At the end of September, the Yemeni Houthi movement conducted a large-scale operation against Saudi-led forces on the border with Narjan province in southern Saudi Arabia. The spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Houthi government, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, compared the operation to that of a large ambush and called it “the largest bait operation” since the outbreak of the war in 2015.
He told me that it was a coordinated effort by ground, robot and air forces. The latter refers to the Houthis’ drone fleet, which on September 14, in a similarly historic attack, knocked out two very important oil plants in Saudi Arabia, which resulted in the dictatorship losing half its oil exporting capacity.
The Armed Forces of the Houthi Government, or the Houthi rebels they are often called by their enemies, are formally named Ansar Allah (Followers of God), but after their leader Hussein Badr Eddin al-Houthi had been assassinated in 2004, they began to call themselves the Houthi movement, popularly known as “Houthis”.
Operation “Victory from God”
The ground operation at the end of September, which the Yemenis baptised “Victory from God”, was supported by over 20 robotic and drone attacks against the various positions of the Saudi-led forces. According to spokesman Saree, the Houthis already managed to surround several of these observation sites, outposts and bases during the first 24 hours, and took large numbers of prisoners. After three days, the Yemenis had completely surrounded the Saudi forces in the border area.
– Only 72 hours after the start of the operation, the Houthi forces completed a siege of the enemy, consisting of three military brigades of traitors and a faction of the Saudi military. They were completely defeated, the spokesman said. The “traitors” he referred to are Yemeni paid to fight on the Saudi-led coalition’s side.
During the fighting, the Houthis defeated at least three Saudi-led brigades, which also suffered very heavy losses. Nearly 500 Saudi soldiers and Saudi-led mercenaries were killed and about 2,000 captured. Hundreds of combat vehicles were destroyed or captured. Free West’s military sources with insight in the Yemeni war report that only a few of these troops were Saudi soldiers, an estimated maximum of one in 40, perhaps only one in 100, and then mostly officers.
During the offensive, 350 square miles of territory was conquered as well as very large quantities of weapons and military equipment. Pictures show captured bases with quantities of parked vehicles and the ground covered with weapons from those who surrendered.
A brigade usually consists of 1 500 – 3 500 men, but can, for example, in Sweden and NATO countries in Europe, consist of up to 6 000 men. It is common for two brigades as well as some smaller units such as an artillery regiment and a handful of battalions to form a division.
Free West’s military sources did not comment on the accuracy of the figures given, but pointed out that if they were correct, it is possible that three brigades have suffered such severe losses that they have ceased to exist as combat-ready units. This, together with the high losses sustained in a single offensive, is something that is quite uncommon in modern times. Our sources reminded us that in most Western nations, including Sweden, brigades were the largest tactical military formation since divisions had been abandoned.
Brigadier General Saree said that fighter planes from the Saudi-led coalition carried out at least 300 air strikes, most of them seemingly completely arbitrary, in a desperate attempt to stop the Houthis’ offensive. As a result, at least 200 of the Saudi-backed forces were killed by their own fighter aircraft, according to the Houthis spokesman.
“Our forces tried to provide first aid to enemy personnel who were injured as a result of the air strikes, but the repeated attacks increased their losses,” Brigadier General Saree said.
The Saudi-led coalition and, interestingly, even the Western media, insofar as they even reported on the battle, tried to downplay the very serious military defeat that Riyadh had suffered. Our sources state that the reason for this was not only that the Western powers were allied to the Saudi royal family and its dictatorship, but also that they massively supported them militarily. Not only do the Western powers sell huge quantities of weapons to Saudi Arabia, which has the world’s third largest military budget, but also provide them with various advisors and not least intelligence information.
Some information also indicates that various Western special forces are in place and assist in different ways, although officially, to the extent reported, they are there to fight the al-Qaeda terrorist group.
In reality, the Wahhabist terrorist group is an unofficial ally of Saudi Arabia, which has extreme Wahhabism as a state religion. This became especially evident when regular fighting between the Emirate-controlled and Saudi-controlled forces erupted in late August in, among others, the important port city of Aden in Yemen, where groups linked to al-Qaeda openly fought on the Saudis’ side.
