Saudi Coalition Crumbles In Yemen: Sudanese Mercenaries On Front Lines, Foreign Officers, Proxies In Revolt

Tyler Durden's picture

Most Americans might be forgiven for having no clue what the war in Yemen actually looks like, especially as Western media has spent at least the first two years of the conflict completely ignoring the mass atrocities taking place while white-washing the Saudi coalition's crimes. Unlike wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, which received near daily coverage as they were at their most intense, and in which many Americans could at least visualize the battlefield and the actors involved through endless photographs and video from on the ground, Yemen's war has largely been a faceless and nameless conflict as far as major media is concerned.

Aside from mainstream media endlessly demonstrating its collective ignorance of Middle East dynamics, it is also no secret that the oil and gas monarchies allied to the West are rarely subject to media scrutiny or criticism, something lately demonstrated on an obscene and frighteningly absurd level with Thomas Friedman's fawning and hagiographic interview with Saudi crown prince MBS published in the New York Times.

Saudi Arabia's hired help in Yemen: Sudanese fighters headed to the front lines. Image souce: al-Arabiya

But any level of meticulous review of how the Saudi coalition (which heavily involves US assistance) is executing the war in Yemen would reveal a military and strategic disaster in the making. As Middle East Eye editor-in-chief David Hearst puts it, "All in all, the first military venture to be launched by the 32-year-old Saudi prince as defense minister is a tactical and strategic shambles."  

And if current battlefield trends continue, the likely outcome will be a protracted and humiliating Saudi coalition withdrawal with the spoils divided among Houthi and Saudi allied warlords, as well as others vying for power in Yemen's tenuous political future. But what unsurprisingly unites most Yemenis at this point is shared hatred for the Saudi coalition bombs which rain down on civilian centers below. For this reason, Hearst concludes further of MBS' war: "The prince, praised in Western circles as a young reformer who will spearhead the push back against Iran, has succeeded in uniting Yemenis against him, a rare feat in a polarized world. He has indeed shot himself, repeatedly, in the foot."

So how has this come about, and how is the war going from a military and strategic perspective?

First, to quickly review, Saudi airstrikes on already impoverished Yemen, which have killed and maimed tens of thousands of civilians (thousands among those are children according to the UN) and displaced hundreds of thousands, have been enabled by both US intelligence and military hardware. Cholera has recently exploded amidst the appalling war-time conditions, and civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and schools have been bombed by the Saudis. After Shia Houthi rebels overran Yemen’s north in 2014, embattled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi vowed to “extract Yemen from the claws of Iran” something which he's repeatedly affirmed, having been given international backing from allies in the West, and a major bombing campaign began on March 2015 under the name "Operation Decisive Storm" (in a cheap mirroring of prior US wars in Iraq, the first of which was "Desert Storm").

Saudi Arabia and its backers fear what they perceive as growing Iranian influence in the region, something grossly exaggerated, and seek to defend at all costs Yemeni forces loyal to President Hadi. The coalition includes Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Sudan, and the US and UK, and the Saudi initiated war has also lately received behind the scenes political support from Israel, something recently confirmed by Israeli officials. Concerning the supposed Iran threat in Yemen, an emergency session of the Arab League recently doubled down on its shared commitment to wage war against Iranian interests after it blamed Tehran for a November 4 ballistic missile attack from Shia Houthi rebels against the Saudi capital, which Iran denies playing a role in.

But the Saudi coalition is now in shambles according to a new Middle East Eye investigation. The report highlights some surprising facts long ignored in mainstream media and which give insight into how the Saudi military campaign is likely to end in total failure as "more than two years into a disastrous war, the coalition of ground forces assembled by the Saudis is showing signs of crumbling."

The multi-national Saudi coalition is "showing signs of crumbling" while increasingly relying on mercenaries fighting on the ground in Yemen.

* * * * *

Below are 5 key takeaways from the full report.

1) Saudi coalition ground forces have a huge contingent of foreign fighters, namely Sudanese troops with UAE officers, suffering the brunt of the battle on the front lines.

Sudanese forces, which constitute the bulk of the 10,000 foreign fighters in the Saudi-led coalition, are suffering high casualty rates. A senior source close to the presidency in Khartoum told Middle East Eye that over 500 of their troops had now been killed in Yemen.


Only two months ago, the commander of the Sudanese Army's rapid support force, Lieutenant General Mohammed Hamdan Hamidati, quoted a figure of 412 troops killed, including 14 officers to  the Sudanese newspaper Al Akhbar. "There is huge pressure to withdraw from this on-going fight," the Sudanese source told MEE. A force of up to 8,000 Sudanese troops are partly led by Emirati officers. They are deployed in southern Yemen as well as to the south and west of Taiz in al Makha.

2) Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has been dubbed "president of the mercenaries" for accepting over $2.2 billion from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in order to provide canon fodder for the Saudi ground war in Yemen in the form of thousands of young Sudanese troops, but he's threatening revolt. To escape his untenable position, he is reportedly seeking help from Putin.

At home, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is also having second thoughts. He remembers the lifeline he got when Riyadh deposited $1bn in Sudan's Central Bank two years ago, followed by Qatar's $1.22bn. But he hardly enjoys being known as "president of the mercenaries," and he has other relationships to consider.


On Thursday, Bashir became the latest of a procession of Arab leaders to beat a path to Vladimir Putin's door. He told the Russian president he needed protection from the US, was against confrontation with Iran, and supported the policy of keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. This follows an incident at home, which was variously described as espionage and a coup attempt. Taha Osman Ahmed al-Hussein was dismissed as the director of the Office of the Sudanese President after he was discovered carrying a Saudi passport and a residency permit for the UAE. He was caught maintaining secret contact with both.

3) Saudi-backed Yemeni fighters are increasingly mutinying and fear local mass push back from Yemen's civilian population due to the unpopular bombing campaign.

Mutiny is also stirring in the ranks of Yemenis who two and a half years ago cheered the Saudi pushback against the Houthis who were trying to take over the entire country.


The Saudi relationship with Islah, the largest group of Yemeni fighters in the ground force employed by the coalition, has at best been ambivalent. The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's closest partner in Yemen, Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, is openly hostile to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Yemeni party... They [Islahi leadership] are feeling the political price they are paying for supporting a campaign that turned in Yemeni eyes from liberation to occupation... Enough is enough. The regional Islahi leadership are now talking of starting direct negotiations with the Houthis, a senior Islah source told MEE.

4) Saudi proxy fighters are at war with each other: an Emirati-backed militia fighting under the Saudi coalition is assassinating other members of the Saudi coalition in what's increasingly an internal coalition civil war. 

They are also paying a physical price. A number of Islahi sheikhs and scholars as well as Salafis who rejected Emirati leadership have been killed or targeted by assassination attempts. The list is growing: there have been assassinations of Khaled Ali al-Armani, a leader in the Islah Party, on 7 December 2016; Sheikh Abdullah Bin Amir Bin Ali Bin Abdaat al-Kathri, on 23 November 2017 in Hadhramaut; Abdelmajeed Batees (related to Saleh Batees) a leader in the Islah Party on 5 January 2017 in Hadhramaut; Mohammed Bin Lashgam, Deputy Director of Civil Status, on 17 January 2017; Khaled Ali al-Armani, a leader in the Islah Party, on 7 December 2016...


"The Emiratis do not conceal their hostility to Islah. Islahi sheikhs and scholars are being assassinated, and this is being co-ordinated by the pro-Emirati militia. In addition, the UAE is clearly enforcing the blockade of Taiz, and withholding support for our fighters in the city," the source said.

5) Oman is entering the fray, which will further fragment the Saudi coalition as rivalries for territorial control develop.

As if the balance of competing outside forces  in Yemen is not complicated enough, enter Oman. Oman, too, regards southern Yemen as its backyard. It is particularly worried about the takeover of a series of strategic ports and islands off Yemen by the Emiratis. A Qatari diplomatic source described this as the Emiratis' "seaborn empire," but the Omanis are upset by this too.


The Omanis are understood to be quietly contacting local Yemeni tribal leaders in south Yemen, some of them separatist forces, to organize a more "orchestrated response" to the militias paid for and controlled by Abu Dhabi.

Like the proxy war in Syria, it appears that Gulf/US plans have backfired, and we are perhaps in for a long Saudi coalition death spiral fueled by delusion and denial. Sadly, it is primarily Yemeni civilians and common people in the region that will continue to bear the brunt of suffering wrought by such evil and delusional stupidity.

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Number 9's picture

well the tribe is sure fvkin that place up

back to the old quote "for fear of the juice"

GUS100CORRINA's picture

Observation: One word: Just another step along the path that will lead to the PSALM 83 conflict involving Israel.

Could Yemen conflict start the Psalm 83 war?

Video that is pretty good for those who desire to know more. Video has interesting maps and provides a perspective from the Obama administration during 2015-16 timeframe which the TRUMP administration has inherited.

There is a lot going on that is tied directly to the YEMEN SITUATION. We do live in interesting times.

MillionDollarButter's picture

They want to murder and starve the Yemeni people while branding humanitarian aid from Iran as some kind of war crime.  They are using clusterbomb munitions to target civilians.  A feat made possible by Hillary, Biden, Dodd, Graham, McCain, Schumer, Dole, Lieberman, Rockefeller, et al.
This is who they are.

bobcatz's picture

Israhell WAGGED the US which wagged S.A. into attacking Yemen as a way to destroy S.A.

The (((neocons))) call S.A. a strategic pivot.

MillionDollarButter's picture

No, Iran is the target.  Greater Israel is the goal.

God Emperor's picture

Bobcatz you need to do your homework.

Iran was the prize all along. Are the only non-zionists in the area. Syria and Iraq don't count for much yet, but when Iran will bridge them all the way to Lebanon, the Israel will get what they deserve.

Praise the Lord! That's Odin, not the jew fuck.

Volkodav's picture

      You appear know nothing about Scripture


A Sentinel's picture

I’ve been thinking this for a while but never wrote it so here it is: Saudi Arabia is getting very near its end. My gut (and I truly base this on nothing else) is that it could fall at any time. Civil war, nuclear stuff... no idea how but it feels ripe.

BeansMcGreens's picture

Anybody remember the crane that fell in Mecca about 2015 and killed so many Iranians, or maybe it didn't as there were some top Iranian scientist amoung the missing.

jeff montanye's picture

news like this is not, imo, long term bullish for the leadership of the sunni islamic nations, whose people don't feel as cozy with the zionists as the leaders do.  at least three quarters of the palestinians are sunni.

Refuse-Resist's picture

Is Wahabbism a Jewish creation?

It sure looks like the Sunnis and Jews are brothers and allies against the Shia.

serotonindumptruck's picture

Iran, along with their Houthi compatriots, have been kicking Saudi Arabia's ass ever since KSA decided to ignore international law and invade Yemen.


Volkodav's picture

      Thank for return to topic

      finally after so much nonsense posts

land_of_the_few's picture

Some info on Yemen missile strike on HSV-2 ship and background to the conflict

Ukrainians also did this to the Kiev regime's coastguard cutters

tmosley's picture

Jesus Christ, volcanos, Koch buying time, Saudi falling apart, Youtube pedophilia scandal breaking, crypto exploding.

Why can't I hold all this HAPPENING?

Number 9's picture

relax dude.. when in doubt more hookers n blow

and quit using the lord's name in vain

serotonindumptruck's picture

As long as the hookers and coke dealers accept BTC.

Number 9's picture

lite coin bit coin fvkin flip wilson coin...

when in doubt just throw everything into the pacific ocean..

stacking12321's picture

Lords name in vain?
the lord that has a name is a fake lord, an imposter.
You can bow down to a fake deity if you choose, but doesn’t your so called holy book proscribe against idolatry?

Number 9's picture

well i looked it over pretty well and here is what i have come up with..

you can get away with fvkn near anything as long as you are sorry about it..

slipreedip's picture

"relax dude.. when in doubt more hookers n blow"

I keep forgetting was it Jesus or Shakespeare who said that?

serotonindumptruck's picture

Damn, I was gonna go with Ken "Kenny Boy" Lay.

Number 9's picture

it is one of the ten commandments ya dumb fvk

i tell ya..we need a better clientele on da hedge here..

nothing in here but gutter whores and back alley hustlers..

tmosley's picture

>and quit using the lord's name in vain

I didn't. Modern English speakers badly misinterpret that commandment. It means "Don't swear an oath in the name of God and then fail to fulfill it."

Number 9's picture

well fvkmeblind now i have to deal with jehovahs witnesses..

not that there is any thing wrong with the jaydubs..


well..other than that whloe cult thing.. i guess..

tmosley's picture

Huh? I'm an atheist (though as a Cynic, I strongly agree with the philosophy of Jesus, which is totally awesome when you strip away all the BS that has been layered over the centuries), and have never been associated with that sect. It's just that that is literally what the words printed in the Bible mean.

Number 9's picture

Huh? I'm an atheist

so are they..

Hillarys Server's picture

Jehovah's Witnesses kill their own children. They're walking, talking phosphorous bombs holding Awake magazines.

They brag about their dead children on their magazine cover.

They are sincere though.

Number 9's picture

i'll send ya some pics of what i do to them in the basement..

Hillarys Server's picture

Oh yeah, and they have a "two witness" rule.

Two witnesses, Jehovah's witnesses in good standing, have to have been present witnessing the child being boned or else the pedophile is free.

They just entered into a settlement with a thousand or so child rape victims.

So they rape children and then tell those same children to die when they're in a car accident and need blood.

Oh, yeah, and the Kingdom will come when everyone in the world is dead except for them. Seven billion people dead. That's the good news.

Number 9's picture

there is no doubt in my mind that over half of them are shape shifting reptilians..

no doubt..











you will see them with when the right amount of voltage is applied..

Anunnaki's picture

For the same reason you take two Mormons with you fishing. If you only take one, he'll drink all your beer

Uncle Floyd's picture

actually it comes from the prohibition of the ancient Jews from uttering the 4-lettered tetragrammaton.

Total shock: something intellectual in this yawning hole of morons and nazis

Number 9's picture

well fvk unck ya all doan hafta be sucha dick

Savvy's picture

That's why time was invented. So it doesn't all happen at once. lol.

sheikurbootie's picture

This is NOT going to end well.  Merc's don't win wars, they fight wars for money.  

The poor line soldier will do the bare minimum in order to stay alive. 

jeff montanye's picture

blackwater in riyadh, black sudanese in yemen.  

Bear's picture

Not so ... The American Revolution was won with mercenaries.

Jethro's picture

And also lost with mercenaries (Hessians, Creeks, etc.)

Refuse-Resist's picture

They're only as good as those issuing the orders.

sheikurbootie's picture

Check your history. 

The Revolution was fought by peasant farmers in an organized militia against a British Army which included 30,000 Hessian mercs.  The British crown was tied to Hanover through marriage, but the Hessian soldiers were mercs.  The Germans who joined the American side were already American colonists.

The American's hired a few Prussian Generals for training, most notable was Baron von Steuben who taught drill and ceremony. Baron von Steuben came on his own and volunteered to work with Geo. Washington.

Refuse-Resist's picture

The men fighting for their land and families may prevail here.

slipreedip's picture

There really arent very many places the world isnt just being swallowed in a surging tide  of excrement.

Serisously where are there not problems around racial,ethnic,  economic, political,religious, climatic or environmental issues?


Screw this,

Im outta here.

Bear's picture

Why can't we just all get along?

Number 9's picture

well son let me tell ya.. there aint no profit it that.