Yemen

I suspect that Iran has surmised a good kick at the Saudi back door might bring the whole edifice down. Or give them a good bargaining chip with sanctions.
It must be tempting. Those captured soldiers who seemed Saudi (as opposed to mercenary) were unimpressive.
I am wary of tarring the KSA army with the brush of being inept but what happened to that convoy was not impressive (if the news and video is accurate). Particularly against opponents who carried everything to the scene on foot (Inc. ATGM launchers and missiles, LMGs and ammunition, etc) whilst the KSA had aircraft above.
All those, new looking, vehicles. A bit of a shame in that sense.
 
I am surprised that the convoy attack was successful. Ive literally just come back from Saudi today and the people i met were very professional and work that i also do back in the UK, the Saudi mil come across in a similar vein. So whilst there were obviously Saudi's there seemingly, i think they may not have been core Saudi units.
 
I am surprised that the convoy attack was successful. Ive literally just come back from Saudi today and the people i met were very professional and work that i also do back in the UK, the Saudi mil come across in a similar vein. So whilst there were obviously Saudi's there seemingly, i think they may not have been core Saudi units.
Totally agree. I spent 10 years in Saudi, 7 attached to a core Armour Div with Mechanized Infantry, Medium and Main BTs - even back then (early 2000s) they were younger, fitter and better lead than the shambles depicted in the video. Something else going on down there. Also spent a couple of years in the Asir region just north of Najran - typical of the terrain in the video, but again, there are far better Saudi Units and very large Saudi Air Force presence in that area.
 

Poppycock

Clanker
A list of nationalities below, as claimed on twitter.....
"mercenaries from Sudan UAE Bahrain UK USA AUS CAN Egypt COLOMBIA FR"
Updated POW estimates from Op Victory from God Almighty = Six Saudi recce mechs:grin:
twitter said:
6 #Saudi soldiers, National Royal Guards, King Abdulaziz Mechanic Brigade, imprisoned by #Yemen armed forces, #Najran op.

The far larger group of 100s (?) of ragged looking local national POWs looked like the southern Yemenis photo'd in the Mail on Sunday in March 2019, along with reports of our SBS training 'child soldiers' & getting WIA'd
 

Poppycock

Clanker
Also spent a couple of years in the Asir region just north of Najran
What was it like down there? Really a "wild frontier"?
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the USA said:
Five more [9/11 hijackers] came from Asir Province, a poor region in southwestern Saudi Arabia that borders Yemen; this weakly policed area is sometimes called "the wild frontier."
I saw a 9/11 documentary with a camera crew visiting Asir and asking about the hijackers - they got a frosty reception.
 
:) I did figure out the brigades were likely platoon/coy sized, as the ME has a tendency to follow AH and invent large formations. But, given the tac air available and as likely as not the American Intelligence Network its still a touch of a surprise.. Then again the Libyans got hammered by a bunch goons in Toyotas with milan, back in the day.

On a wider war, I have no fears of any western government wanting to get involved and the Saudis will have to rely on its merc hiring programme. They did recruit western mercs back in the 50-60s in their last excursion into yemen.
That wasn't their last excursion into Yemen.
 
I am surprised that the convoy attack was successful. Ive literally just come back from Saudi today and the people i met were very professional and work that i also do back in the UK, the Saudi mil come across in a similar vein. So whilst there were obviously Saudi's there seemingly, i think they may not have been core Saudi units.
The Saudis have been hiring low quality mercenaries to provide the "boots on the ground" in Yemen. I have also seen reports that they have been doing the same for manning southern border posts within Saudi Arabia itself.

I'm not sure of the reasons behind this, but it is possible that the Saudi government is concerned about public backlash from casualties or prisoners and so don't want to send too many of their regular army personnel there. These may also not be popular postings due to the relative isolation.

Saudi strategy has seemed to mainly revolve around relying heavily upon their aircraft and avoiding putting too many Saudi citizens in a position where they were directly at risk.
 
