Houthis Claim Saudi Territory in Big Battle

(CNN) Houthi rebels show video of alleged attack on Saudi and Yemeni forces. Quoting,

Saree, who made the claims during a televised address Sunday, said rebels had “liberated” a 350 square kilometer (135 square mile) area while also capturing scores of enemy vehicles and thousands of soldiers who surrendered.

This has a decent chance of truth. In 2017, I wrote Saudi Arabia Versus Iran; Battle for the Middle East Part 3. Quoting,

Saudi Arabia doesn’t have any infantry divisions, with a possible exception of a “Guards” unit. Since even the U.S. Army has a sizeable infantry, there must be a reason other than utility for the absence of an infantry. In Saudi Arabia, the attractions of the list don’t work for infantry. No Saudi in his right mind wants to hump a pack and a rifle…. Our Gordian knot-clipper points to the existence of a sizeable Iranian infantry component as a sign of potency absent in Saudi Arabia.

Yet the U.S. is also a comfortable place to live, and it fields the world’s finest infantry. It comes down to national motivation. Nationalism is the frequently erroneous belief that one’s country has characteristics endearing enough to sacrifice one’s life. These could be:

  • Some form of exceptionalism, as in American Exceptionalism.
  • Cultural affinities, such as Russia’s pan-slavism.
  • All your friends and family live there.

Nationalism can be  a curse or a blessing. It figures prominently in world history, as a characteristic of the nation, which is the largest tribal unit. Let’s skirt these issues, to note that the psychology of nationalism may be weak or absent in Saudi Arabia. It may have too recently been a bunch of tribes, their affinities focused on a supranational idea, Islam.

Further reading: Saudi Arabia Versus Iran; the Saudi Decision Process; Part 1, and Saudi Arabia Versus Iran; the Saudi Decision Process; Part 2.

The practical takeaway:  A U.S. policy to confront Iran should have a contingency backup of large ground force deployments.


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