Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

THE SOUND OF SHOES DROPPING

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Insurgency in Yemen detailed Map according to published reports. This map’s information is sometimes based on w:Module:Yemeni Civil War detailed map.

Key to map here. Houthis are green, former government red.

There has been another ominous development in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. It made the news, but mostly in a perfunctory way. Basically on Saturday the Houthis claimed a major military victory over Saudi Arabian forces near the Saudi border city of Najran. (see map above) The Houthis claim that three Saudi brigades surrendered/were captured. Thousands of troops captured, hundreds of AFVs (armored fighting vehicles,) and numerous officers. They say their prisoners will be displayed Sunday, though no word yet. There has as yet been no comment from the Saudi government. It’s hard to imagine why the Houtis would make such a claim if it wasn’t true, hopefully there will be more information before I finish writing and publish this post.

If this news is true, it’s a military disaster of the highest order for Saudi Arabia. Their army only has eleven brigades, so the loss of three of them would more than a quarter of their army. It’s also got to be bad for morale all around. More importantly, if three brigades and thousands of men surrendered, it sure implies that morale was already low in the Saudi army. I mean, this is one of the well equipped armies in the world, they certainly didn’t lose a major battle because they lacked firepower. There’s some even scarier implications, more on that in a bit. (OK, updated news indicates they likely weren’t regular Saudi army brigades.)

There’s not a lot to read about this new attack yet, but it is being reported on. Take note of the narrative that most of the news outlets adhere to. The Houthis are almost always referred to as “Iran backed” or even “Iran aligned.” The implication being that somehow Iran is behind this problem, and the Houthis are just their catspaw. And sometimes that’s simply stated outright. It would be like referring to George Washington and the rebels as “French backed” or “French aligned” rebels. See how weird that sounds? And of course the Houthis are still “rebels” even though the former government was largely driven from Yemen years ago. Apparently the Saudis think if they just bomb Yemen enough, they will see reason and let Saudi Arabia reinstall the government the Yemenis kicked out of the country.

So, aside from being a military disaster, this attack also highlights another little feature of this war that the western press seems determined to ignore. The Houthi are winning. This war has cost Saudi Arabia dearly in blood and money. The Houthis seem to be able to strike at will, they certainly have the initiative. Which, in warfare as in chess, is a big deal. And there’s every reason to believe the Houthis are getting support from inside Saudi Arabia. Mohammad bin Salman (MBS,) the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, has murdered purported political opponents. Tends to hurt one’s popularity. And pointless wars don’t help with popularity either. The possibility that parts of Saudi Arabia might openly revolt, or even worse, is definitely on the table. Wouldn’t be the first time a western supported autocrat fell out of favor with his own people. All the weapons in the world won’t keep a leader in power if the street turns against him.

So God only knows what’s going to happen next. I think MBS has wildly overplayed his hand. And there’s really no one home in the Oval Office. …

Wait, something happened. The Houthis released video. It really doesn’t show much, they claim they can’t release actual video of the attack for security reasons. It does show captured national guardsmen, which implies it wasn’t the Saudi Army that suffered the losses. It also shows quite a few non uniformed prisoners, which they claim are Yemeni refugees the Saudis pressed into service. Plausible enough, but it does imply not quite the stunning victory they claimed. Still, must cheese MBS off.

MBS is a madman, that’s kind of my worry at this point. There’s no real diplomatic way to put it, he came into power and promptly got Saudi Arabia into two wars. The War on Yemen and the War in Syria. Neither has gained Saudi Arabia anything except body bags and ill will. If he wasn’t a US satrap America would be calling him the next Hitler and preparing a “regime change” intervention. The old folks just called these what they were, invasions. He’s been making threats, who knows what he might do to raise the ante.

Lastly, if one wants to see the Washington version of latest developments, read the BBC article. The British Empire never ended, they were just subsumed into the American Empire, and switched to doublespeak with the rest of the west.

Crazy disjointed post, like the times. Next post, police dogs. If something happens between now (Sunday night) and the planned posting time (Monday morning) the post will get more disjointed. Like life.

Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Current situation in Yemen. Credit: Koopinator. See map. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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Doug Stych added the city of Najran, and various geographic names in black.)

Written by unitedcats

September 30, 2019 at 3:58 am

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