Totally agree. I spent 10 years in Saudi, 7 attached to a core Armour Div with Mechanized Infantry, Medium and Main BTs - even back then (early 2000s) they were younger, fitter and better lead than the shambles depicted in the video. Something else going on down there. Also spent a couple of years in the Asir region just north of Najran - typical of the terrain in the video, but again, there are far better Saudi Units and very large Saudi Air Force presence in that area.
Are you and/or @CH512O able to speculate, broadly, about why the Houthi are such an (apparent) challenge to Saudi forces, be it paramilitary, mercenary, or army? Genuinely interested in your experiences as the apparent situation is hard to follow.
No worries if not.
 
Totally agree. I spent 10 years in Saudi, 7 attached to a core Armour Div with Mechanized Infantry, Medium and Main BTs - even back then (early 2000s) they were younger, fitter and better lead than the shambles depicted in the video. Something else going on down there. Also spent a couple of years in the Asir region just north of Najran - typical of the terrain in the video, but again, there are far better Saudi Units and very large Saudi Air Force presence in that area.
The prisoners look to be a mixed bag of Sudanese and Yemeni to my eyes.

You'll not see KSA forces out in the bondu much, used to climb around Asir back in the day. All we ever saw were Bedu, flower men and assorted shepherds.
 
Are you and/or @CH512O able to speculate, broadly, about why the Houthi are such an (apparent) challenge to Saudi forces, be it paramilitary, mercenary, or army? Genuinely interested in your experiences as the apparent situation is hard to follow.
No worries if not.
Yeminis are hard little feckers and the terrain is suited to their tactics. It's sparsely populated and impossible to police a border like that. Pick a road, lay your mines and wait.
 
Lets face it. That terrain etc is not ideal for any types of forces. You would not want to use that area as Saudis to go on the offensive with the Houthi, who see that terrain as the norm. Maybe small teams of highly trained regulars but not holed up in a MRAP as shown. They looked like they were travelling on roads and lack of decent anti-ambush skills made it easy for the Houthis to pick them off. It happened to the Turks in their backyard as well, with plenty of YT clips showing it. Also siting these rudimentary sangars on top of rock laden hills probably is not the best idea, again with non-standard Saudi military. As Terminal said, i dont think we are seeing the professional element of the Saudi's here but not good whoever they are allowing the Houthis to make these small gains.
 
Are you and/or @CH512O able to speculate, broadly, about why the Houthi are such an (apparent) challenge to Saudi forces, be it paramilitary, mercenary, or army? Genuinely interested in your experiences as the apparent situation is hard to follow.
No worries if not.
I don't know a great deal about the Houthi movement, though I believe they are Shia muslim and have some military, training and propaganda support from Hezbollah. They were not really involved in the conflict in Sth arabia in the 60s/70s so they didn't gain much experience from that end. I suspect they are a disenfranchised sect with nothing much to lose and may have been subjected to the same deprecation as the Saudi Shia. All leading to a willingness to fight. Beyond that, it will be interesting to learn more.
 
What was it like down there? Really a "wild frontier"?


I saw a 9/11 documentary with a camera crew visiting Asir and asking about the hijackers - they got a frosty reception.
I wouldn't call it a poor area in the sense that we understand the word. Asir has a culturally rich heritage and a better climate than much of Saudi. The people tend to live off the land in small holdings/farms and are thus less 'urbanized' in their social and political development. The contrast with the wealth and sophistication of Jeddah or Riyadh is indeed extraordinary.

I was once stopped at a road block (police don't tend to chase people in KSA, they merely cite their road blocks where the sand is too soft on either side to get past!. The cop on duty spotted the 'yellow hair' of my wife and decided to practice his English. "How many kids you got" he asked. 'None' I replied......he tutted and waved me through like is was irrelevant. On the way back after spending the weekend in the area the same guy was at the same road check. He greeted me the same way, but smiling this time, "How many kids you got?" 'Five' I said, smiling back..........................."Good weekend then" he laughed and waved me on. It's an ok place, but the terrain is rocky and mountainous in parts (some bloody Monkeys tried to nick bits off the car when we naively stopped to give them some oranges'.

