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5/4/15

Saudi Arabia Isolated: With Saudi Arabia Faltering in Yemen, Power in the Region Has Begun To Swing East - by Alastair Crooke

Saudi Arabia has announced the end to its campaign in Yemen, but nevertheless air attacks against Ansar Allah and former President Saleh-allied components of the Yemeni army still continue -- albeit on a lesser scale. A Saudi newspaper (without any trace of irony) has announced "mission accomplished." So what is afoot, here?

We do not know the full story, but already it is plain that a major diplomatic effort has induced Saudi Arabia to cut its immediate losses in Yemen. These immediate losses include the images of civilian bomb casualties widely broadcast in the region and the erosion of any residual support for former President Hadi in Yemen, the failure to put together the much-touted Sunni intervention force and the glaring evidence that while Saudi Arabia may have had an objective (restoration to power of the former President), it had no plan for accomplishing it.

As a consequence, Saudi Arabia has found itself isolated. While Iran, Oman and Russia have been busy working on a political initiative (while also seeking to restrain Ansar Allah on the ground), the U.S. has been quietly discouraging the Saudis from continuing the Saudi aerial campaign.

The campaign has had little impact on the Ansar Allah-Saleh military effectiveness but has made life hell for most urban Yemenis, with estimates of 1,000+ dead and thousands more injured.

The U.S. military was deeply skeptical about the Saudi air bombardment from the outset and lent targeting support mostly to reduce collateral damage caused by erratic bombing. U.S. military commanders were more than just doubtful of the merits of a land invasion; on the contrary, they (rightly) viewed Yemen as a muddy quagmire, into which Saudi Arabia was risking to plunge its boots.

Read more: With Saudi Arabia Faltering in Yemen, Power in the Region Has Begun To Swing East | Alastair Crooke

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