscopic and obesity surgery, Dr. Ayed Al-Qahtani, had stated that Saudi Arabia is one of the Arab countries that suffers the most from obesity and severe obesity, with the real obesity rate suffered by individuals in Saudi Arabia is 70%.

Al-Qahtani also mentioned that the number of children suffering from obesity has reached about three and a half million children, at a rate of 18% of children of the kingdom, which calls for the intervention of the concerned authorities to put an end to this scourge that threatens the lives of children in the future.

Yemeni Army, Allies to Seize Control over Marib If Pro-Hadi Militants Dismiss Truce

August 14 2021

Yemeni Army, Allies to Seize Control over Marib If Pro-Hadi Militants Dismiss Truce

A senior Yemeni official said the country’s army troops and fighters from allied Popular Committees will establish full control over the entire districts of the central province of Marib in case Saudi-led militants refuse calls for a ceasefire in the strategic area.

Marib provincial governor in Yemen’s National Salvation Government, Major General Ali Muhammad Taiman, told Beirut-based al-Mayadeen network that the Yemeni army troops and allies are now in control of 85% of the province, and are only about 6 to 7 kilometers away from the provincial capital of the same name.

He added that the Yemeni armed forces are currently positioned on the outskirts of Marib city, stressing that, “We agreed to the initiative by [the leader of Yemen’s popular Ansarullah resistance movement] Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi, for a ceasefire. However, Saudi militants loyal to Yemen’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi kept bombing women and children. We want peace and strongly oppose bloodshed.”

He added, “[Sayyed] al-Houthi’s initiative is fair, as it involves the locals of Marib in its administration and appropriation of its resources. Such an initiative had not been developed for the past 40 years. We presented the truce initiative from a position of strength.”

Taiman highlighted that he was “ready to sit with his counterpart in Hadi’s administration, Major Sultan al-Aradah, either in the al-Jubah district or in Sirwah, in order to discuss the initiative and stop skirmishes in Marib.”

“We hope [Saudi] mercenaries in Marib would agree to Houthi’s initiative, and quickly implement it if they want to spare the province from war and destruction,” he added.

The senior Yemeni official further noted: “If the mercenaries have the courage to take the decision, we are ready to sit down with them.” 

Taiman said, “While we follow the initiative and are waiting for the other side’s action[s], no measure has unfortunately been taken yet. Yemeni army forces and fighters from Popular Committees would not hesitate to liberate the rest of Marib in case Saudi mercenaries turn down the truce initiative.”

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and regional allies, launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah resistance movement.

Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

The war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. It has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases.

Manipulating Dollar-Riyal Exchange Rate, Saudis and US Double Cost of Yemen’s Staple Goods

August 13th, 2021

Yemen Dollar Feature photo

By Ahmed Abdulkareem


Thousands of Yemenis held rallies in cities across the country demanding hunger not be used as a weapon by Saudi Arabia and the United States in order to bring locals to their knees.

ADEN, YEMEN — “The prices are skyrocketing. We can’t feed our children. They are starving,” Saher Abdu Salem, a government employee and a mother of five, said as she participated in a protest in Aden against Saudi Arabia and the government of ousted Yemeni President Abdul-Mansour al-Hadi. The protests took place at the Aden port this week in the wake of a recent decision by the Saudi-backed government in Aden to raise the U.S. dollar exchange rate for major life-saving goods. Now Saher and her husband are struggling to feed their family in the coastal city where the price of the staple ‘rooti’ loaf of bread has soared 250% in a month, its portion halved in size. “When the U.S. State Department expresses its concern over us, this means that it will deal a new blow to our hungry stomachs,” she said.

In this recent development, the oil-rich kingdom has raised the U.S. dollar exchange rate used to calculate customs duties on essential goods that enter Yemen, a country grappling with what the United Nations says is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with millions facing famine. The decision, which has been adopted by the ousted president’s government, has quickly been put into effect and has doubled customs tariffs for major goods and products that enter from the ports controlled by the Saudi-led Coalition.

In the wake of the Saudi decision, the price of essential goods has been doubled, particularly in Aden, Hadramout, al-Mahrah and all southern provinces occupied by the Saudi-led Coalition. In Aden, prices of oil, sauces, vegetables and fruits have more than tripled. The hike in duties from 250 to 110 Yemeni Riyals to the dollar applies to basic commodities such as flour, sugar, cooking oil, rice, milk, fuel and medicine.

According to the United Nations and local humanitarian bodies working on the ground, the move has already aggravated the humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country where more than 80% of the population is reliant on imports. On Wednesday, a report issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen said that the Yemeni riyal in “the areas of the internationally recognized Yemeni government” (referring to the Saudi-backed government of al-Hadi) has lost more than 36% of its value within a year, causing prices to rise. Moreover, the move has spread fear among Yemeni families who are struggling against floods, COVID-19 and other diseases.

The World Bank has said that about 70% of Yemenis are at risk of starvation at a time when the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has been halved since 2015, when the war began. The World Bank added, in the report published on its website, that “food prices have also risen due to the suspension of commercial imports and the resulting shortage of supplies, and the depreciation of the Yemeni riyal, which currently barely exceeds a third of its 2015 value.”

Refusing to acquiesce

Thousands of Yemenis held rallies in cities across the country demanding hunger not be used as a weapon by Saudi Arabia and the United States in order to bring locals to their knees. In the Saudi-controlled south and east of Yemen — where separate protests have broken out recently over frequent power cuts and the deterioration of health services, in light of the spread of COVID-19 and non-payment of wages — hundreds took the street in Aden, Abyan and Taiz, and al-Shehr ports located in al-Mahrah.

Meanwhile, many traders, importers, and related workers refused to acquiesce in the Saudi decision and instead went on strike. “This decision is a disaster for all Yemenis, and we have been on strike since Eid al-Adha,” Wael Gabr, a merchant who went on strike along with dozens of his peers at the al-Shahr port in al-Mahra, said. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry, based in Aden, also rejected the decision and warned of its repercussions.

Food prices have spiked sharply in the southern governorates since June 2020 thanks to Saudi mismanagement, according to the World Bank, which reported that the national average cost of a Minimum Food Basket (MFB) rose to YR 41,950 (about $63) in June, 4% above the MFB in May, driven by the large depreciation of the rial. The MFB cost increased, month to month, by 18% in Aden, 13% in Lahji and 11% in Dhalee, impacting southern households. In sharp contrast, the MFB cost declined markedly by 7% in Sana`a and remained stable in most other northern governorates, despite acute fuel shortages.

