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  6.  » Saudis Suffer Another Major Blow in War with Houthis

News Brief – Sept 28, 2019

Following the drone strike on the oil facility at Abqaiq the Saudis appear to have suffered another major setback. Only this time they cannot blame Iran and call for Western intervention on their behalf.
In what appears to be the Saudis’ biggest loss in the war yet, Yeman’s Houthis rebels claim to have captured or destroyed three coalition military brigades in the southern Najran region.
“The Armed Forces of Yemen have announced a large-scale military operation near Najran. The enemy has suffered heavy losses in equipment and manpower. Thousands of enemy soldiers were captured, killed and hundreds wounded”, Houthi forces spokesman Gen. Yahya Saria said.
If confirmed it will be the Saudis biggest setback yet in the war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. In addition to the numerous soldiers and military vehicles captured, a Houthi spokesman claimed that a number of senior Saudi officers and commanders had also been seized.
Over the past four and a half years it is estimated that the war has claimed more than 91,000  lives, many of them civilian.
Oil rich Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s wealthiest nations while neighbouring Yemen is one of the world’s most impoverished. Racked with poverty, Yemen has also been embroiled in a civil war between forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is backed by the Saudis, and the Houthis rebels, who are backed by archrivals Iran.
Despite their massive wealth and support from other western nations however, the Saudi backed forces have been unable to make significant headway in their war against the Houthi rebels. This support has included fighter jets and ground forces from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Academi (formerly Blackwater).
In addition the US and Britain have also deployed their military personnel in the command and control centre responsible for Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen.
Nonetheless, the impoverished Houthis are more than holding their ground against the well-armed and equipped Saudi forces. They are in fact beginning to take the initiative and if confirmed the loss at Najran could mark the beginning of the end for the Saudi campaign against the Houthi.
To make matters worse, before the Saudis had even embarked on their current campaign they were warned. According to US Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM):
“…we were pretty blunt. We told them, ‘you can’t win and you’ll bankrupt your country. It’ll be a quagmire.’ And we were right.” (Source)
The Saudis, no doubt blinded by the arrogance that wealth can bring, failed to take heed and now they face the prospect of a humiliating withdrawal or even worse, outright defeat.