first published on May 11, 2018 by Sean
Saudi-led coalition troops go on the attack against Houthi rebels on the Arabian Peninsula. Striking out from a chain of hill-top outposts, they attempt to drive the militants from the mountainous countryside. Are the Saudi’s finally learning from their previous battlefield mistakes and ditching the lethargic defensive posture?
Despite one of the largest defense budgets in the eternally warn-torn Middle East, the Saudi military and its allied coalition against the Iranian backed Houthi rebels has been plagued by numerous bloody setbacks. The rebels fire ballistic and cruise missiles supplied by the Iranian’s into Saudi Arabia with increasing regularity and launch deadly cross border raids into the southwest of the country. They overrun and destroy vulnerable outposts with alarming frequency, often killing many of the defenders and torching expensive military hardware.
Utilizing a relatively primitive but efficient propaganda wing, the Houthi’s have recorded dozens, if not hundreds of these engagements against the Saudi-led coalition since the war began in 2015. Though the imagery is blatantly propaganda, its hard to argue with video evidence of an overrun outpost, dead soldiers, and millions of dollars’ worth of equipment burning in the background.
A common theme in these propaganda videos is that the Saudi’s too often, suffer from poor small unit leadership, discipline in basic defensive operations, and despite a clear advantage in equipment and technology, they often display a lack of coordination with their indirect-fire and air assets. As a result, we’ve seen multiple instances of a handful of sandal wearing and man-skirt donning Houthi’s brazenly sneaking up on, and then brutally overrunning Saudi positions.
The video below filmed from several perspectives, though still Houthi propaganda, breaks this routine of lackluster Saudi performance and appears to show them taking an aggressive stance against the militants. In an unidentified region of either Yemen or Saudi Arabia and near a string of hill-top outposts, the coalition troops begin a basic, but necessary sweep through the area and after staging quickly draw Houthi fire.
The coalition troops continue to advance through the militant harassment in relatively good order, weathering the fire and forcing the Houthi’s to deplete their small-arms and heavy-weapons ammo. They aggressively press further while clearing the territory and maintaining contact away from their vulnerable and stationary outposts. Eventually an armored vehicle is disabled, possible by an IED but the occupants appear to survive unscathed. The video concludes with the vehicle catching fire and the Saudi coalition troops withdrawing.
Though the Saudi’s lose an armored vehicle, the fact that they lose it on a sensible offensive operation is a notable improvement. Wisely engaging the enemy away from their vulnerable outposts and forcing them to react, they additionally drain the Houthi’s offensive resources in the area. It’s better to lose one truck in an aggressive calculated risk, then to lose a half-dozen trucks and an outpost full of troops due to lethargy.