“We hold America responsible”

In Sana`a, where the Ansar Allah-led government has been able to maintain a stable exchange rate, thousands of people took the street on Sunday in Bab al-Yemen southeast of the city. There, protesters voiced slogans and chants against both Riyadh and Washington, expressing deep dissent over the recent rising rate of customs tariffs imposed by Saudi Arabia. “Nothing happens without the knowledge or consent of the United States,” Gabriel Ahmed said, as he joined with others chanting the slogan “Who is behind the decision…? America! America!”

A statement read by protest organizers proclaimed:

We consider raising the price of the customs dollar a pre-planned American decision by President Biden`s administration itself and implemented by the puppet tools in Aden. And we hold America responsible for exposing civilians in all Yemeni governorates to starvation, and we hold it responsible for using the siege of starvation as a weapon of war against the Yemeni people.”

In a speech to the protesters, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a high-ranking leader in the movement, said that the U.S. is constantly trying to depreciate Yemen’s rial against the American dollar in a move similar to its efforts in Syria, Palestinians and Lebanon: “It is the U.S. that has put a blockade against our country and killed our people. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are nothing more than tools for implementing U.S. schemes and agendas.”

This step — which came as part of the maximum pressure campaign exercised by Saudi Arabia and supported by the Biden administration, to bring the Yemenis to their knees — coincides with another step no less dangerous than rising tariffs. In July, Saudi Arabia began a new campaign to purge the kingdom — particularly its southern governorates of Asir, Jizan, and Najran — of Yemeni nationals, including workers and academics, in a move that will not only exacerbate Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, social instability and armed conflict for years to come, but also undermine whatever possibility remains of the Yemeni Republic emerging from this war intact, according to a recent report from Sana`a Center for Studies.

However, Yemenis are not giving up. Ansar Allah, which has led the resistance against the Saudi-led war, announced that they will continue to fight the Saudi Coalition, despite the economic pressures, until Saudi Arabia and its allies end the war, lift the blockade, and leave the country. Abdulmalik al-Houthi, the leader of Ansar Allah, said on Monday, “When Washington and its allies speak of peace, they mean others must surrender to their demands.” He concluded, “We are ready for peace, not surrender, and we will resist by all available means.”

US Preventing Political Solution in Yemen – National Delegation

August 12, 2021

US Preventing Political Solution in Yemen – National Delegation

By Staff, Agencies

The head of the Yemeni National Delegation Mohammad Abdul Salam stressed on Wednesday that the United States is preventing a political solution in Yemen from being reached.

“US intervention in Yemen led to the violation of national sovereignty through brutal aggression, and Saudi Arabia and the UAE were brought in to execute this aggression” Abdul Salam said in a tweet.

He pointed out that the US imposed a stifling siege on the Yemenis, which resulted in disasters that affected all aspects of life, pointing out at the same time that US worked to activate al-Qaeda and Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS/ISIL’ terrorist group]. “We believe that Saudi Arabia is only the face of the aggression against Yemen, and that the UAE is working behind it,” the head of Yemen’s National Delegation and the Ansarullah spokesman went on to say.

Abdul Salam further stressed the need to create a joint administration from the people of Marib Governorate, to maintain security and stability, and to expel al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorists. The initiative requires commitment to share with other provinces oil and gas and to repair the Safer-Ras Issa pipeline.

The initiative also requires ensuring freedom of movement, releasing all kidnapped people, compensating those affected, and returning the displaced from Marib, he added.

In earlier remarks following the appointment of the new UN Envoy to Yemen, Abdul Salam stressed that United Nations only works in the context of the countries of aggression and works within the allowed margin. He pointed out that “the problem is not in changing a person or not. The problem is that countries of aggression do not have a decision to stop the aggression and establish peace.”

Yemeni Resistance Liberates Two Areas in Al-Bayda Province2″ القوات المسلحة اليمنية تعرض تفاصيل عملية “النصر المبين

Yemeni Resistance Liberates Two Areas in Al-Bayda Province2″

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By Staff, Agencies

Yemeni forces liberated two districts in al-Bayda Province from the control of Takfiri militants backed by a Saudi-led coalition waging war on Yemen.

Spokesman for Yemen’s Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yehya Saree, said in a statement on Friday that the Yemeni forces had completed the second stage of a military operation dubbed al-Nasr al-Mobin [Manifest Victory] in al-Bayda, liberating the districts of Numan and Natee and defeating Takfiri militants associated with the Saudi-led coalition.

Saree said the military operation had left hundreds of Saudi-backed mercenaries and Takfiri militants killed and injured, adding that the Yemeni forces had also captured a number of the militants and confiscated their weapons.

According to the spokesman, the Yemeni troops are about to purge the remaining areas in al-Bayda of the militants and most of the province’s districts are now under the Yemeni forces’ control.

“The Yemeni forces would continue with their operations unhampered until the end of the Saudi-led war and the liberation of all Yemeni territories,” Saree stressed.

On July 13, Saree announced that the Yemeni forces had launched the first stage of Operation al-Nasr al-Mobin to push members of al-Qaeda and Daesh [Arabic for ‘ISIS/ISIL’] out of their strongholds in al-Bayda.

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and regional allies, launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 with the goal of suppressing a popular uprising that had toppled a Riyadh-friendly regime.

Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees have been defending the country since, and, over six years into the invasion, the Saudi-led forces remain bogged down in what has become Saudi Arabia’s Vietnam War.

The Saudi war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. The war has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases across the Arab country.

القوات المسلحة اليمنية تعرض تفاصيل عملية “النصر المبين 2”

المصدر: الميادين نت

المتحدث باسم القوات المسلحة اليمنية العميد يحيى سريع يعلن عن تكبيد “داعش” و”القاعدة” خسائر كبيرة خلال عملية “النصر المبين 2″، ويوضح طبيعة مشاركة القوة الصاروخية والجوية في العملية.

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سريع: سلاح الجو المسير نفّذ 19 عملية، منها عمليات استطلاعية وأخرى قتالية

وقال سريع، في بيان له، إنّ “سلاح الجو المسير نفّذ 19 عملية، منها عمليات استطلاعية وأخرى قتالية استهدفت مواقع داعش والقاعدة بمشاركة وحدات مختلفة من القوات اليمنية المسلحة”، لافتاً إلى أنّ “القوة الصاروخية نفّذت 13 عملية استخدمت فيها صواريخ من طراز بدر وكذلك طراز سعير”. 

وأضاف سريع أنّه تمّ “تكبيد داعش والقاعدة خسائر كبيرة، إذ بلغ عدد القتلى من تلك العصابات 160 قتيلاً وأكثر من 200 مصاب”، مشيراً إلى نجاح القوات المسلحة في “إعطاب وإحراق عشرات الآليات وغنم كميات مختلفة من الأسلحة خلال العملية”.

كما أكّد سريع أنّ القوات المسلحة “باشرت بالتعاون مع السلطات المحلية بإعادة تطبيع الحياة في كافة المناطق المحررة”. 

