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Saudi blockade ups ante for rebels in Yemen

Saudi blockade ups ante for rebels in Yemen

Stopping Houthi rearmament

Last time we checked in, the White House was wallowing in a state of denial over the devolving situation in Yemen. The UN held a meeting to discuss the fall of the Western-backed Hadi government, and while the diplomats were talking, Iran executed a blatant arms dump on behalf of the Houthi rebels, who have been contributing to chaos in Yemen since late last year.

America postured while the Saudis went to war, launching air strikes against Iranian-made missile launchers and destroying Houthi-controlled military barracks and air bases. Now, as coalition air strikes rage on, the Saudis have constructed a blockade as a way of preventing Iran—or anyone else—from rearming the Houthi.

Via the AP:

As night fell, intense explosions could be heard throughout the rebel-held capital Sanaa, where warplanes had carried out strikes since the early morning. Military officials from both sides of the conflict said that airstrikes were targeting areas east and south of the third largest city of Taiz, as well as its airport, while naval artillery and airstrikes hit coastal areas east of Aden.

“It’s like an earthquake,” Sanaa resident Ammar Ahmed said by telephone. “Never in my life have I heard such explosions or heard such raids.”

He said he could hear missiles whistling through the air and see flames rising from a military area in the southern neighborhood of Faj Attan, where Scud missiles are believed to be stored.

Saudi Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri, the coalition spokesman, told reporters in Riyadh that naval forces are blocking the movement of ships to prevent weapons and fighters from entering or leaving Yemen. He said they had not yet intercepted anything.

Both Iran and the Houthi claim that Iran is not supplying arms to Yemen; anyone with a brain, however, knows that to be a lie.

Preventing rearmament is a key priority for the Saudis, and the coalition forces. For the better part of a decade, Yemen has served as a funneling point for the arms trade between the horn of Africa and the Middle East, and rebels who have been embedded in Yemen for years will have ways of getting what they need—diplomacy be damned.

The Saudis are blocking Yemen’s ports, which means that no one and nothing goes in, or out. They haven’t intercepted anything yet, but that isn’t entirely surprising. In the mean time, the coalition forces continue their barrage on Houthi strongholds:

The daily airstrikes have bred a climate of anxiety and uncertainty in Sanaa. Schools are shuttered, residents are staying indoors, and hundreds have fled to the safety of nearby villages.

In the southern city of Baihan in Shabwa province, airstrikes mistakenly struck a gathering of anti-Houthi tribesmen, causing a number of deaths and injuries, a tribal leader said on condition of anonymity, citing security concerns. It was not clear how many were killed.

In the western coastal city of Hodeida, medical officials said one person was killed and others wounded when the Houthis dispersed a demonstration denouncing their takeover and demanding the release of detainees.

Fighting meanwhile intensified in the southern city of al-Dhale, where the Houthis and Saleh loyalists have been trying to open up a corridor to Aden. They have met fierce resistance there, and the city is currently split between supporters and opponents of the rebels.

We’ll keep you updated on coalition efforts to restore the Hadi government.

You can follow Legal Insurrection’s coverage of the crisis in Yemen here.


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I see another Nobel Peace Prize in Obama’s future! /sarc

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to snopercod. | March 31, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Maybe he’ll get some golf balls with it this time.

    Obama needs more golf balls!

great unknown | March 30, 2015 at 9:26 pm

I wonder if the Israel is contributing to the Saudi efforts. They have a strong intelligence presence in Yemen, and they certainly prefer the Saudi coalition to the Obama-ISIS coalition.

Any truth to the rumor that the WH recently got emergency supplies of popcorn?