Took part in a 'Sword Dance' in the area about twenty years ago. Possibly not widely known, but the head dress patterns (red-white) are generally different dependent on the 'tribe' which is in turn linked with a 'region' (bit like Jock tartan) - so it is possible to identify someone 'regionally' by the distinct head dress pattern - and from that, it is often possible to guess the surname. Asir has a lot of 'Al-Quatani's'
Sword Dance KSA.jpg
 
I don't know a great deal about the Houthi movement, though I believe they are Shia muslim and have some military, training and propaganda support from Hezbollah. They were not really involved in the conflict in Sth arabia in the 60s/70s so they didn't gain much experience from that end. I suspect they are a disenfranchised sect with nothing much to lose and may have been subjected to the same deprecation as the Saudi Shia. All leading to a willingness to fight. Beyond that, it will be interesting to learn more.
The Houthi were at war with the Yemeni government for years, they've had a lot of practice over the last fifteen years or so.

KSA had fisticuffs with Yemen in the mid 90's and then in 2009, the latter against the Houthi specifically. KSA has preferred to pay Yemenis to fight Yemenis and to stand off with its high tech. No changes there.

Keep in mind that Asir was part of Yemen until the 30s and the tribal allegiances span the border; family, tribe, country, in that order. The sects can become a bit blurred as well.
 
Yeminis are hard little feckers and the terrain is suited to their tactics. It's sparsely populated and impossible to police a border like that. Pick a road, lay your mines and wait.
My best friend in Wales was second generation Yemeni. Tiny ******. Hard as ****. Dangerous.

His dad was a boxer, smoked a pipe. Abdullah.

My father knew him from his merchant seaman days. My Da' was a bosun and no one fucked with him. He knew papa Abdullah, the little pipe-smoking Yemeni.

Big Abdullah made a life for himself and fathered a few children on the coast of Wales. His wife was a cleaner. Proud people.

Little Abdulllah was being head-hunted to go to Harvard because of his time spent becoming a doctor and getting his LLB to become a 'legal' whatever. Medical negligence was his thing.

He died a few weeks after being accepted. Tragic.

His brother was a good for nothing drug-dealer.

Real people.



I suspect that Iran has surmised a good kick at the Saudi back door might bring the whole edifice down. Or give them a good bargaining chip with sanctions.

There is much love for Iran. Ok, they aren't saints. Same old nepotism and same old crony capitalism really. But at least they aren't arabs, eh? Largest population of jews living outside of Israel, in the middle east anyway, others being New York and Stamford Hill, probably. What do I know?

It's not possible to go in to Iran. The terrain won't allow it. Its mountainous and hilly and coastal and what for anyway? There will be no one parachuting in to Tehran. Lots of guns in the populace... Like a Switzerland of the ME. Just as many twists and turns in those mountains where you don't know what is hiding and just as many civilians with guns.

But it is possible to bomb the shit out of it. But then again, it's really not. Bad optics.

The powers that be have been spoiling for a war there for the last , oooh, almost 20 years now. But it just isn't coming off.

Iran doesn't really bother anyone. Ok, they got Hezbollah and whatnot and all their proxy stuff, but not really any more than any other country trying to hold on to sovereignty. I may be wrong about that. Always happy to be put right.

I grew up in the Middle East, it's my home. I had the benefit of a private British/American education via the DoD.

The whole Sunni/Shia clusterfuck won't ever be sorted out in our lifetimes, like the whole proddy/catholic thing. Prejudice and maintained grievances just hold too much sway. Too many vested interests in keeping them going, and little to do with religion at the end of the day, just pure power-mongering and maintaining of control.

I've forgotten what I was talking about. I've forgotten my point. I don't think I even had a point.

Some things are worth fighting for. Some things are worth dying for.

Some aren't.

That was it!

The whole world is wising up. Soldiers, who were once hated as baby-killers and little more than mercenaries, are now seen as real human beings who risk their life to protect the weak and the vulnerable, but the 'eye' is on them. And they as well are waking up and don't want to die in pointless wars to make some politico rich. They are happy to die for freedom, glad to die for freedom, but don't want to be just another mug...