وقال سريع إنّ “تحالف العدوان شنّ أثناء تنفيذ عملية النصر المبين 67 غارة، فيما حصلت العصابات التكفيرية على كميات مختلفة من الأسلحة المتوسطة والثقيلة والذخائر”.    

وتابع: “العصابات التكفيرية حصلت أيضاً على الدعم والإسناد من قبل تحالف العدوان قبل وأثناء وبعد العملية، في حين أنّ الجهات المختصة تولّت توثيق جرائم تلك العصابات التي استهدفت المواطنين وممتلكاتهم”.

سريع أشار إلى أنّ “القوات المسلحة وبدعم من أبناء محافظة البيضاء وقبائلها مستمرّة في تطهير ما تبقى من جيوب”. 

هذا وشارك سريع في تغريدة له على “تويتر” صورة خارطة توضح المساحة الجغرافية التي تمّ تحريرها في المرحلة الثانية من عملية “النصر المبين” بمحافظة البيضاء والتي تقدر بـ390 كيلو متر مربع.

خارطة توضح المساحة الجغرافية التي تم تحريرها في المرحلة الثانية من عملية النصر المبين بمحافظة البيضاء والتي تقدر ب ٣٩٠ كيلو متر مربع. pic.twitter.com/MULprKhVyd— العميد يحيى سريع (@army21ye) July 31, 2021

يذكر أنّه، في منتصف تموز/يوليو الجاري، أعلنت القوات المسلحة اليمنية عن إطلاق المرحلة الأولى من عملية “النصر المبين”، ضد تنظيمي “القاعدة” و”داعش” في محافظة البيضاء، وقالت إنها تمكّنت من استعادة كل المناطق التي احتلّها العدو في مديريتَي الزاهر والصومعة في المحافظة.

فيديوات متعلقة

Yemeni Resistance Kills 350 Terrorists, Saudi Mercenaries in Al-Bayda Operation, SAUDI-LED COALITION ATTEMPTS TO RETAKE BAYDHA FROM HOUTHIS

Yemeni Resistance Kills 350 Terrorists, Saudi Mercenaries in Al-Bayda Operation

Yemeni Resistance Kills 350 Terrorists, Saudi Mercenaries in Al-Bayda Operation

By Staff, Agencies

Spokesman for Yemen’s Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yehya Saree, announced on Thursday that the Yemeni army troops and allied fighters from Popular Committees managed to deal a severe blow to Takfiri militants and Saudi mercenaries during the recent large-scale military operation in the central province of al-Bayda, killing hundreds of them in the process.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital Sanaa, Saree stated that Yemeni armed forces notched up glorious victories during Operation “Manifest Victory”, and killed 350 Takfiri terrorists, including members of Daesh [Arabic for ‘ISIS/ISIL’] and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] terror outfits. Scores of them fled as well.

“Takfiri groups sought to assert control over several districts in al-Bayda province. The resurgence of Takfiri outfits was in fact part of US plans to target Yemen, and plunge it into the hands of mercenaries and extremists,” he pointed out.

Saree added, “The large amount of weapons that Yemeni army troops, Popular Committees fighters and security forces recovered from Takfiri terrorists shows the extent of support provided by the [Saudi-led] coalition of aggression to Saudi-paid militants.”

The senior Yemeni military official went on to say that the invading Saudi-led alliance supplied the militants with weapons, and allowed dozens of foreign Takfiris to sneak into Yemen.

“This battle once again exposed the true nature of Takfiri Daesh and al-Qaeda elements, and their affiliation to the United States. Relevant parties in Yemen are properly informed of the activities of these Takfiri elements in various regions, including the city of Marib and elsewhere,” Saree highlighted.

The spokesman for Yemen’s armed forces highlighted that Takfiris have committed numerous crimes against residents of al-Bayda province, prompting Yemeni security forces and armed forces to act quickly.

“Different Yemeni army units, supported by local residents of al-Bayda and … tribal fighters, launched a large-scale operation in the area. During the major offensive, Yemeni missile units carried out nine attacks with [domestically-developed ballistic] Badr and Sair missiles. Drone and missile units launched a total of 66 retaliatory attacks. Separately, Saudi-led fighter jets carried out more than 161 airstrikes in support of Takfiri groups operating in the region,” Saree said.

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and regional allies, launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah resistance movement.

Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

The Saudi war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. The war has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases across the Arab country.




The battle in central Yemen remains as volatile as ever, with Saudi-led coalition and Ansar Allah clashing for Marib city, but also for Baydha.

In Baydha, the Houthis (as Ansar Allah movement is known) are on the defensive, as the Saudi-led coalition began an offensive to recapture the area earlier in July.

Fighting raged between Yemen’s government forces and Houthi rebels, killing 320 fighters from both sides in the central province on July 12th and 13th.

Fighting in Bayda came as the Houthis attempted to break through government defenses in the strategic city of Marib, also located in central Yemen. The rebels have been trying to capture it from the Saudi-led coalition since February.

The government has been sending reinforcements to Bayda since losing to the Houthis some of the districts.

The Houthis, alongside defending from the Saudi-led coalition are also reportedly fighting ISIS and Al-Qaeda elements from Baydha, announcing recently the clearing of terrorists in Al-Soma’a and Al-Zahir.

Houthi spokesman Yahya Saree claimed that the group would stop the Saudi-led coalition’s advance in Baydha and push them back in “three days” from July 13th.

This comes as Ansar Allah have stopped their almost daily drone and rocket attacks on various positions in Saudi Arabia.

Still, on July 14, a series of explosions rocked the outskirts of the central Saudi city of al-Kharaj to the south of the Kingdom’s capital Riyadh.

Local activists shared videos on social media showing large explosions near al-Kharaj, where ammunition depots and military bases are known to be located.

A spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Defense, Brigadier General Turki al-Malki, claimed in a brief statement that an “accident” was behind the explosions.

Despite the statement, some sources suppose that the al-Kharaj explosions were the result of an attack by the Houthis. The group is yet to make any claims in regard to the explosions.

Saudi Arabia continues its daily airstrikes, in addition to hundreds of ceasefire violations in al-Hudaydah, despite claiming that it has stopped. It only hasn’t targeted the capital Sana’a for a while.

Meanwhile, any form of peace appears out of reach. The Yemen puppet government in Aden urged the Saudi-backed coalition to shift its way of dealing with the Iranian-backed Houthi militias’ inflexibility in peace efforts.

Still, the government speaks against the Houthis and says that they need to back down, as well. Apart from condemning the Houthis for their aggressions, the Yemen government praised the Saudi-led Arab Coalition for backing pro-government forces in their fight against the militias and their efforts to restore security, peace and stability to Yemen.

