Yemen Hodeidah Assault

The assault on Hodeidah is significant as the first heavy ground assault by the Saudi led coalition. Previous fighting around Aden was much lighter.

In Saudi, Houthis, Yemen & Pirates of Penzance, it was noted that the wealthy Gulf states do not have a lot of young men willing to endure the privation and danger of grunts in the infantry. The forces of Yemen’s titular president, Mansour Hadi, were also inadequate. In this assault, much of the manpower is reported to come from a UAE run training camp  in Somalia, and possibly Eritrea. Most of the assault troops are mercenaries in the African tradition, with basic infantry skills and nothing more.

The mercenaries have  limited skills, limited motivation, and no connection with the Yemen culture. So this  is not a prelude to a military resolution of the conflict. The taking of Hodeidah would give the coalition a grip on the supply lines, though small  arms could still be smuggled from Iran in small boats.

With Hodeidah in control of the coalition, aid can be directed to political advantage.  In a country of tribes, aid buys loyalty. The war will continue, because there are too many tribes; the northwest and the whole of the south want their own ways, and there are too few resources for any of them. Not too long ago, the south was a separate country.  From Yemen, Saleh (Now Dead), and Civil War, Part 2,

With lower population density, absence of the tertiary conflict potential, and the civic, if not national feeling of Aden, the  south has potential for natural stability. This is best actualized by splitting it off.

Reuters offers a Yemen “factbox” , as part of (page down) French special forces on the ground in Yemen: Le Figaro.

But the tangled weave cannot be captured in a factbox. Ali Abdullah Saleh was Zaydi Shi’a. The Houthis are primarily Zaydi Shia, yet Saleh was their principal persecutor before he became their ally. Yemen does not organize along casually assumed lines.

For the weave, take a look at

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