December 3, 2013

The “Arab Autumn” in Yemen

Volodymyr Guzenko — a graduate of the Military Institute of Foreign Languages ​​(Moscow). Now Volodymyr Guzenko is in the Republic of Yemen, where he can watch one of the revolutions of the “Arab Spring” on the spot


In autumn, as we know, all chronic diseases like radiculitis, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and many others is exacerbated. Yemen has not escaped this either... Irritability has exceeded all limits and turned into a banal aggression, transport arteries got clogged by tribes, rebels and by all and sundry. Apathy has struck the General National Dialogue (GND), which, incidentally, does not end there. And what I said six months ago today has become obvious to the vast majority, both in the West and in the East — the democratic show has spectacularly failed.

Now all those who contributed to the GND, start looking for “scapegoats” and cover up their involvement or, conversely, non-participation in this show. And to this unenviable position has been appointed the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who had built this, though poor, but quite successful and stable state, which, forgive my being rude, “democrats” and liberals with the full support and active participation of the “Muslim Brotherhood” in less than two years have completely destroyed.

Today Yemen needs at least 24 billion US dollars to restore the material damage alone. And this despite the country's own budget of 14 billion US dollars (of 2013), of which 7 billion Yemen is obliged to pay for the service of earlier loans. True, sincere “friends of Yemen” having promised 8 billion dollars, so far have not given a dime. But they honestly promised to “think” and make a final decision in March, 2014.

In November, 2013 the payment of salaries to the Army is not guaranteed — there is no money. The request expressed by the Defense Minister to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, to help to pay salaries and maintenance of the falling apart Air Force, has got hung up. True, China has promised to give assistance to the Government of 100 million US dollars and a loan of 200 million plus a gift of 50 million to the Ministry of Defense. But this is a drop in the ocean, though, I think it will help out for a month, maybe even two...

The UN Secretary-General's Assistant on Yemen Jamal Ben Omar's irritation has clearly exceeded all acceptable norms — he has turned to outright threats. To the upcoming UN Security Council meeting on Yemen which is due in late November, he has promised to provide a report which will list the names of all “enemies of the GPC” hindering the democratic process, spanning decision-making. The main enemy, he appointed Ali Abdullah Saleh and hisGeneral People's Congress (GPC) party (by the way, it is the ruling party, which has a majority in the Parliament, and enjoys considerable support of the masses). Ben Omar will demand from the UN Security Council to adopt various sanctions against these individuals and political parties. Interestingly, Ben Omar mentioned among the “enemies of the GPC” neither separatist southerners who actually tore the dialogue nor rebels Houthis and, most interestingly, he even forgot about the notorious al- Qaeda, which is in full blast in Abyan province, Shabwah, Hadhramawt... Looks like Ali Abdullah Saleh has very much annoyed him.

Of course, he was supported by members of the “Al-Islah” movement, whose members have initiated a unique “democratic” solution — expulsion of GND of the Deputy from the GPC party Dr. Najib Mutahhari, who, as the Disciplinary Commission stated, had accused the GND of forgery and perverting some solutions. That is why she has been banished forever, without the right to attend meetings. Democracy, isn't it...

On the 20th of November Ben Omar participated in the meeting of the “Commission 8+ 8” after which he said that “we have carefully considered all the 18 (!) projects to solve the problem of the South, but decided to continue the meeting on November 21”. That is, another failure, for the adoption of any of these decisions will inevitably lead to war...

At last the USA has defined its position regarding Yemen, and the events taking place there. November 19, Senior Advisor to U.S. President on struggle against terrorism Lisa Monaco telephoned President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi and on behalf of President Barack Obama passed over the “full support to President's efforts for a peaceful transition to a more democratic system”. She also confirmed that the USA would give its “faithful ally in the struggle against international terrorism” a comprehensive assistance in the fight against “al-Qaeda, Southern separatists, Northern rebels and ultra-radical Islamists”.

So, common enemies have been identified, while by “ultra-Islamists” are meant, according to U.S. media, the Salafis and the “Muslim Brotherhood”. Of particular note is the last thought brought by Hadi Lisa Monaco: “The international community is strongly concerned about the chaos and anarchy near the borders with Saudi Arabia, which is a major international supplier of oil”,  as well as about the situation on the strategic sea lanes passing near Yemen. In short, the tasks are clear.

And in the North of Yemen, a really full-scale war has erupted, not the usual for Yemen tribal conflicts with use of heavy weapons, but an inter-confessional war, between Sunnis and Shiites. Houthis have yet again violated the armistice, the siege of the University in Damadzh has not been removed. November 21 as a result of shelling, about a dozen of Salafis were killed.