Yemeni army and tribes liberate al Baydha, as 300 US troops invade Aden, south Yemen

Jul 14, 2021




Operation Evident Victory: Houthis Shared Details Of Their Successful Counter-Attack In Al-Bayda

On July 15, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) announced that they had repelled the Saudi-led offensive in the central Yemeni province of al-Bayda and launched a successful counter-attack.

Saudi-backed forces launched the offensive earlier this month with the aim of capturing al-Bayda provincial center. After making some serious gains in the districts of al-Zahir and al-Sawma’ah, the forces were pushed back by the Houthis and their local allies.

In a press conference, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Houthis, claimed that terrorists of al-Qaeda and ISIS took part in the Saudi-led offensive in al-Bayda.

“The coalition of aggression supported the Takfirist [terrorists] by providing them with weapons, logistic support and facilitating the entry of dozens of foreign Takfiris to the targeted areas,” the spokesman said. “Aggression warplanes launched more than 161 strikes as part of their support for Takfiri groups during the battle.”

Despite the Saudi-led coalition’s heavy fire power, the Houthis were able to repel the offensive and launch a successful counter-attack codenamed “Operation Evident Victory”.

Houthi fighters and their local allies captured 100 square kilometers of new territory from Saudi-backed forces in al-Zahir and al-Sawma’ah.

Operation Evident Victory: Houthis Shared Details Of Their Successful Counter-Attack In Al-Bayda

During Operation Evident Victory, the Houthis carried out nine strikes on Saudi-backed forces in al-Bayda with Badir and Saeer missiles. The Yemeni group also used its drones to carry out 40 strikes and 17 reconnaissance operations.

According to Brig. Gen. Sari, 350 Saudi-backed fighters were killed and 560 others were injured during the al-Bayda battle. 29 military vehicles were also destroyed.

The Houthis’ announcement does not necessary mean that the al-Bayda battle is over. Saudi-backed forces may renew their offensive in the province in the near future. The Saudi-led coalition has been trying to secure any military achievement in Yemen for some time now.

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Yemen: Biden Shrugs Off Campaign Promise as US Backs New Saudi Offensive and AQAP Support

July 13th, 2021

By Ahmed Abdulkareem


The US has refused calls to stop arming Saudi Arabia amid its devastating war in Yemen and is now doubling down on a military solution, falling back on its reliance of armed militant groups that it used to devastating effect in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq.

AL-BAYDA, YEMEN — President Joe Biden gave a lot of people a sense of cautious optimism when he took to the campaign trail and promised to bring a swift end to the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The oil-rich monarchy, supported heavily by the United States, has been waging arguably the deadliest military campaign of the past decade on the forgotten country for over six years, exacting a brutal humanitarian toll on its civilian population.

To his credit, Biden sent Tim Lenderking to lead a team of negotiators in an attempt to broker reconciliation between the conflict’s many belligerents. But without the political will to stand up to the Saudi monarchy and the varied American interests that profit handsomely from its wars, Lenderking had little chance of success. Now it seems the Kingdom — once again emboldened, armed, and covered by the United States — has all but abandoned any pretense of reconciliation and doubled down on its brutal war.

A Piercing Star falls to earth

Last week, the Saudi-led Coalition began a massive military operation they’re calling al-Najm al-Thaqib, which translates from Arabic into The Piercing Star. The operation ostensibly aims to recapture large swaths of territory in central Yemen’s al-Bayda province, which was captured by Ansar Allah after a series of long and grueling battles with militants from al-Qaeda on the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP) last fall. AQAP had been entrenched in the province for decades, somehow persevering through concerted military efforts by both the Saudi-led Coalition and at least four consecutive U.S. administrations to dislodge it — including Barack Obama’s infamous drone war.

On August 28, 2020, local tribal partisans backed by Ansar Allah defeated AQAP and myriad extremist allies, including elements of IS, in a week-long operation. This victory came just as AQAP was preparing to sweep the Yemeni provinces of al-Bayda, Dhamar, and Sana’a in an operation that aimed to repeat the scenarios seen in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, where ISIS was able to take and hold a so-called caliphate extending from western Iraq to into eastern Syria.

Al-Bayda and the surrounding provinces saw a state of relative calm in the wake of the operation, as residents experienced life without the yoke of al-Qaeda, some for the first time in their lives. Now, some of those residents fear that Saudi Arabia, backed by the United States, is attempting to resettle those groups in al-Bayda as a hedge against Ansar Allah.

Saudi jets have carried out scores of airstrikes in al-Bayda in recent weeks, flying in from the north to unleash tons of bombs made and supplied by the United States and giving AQAP a potential avenue to retake the province, as the airstrikes have targeted Ansar Allah and their local tribal allies almost exclusively.

According to the nonprofit Yemeni Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC), American-made cluster bombs — which even the U.S. military has pledged not to use, due to their high rate of collateral damage — including the CBU-58, CBU-105, CBU-87, M26, and DPICM M77, have all been used in the offensive.

In a press conference, YEMAC displayed unexploded American bombs used in the operation, including the same GBU-39 and GBU-31 that were used with deadly effect in Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza. YEMAC held the press conference after an unexploded U.S.-made GBU-24 was recovered from a civil-defense building in Sana’a.

While there is not yet conclusive evidence of direct coordination between the Saudi Coalition and AQAP in the offensive, AQAP militants began pushing into al-Bayda from the south almost as soon as the Saudi airstrikes began. The southern villages of al-Zaher and al-Sma’h — including the areas of Jumaima, Wafaa, Sharadeh, al-Sous, Shabakat Dhi Madahi, Akrama, Shawkan and others — have already been recaptured by al-Qaeda according to a number of Saudi state-funded media outlets, which celebrated the putsch as a victory for the Saudi-led Coalition.

No “Certain Victory”

However, the celebrations were short-lived, as Ansar Allah has already begun to recapture areas it gained last August in a military operation it has dubbed al-Nasr al-Mubin, an Arabic phrase meaning “Certain Victory.” That operation has already seen the defeat of AQAP and militants allied with Saudi Arabia in the al-Zahir Directorate as well as dozens of military sites in the al-Dahaki and Al-Soma`h districts, and even areas that Ansar Allah failed to capture from AQAP during its August offensive, according to a statement it issued on Tuesday.

Yemen Marib
An armored vehicle belonging to Saudi-backed militants shows a poster that reads, “martyr commander brigadier general Self Abd al-Rab al-Shadady.” Al-Shadady” was recently killed in clashes in Marib, Yemen, June 19, 2021. Nariman El-Mofty | AP

On Friday, the media bureau of the Houthis’ Operations Command Center published a video showing some of its victories in al-Bayda. Several senior AQAP commanders were killed or captured in the battles, including the infamous Abu Dharr al-Tayabi, Tawfiq al-Farawi and Othman Ahmad Abdullah al-Mushdali. A spokesman for Ansar Allah said:

Despite having mobilized members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Daesh (IS) Takfiri terrorist groups, Saudi [Arabia] failed and has so far reaped nothing other than defeat on every front. The coalition has received severe blows in al-Bayda, even though it has hired al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorists.”

