Home/Daniel Larison/The Saudis’ War Is Failing at Everything Except Ruining Yemen

The Saudis’ War Is Failing at Everything Except Ruining Yemen

While it continues to do enormous harm to the civilian population of Yemen, the Saudi-led campaign isn’t achieving any of the Saudis’ stated goals:

Two weeks into a Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, the airstrikes appear to have accelerated the country’s fragmentation into warring tribes and militias and done little to accomplish the goal of returning the ousted Yemeni president to power, analysts and residents say.

The Yemeni insurgents, known as Houthis, have pushed ahead with their offensive and seem to have protected many of their weapons stockpiles from the coalition’s bombardments, analysts say.

As the rest of the report shows, the campaign is alienating even those Yemenis that oppose the Houthis. Because of Hadi’s support for the war, most people in the country have turned against him. Even if the Saudis could somehow find a way to put him back in power, his rule would likely be very brief. The political goals of the intervention seemed far-fetched from the start, and the last two weeks have shown just how unrealistic they were. Hadi isn’t going to be restored to power. The country isn’t being stabilized by Saudi military action. The Houthis aren’t losing ground, but are taking over new territory with the cooperation of local authorities:

Houthi fighters, backed by supporters of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, have entered the provincial capital of the Shabwa province in eastern Yemen, despite intense Saudi-led air strikes against the group.

Residents said local tribal chiefs and security officials facilitated the entry of the Houthi forces to the city of Ataq on Thursday, where they took control of the offices of the local government and security forces compounds.

Instead of “restoring stability,” the military intervention is throwing the country deeper into disorder and chaos. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been making gains as a result. The U.S. is supporting a military campaign that not only has nothing to do with our security interests, but which is also having the effect of making the local Al Qaeda affiliate stronger than it was. For the sake of such “achievements,” Yemen is being ruined and millions of lives are potentially being put at risk because of lack of food, water, and medicine.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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