by Yusuf Dhia-Allah (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 50, No. 4, Shawwal, 1442)
The six-year-old Saudi war against the Yemeni people has failed to achieve any military or political objectives. The Saudi regime has now started executing its own soldiers accusing them of treason. The poorly-trained and ill-motivated soldiers are beginning to surrender to Ansarallah fighters. They know that Ansarallah will treat them humanely, something they cannot expect from their own brutal regime.
The war on Yemen was launched on the direct orders of Defence Minister and later also crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) on March 26, 2015. Its failure is being blamed on poor soldiers, not Saudi military top brass including defence minister MbS who should take full responsibility. Many soldiers have complained of appalling conditions—wars are not fought in air-conditioned rooms—but the Saudi regime is particularly nasty toward its rank-and-file soldiers.
Information relating to the execution of soldiers was revealed in a recently published report by Saudi Leaks. According to the whistle-blowing website, the Saudis recently sentenced to death a number of soldiers who had refused to fight in the Yemen War. Yet, such barbaric practices have not helped restore the morale of soldiers on the battlefield.
Julia Maher Kassem, a political analyst and journalist, was quoted by Iran’s Press TV as saying, “We’re seeing a lot of defections in the Saudi army. But more interestingly… there are actually a lot of defections to the Ansarullah that have happened from the Saudi army when there have been captures [by] Yemen of Saudi mercenaries.”
Breaking down the charges, Saudi Leaks writes, “These soldiers have refused to take part in the war, to bomb Yemeni civilians, to destruct (sic) Yemeni infrastructure, or to carry out the scorched-earth policy in Yemen which is pursued from time to time.”
Ms. Kassem further stated, “A lot of them [Saudi soldiers] are drawn to the cause of the Ansarullah because of their humanity and approach and treating captives and soldiers [well]. They’ve actually been defecting so the Saudi army, just like the Zionist occupying army is facing a huge crisis of morale from its own soldiers.
“There is really nothing that is, no cause or reason that’s really keeping them together.”
Meanwhile, the Saudi opposition National Assembly Party has warned of a new round of executions, pointing out, “With all these heavy losses, and in light of the continuation of this war and its mistakes and risks, we were surprised by the Saudi authorities announcing the execution of three soldiers.”
Made up of Saudi dissidents living in exile, the National Assembly Party said the executions were carried out in complete ambiguity (sic) and the absence of fair trials. The soldiers were accused of high treason. Given the appalling state of Saudi judicial system where there is no codified law, sentences are handed down on the whim of the presiding judge. Often, judges hand down sentences based on what the ruling authority (in this case, MbS) demands. Defence lawyers are seldom allowed in court. There have even been instances when defence lawyers have also been sent to jail for defending clients!
In an act of supreme irony, MbS, who is accused of ordering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, has escaped trial and punishment. This reflects the unjust judicial system in the archaic kingdom.
The gruesome murder in which Khashoggi’s body was chopped up and then perhaps dissolved in acid (his body has never been recovered) was also confirmed by the CIA. Turkish intelligence also has full knowledge of the brutal murder including audio recording of Khashoggi’s screams as he was being dismembered.
MbS has been defence minister of the kingdom since 2015. While spending hundreds of billions of dollars on purchasing weapons, the Saudi army is incapable of using them effectively. The highly professional Pakistani military officers sent to train the Saudi army say Saudi soldiers are incapable of learning. They can’t even march in a straight line without tripping over each other.
“The Saudi army doesn’t really know how to fight. A lot of their weapons capabilities and their capabilities during the siege have just been imported or bought off,” said Ms. Kassem.
“So, there isn’t really a cohesive Saudi army to begin with as far as the fighting force [is concerned] … What we’re seeing now is, it’ll be coming into collapse.
“Lots of defections, as I mentioned, and so obviously like with the recent executions, it’s showing that this is like a major threat of what’s left of the Saudi Army,” added the political analyst.
Launched on the whim of MbS who thought US-supplied weapons would ensure a quick victory, he has been left shell-shocked. Further, he was rebuffed by such countries as Pakistan, Egypt and Jordan to send mercenaries to fight his war. He was left to depend on his Emirati allies and mercenaries from Sudan, Africa, South America and Blackwater killers. Most of these mercenaries have also now fled the scene leaving MbS and his joke of an army to hold the bag. Far from ending the disastrous war, he is blaming the poorly-trained and ill-motivated soldiers.
The Saudi regime is now faced with a double dilemma. The Yemeni Ansarullah movement is steadily gaining ground since the outbreak of the war and the increasing numbers of disspirited troops who are sick and tired of a meaningless war. The Ansarallah have made clear that they intend to liberate every inch of their land, including Asir and Najran that were illegally occupied by the Saudis in 1934.
Not surprisingly, MbS is spending sleepless nights in his fortified palace. If wishes could be translated into reality, he would be the happiest person in the world.