But Ansar Allah is far from a decisive victory. Fierce clashes continue near Lahj province and coalition warplanes continue to pound al-Bayda.

US cooperation with a Jihadi recruiter

According to members of the Houthi negotiating delegation, who spoke to MintPress on condition of anonymity, the escalation in al-Bayda is being used to pressure Ansar Allah to halt its advance on the oil-rich Marib province and to force it to accept conditions that Saudi Arabia and Lenderking’s envoy have imposed on Ansar Allah as a precondition for a peace deal.

For their part, the Houthis have promised to retaliate by resuming drone and ballistic missile attacks on Saudi oil and military targets in the Kingdom’s southern provinces, according to Brigadier General Abed Al-Thor and General Aziz Rashid, who told MintPress that military pressure on the Kingdom will only be increased in the wake of the recent Saudi escalation.

The attacks on al-Bayda come in the wake of meetings between the Saudi-backed vice president of Yemen, Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, and Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. Cooper pushed for intelligence sharing and support for armed militant groups under the banner of curbing the arming of the Houthis by the Iranian government.

Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar
Al-Ahmar speaks to journalists during a 2011 press conference in Sanaa, Yemen. Hani Mohammed | AP

Al-Ahmar has been tied to various extremist groups in Yemen and, according to Reuters, “The Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni Islamists gained strength, particularly under … al-Ahmar, who built a power base in the army. Jihadist fugitives formed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).” According to a 2000 New York Times report, al-Ahmar even “traveled to Afghanistan in the 1980s to meet Osama bin Laden, and assisted in recruiting militants from across the Muslim world for the Afghan struggle.”

The U.S. has long been involved in the training and arming of militants in Yemen, whom it saw as a hedge against Ansar Allah. Al-Ahmar has publicly praised the U.S. for cooperating with him to combat what he called “the Iranian project.”

Grim prospects for peace

On July 1, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the United States was “beyond fed up” with the Houthis’ advance in Marib and laid the blame for the humanitarian situation in Yemen squarely at the feet of the Houthis, claiming it was they who failed to work with the “other parties … who are actively working towards peace,” a reference to Saudi Arabia and its allies in the country.

Price’s statements and the Biden administration’s about-face on Yemen has raised questions among activists struggling to stop the war, especially as the U.S. has largely refused calls to stop arming Saudi Arabia amid a devastating civilian death toll, and now seems to be doubling down on its commitment to a military solution to the conflict, falling back on its habit of supporting armed militant groups that it used to devastating effect in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The Biden administration should have stopped providing weapons and training to the warring parties to ensure that the war would not continue, and not support one at the expense of the other, so logic and reality say,” Dala al-Matari, an activist from the Stop the Bombing of Yemen campaign said. Like many Yemenis, al-Matari believes that President Biden used his seeming opposition to the highly controversial war as a trump card to boost his chances in last year’s presidential election.

For its part, Ansar Allah has outright accused the Biden administration of giving a green light to Saudi forces to attack al-Bayda so that it can more easily provide al-Qaeda and IS with weapons and intelligence information. Officials in Sana’a say the Biden administration is playing with fire by not only destroying peace efforts but also resettling and supporting al-Qaeda, especially amid a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan.

Dhaif Allah al-Shami — the spokesman for the Sana’a-based Yemeni government run jointly by Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress, the largest political party in the country — said that the United States had “run the recent military escalation in al-Bayda.” He accused the Biden administration of being behind the plan, stating: “The United States, which falsely and wrongly claims to be concerned with peace in Yemen, is [the one] fueling the bitter clashes in the al-Zahir district of the province.”

Major General Nasser Al-Atif, minister of defense in the Ansar Allah-led government, said in a statement on Monday:

We have a new strategy to face the new Saudi escalation that will cost the coalition a heavy price if they continue to support terrorist elements, and this is something they should understand well. Saudi Arabia and the United States claim that they are keen on peace, stopping the war, and addressing the inhumane issues, but in fact they are talking all this just for media consumption and the exploitation of international and regional positions.

Why did Saudi Arabia wage a war on Yemen?

12 July 2021

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To say the war on Yemen was a major development in the history of West Asia might be an understand. It will certainly go down In history, perhaps not in favor of the Saudis though.

TEHRAN (Iran News) –  Why did Saudi Arabia wage a war on Yemen? To say the war on Yemen was a major development in the history of West Asia might be an understand. It will certainly go down In history, perhaps not in favor of the Saudis though.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia declared that it and some allies had formed a coalition led by Riyadh and began a military operation. At the time, this was something unheard of, especially in the Arab world; that the Arabs had formed a military alliance for the first time in many decades and were conducting wide-scale bombing campaigns with such energy and such enthusiasm. The military campaign was dubbed Operation Decisive Storm. Many in the region had jokingly highlighted what exactly happened that we are suddenly witnessing this courageous will and heroic leadership among a handful of Arab states.

The Storm of the Arabs! In fact it was quite unfortunate. For decades, since 1948, the Palestinians had witnessed one massacre after the other and we never got to see an Arab storm. Not even a breeze of this storm on Yemen. The Palestinians and the Lebanese who also suffered from Israeli occupation had dreamt to only smell an Arab storm of this magnitude. The reasons or excuses at the time, Saudi Arabia offered to wage a war to this extent on another country were THREE. Firstly, the Saudis claimed that the former government of Yemen led by former President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi had requested the military intervention. By the way, the Palestinians had also requested such an intervention and is still requesting such an intervention today but to date, their appeals have fallen on death ears. Instead the Saudis and their allies are accused of conspiring against the Palestinians and sold the third holiest site in Islam in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds to the Israelis.

The Saudis claimed they sensed a threat from Yemen, where peace talks between the former Saudi backed government in Sana’a and the new National Salvation Government broke down and clashes ensued between the two sides. Here it’s important to note, former President Hadi allied with Riyadh, naturally took sides with Riyadh. Whereas the new National Salvation Government backed by a popular public revolution on the ground expressed opposition to Saudi Arabia’s decades old control on Yemen and was seeking independence from the Kingdom.

