Did the Saudis win or lose in Yemen?

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Okaz newspaper

THE Yemen war will mark its fourth anniversary in March. For those who need to remember, the Yemeni crisis started when the Houthi militia moved to seize weapons, missiles and airplanes after the coup to capture the capital city of Sanaa.

This was something unprecedented. No country in the world will allow a militia to take over power. This militia was undisciplined, did not respect the law and did not recognize the conventions of war.

In addition, the militia was controlled by regional powers with huge military capabilities to inflict serious damage. This was exactly what happened when they launched more than 100 ballistic missiles targeting Saudi cities.

At the beginning of the war, the battle was limited to the Saudi border regions. Bombshells were dropped on heavily populated Saudi cities and villages.

It was later revealed that this well-planned attack against the Kingdom was orchestrated many years ago. The parties conspiring against Saudi Arabia were just waiting for a conflict or an internal war to send thousands of mercenaries to storm the border and occupy Saudi cities.

How did they plan to invade Saudi cities and who were the parties involved in the conspiracy?

Libya, during the time of Col. Muammar Qaddafi, along with Iran and Qatar, as well as the Hezbollah and Houthi militias prepared a plan to stock weapons in warehouses along Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia over a 10-year period. These weapons were to be used by the militia when the war would start. They also trained tens of thousands of Houthi fighters and mercenaries.

In order to eliminate the threat, Saudi Arabia had to take military action by striking the strategic weapons stores. It took almost one year to complete that task.

The Houthi militiamen sneaked in without any weapons to the nearest border post. They were supplied with weapons from these warehouses to be used against Saudi cities and villages.

Fighting them was very difficult initially because the militiamen could not be spotted easily. They disguised themselves as farmers and cattle herders and they did not carry any weapons. Their weapons were hidden in the warehouses along the border.

Slowly, the coalition forces eliminated these weapons and transferred the frontlines to the Houthi-held territories. The Houthis were then forced into defense positions.

Now the question remains. Did Saudi Arabia win this drawn-out war, which involved heavy fighting? Or, more specifically, was Saudi Arabia allowed to win?

To answer the first question, we have to know that the conventions of war that we see in historical movies, where the conflict starts with a duel and ends with one of the two winning and the other surrendering, do not exist anymore.

The last time we saw a military surrender was by the Japanese forces before the Americans during World War Two.

Every battle that followed the Japanese surrender ended up in partial victory and political negotiations because there were some international powers that prevented a landslide victory for either side of the conflict.

Of course, Iran, Qatar, Hezbollah, Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood were hoping that Saudi Arabia would have an easy ride in this conflict. All of them had done their share of planning and effort to support the Houthis and make sure that Saudi Arabia is defeated at military, media and human rights levels. That is why missiles, military equipment and ammunitions were smuggled into Yemen by these powers. That is why experts were smuggled to provide aid to the Houthis and international organizations were instigated to carry out campaigns against the Kingdom.

To a large extent, Saudi Arabia, the legitimate government in Yemen and the coalition forces won this war against to the chagrin of regional and international powers. This victory did not come with the raising of the white flag, but by achieving all the strategic goals of the military intervention in Yemen in the first place. This is the criterion for victory in any battle in our modern times.

First, the world understood the Saudi position in the Yemen crisis and supported the Saudi strategy for a solution by recognizing the legitimate Yemeni government. The international community took responsibility to crush the terror of the outlaw militia and to put an end to the Iranian interference in Yemen. Iran, the representative of terror in this free world, was forced to retreat.

Second, Iran was forced out of Yemen after the whole world agreed that it is important to push the Iranians out because their presence in Yemen was only contributing to the chaos.

Third, Saudi Arabia was able to destroy the military infrastructure that was built by Qatar, Libya's Qaddafi and Iran along the southern border of Saudi Arabia. All Iranian military bases in the Red Sea, which were built in an attempt to surround the Kingdom militarily and in order to give a foothold for the Iranian revolutionary guards on the western Saudi border, were shut down.

Fourth, the Iranian training camps widespread on Yemeni islands, which were used to smuggle weapons and drugs to Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, were also shut down.

Fifth, the Red Sea is now purely under the Arab and African control and the straits are kept open for safe flow of oil into the international markets.

The Red Sea coalition involving Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Djibouti, Yemen and Somalia is the best evidence of this.

Sixth, the legitimate government in Yemen was recognized as the sole representative of the Yemeni people at international forums. Despite the many difficulties the Yemeni government faced, the wisdom of the Saudi leadership kept it alive.

Seventh, we succeeded in keeping Yemen a united Arab country after it was on the verge of giving in and making way for Iranian control on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Saudi Arabia declared victory in the Yemen conflict after achieving all the strategic goals that were laid out before the military intervention in the country. Saudi Arabia crushed the Iranian meddling though the powers in Tehran thought it would be easy for them to find a foothold close to Saudi Arabia's southern border.


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