Yemen’s Grim Fifth Anniversary

Developing Just Leadership

Brecht Jonkers

Rajab 06, 1441 2020-03-01

News & Analysis

by Brecht Jonkers (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 49, No. 1, Rajab, 1441)

(Reuters / Mohamed al-Sayaghi)

This month (March 2020) marks a tragic anniversary of a conflict that has plagued the people of Yemen for five years. On March 26, 2015, a coalition of the most corrupt and bloodthirsty regimes in the Arab world invaded the Republic of Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and with full backing of the US, Britain and the Zionist entity.

In their rabid hatred of the blessed land and people of Yemen, and in their desperate attempt to destroy the Ansarullah liberation movement and the National Salvation Government that had freed Yemen from imperialism during the September 21 Revolution of 2014-2015, the invaders have not let up on their cruelty. Continuous bombing raids on residential areas, a near total blockade of most of the country and the Saudi deployment of mercenary and terrorist gangs like al-Qaeda have taken a high toll on the Yemeni people. In October 2019, the British daily, The Guardian reported that the death toll of the conflict since 2015 had surpassed 100,000. This number does not include the many millions suffering from starvation, some on the verge of death, and epidemic diseases such as cholera and diphtheria.

Despite its immense suffering Yemen was already the poorest country in the Arab world before 2015. This was due to a long line of corrupt rulers plundering the country’s wealth for decades. Yemeni resistance has not only held back the invaders, it has bested the attackers time and again, inflicting successive defeats on the invading armies and their mercenaries.

While the authorities in Riyadh had vowed to overthrow the Yemeni revolutionary government in a matter of weeks, five years later the invaders have got nowhere near achieving any of their objectives. Instead, they have suffered thousands of casualties and their incompetent military is thoroughly demoralized. Even on Saudi soil, in the provinces of Jizan and Najran, Yemeni forces control large swaths of territory and regularly strike Saudi forces north of the border. The fact that Yemen can hold back such a coalition of aggression is nothing short of miraculous.

On January 29, what started out as a typical Saudi attempt to attack the capital Sana‘a, turned into a massive victory for the people of Yemen. In a counter-attack of epic proportions dubbed Operation Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous, the Armed Forces and Popular Committees of the Republic of Yemen totally vanquished the Saudi-led invaders. Over 2,500 square kilometres of Yemeni soil were liberated, after years of occupation. Most notably, the entirety of Nihm district, a key area near the capital Sana‘a, was freed from Saudi control. Large parts of territories in Jawf and Ma‘rib governorates were also cleansed of the occupiers. It wasn’t long until the mountain ranges close to the strategic central Yemeni city of Ma‘rib were taken, and soon Yemeni soldiers were able to take pictures of the nearby Saudi-held city below them.

The extent of the victory becomes all the more remarkable when viewed against the backdrop of the fact that during Operation Al-Bunyan al-Marsous, Yemeni forces had to confront no fewer than 21 Saudi brigades and 20 battalions of Saudi troops and mercenaries, meaning the battle involved thousands of heavily-armed troops in the service of Riyadh. In typical fashion, the mujahideen of Yemen had their ground operations supported by missile and drone strikes on military and strategic targets inside Saudi Arabia itself, striking oil installations in Najran province as well as the Khamis Mushait airbase in Jizan with a total of 41 highly precise strikes. On the other hand, the Saudi Air Force failed to stem the tide of Yemeni advance despite carrying out more than 250 strikes on their positions.

According to Yemen’s military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Sare’e, over 1,500 Saudis and mercenaries were killed by Yemeni freedom fighters. Additionally, over 1,800 were wounded and many hundreds of others were captured. These claims were backed up by extensive video footage released in the days after the victory. This could mark the single biggest defeat the Saudis have ever suffered in a single operation so far.

Operation Al-Bunyan al-Marsus puts Yemen’s liberators in close proximity to Ma‘rib city, one of the most important Yemeni cities under Saudi occupation, as well as to the massive petroleum fields surrounding it. The oil wealth of Yemen, which for years has been looted by Saudi and Emirati military authorities, is now very close to being brought back into the hands of the people of the land blessed by the Prophet (pbuh) himself. Mohammed al-Houthi, a leading member the Supreme Political Council of Yemen, immediately issued a formal warning to the Saudi rulers, demanding they peacefully vacate the key road connecting Sana‘a to Ma‘rib, or be forcefully evicted from it.

On February 21, the Republic dealt yet another humiliating blow to the Wahhabi kingdom. In a daring aerial operation employing twelve unmanned drones, two winged missiles and a long-range ballistic missile, Yemeni forces hit the key strategic oil export harbour of Yanbu. The port city, located on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia is one of Riyadh’s most important petroleum trade hubs, and is located over 1,000 kms from the Yemeni coast. The airstrike marks another humiliating slap in the face of the arrogant Saudi regime. The strikes were reported to be highly precise in aim and scope, and were meant as a deterrent against further Saudi aggression. Ansarullah spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam made Yemen’s case clear: retaliatory drone and missile strikes will cease as soon as Saudi Arabia stops its aggression and lifts the blockade.

In March 2015, when the Saudi rulers assembled a coalition of warmongers to invade the blessed land of Yemen, their propaganda claimed that victory would be a matter of weeks. Now, after five years of hardships and bloodshed, it is clear that the only victor this war will eventually have is the National Salvation Government of Yemen.

Despite the massacres and the unimaginable cruelty perpetrated by the imperialist invaders, despite thousands of innocent people tortured and killed, the courage and faith of the Yemeni people will prevail in the end. Or, in the words of the Prophet (pbuh) himself: “O Allah, bestow your blessings on our Yemen.”

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