As Hadi lost grip on the country, so did the Saudis and Hadi quite naturally fled to Riyadh. For arguments sake, even if Hadi’s term had not expired and he was overthrown by a popular  revolution, was this enough to wage such a devastating war? even if Riyadh had claimed it wanted to reinstate what it considers or claims to be the legitimate President of Yemen. Here, again important to note, many other Saudi allies like former Tunisian President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled during the Islamic Awakening in 2011 by the Tunisian Revolution also fled to Saudi Arabia. Where was the Saudi war on Tunisia to reinstate Ben Ali? Likewise Saudi Arabia’s neighbor, Egypt with Hosni Mubarak which Saudi Arabia tried its best to reinstate but not to the extent that it waged a war or militarily intervened. Not only does this prove the Saudi reasoning is false in nature but also puts the spotlight on Yemen. Why only a war on Yemen? Why this quick decisive action to wage war on Yemen, why no talks first, no dialogue or other non-lethal attempts?

The second reason Riyadh stated for this very surprising yet very unfortunate war on its southern neighbor is that the new situation on the ground (the popular revolution spearheaded by Ansarullah alongside the Yemeni army and many legal and popular institutions and committees) poses a threat to Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf as well as the security of the Red Sea. Was this accurate? Did Saudi Arabia present any evidence (even a verbal statement by a Saudi official) to back this accusation to the region or the world. Was the presentation of evidence to back up this claim not necessary to wage a deadly devastating war? It is well known that Yemen is the poorest nation in the region. It was also well known that Yemen had many challenges ahead from legal issues to public issues to security issues for example writing a new constitution, bringing back basic services to its people, fighting Takfiri terrorist cells operating on its land such as al-Qaeda. This needed time for the new Yemeni government. Can a new born country in this state pose a threat to Saudi Arabia, the richest Kingdom in the region or the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea. This also proved to be false. The third and most important reason that was circulating on Saudi media and all Saudi sponsored media in the region and the world at the time, perhaps the most serious allegation by the Saudis is that Yemen has become ‘occupied’ by Iran, ‘controlled‘ by Iran and military intervention is required to return Yemen back to an ‘Arab state’.

In other words, Yemen became Iranian overnight. When you study Yemeni history, literature, culture and recent pride, dignity, resistance and willpower and steadfastness against the Saudis; If the Yemenis are not Arabs, then who are the Arabs?

However, as this was a major accusation, it needs to be documented and examined carefully and with logic. When the Saudis said occupation, let’s tackle the simple aspects first. Where is the evidence that Iran ‘occupies’ Yemen? An occupation tends to have a presence, as with every occupation in the world. Was Iran’s army or Iranian forces occupying Yemen or parts of Yemen. Were there any Iranian military bases on Yemeni territory? The accusation was so absurd it was actually laughable. Let’s assume the Saudis actually didn’t mean a military occupation but some form of Iranian control over Yemen. This also needs to be addressed to understand the misconception not just in Yemen but the entire region.

Here, one has to understand the mentality of the tribal ruling monarchy of Saudi Arabia that is backed by the United States and widely believed to be backed by Israel. This ruling monarchy has an issue with something called independent democratic states in West Asia. An independent Tunisian state or Syrian state or for arguments sake an independent Egyptian state or independent Persian Gulf States or even an independent Saudi Arabian state with democratic institutions. The monarchies in West Asia where one tribe rules an entire population with an iron fist views any form of independence as a form of resistance to its rule of power.

That’s in a nutshell.

The facts and reality on the ground is that this logic by these ruling tribes leads to regular foreign policy miscalculations, losses and diplomatic blunders. It’s difficult to find the last time Saudi Arabia made a real foreign policy achievement. More than six years of Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, which Riyadh predicted would end in a couple of weeks has been a failure, a defeat and a quagmire for the Kingdom.

These are the same statements that we hear again and again and again from regional states like Iraq, like Syria, like Palestine, like Lebanon and others. The lack of a strong Saudi leadership in the region despite all its rich resources and home to the two holiest sites in Islam, this lack of leadership or failed policies is what leads nations to request help from an independent nation in West Asia such as the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Here is where Riyadh needs to change its mentality and be a source of inspiration for West Asia. For example, Lebanon 1982, when Israeli forces invaded and reached Beirut. All the Arab monarchies and dictatorships ignored Lebanon. The only two states that supported Lebanon during its darkest era was Iran and Syria. Both countries under blockade and siege or war and terrorism. Despite that, Lebanon requested help from Iran, a country that itself was facing a war from Saddam’s regime but Iran fulfilled its duty to another oppressed nation by sending a team of military advisors.

However, it’s very important to highlight, despite western and regional propaganda, that the Lebanese resistance that was formed against Israeli occupation was a Lebanese resistance; made up of Lebanese men; commanders and soldiers not Iranian. Until today, the Saudis describe the Lebanese resistance in its media as Iranian without a shred of evidence while there are thousands of shreds of evidence proving otherwise. The same again with Palestine, if Saudi Arabia supported the Palestinians against the Israeli occupation with the same willpower and money and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of weapons it spent on the war on Yemen, the Palestinians may not have turned to Iran for support. The same goes for Iraq and Syria during the era of Daesh’s occupation. Where were the Arab monarchies? had it not been Iranian military advisors, Daesh would have taken over both countries. More important than this, to make the picture clearer (and counter American/Israeli/Saudi propaganda) never once have these nations stated in their history, that Iran ordered us to do something in return for Tehran’s support.

This reality, where independent states, or those still looking to liberate their lands from occupation, can form an alliance and be free or independent at the same time poses a danger to Saudi Arabia and its allies. Elections in Iran, Iraq, Syria or Lebanon or Palestine or Yemen poses a threat to monarchical rule. Saudis nationals are asking (quite rightly) why don’t we have elections, but analysts argue this is why American support for these monarchies (whether Saudi Arabia knows it or not) allows it to maintain its hegemonic presence in West Asia and serve Israeli interests.

Returning to Yemen, prior to March 2015, Saudi Arabia had been interfering in Yemen for decades and in literally every aspect; controlling its governance, policies, army, economy and even faiths and sects. What has Saudi Arabia offered to Yemen after all those years? Where was the infrastructure in Yemen? where was the state of the economy? where was the security? Did Saudi Arabia include Yemen in the Persian Gulf Security Council, considering its alleged staunch support for the country? Saudi Arabia kept Yemen as the region’s poorest nation. The Yemeni people are the ones that reached the conclusion based on their will and took a decision to part ways with Riyadh and reclaim their country, borders, sovereignty, independence and most importantly dignity.

Yemeni Forces Liberate Strategic District, Several Areas in Bayda


Yemeni Forces Liberate Strategic District, Several Areas in Bayda

By Staff, Agencies

The media bureau of Yemen’s Operations Command Center has published video footage of Yemeni army forces and allied fighters conducting a large-scale anti-Saudi military operation in the central province of al-Bayda, and establishing control over several regions there.

The video shows Yemeni troops and their allies, backed by local tribal fighters, engaged in a major offensive against Saudi-led coalition forces and their Takfiri mercenaries on the outskirts of the strategic Az Zahir district.

