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Saudi intervention in Yemen: Strategic merits of such an operation

  • 30-03-2015 8:40pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 2,703 ✭✭✭

    Okay, from what I can gather, the Saudis have 150,000 troops massed on the border. The Houthis have ~100,000, and reports of what ballistic missiles (which I would assume to be tactical missiles). The Saudis, with around 200 aircraft, have air supremacy and numerical superiority.

    The three main roads into Yemen consist of one down the western coastline, through the mountains to Sana'a (both of which are held by Houthi), and a road through the desert currently in AQAP hands. The Government forces could be anywhere from 30-60,000, and AQAP are estimated at 1000-3000. AQAP and the Government forces are currently fighting over Al-Abr.

    Haradh, the city which sits on the Saudi-Houthi border at the west of the country, is allegedly oil rich, so the Houthis likely have significant small arms and probably some heavier weapons. Sana'a is a city of around 1.7 million, so the likelihood of Houthis running out of manpower is probably low, but I'm not sure as to the religious divide in Sanaa. In my opinion, the Houthis can likely settle into a long war of attrition, if they manage to crush the last enclaves of Govt. support in Murad, Marib and Ad Dali.

    If the Houthis are smart, they'll face whatever ballistic missiles they have to concentrate their arcs to cover the roads through Haradh and Sa'dah, while diverting troops into seizing Murad/At-Turbah, and Ja'ar/Ad Dali.

    This is, of course, from my humble opinion. Thoughts?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 9,615 Mod ✭✭✭✭Manach

    Should be interesting from a Geo-political POV given the Iranian championing the Shia side and if they will support their proxies.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,703 ✭✭✭IrishTrajan

    Manach wrote: »
    Should be interesting from a Geo-political POV given the Iranian championing the Shia side and if they will support their proxies.

    If the Iranians are on side, I would expect them to start providing heavier arms. Possibly IRGC to provide communications battlefield orders like they do in Syria and Iraq. Iran having a friendly power in Yemen would likely change Saudi strategy, but not by much. It would probably necessitate a long, slow conflict in the south against the Houthi but wouldn't do much to alleviate Iranian pressure in Syria/Iraq.

    Interesting, I agree.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,657 ✭✭✭donaghs

    Anyone think the international effort against the Houithis is justified?

    The Houithis have their own grievances about the being a marginalized minority, and the malign influence of Saudi Wahhabism on them. Also, they are very much opposed to AQAP and newer ISIL types.

    The Iran-factor is obviously an reason for the US and other to fear the Houithis, but realistically, isn't this war an internal matter which shouldn't concern other countries except for humanitarian reasons?