Houthis tank with a clearly seen traditional poster with slogans on the board

 Houthis tank with a clearly seen traditional poster with slogans on the board

In the area of Kitaf and Buka'a (North-East of Sa’ada) combined groups of Sunnis, with the participation of mercenaries, including European ones, continue to attack Houthis. The mercenaries, of course, arrived from Saudi Arabia (we mentioned earlier that Saudiyya had transported some of its mercenaries from Syria). According to reports of Salafi, the offensive in Kitaf is developing successfully. However, the real results show that Houthis really are moving back, but gradually and slowly, to the “previously prepared positions”.

All is quiet on the Western front. Fighting is over the control of the road to the port of Midi. Salafis, reinforced by mercenaries who arrived from Saudi Arabia, are constructing fortifications, the long-term ones included.

Of interest is the interview with the Head of the District Administration of Midi, in which he stated that he was “not sure that Midi could be defended. We are preparing for different versions of developments”. Interestingly, he also reported on two military camps on the road between Hajj and Midi, which, according to him, “are currently unfit for combat and who knows whom they will support, or they may even declare neutrality, as the army in Sa’ada did”.

The total number of armed forces of Houthis is unknown. Local experts estimate them as 40-50 thousand people. But they mean the Northern areas alone, in Sa’ada. How many of them are scattered across the country — is not clear. However, there is evidence that Houthis have the opportunity to send their militants abroad. In particular, the Houthis “Sa’ad's  Brigade” is fighting in Syria on the side of President B. Assad. (Picture from Syria).

Houthis  “Sa’ad's  Brigade”  is fighting in Syria on the side of President B. Assad

Houthis  “Sa’ad's  Brigade”  is fighting in Syria on the side of President B. Assad

Saudi Arabia is not sleeping either. According to the British press, partially confirmed by Egypt and partially — by sources of the Yemeni Security Services (YSS), the head of Security Services of the KSA Prince Bandar Abdulaziz has begun to prepare the so-called “Army of Muhammad” (AM). Formations of the first units in the amount of 50 thousand people (!) have begun trainings in training camps in Saudiyya and Jordan, which, according to the  plan,  will be the main base of the AM. The main contingent is volunteers (i.e. mercenaries) from Sunni Jordan, Egypt, Yemen and other Islamic countries and regions.

Head of Security Services of Saudi Prince Bandar Abdulaziz — has begun preparing the so-called “Army of Muhammad”

Head of Security Services of Saudi Prince Bandar Abdulaziz — has begun preparing the so-called “Army of Muhammad”

The main targets are Syria and Yemen, as well as “other directions”... (We too?). By 2016 it is planned to raise the number of AM up to 250 thousand people. It should be borne in mind that Saudi Arabia does not have its own manpower. Composition of the police, for example, comes mainly from the natives of Southern provinces, in fact Yemenis whom the authorities consider the “fifth column”. Actually Saudi personnel is only available in the National Guard, designed to deal with domestic problems.

In the Armed Forces of the KSA, both, in the Army and Navy, the Saudi are few, the majority is immigrants from Arab countries. In principle, the army is not able to withstand external threats. Therefore, in 1980-1990s Saudiyya was forced to rent two infantry divisions of the Pakistani Army, which, in fact, were fighting in Yemen. Prince Bandar therefore decided to fill the personnel vacuum with his own army of mercenaries — the AM, and also rented two motorized infantry divisions of the Army of Egypt. According to Egypt, the country needs 1 billion US dollars monthly, so General Sisi agrees to the proposal of Prince Bender, which significantly reduces the financial gap in the budget. According to reports from Egypt, one of these divisions will be deployed in the South, on the border with Yemen. At the same time, Prince Bandar plans to block with the AM formations ways to Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.

And another news, which I also link to the machinations of a clever, cunning and very treacherous Prince Bandar. The evening of November 20, was held an “extraordinary” meeting of the Yemeni Army officers, members of the Ahmar’s family, including Sheikhs Sadeq and Hamid, chaired by Presidential Adviser on the Army and Security Forces, Major-General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar. These persons are very familiar to us, so I'm sure that without Prince Bandar they could not do, more so because Sheik Sadeq had just returned from Riyadh, and shortly before that, the rebel General had been visiting there...

Ali Mohsen spoke to the assembled audience, having described the situation in the country — everything is bad, very bad. There is no finance, no reserves, the economy is in the doldrums, attacks on oil pipelines and power lines never stop, the government and the Abdo Rabbo’s “clique” (his words) are unable to work, incapable of simpliest decisions and actions. In a word, it's time to save the country.

Under the slogan of “saving the nation”, they discussed options for overcoming the crisis and the main option — “urgent military coup with the removal of Ali Abdullah Saleh, President Hadi and his clique.”

Take note of this date.