The Yemeni armed forces repeatedly strike the positions of Saudi forces and militants as the latter flee the area en masse to save their lives.

Yemeni snipers are also seen firing shots at designated targets.

The video goes on to show the Yemeni army forces and allied Popular Committees fighters purging several areas, which terrorist groups had long been using as strongholds to make bombs and various explosive devices under the auspices of the Saudi-led coalition.

The Yemeni army soldiers and Popular Committees fighters inflicted heavy losses on the ranks of Saudi-backed extremist outfits during the multi-pronged military operation, before they managed to establish complete control over Az Zahir district and several other areas.

On Thursday, the spokesman for Yemen’s popular Ansarullah movement said despite having mobilized members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] and Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”] terrorist groups, the Saudi-led military coalition and its mercenaries have failed miserably in their battles against the Yemeni armed forces and their allies in Bayda province.

“The Saudi-led alliance has so far reaped nothing other than defeat on every front. The coalition has received severe blows in al-Bayda, even though it has hired al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorists,” Mohammed Abdul-Salam wrote in a post published on his Tweeter page.

He noted that the Riyadh regime and its allies are bogged down in the Yemen quagmire, no matter how hard they struggle to escape.

Earlier, a Yemeni military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Yemen’s al-Masirah television network that Yemeni troops and Popular Committees fighters had carried out two military operations in the Az Zahir and As Sawma’ah districts of Bayda province.

The source noted that more than 80 Saudi-paid mercenaries, including senior commanders, were killed or injured during the offensives. Several areas were also liberated from the grip of Saudi-backed Takfiri militants.

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and regional allies, launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.

Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

The Saudi war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. The war has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases across the Arab country.

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التشظّي الخليجيّ علامة التراجع السعوديّ

July 6, 2021 

 ناصر قنديل

خلال خمسة عقود هي عمر استقلال دول الخليج، لم يكن لأية دولة من دول الخليج سياسة إقليمية أو دولية مختلفة عن السعودية. فالسعودية هي الدولة الأكبر في المساحة والسكان والثروات، وهي الأسبق بالنشوء والحضور، وهي تستضيف الأماكن المقدسة، وتتربّع على عرش القيادة في العالمين العربي والإسلامي منذ تراجع مكانة مصر وأفول مشروع الرئيس الراحل جمال عبد الناصر عن المشهد العربي والدولي. وخلال العقود الأربعة الماضية كانت إيران بعد انتصار ثورتها وإطاحة نظام الشاه، هي القضية التي دخلت على خط رسم إيقاع السياسات الخليجيّة، على خلفية ثنائية ترسم بين الرياض وواشنطن، وتتحوّل الى سياسات خليجية معتمدة، مع هوامش تمّ رسمها بالتراضي لدول مثل عمان والإمارات والكويت، في أيام قادتها المؤسسين خصوصاً.

خلال العقدين الأخيرين حدثت مجموعة تطورات هزت العالم ووصلت تردّداتها الى الخليج والعلاقات الخليجية الداخلية، وكانت قطر مع ثرواتها الضخمة الناجمة عن اكتشاف كميات هائلة من الغاز فيها في ظل عدد سكانها المحدود، أول من شق عصا الطاعة على الموقع المسلّم به للسعودية برسم سقوف السياسات الخليجية، وكانت قناة الجزيرة قد بدأت ترسم معالم الطموح القطريّ لدور كبير على الساحة العربية، وخلال حرب تموز 2006 على لبنان وعندما وقفت الرياض تعلن الحرب على المقاومة وتتهمها بالمغامرة، وقفت قطر مستفيدة من علاقتها بتركيا وبحركة حماس في موقع مختلف، أقرب للمقاومة، رغم العلاقات الأميركية القطرية التي ترجمت باستضافة قطر قاعدة العيديد الأميركية.

خلال الثورات الملوّنة التي عرفها العالم العربي، والتي توّجت بالحرب على سورية، تقدم الموقع القطري لينافس السعودية على القيادة، وتسبب الفشل بتدفيع قطر فاتورة مكلفة تمثلت بتنحي أميرها ورئيس حكومتها ووزير خارجيتها الذي ارتبط اسمه بمشروع قطر للإمساك بملفات حساسة في المنطقة وصولاً للتدخل في تشكيل حكومات دول مثل مصر وتونس، لكن العودة السعودية الى الواجهة لم تترافق مع مشروع جديد قابل للنجاح، فبقيت القطيعة مع سورية التي شكل شبه الإجماع الخليجي أساساً لتحولها إلى قرار في الجامعة العربية، ثم جاءت الحرب على اليمن لتظهر تحالفاً خليجياً رباعياً تقوده السعودية ضم قطر والإمارات والبحرين بالإضافة الى السعودية، وبقيت دولتان عملياً خارج المظلة السعودية، ولو من دون تصادم، هي الكويت وعُمان.

بدأ التحالف بالتفكك مع الفشل في حرب اليمن، فخرجت قطر، ثم انفردت الإمارات بمشروع خاص في الجنوب، وبقيت البحرين موجودة اسمياً، لتبدو السعودية وحيدة عالقة في هذه الحرب، ورغم الحصار الذي قادته السعودية بوجه قطر وشاركتها فيه مصر والإمارات والبحرين، جاء الارتباك السعودي مع تبدل الإدارات الأميركية والتراجع الذي اصيب به المشروع الأميركي في المنطقة، مع صعود روسي صيني إيراني، ليمنح الإمارات وقطر فرص الانفراد بسياسات تختلف عن الموقف السعودي، بالتزامن مع ظهور صراع قطري إماراتي، حتى ظهرت السعودية دون حلفاء مع وقوف البحرين على الحياد بين السعودية والإمارات رغم ارتباطها الأمني والجغرافي والمالي بالسعودية، في وضع أقرب للمحميّة.

الخلاف الإماراتي السعودي في المسألة النفطية ليس مجرد خلاف عابر، فهو نقطة فاضت بها الكأس الإماراتيّة التواقة للانفصال عن المظلة السعودية، فالإمارات التي تمتلك ثروة نفطية ونمواً اقتصادياً يجعلانها الدولة الثانية بعد السعودية في القدرة المالية بعد السعودية بناتج إجمالي سنوي يقارب الـ 500 مليار دولار سنوياً، لتحتل المركز الثالث في الشرق الأوسط بعد السعودية وتركيا، وقد خطت في قرار التطبيع مع كيان الإحتلال خطوة جعلت الإمارات تعتقد أنها أقرب لقلب واشنطن، وأنها قادرة على احتواء غضب إيران بموقفها المنفصل عن السعودية في حرب اليمن، حيث ترعى الحراك الجنوبي، الذي ينأى عن الانخراط في الحرب مع أنصار الله، ويعتبر مشكلته مع الجماعات المدعومة من السعودية التي تعيق استقلال الجنوب أو تمتعه بحكم ذاتي واسع، وتسعى الإمارات للفصل بين مسارها في التطبيع عن مسارها الذي سبقت فيه السعودية نحو سورية، وتمايزها عن مصر وقطر والسعودية التي يحكم موقفها التردد نحو سورية بدرجات متفاوتة.

