Alleged Yemen Invasion

Juan Cole reports Yemen’s Houthis Say they Invaded Saudi Arabia, Captured Thousands of Troops in Najran.

Yemen is an informational black hole in which all sorts of allegations are made that later turn out to be bunkum. So no one who knows the place would want to take at face value a breathless news release from the Helpers of God movement in Sana’a, otherwise known as the Houthis. We do not have any confirmation yet, and although reporters asked the Saudis to respond, Riyadh is mum.

The Houthi spokesman said that the movement had been infiltrating Najran province for some months, and finally sprang the encirclement of the Saudi military facilities, from which they also captured large numbers of weapons.

If the Houthi claims are even partially true, it underlines the weakness of Saudi security yet again, in the wake of the drone attacks on their Abqaiq petroleum processing plant in the Eastern Province, which initially knocked out about half of their petroleum exports.

As Human Rights Watch noted, Najran province, like the Eastern Province, has a Shiite majority, but these are Ismaili Shiites. Of the province’s some 600,000 inhabitants, perhaps 400,000 are Ismailis. They had been relatively loyal to Saudi Arabia and had fought the Houthis, despite Saudi Wahhabi animus against Shiites. I’m just wondering, though, if the long Yemen war on their doorstep has disillusioned them. It is just speculation, but I’m thinking the Houthis couldn’t have infiltrated Najran unless the locals had averted their eyes.

The Houthis also claimed that attack on Abqaiq, though they said that they had local help. The forensics that became public suggests that the drones were launched from within the Eastern Province, where Shiite Muslims with a history of restiveness under Wahhabi rule predominate. Saudi Arabia is about 40% Wahhabi, but that branch of Islam is the state religion. Saudi Wahhabis are more puritanical and rigid than most other forms of Islam (and even than the much more tolerant Qatari Wahhabis), and they have a special disdain for Shiite Islam, which predominates in Iraq and Iran. Although the US and some European states have blamed Iran, the likelihood is that the weapons were launched from within the kingdom, not from Iran itself, though they might be Iranian manufacture.

Conflicting Stories on Yemen Invasion

Juan Cole picked up the story from the BBC and like the BBC has severe doubts on the accuracy.

Cole does make this pertinent evaluation "If the story is true, it is a huge development in the war and an enormous blow to Saudi security."

The BBC reports Houthi Rebels Video Fails to Prove Saudi Troop Capture Claim.

On Saturday, a Houthi spokesman said three Saudi brigades had surrendered near the Saudi town of Najran. The video shows an attack on armoured vehicles, but there is so far no verification of the Houthi claim of a major military success.

Colonel Yahiya Sarea alleged on Saturday that Saudi forces had suffered "huge losses in life and machinery", including "thousands" of its troops. All those captured would be paraded on the Houthi-run Al Masirah TV network, he said.

But the video broadcast on Sunday instead shows what appear to be rebels firing at vehicles on a road. This is followed by footage of several burnt-out vehicles, as well as assorted light weaponry laid out on the ground and a group of men not in military uniforms marching down a dirt road.

Story True?

Who knows? I don't. The story could be anywhere from the complete truth, to exaggeration, to a blatant lie.

Perfect Solution

Let's get down to the real nitty gritty.

We attacked Iraq after 911 because "Iraq was rich in targets"

The US overthrow of Saddam Hussein, a secular leader, led to the formation of ISIS and a pro-Iran government in Iraq.

It doesn't matter what version of the Yemen story is correct because one look at the lead-in map provides the obvious perfect solution.

Invade Australia

The US should invade Australia.

After all, Australia has plenty of targets including nice reserves of copper, gold, and other metals.

Canada also has nice looking targets but Canada is too close for involvement.

We need to stop Australia over there, before Australia comes here.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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