It might be "Tommy this and Tommy that..." but they genuinely want to do a proper job. They don't want to be hated. And hated they know they will be, if they blindly carry out the orders of those that do not care about them, in the name of those they are supposed to represent.

The whole of the Middle East needs to calm the **** down, because that is last century's war. The new battle ground is Africa. Twice as many muslims in Africa as in the ME. And a whole lot more Chinese to manipulate them, restoring infrastructure to extract all those precious rare earth metals we need for our iPhones.


If there is any hope it will come from Africa. The most brutal and savage people on this planet, for sure. But also the most loving and naive and giving - they are a true inspiration, as much as they should be feared. The 'clever' people know how to exploit these human traits for short-term gain while rendering out more long-term results. It's not always the jews.


The Iranians and their ilk (the Shias) are good people. Honest people. They beat and whip themselves in Ashura as a display of their devotion. You kind of know where you stand with them. But Saudi Arabia and all their Wahhabi/Salafist kin need to be dealt with.

By that I mean, they hold too much power. They need to be brought back in to line with Western values.


Don't get me wrong. I'm all for sending those fit young healthy boys to die for a 'cause'. Hell, I'll even vote for it, as long as I don't have to go myself (I'm old and decrepit, and oh yeah, I happen to be a coward as well).

Let's just make sure it's the right kind of war, benefiting the 'right' kind of people. That will be something that any proud mother or father can get behind. Right?

All in the name of "...."


Things will balance out soon. But not before a lot more innocent blood is spilled.



[I'm just another idiot spouting his ill-informed bullshit. Don't shoot me!]
 
The Houthi were at war with the Yemeni government for years, they've had a lot of practice over the last fifteen years or so.

KSA had fisticuffs with Yemen in the mid 90's and then in 2009, the latter against the Houthi specifically. KSA has preferred to pay Yemenis to fight Yemenis and to stand off with its high tech. No changes there.

Keep in mind that Asir was part of Yemen until the 30s and the tribal allegiances span the border; family, tribe, country, in that order. The sects can become a bit blurred as well.
2
I remember watching the Saudi Infantry return to Base at KKMC Hafr Al Batin from the Yeman border c. 98 or thereabouts. I was out running and they were cheering and waving as one does when returning from some great victory. Played a lot of football with some of them (9pm kickoff due to the heat) and I can confirm these guys were fit.
 
Walkie talkies. It is an obvious point but, in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc it seems almost every fighting man has them. The degree of coordination this gives is impressive. In videos made by the Houthi, there are often sound cuts where chat has been removed, perhaps to protect Intel, the voices of non-Yemeni advisers (this last part is guesswork), etc.
I saw a recent film of a Houthi attack on a hilltop base. Hundreds of yards back, two guys with a walkie talkie, binoculars and an M2HB were proving aimed suppression of the hilltop, coordinated by walkie talkie. It was simple and seemingly effective. Personal comms are not new but everyone can now access them in some form.
Screenshot_20191003-072208.png
 
That wasn't their last excursion into Yemen.
You missed the reference to mercenaries and the west, who were involved against the Egyptians in yemen.... I was suggesting the merc recruitment of third world troops wasn't going well and at some point, it wouldn't surprise me if they started to tap the same programme again.

Though as others have pointed out, the Houthis seem to be a determined a little bunch. One wonders how much the Iranians and the Houthis have begun to build a network inside the kingdom and the regular army is likely needed to react to any kind of shia intifada in the east.
 
You missed the reference to mercenaries and the west, who were involved against the Egyptians in yemen.... I was suggesting the merc recruitment of third world troops wasn't going well and at some point, it wouldn't surprise me if they started to tap the same programme again.

Though as others have pointed out, the Houthis seem to be a determined a little bunch. One wonders how much the Iranians and the Houthis have begun to build a network inside the kingdom and the regular army is likely needed to react to any kind of shia intifada in the east.
I wondered the same. Is the best of the armed forces focusing on regime protection, as is the case elsewhere in the region (?)
 

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