Mark Collins – Yemen: Houthis Getting Hammered Update–Plus AQAP

Further to this post, and “Comments”,

Yemen: Emiratis Hammering Houthis

one wonders if the Houthis can actually be effectively put out of action–and can the country be held together?

Coalition poised to retake capital, but Yemen risks grow

Weeks after seizing Yemen’s southern port, Aden, members of a Saudi-led military coalition and the local fighters it supports say they are poised to oust Iranian-allied Houthi forces from the capital Sanaa.

But al Qaeda militants appear to be using the coalition’s gains against the Houthis in the south to entrench their position [more here], as fractures start to show between local groups of fighters with the departure of their common enemy.

The prospect of returning exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi remains distant, five months after an advance on his Aden bolthole by the Houthis, who overran the capital a year ago from their northern base, triggered the Saudi-led intervention.

At stake is not just who will rule Yemen, which regional power will hold sway and whether its persistent jihadist threat can be ended, but its future as a single state after centuries of tribal disputes and regional divisions.

Saudi Arabia and its allies want to maintain the state created in 1990 by the merger of the old north and south Yemen, say informed diplomats, but as anger grows over the humanitarian cost, the possibility of division appears to be growing…

In the north, the Houthis have pounded the Saudi border, determined to ensure coalition victories and continued airstrikes come at a cost. In southern Taiz, fierce fighting, and the bombardment of civilians, continues.

Attention has increasingly turned to Marib, a dry tribal region across the arid hills east of Sanaa, where Saudi-linked media and local sources report a build-up of coalition-backed forces preparing for a concerted thrust toward Yemen’s capital…

GULF GROUND ROLE

The dozens of Emirati troops guarding Aden’s smashed-up airport and their helicopters, tanks and armored cars lined up on the apron during a recent Reuters visit to the city were ample evidence of the ground role played by Gulf states.

It was the direct involvement of Emirati ground forces, alongside Yemeni troops trained in Saudi Arabia and equipped with sophisticated heavy weapons that allowed the coalition to break months of stalemate to take Aden, informed diplomats say…

One also wonders how long Iran will put up with the outside Sunni Arabs direct military intervention, supported by the US (more here).

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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