The latest developments in the Yemen crisis suggest that Saudi Arabia is not only losing their unjustified war in Yemen but with it, the support of the entire coalition. The Houthis or the Ansar Allah movement which was started against the Saudis have brought Saudi’s to their knees after 2 decades of protracted war.
Yemen war: The largest humanitarian crisis
The Yemen civil war, described by the UN as the world biggest man-made humanitarian crisis was accelerated by the Saudi crown prince Mohamed Bin Salman in March 2015. Saudis have been bombing indiscriminately on Yemeni population destroying its infrastructure including schools and hospitals, the present capital Saan´a and ancient cultural city of Sadah. So far, the Saudi led coalition has killed more than 10000 people out of which 1000 are children.
Up to 50 lakh Yemeni children are still facing severe malnutrition and risk of death due to starvation. More than 30 lakh Yemeni citizens are displaced in their own country and more than half of Yemen´s population(1.7 Crore) is without food and potable water. Saudi has blocked the essential supplies to the people of Yemen and has created the world’s largest man-made famine.
Houthis fight back!
In recent months with a series of attacks, the Houthis have demonstrated that they can strike Saudi Arabia at any place surreptitiously at will and with it, can bring Saudi economy to a grinding halt. With these attacks, Houthis have proved that all the oil fields in Saudi and its capital Riyadh and busy Dubai airport, is within its striking range.
Shia Houthis, propelled by Iran’s resistance strategy to American influence in the region have succeeded in checking and alienating Saudi Arabia’s assault on Yemen despite suffering heavy casualties and biggest manmade disaster. Now it remains to be seen to what extent Saudi Arabia is willing to end this war at the negotiating table. The coalition of Saudi included mainly UAE with weapons supplied by America, UK, France and Canada.
Iran-Saudi proxy conflict
In the latest turn of events and with the existing risk of American hostility towards Iran in the Persian Gulf, the Houthi’s have demonstrated their new might with their arsenal including ballistic missiles and drones. They have attacked Saudi’s Abha Airport twice in the last two months, oil wells deep inside Saudi territory and air strikes on Saybah oilfield (1250 kilometres) which is close to border of United Arab Emirates (ally of Saudi in Yemen war). Saudi’s ally UAE in this illegitimate war pulled out of the coalition last month after winning Port city Aden (Sunni Majority). It only remains to be seen how long will it hold against the will of the Yemeni people.
Though Saudi and its allies have expensive and technologically superior weapons than Yemen, they are unable to defend the onslaught of the newly acquired weapons by Houthi’s. These weapons were developed by Iran which is under severe economic sanctions by the United states of America. Iran acquired the drone technology after it captured one of the American stealth drones in 2010 and has successfully built a drone programme around it with a range of 1500 kilometres. All the wars the U.S. and its allies waged in the Middle East, against Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Lebanon (2006), Syria (2011), Iraq (2014) and Yemen (2015), ended up with unintentionally making Iran and its allies stronger.
The demonstration of Iranian striking power by Houthis will now put Israel and Turkey on caution mode due to their ongoing roles in the war in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Saudi side now will have to agree to political peace negotiations. The Yemeni demand for reparation payments will be addressed. But the Saudis who are already in severe economic strain due to low crude oil prices will have no alternative but to cough up whatever the Houthi’s demand as their war is already showing signs of unviability if it proceeds further.
Yemen being one of the poorest countries in the world has humbled Saudi Arabia, one of the richest countries in the world. This is something all powerless countries look forward to in the future.