Why does Saudi war against Yemen not come to an end?

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By Rasoul Goudarzi / Source  HispanTV / The Dawn / February 5, 2016. The Saudi war against Yemen is proving to be ruinous, and as it continues, the Al Saud monarchy is more and more harmed, so they want it to end as soon as possible, but at the same time hey want to keep their image unstained.

This article aims to study some aspects of the Saudi war campaign; its implications for the Saudis and the reason for its extension.

In March last year, in order to restore the power of Abdu Rabu Mansur Hadi, Saudi Arabia launched a war against neighboring Yemen; however, almost 11 months later, the war continues and represents a daily expenditure of about 200 million dollars to Riyadh (Saudi Arabia’s capital), whose economy is going through the worst crisis in its history, mainly due to the issue of falling oil prices in the international market.

In addition to the economic costs, the Saudis have seen an increase in insecurity in the southern parts of the country, bordering Yemen, due to the attacks of popular movement Ansarolá. Along with an instability issue, the number of fatal casualties among the Saudi ranks are increasing. According to official figures, more than 122 troops have been killed and a thousand have been wounded since the conflict began.

This situation has brought the Saudi monarchy to start thinking of ways to end the military action. However, the reality on the ground shows that the conflict is more is political than military in nature and that the bombings and attacks are aimed at forcing their counterparty, the Ansarolá movement, to agree to greater concessions when negotiating. With all this, they intended to show that if conditions and provisions of Riyadh are not accepted, they must pay on the battlefield.

Regardless of what is happening between Riyadh and Ansarolá, too, there is a large discrepancy between these actors and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While the Emirati forces have the largest representation among the ground forces of the so-called Saudi coalition against Yemen, there are many differences between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh about the Yemeni political map. In fact, Saudi Arabia, along with forces loyal to Mansur Hadi*, is fighting against the troops of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh; while, on the other hand, the UAE opposes to fight Saleh followers and has even given refuge to members of his family.

Likewise, the UAE outrightly opposes the Yemeni party “Al Islah”, which has close links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it does not allow the members of this organization to be present in the talks to end the Yemeni conflict.

On the battlefield in Yemen, the Saudi military is present in the North, while the southern territories are relatively in the hands of the UAE. There are reports that show that the United Arab Emirates are to sign an agreement with Mahfoudh Khaled Bahah, Yemen’s former Vice President, according to whom, Bahah may empower the southern provinces. Of course, this caused a harsh reaction from Mansur Hadi and the Saudis.

Now, the different positions of the US and Saudi Arabia about what is happening in Yemen, have triggered concerns around a probable division of the country, like before 1990. The Saudis themselves are concerned that, if this partition occurs, once again, the southern region would be in hands of their opponents.

Besides all these factors that have prolonged the Saudi war against Yemen, there is also uncertainty that has arisen about the future of Saudi Arabia. When the Saudis attacked Yemen they did not expect such a strong resistance of the Yemeni people’s committees, so Riyadh, which is considered sponsor of takfiri** groups, led ISIS terrorists to this country, and today, these extremists are operating in different parts.

Thus, if war ended without the annihilation of these terrorists, there is a risk that they would also spread to Saudi Arabia itself and become a threat to the Arab kingdom, perpetuating instability and insecurity in the country.

However, it should be mentioned that the Saudi invasion of Yemen was a strategic mistake that highlighted the immaturity of leaders in the foreign policy area. Since the era of classical style ‘land warfare campaigns’ has passed today, it is less common for a country or a government to resort to a military action of this size to achieve their goals.

In modern times, not even the most powerful countries advocate the armed force option, because of its negative impact on the military, economic and social field; but, what else can we expect from Saudi Arabia that doesn’t even have a powerful army and lacks a thriving defense industry.

The Saudis, who are eager to appear before the world as a regional power, now, to maintain their reputation, are forced to continue the invasion until they find a favorable alternative. However, this strategic error has staked its existence, especially in the current economic situation, together with the political war that is goung on within its own borders.

It can be said that with its war against Yemen, the Saudis have committed to an act of political suicide, because apart from the internal affairs they have faced, at the international level they have placed themselves in the focus of criticism from human rights organizations, because of the slaughter of thousands of innocent Yemenis and the total destruction of the country’s infrastructure.


*Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi is a Yemeni general and politician. He has been the President of Yemen since 27 February 2012, and was Vice President from 1994 to 2012.

**A takfiri is a Sunni Muslim who accuses another Muslim (or an adherent of another Abrahamic faith) of apostasy

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