by Brecht Jonkers (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 48, No. 3, Sha'ban, 1440)
News about the war on Yemen is mostly negative and tragic. The Saudi-led invasion and occupation of vast areas of Yemen have ravaged the entire country for four years. It is a horrible tragedy of unimaginable proportions.
Millions of Yemenis are suffering from malnutrition and starvation. Tens of thousands have been killed by hunger, airstrikes, massacres or disease, and the total siege imposed on the country by the criminal coalition of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and its satellite states (supported by the US, “Israel” and much of Europe) has caused epidemic diseases such as cholera and diphtheria, affecting hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
Western mainstream media outlets generally downplay the role of the Saudi-led invaders and their Western backers in destroying the proud Yemeni nation. Resistance media outlets, on the other hand, often focus on the horrible human costs of the war, and the role of imperialists in committing atrocities. This is, of course, needed.
But there is one major omission in most reporting about the Yemeni conflict, both in Western mainstream media and all too often in pro-resistance media as well: the fact that Yemeni resistance is winning.
Yes, the National Salvation Government of Yemen, the revolutionary legitimate government of Yemen since the revolution of September 21, 2014, is in fact winning this horrible war. Against all odds, it has achieved notable victories. Not only have they held onto the heartland of Yemen, ruling at least 17 million out of 27 million Yemenis, without counting the disputed frontline areas in which they also exercise influence, they have even succeeded in striking the Saudi regime in its own territory.
In Jizan, Najran, and Asir, all three of which are part of Greater Yemen that were stolen by Bani Saud in 1934, vast amounts of territory is under the control of the Yemeni army and Popular Committees. They regularly carry out retaliatory strikes against Saudi forces deep inside Saudi Arabia.
But there is more. Since March, the forces of liberation have made steady progress against the Saudi-led coalition and its mercenaries in the provinces of Dhale and Taiz, even piercing through enemy lines as far south as the Lahj governorate.
On March 31, Yemen Press News Agency reported that Yemeni forces had taken control of 100 military positions in Dhale province, as well as secured the strategic Nasah mountain. In a period of merely five days, over 100 km2 of territory was liberated, and at least 250 invaders killed.
In early April, it was reported that the resistance forces had made significant territorial advances in the Morais area of Dhale, capturing large quantities of weapons and equipment including motorcycles, machine guns, artillery pieces, and massive amounts of ammunition. Since then, attacks by Yemeni forces against the occupiers have continued unabated, including the launching of several ballistic missiles at military bases of the Saudi-led coalition.
Video footage was released showing the emotional reunion of civilians in the area with their liberators. For many, this marked the first time in years that they were freed from the shackles of imperialist domination.
On April 19, Yemen’s Missile Forces using the brand new Badr-F ballistic missile struck gatherings of Saudi mercenaries. The warhead explodes into thousands of pieces of shrapnel to target enemy military personnel. This comes after several missile strikes with other missile types, such as the Badr-P1 and Zilzal, that were carried out on Saudi-led positions since early March. According to army spokesman, Brigadier General YahyaSari‘, the Badr-F missile strike killed nine Saudi military officers and no less than 45 mercenaries in one blast.
On April 20, a new series of coordinated attacks took place against aggression forces in Dhale. After fending off a large-scale attack by Saudi-led mercenaries in the Morais area, the Yemeni Armed Forces carried out a large-scale artillery shelling of enemy forces across the province over the course of two days, killing and injuring dozens of invaders.
On April 21 the mercenaries located at the Qatabah district were struck by two Zilzal ballistic missiles. The same day, the military media released video footage showing victorious columns of Yemeni forces openly moving into several newly liberated districts of Dhale in pickup trucks. Other units moved into the Hajar area of Dhale province and cut a key supply line to Saudi mercenary forces in the region. Other units have moved further south and established a foothold in Lahj province, the last southern governorate before Aden itself. The southernmost tip of the Yemeni liberators’ positions has now reached the town of al-Musaymir, less than 100 km from Aden, the so-called “capital” of the Saudi-backed puppet regime of ‘Abd RabbuhMansurHadi.
That same day (April 20), the Deputy Foreign Minister in the National Salvation Government, Husayn al-‘Azzi, made an official statement that the Armed Forces of Yemen mean no ill will against the inhabitants of the southern provinces, and will only carry out military operations against those who serve the Saudi-led invading forces.
“We send our love, serenity and brotherly regards to our brothers and families in the south of Yemen… The Yemenis in the northern areas will be in the front lines along with the southern people in order to defend Yemen and to expel the new foreign occupation forces just as they have done before with the British occupation.”
As the forces of liberation march closer to the very heart of Saudi operations in Yemen, the last major city standing in their way is Taiz. Yemen’s third largest city still remains under Saudi-UAE occupation, but has been besieged by Yemeni forces for years in an encirclement that grows ever tighter. The mercenaries guarding the city for Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are generally preoccupied with vicious infighting.
For months, Taiz has been the scene of street battles between the Emirati-backed al-Qaeda subsidiary known as the Abu al-‘Abbas Brigades and the Saudi-backed forces of al-Islah Party, the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The situation has got so much out of hand that on April 21, the UAE threatened to deploy war planes to bomb al-Islah militias in the very city itself. It is quite possible that the Yemeni Armed Forces surrounding Taiz are biding their time for a reason, waiting for the enemies of Yemen to devour one another.
While the conflict in Yemen is indeed a horrible tragedy and a crime, for supporters of the Resistance keeping hope alive is important. In Yemen, there is definitely cause for hope. Despite the war, the famines, the epidemics, and the mass murders, Yemen will, insha’ Allah, ultimately prevail.