What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger: Houthi Rebels claim to have captured Saudi territory

Repeated drone attacks on Saudi installations and now a claim to have captured the territory suggests that Saudi Arabia has only made Houthi rebels stronger if anything via the aerial bombing campaign.


News Desk |

Houthi rebels have claimed to have launched an offensive operation in the Najran province of Saudi Arabia, which is adjacent to the Yemen-Saudi border and took control of more than 20 positions. The protest, surprising on so many levels, has not yet been identified by independent sources however, the Houthis claim to have video documented the entire operation.

“We have extensive video footage of the operation which will be broadcasted later,” said Yahya Sarei, the spokesperson of the Houthi rebels. Houthis also professed that nearly 200 Saudi soldiers have been killed in the process, but so far Saudi forces have not responded to any of these claims.

War in Yemen has turned out to be the worst humanitarian crisis of the contemporary world, as thousands of combatants and even more civilians have become the victim of Saudi Arabia led military coalition’s aerial bombing to oust Houthi rebels from power. Houthi seized power in 2014, taking control of capital Sanaa and forced Saudi backed President Abdur Rab Mansoor Al-Hadi in exile.

The lines of sovereignty for insurgency infected countries are blurred as multiple global actors counter weigh each other’s vested interests and breach of sovereignty usually goes unchecked.

Since Houthis are predominantly Shiites, Saudi Arabia, fearing that Iran will take advantage of their high ground in Yemen to wage proxy war against the Kingdom, launched aerial bombing raids that have led to a huge loss of lives and property for Yemeni people, but has failed to achieve the intended target of moving out the rebels from the power center.

The Stronger Houthis after the Bombing Campaign

Iran’s support for the Houthi rebels was initially ideological in nature but the coalition bombing against the Houthis has acted as a catalyst towards the forging of strategic ties between them and Iran. Over the years, Houthi, an underprivileged, conservative tribal people who lacked the understanding of modern warfare and sophisticated weaponry, have emerged as more than apt rivals for the Saudi war machine.

Read more: Iran backing Houthi rebels against Saudi Arabia?

The credit is given to the support they received from Iran in terms of weapons and tactics which have proven not only effective in defense against the belligerence but also, if the claim is true, in the offensive paradigm as well. It is a morale buster and blowback for Saudi Arabia in particular if, after all these years of relentless bombings, the Arab coalition has only made the Houthis stronger to step inside the Saudi mainland.

Escalation on its way

The lines of sovereignty for insurgency infected countries are blurred as multiple global actors counter weigh each other’s vested interests and breach of sovereignty usually goes unchecked. Same was the case with Yemen, where the U.S backed Saudi led coalition was bombing Yemen relentlessly, even targeting civilian points such as schools and hospitals, but other than simple verbal condemnation from the international community, nothing substantial was done about it.

However, if the Houthi claim to be targeting the Saudi mainland and taking control of the position inside Saudi Arabia turned out to be true, almost unanimously, due to Saudi leverage over countries around the world, it will be denounced as an act of aggression against a sovereign nation and the situation will escalate exponentially. So far, the Saudi campaign was confined to aerial targeting with no feet on the ground, but it would change in case the news turns out to be true.

Read more: Saudi Arabia Blockades Millions After Houthis Launch Missiles

The latency in response from Saudi Arabian military over the claim is not surprising as there have been instances in the past, where a substantial loss for the Saudi military has not to be revealed and the information came to light from third party sources. At the same times, Houthis are also known to exaggerate their gains too. But, if what they claim is true, it has only opened the new dimension of war with no end near in sight.

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