"Yemen People in Sanaa and the North are angry. People in Aden and the South are ecstatic. Yesterday the Houthis and Ali Abdallah Saleh military stood at the gates of Aden despite resistance. Now they have fled Aden. This is just Day 1. I don't think the Saudis are going to leave it at 3 hours of airstrikes. There has been real damage done to Saleh's military. This makes him vulnerable to his current partners, the Houthis, who have been working with Saleh despite his 5 wars against them since 2004. If they smell blood they may well choose to deal with Saleh first before turning their attention back to the South. The worry is that the Saudis will roll in tanks from Sharurah, and take the town of 'Ataq with its airstrip in Shabwa. They will move then to Marib and secure the strategic refinery/generator of Safer that provides electricity to the whole country. The Saudis see these areas as their borders. They have excellent relations with the tribes there. I do not believe they will countenance fighting the Houthis in their mountains - they would be massacred. At this point I think we are seeing the emergence of an independent South. The cat is out of the bag. . . . " Martin JVideo Title: Senior Houthi Official Al-Bakhiti: Saudi Military Intervention in Yemen Will End Rule of Saud Family. Source: MEMRI TV. Date Published: March 26, 2015. Description:
An excellent summary by Martin J, who has in-depth knowledge of Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
I agree with his conclusion that what we are seeing now is a break up of the unnatural union of the former YAR and PDRY states. IMO this was always a kind of "shotgun marriage" brought on by Yemeni delusions concerning some glorious and largely mythic past in which all the peoples of SW Arabia were somehow one. This was never the case and the belief that it was so at some time in the past is yet another reminder of the often malign power of the nationalist self image in human affairs.
Martin J is inclined to believe that SA, if it tries to intervene on the ground, will enter Yemen from the Rub al-Khali desert and then turn left into south Yemen, a part of the country largely inhabited by Sunni co-religionists of the Saudis. Martin J asserts that SA forces will not enter Yemen from the north, i.e., from the Wadi Najran. He states that to do so would risk a very bad outcome for Saudi Forces. Zeidi tribal guerrillas would likely "massacre" the Saudis in those distant mountains. I agree with all of that. It must be remembered that, in spite of decades of US, French and British training the Saudi forces are very much a force of unknown but dubious quality. IMO the Saudis would not be able to sustain a ground effort in Yemen without massive US logistical support.
Martin J asserts that sectarianism has not previously been an issue in the Yemens. This does not correspond to my knowledge of or experience in North Yemen where I served for several years. In fact, the Houthi rebels are nearly all Zeidi Shia Muslims as is former president Salih who is certainly manipulating this situation to his own advantage. As Martin J states, Salih, when president, waged war against the Houthis with a relentlessness that characterizes any Yemeni central government that wishes to have control over this very tribal country. The fact that the Houthis are now backing Salih along with the largely Zeidi armed forces is indicative of the essentially ethno-sectarian nature of Yemeni society in both the north and the south.
I do not think the Houthi Zeidis are tools of the Iranian government but the "one man one vote" crowd in Washington insists that the Zeidi Houthis are illegitimately seeking on behalf of Iran to overthrow a government that corresponds to the "narrative" favored by the Children's Crusade in Washington. In fact the Houthis are re-asserting their identity as a separate tribal polity in Yemen.
IMO the Houthis are the natural allies of the United States in the world wide war against Sunni jihadism. The United States seems blind to that, blinded by its own delusions concerning the "evolution" of history and the dust thrown in US eyes by the Saudis who fear all things Yemeni.
Continued . . .
Senior Houthi Official Al-Bakhiti: Saudi Military Intervention in Yemen Will End Rule of Saud Family