“Saudi-led forces warned civilians that Yemen’s Saada province would be a military target as of Friday evening, Saudi state television Al Ekhbariya reported. The leadership of the coalition asked all civilians to leave the province, a stronghold of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, by 7 pm local time, the station said. Saudi Arabia said Thursday it would respond forcefully to cross-border Houthi attacks that started on Tuesday, and has targeted the province with air strikes since then………….”
The Saudi princes have declared all of Saada a target, all of the region a free-fire zone. They’ve asked the residents of the region to leave, go elsewhere, but not to Saudi Arabia. Expect missiles, bombs, and Western cluster munitions to carpet the region. That is the home region of the Houthis who seem to be giving the princes another bloody nose. A clear sign of deep frustration by the planners of Operation Failed Storm.
It looks like Yemenis are neither shocked nor awed with the most advanced most-expensive Western weapons thrown at them by the Saudis. Weeks into the bombing campaign, with the threat of a land invasion by hired African mercenaries (from Senegal, Sudan, and Egypt), the lightly-armed Houthis have had enough. They struck at Najran, a north Yemeni area occupied by Saudi Arabia during the last century. It shows how vulnerable the border region is that the Saudis were forced to close schools and airports in the area. Almost a replay o the 2009 war when the Saudis thought they had a cakewalk into Northern Yemen and were disappointed.
Now, in princely frustration, they are having a royal fit, they are seeking to flatten the Saada homeland of the pesky Houthis. They have said as much. The problem with such saturation bombing is that the marginal effect declines as the bombing continues (we call it diminishing marginal return in economics) . It is the (North) Vietnam syndrome: the more they were bombed, the less likely they were to give up. It is unlikely the Houthis will travel to Riyadh any time soon to kiss and make up with their attackers.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum