Photo: Houthi rebels in Yemen
By Jennifer Kelly
This past Sunday the Yemeni organization Ansar Allah, more popularly known as the Houthi Movement or simply the Houthis, released video of what they say was a military defeat of Saudi forces inside of Saudi Arabia just north of the Yemeni border. According to the Houthis, the attack occurred sometime in late August and resulted in a crushing defeat for the Saudi forces, with 500 killed or wounded and around 2,000 captured. The defeat is a humiliating blow to the Saudi-led, US-backed “Arab Coalition,” which invaded Yemen in 2015 and has been unable to move beyond a stalemate despite their technological and financial superiority.
The Houthis are a decades old Shia political movement in Yemen opposed to US imperialism, Israeli Zionism, and Saudi aggression. A coalition led by the Saudis, with the backing of US and British imperialism, invaded Yemen in 2015 in support of the US-puppet government headed by Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Much like Juan Guaido in Venezuela, the coalition and its imperialist backers are quick to tout Hadi as the “internationally recognized president” in an attempt to give legitimacy to the lackeys of US imperialism. The Houthis, who seized control of the capital and much of the state relatively peacefully, enjoy popular support in Yemen in large part due to their opposition to US imperialism and its puppets Israel and Saudi Arabia.
The video was released after a drone and cruise missile strike on Saudi oil refineries occurring September 14, which the Houthis claimed credit for. This successful attack halted half of Saudi oil production, or about 5% of the global daily supply. However, almost immediately, the US and Saudi Arabia, along with sections of the bourgeois press, began to point the finger at Iran.
Despite Saudi Arabia’s claim that Houthi media statements are “farcical,” the video seems to back up the Houthis’ claims. Despite the logistical and financial backing of US imperialism and billions of their own dollars invested into the military, the Saudi forces have been plagued by incompetence and their invasion has amounted to little more than a stalemate. In 2017, when talking about the performance of Saudi Military forces, US Major General Frank Muth highlighted the need to reorganize much of the military. From high battlefield casualties, to military vehicles that had not undergone maintenance since the 1990’s, to a lack of basic officer training and poor recruitment, even the biggest supporter of Saudi Arabia could not deny its military problems.
The Saudis’ failures in Yemen may be exacerbated by these technical and logistical failings, but the root lies in the political sphere: they fight an unjust war to strengthen their own position and US imperialism’s stranglehold on the Arabian Peninsula. The Yemeni people, who today are suffering through what the UN is calling “the greatest humanitarian crisis on the planet,” and what others have declared genocide, are fighting a just war against US imperialism. No matter what horrors the imperialist war machine unleashes upon them, ultimately it is only able to dig its own grave.