زمن الوحدة السياسية في الخليج يبدو أنه أصبح من الماضي، والزعامة السعودية عندما تفقد القدرة على الإمساك بالخليج، ستفقد معها الكثير، وتبدو حرب اليمن العامل الأشدّ قسوة في إضعاف المكانة السعودية، ورغم ذلك لا يزال التردد السعودي في خيارات وقف النار ورفع الحصار يعقد فرص الخروج السعودي من هذه الحرب.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE: When crown princes fall out

Andreas Krieg

6 July 2021 

Dr. Andreas Krieg is an assistant professor at the Defence Studies Department of King’s College London and a strategic risk consultant working for governmental and commercial clients in the Middle East. He recently published a book called ‘Socio-political order and security in the Arab World’.

The growing divergence of interests between the two neighbours has created serious cracks in the thin veneer of their once-hailed ‘strategic entente’

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed meets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah in 2018 (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)

They were the Gulf power couple of the Trump era: the two crown princes and de facto rulers of the UAE and Saudi Arabia shook up the region, imposing their will on their neighbours.

Ever since Abu Dhabi strongman Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) took Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) under his wing in 2015, the latter did not seem bothered at being framed as the former’s protege. The notion in Riyadh was that Abu Dhabi’s model of authoritarian liberalisation could be one to emulate, bringing the kingdom from the Middle Ages into the 21st century. 

As MBS now sits more firmly in the driver’s seat in Riyadh, the honeymoon period between the crown princes is certainly over

But over the past two years, it has dawned on MBS’s inner circle that the assumed ally next door was not interested in creating win-win situations for both states. Rather, the UAE’s assertive zero-sum mentality – emboldened by former US President Donald Trump’s laissez-faire Middle East policy – often came at the expense of Saudi interests.

The rise of the UAE as arguably the most powerful Arab state over the past decade has only been possible because Abu Dhabi ruthlessly pursues its own interests, with little regard for Riyadh’s reputational struggle in Washington, security concerns in Yemen, urgent need for economic diversification and existential dependence on stable oil prices. 

Since 2019, the growing divergence of interests between the two neighbours has created serious cracks in the thin veneer of their once-hailed “strategic entente”. The relationship between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi in recent years has been underwritten by ideological synergies over the UAE’s grand strategic counterrevolutionary narratives, including securitising political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood and civil society more widely.

While these synergies remain, the other factor that has traditionally sustained this bilateral relationship – the personal ties between MBZ and MBS – has suffered, as the leader-to-leader relationship has noticeably cooled since the election of US President Joe Biden

Buying political credit

While the two leaders previously cemented their “bromance” with joint hunting trips, official state visits and phone calls, according to press releases, MBS and MBZ have spoken only once since the Trump era came to an end. It became clear that under Biden, Washington would withdraw its carte blanche for Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to do as they pleased in the region. Both needed to buy credit with the new administration and the Democrats in Washington.

Instead of featuring as the bullies in the region, both MBS and MBZ needed to reframe their image as more constructive players, eager to support the Biden administration’s soft-handed regional policy of leading from behind.  

When Trump got elected in 2016, MBZ personally visited the Trump team in New York, lobbying for his protege MBS as the next king. Four years later, with a Democrat elected president, the UAE is noticeably trying to create distance between itself and the Saudi leadership. Any affiliation with MBS is seen as potentially tainting Emirati efforts to turn the country’s image around.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with MBS at the 2019 G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with MBS at the 2019 G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan (Bandar al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)

Under pressure for its joint ventures with Moscow in Libya, its mercenary adventures in Yemen, and its rise as a force multiplier for China’s global information power, Abu Dhabi has demonstrated that its zero-sum mentality means it is willing to throw a “strategic ally” under the bus. 

The war in Yemen, which the UAE helped to frame as “Saudi-led”, was the first arena in which the Saudi leadership learned that Emirati policy was ruthless when it came to preserving the UAE’s interests, even at the expense of Saudi Arabia.

Some in MBS’s circles have, according to sources close to the palace, raised concerns that MBZ might have pushed Saudi Arabia into risky adventures in order to create a shield behind which the UAE could consolidate its gains in Yemen’s south.

While Saudi Arabia had to bear the operational and reputational burdens of the costly war against the Houthis, Abu Dhabi secured its foothold along Yemen’s strategically important coastline via its surrogate, the Southern Transitional Council.  

Left out in the cold

The UAE’s comet-like rise amid the regional power vacuum left by a disengaging US created the illusion in Abu Dhabi that, as the new middle power in the Gulf, it would not need to yield to anyone. The ongoing standoff between the UAE and Saudi Arabia within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) shows that Abu Dhabi is confident to stand its ground.

The UAE will not compromise on national interests, even if it comes to the detriment of Saudi Arabia, as with Abu Dhabi’s blatant ignoring of OPEC output quotas.

On the issue of the Qatar blockade, where MBZ led and MBS willingly followed, the UAE showed very little willingness to compromise. Although the reputational and political costs of the ongoing blockade continued to rise for both – especially in Washington – Abu Dhabi was willing to sustain it in the interests of its counterrevolutionary crusade.The Saudi-Emirati axis: United against Gulf unity

In the end, Saudi Arabia broke ranks and let pragmatism prevail. Ending the blockade was a first sign of Saudi leadership in the Gulf under MBS, which Riyadh viewed as a win-win opportunity for the blockading quartet and for Qatar. Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, was deeply concerned about the pace and depth of normalisation, which not only pressured the Emiratis to fall in line, but allowed MBS to reap the positive messages.

This was just the beginning. Left out in the cold time and again by its neighbour, Saudi Arabia has since embarked on its own more assertive strategy for diversification. The kingdom’s new economic policies, aiming to attract investments from multinationals based in the UAE, directly target the success story of Dubai, which has been in economic limbo since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The unhealthy nature of this competition means that it becomes ever-more difficult to create win-win situations. And as MBS now sits more firmly in the driver’s seat in Riyadh, the honeymoon period between the crown princes is certainly over.

As the gloves come off, MBS is eager to show that Abu Dhabi has been punching above its weight, and that there are limits to smart power in compensating for lack of size. Nonetheless, their relations remain underwritten by ideological synergies over fears of political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood and civil society. It remains to be seen whether this is enough to prevent another Gulf crisis.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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