TEHRAN (FNA) – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pumped billions of dollars into fighting in the port city of Hodeidah in Yemen, but the desperate campaign to occupy the besieged city failed after their local and international allies either turned against each other or quit.
It’s a serious setback for the Saudi-led coalition whose thousands of US-backed air strikes have so far failed to deliver victory over seasoned Ansarullah Houthi fighters. Strange enough, Riyadh, the United Arab Emirates and their allies still see victory in Yemen, where they are backed by US weapons and intelligence, as “vital” if they are to counter Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East, a priority for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
But coalition prospects were dimmed once more this week by a popular resistance front that has nothing to do with Iran and everything to do with a nation which wants to determine its own political future and destiny.
This comes at a time when the Saudi-UAE war effort has already been running into trouble everywhere else in the war-torn country. Like in Hodeidah, there has been no sign of a victory, much less to assert their supremacy in the South.
This also comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is fast losing allies. International pressure on Western nations selling weapons to Saudi Arabia is also mounting. The uproar in the West against the selling of weapons to the Saudis has been growing louder as well, particularly in light of the worsening humanitarian disaster.
From Canada under fire for a $15 billion contract, to Sweden cutting off military cooperation that had been going on since 2015, to the UK, where talk of halting arms exports if humanitarian laws are broken in Yemen. The situation is serious because even the UN is calling on the United States to take a tough stance on Riyadh for the ongoing human rights violations in the poorest country in the Arab world.
The West isn’t the only one trying to distance itself from Saudi Arabia. In fact, tensions with close allies have increased since the arrival to power of King Salman. Recent remarks by the new Malaysian Defense Minister Mohammad Sabo on the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) withdrawal from the offensive of the Saudi-led coalition are highly debatable.
“Malaysia has never been involved in the attack on Yemen, which is also a Muslim country. The ATM presence in Saudi Arabia has indirectly involved Malaysia in the Middle East conflict. If Malaysian troops are to be involved in such attacks, they should be solely through the United Nations,” Sabo has said in a statement this week.
All in all, Saudi Arabia, and to a lesser extent the UAE, are too arrogant to accept defeat in Yemen, particularly in Hodeidah. That doesn’t change the fact that indeed they have lost the war. Framing the violence in Yemen as a proxy war involving Iran is flat-out wrong as well.
There’s a total blockade of sea and Iranian weapons cannot get through, personnel cannot get through. Iran has no air forces involved. The real driving force of the hostilities in Yemen is Saudi Arabia that has been shelling the country since March 2015 with a helping hand from the US and NATO allies. Riyadh is desperate to be a regional power and has instigated a number of conflicts, including those in Bahrain and Syria. The regime seeks to strengthen itself so as to ensure the continuation of its dictatorship.
To that end, Saudi Arabia is committing war crimes in Yemen. Western powers who are supplying logistical assistance and weapons are also complicit in these crimes against humanity. In spite of the far-reaching support of the Western allies, the Saudis are stuck in a quagmire similar to that being experienced by their American masters in Afghanistan.
The national resistance front in Yemen, led by the Ansarullah faction, disorganized at the beginning of the war, has now become a fighting machine, manufacturing its own weapons and being able to sustain themselves, despite the ongoing blockade. Any doubters should ask the Saudi-led invading forces that lost the battle of Hodeidah this week.