Yemen: Fierce fighting in Lead-up to Saudi Ceasefire, Children at risk of Starvation

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | –

Heavy fighting continued in Yemen on Monday and Tuesday, despite the agreement reached between Houthi rebels and Saudi Arabia that a five-day ceasefire would begin on Tuesday at midnight.

Humanitarian organizations have high hopes in the ceasefire as a time when aid can be gotten to the people. PressTV reports, “The UNICEF said 120,000 Yemeni children are at the risk of severe malnutrition over the next three months in case health and hygiene services fail to function normally.”

The Saudis and their allies struck the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, again, targeting weapons depots.

PressTV reports:

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The Saudi bloc also conducted another strike on the former presidential mansion of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the deposed president for life who has now allied with the Houthi rebels against his deposed successor, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Saleh appeared unscathed in front of it and taunted the Saudis that if they sent ground troops instead of planes, Yemenis would teach them a lesson.

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Houthis in the hills used an anti-aircraft battery to shoot down a Moroccan fighter-jet, killing its pilot. They posed with the wreckage, as shown on social media:

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Some social media posts by Moroccans are blaming King Mohammad VI for getting involved in this distant war. Morocco, a country of 32 million, has a well-equipped, well-trained military and dwarfs in military and human resources most of the small Gulf Cooperation Council countries. As a Sunni Muslim monarchy, it has commonalities with them and there has been talk of Morocco joining the GCC. Morocco is desperately poor, with a GDP of only a little over $100 bn., and presumably receives strategic rent from the wealthy Gulf principalities for its help.

The Saudis issued a warning to civilians in the Saadeh area to flee, then carpet-bombed the place, a procedure that drew a sharp rebuke from human rights organizations.

The Houthis retaliated with more SCUD and katyusha rocket attacks on Najran and on an oil facility in Dhahran al-Janub in Asir province just north of Yemen. The Houthis hit Najran for the first time last week, provoking intense Saudi bombing of the movement’s home territory in Saadeh, north Yemen, reducing much of it to rubble. The strike on the Saudi Arabian Oil Company facility is the first economically significant target the Houthis have hit inside Saudi Arabia.

In response, the Saudis are allegedly adding to their big infantry and armor force on the Yemeni border. The strike on the oil facility is the first time the Houthis really laid a glove on the Saudis and it hurt. The Saudi stock market fell Monday on the uncertainties of the war.

At the southern front, around Aden, the Houthis vowed to go on fighting al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The US military, despite being at odds with the Houthis, continues to hit al-Qaeda leaders with drone strikes, which at the moment helps the Houthis. Strange bedfellows abound.

Couldn’t say it looked very much like the prelude to a ceasefire.

5 Responses

  1. The Houthis’ reasoning is PRETEXT – whoever they SAY they are looking for is not in Aden. I thought you would know that, Juan.

  2. A Saudi Arabia forced into fighting it’s own wars without some dynastic U.S. President to go all “Desert Storm” to curry favor for the fossil fuel industry.

    This is new actual U.S. foreign policy for the region. No more U.S. blood for oil.

    Hope it remains that way.

  3. Juan

    What do you make of this op-ed that claims that the Saudis are waging a war of extermination against the Zaidis ?

    The Evil within: The truth we dare not see about Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen

    link to rt.com

    • Zaidi factions are split between the two camps : Minority Houthi FAMILY + Saleh’s Zaidi&non-Zaidi corrupt capitalists against everyone else including Hashid & Bakeel biggest tribes ( in numbers and influence ) in northern Yemen which happens to be FYI prominent Zaidis as well.

      Yemen has been known for its non-sectarian society since before Islam conception. It continues to be so till today.

      Sadly, RT/Russian/Iranian/Houthi’s psy-op propaganda rhetoric is dominating most of RT’s news feeds for colonial and tactical argumentative gains.
      Its dangerous to the future of Yemen and to devout liberals who are seeking to pacify and normalize those radical factors from the political formula. ( With help from Saudi who, coincidentally, happens to find them threatening to its sovereignty )

      AQAP almost dismembered and re-assimilated back into society after leaders been killed in last weeks.

      Only Houthis seem to persist and soon our people will eradicate them unless some global players chose Yemen to battle out their dogmatic Cold-War like geo-politics and bring about sectarianism to foster chaos and instability.

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