The Western media runs the dictatorship’s errands
These videos and photos from the battle and its results show that Saudi forces actually suffered a devastating defeat in the area. The question is just how big and to what extent the Houthis’ numbers are correct. It may be worth remembering here that the Houthis have been fairly accurate in the past and that, in the historical attack on Saudi infrastructure, they actually indicated lower numbers than the actual ones.
In early October, the Houthis, in collaboration with the UN and the Red Cross, unconditionally released 350 of the captured enemies, three of whom are reported to be Saudi commanders, in a goodwill gesture. The Western media reported that they had been imprisoned for many years in an attempt to remove focus from the fact that around 2 000 had been captured in the days before.
The Houthis’ historic victory at the Yemeni-Saudi border therefore became a second massive military setback for Saudi Arabia in September. Nearly five years after the Saudi invasion of Yemen, it is clear that Riyadh has lost the war. This has happened despite a massive military budget and close allies such as the United States, Britain, Israel and many other countries. It is a development few could foresee.
We wrote a week ago that “some sources could already predict in 2015 the events that we have seen since then, but in the first few years few people could see anything but an easy victory for Riyadh and not least among them those in decision-making circles there. It has long been called a ‘short victorious war’ in Riyadh and those who aroused fears were purged in 2017, the same year that Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) became crown prince under coup-like conditions.
How could it happen?
Several local sources claim that one of the main reasons for the total defeat and high losses, both of which are quite uncommon in modern warfare, is that the coalition cracked in August. This has led to serious rifts with the former and most important coalition partner, the United Arab Emirates, which has long been Riyadh’s closest ally, resulting in mutual fighting between the various forces funded by the two Gulf states and the withdrawal of the Emirate-backed forces from the central and northern frontiers. These were the most combat-ready ground units. Saudi Arabia has mostly had to rely on its air force, Yemeni runners and mercenaries from countries such as Sudan and Colombia.
Free West’s military sources cite another circumstance and refer to a specific statement by spokesman Saree following the widespread and devastating drone and robotic attack in mid-September against Saudi oil infrastructure, which not only halved the dictatorship’s export capacity but also created queues at Saudi gas stations, something completely unknown in the oil nation and with destabilizing potential.
The statement our sources would like to draw our attention to is when the General then revealed that the historic and almost perfectly executed air attack was made possible by agents on site inside Saudi Arabia.
“This operation is one of the largest operations carried out by our forces in the depths of Saudi Arabia and came after a thorough intelligence operation and advance surveillance and cooperation between honorable and free men in the kingdom,” Saree said.
Sleepless palace nights
According to our sources, the claim of cooperation from people inside Saudi Arabia, which has a large Shi’ite minority in the sensitive oil-rich eastern parts of the country, would make the “Saudi rulers even more paranoid than they already are”.
There were also rumors that some of the drones were launched from inside Saudi Arabia and that their route was therefore considerably shorter than what the Houthis stated in public. Our sources believed that it was possible, but that it was probably about psychological warfare on the part of the Houthis.
The Houthi spokesman warned after the historic air attack of more and more powerful attacks if Riyadh did not interrupt its aggression against their native Yemen.
“We promise the Saudi regime that our future operations will expand further and be more painful than ever as long as they [Riyadh] continue their aggression and siege.”
His threat or promise, depending on one’s perspective, was met with rage. The Saudi House is now in a situation where the crown prince, the future ruler of the monarchy who has invested all his prestige in the epic unsuccessful war adventure in Yemen, can no longer hide from the people that the war is not just lost – but that despite all the oil billions, giant arms purchases and powerful allies, he has totally failed.
Everyone who queues to refuel his or her car, in a country that is almost synonymous with oil riches, is now reminded of this in their everyday lives, while the Shi’ite minority in the east have never had a better opportunity to rise up against what they see as the brutal Wahhabist oppression in Riyadh .
To that should be added all the rich and powerful, including princes in the large royal family, whom MbS purged and drove out of important positions in 2017 and who have since then only been waiting for revenge. If the paranoia of the leaders in Riyadh was great in the past, which justifies purges and much else, it is now reaching new levels. Historically, such a condition usually leads to escalating misjudgements and signal the beginning of the end for affected rulers.